Cleveland, James

Cleveland, James,

1931–91, African-American gospel singer, composer, and arranger, b. Chicago. Known as the King of Gospel, he was renowned for his rough baritone voice. He revolutionized gospel music by adding elements of jazz, pop, blues, and funk. As a youngster, he was influenced by singing in Thomas DorseyDorsey, Thomas Andrew
, 1899–1993, American gospel musician, b. Villa Rica, Ga. He began his career as a blues pianist and songwriter. Later he became a church choir director in Chicago and was a co-founder of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.
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's choir. Cleveland played the piano for gospel groups (1956–60), was a church organist, and became famous for his choral arrangements. Beginning in the 1950s he composed more than 500 gospel songs, many now perennial favorites. Moving to Detroit, he was in charge of music for Rev. C. L. Franklin and taught Aretha FranklinFranklin, Aretha,
1942–, American singer and pianist, b. Memphis. She began singing in the choir of her father's church. A singer of unique power, the "Queen of Soul" also has an enormous range, from gospel to jazz, rhythm and blues to pop.
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, the pastor's daughter, to sing gospel; in 1972 he produced her Grammy-winning album Amazing Grace. Cleveland later moved to California, where he was both a pastor and musician.
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On March 3 when the Cavs handed the Celtics their most lopsided loss of the season, 110-79, in Cleveland, James scored 27 points in only 251/2 minutes.
Since leaving Cleveland, James has guided Miami to three consecutive Eastern Conference titles.
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