Cal Lampley

Musical Artist

1924 – 2006


Who was Cal Lampley?

Cal Lampley was an American composer and producer. He composed and produced jazz compositions for artists including Miles Davis, Mahalia Jackson, Dave Brubeck, Art Blakey, Leonard Bernstein, Freddie McCoy and Louis Armstrong. He was the second child of Hettie Marina and William Lorenzo Lampley, and had a brother named William Elwood. He received an alumni with a B.S. from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. His first known music contribution was as an organist of the Chapel Hill Presbyterian, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's on-campus church. There he formed a group that was later going to be the first all-black, 45-piece band in the then white-only Navy, calling the "US Navy B-1 Band". Lampley moved to New York City in 1946 to continue his education at the Juilliard School Of Music. With an Artist Diploma in 1949 in piano after three years under the direction of piano teacher Irwin Freundlich and composer Richard Franko Goldman, Lampley deputed his performance as a pianist at the Carnegie Hall concert in 1953. After having received a job as a tape editor at Columbia Records, he was later hired by record producer George Avakian, which would later become his assistant, to work as an A&R and as a record producer for music labels such as Columbia, Warner Bros., RCA/Victor, and Prestige. His own version of the composition "Misty" by jazz musician Richard "Groove" Holmes was Prestige's Records biggest single in its entire history, which peaked at number 44 on the Billboard charts in 1966. On July 6, 2006 Lampley died at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Baltimore from complications of Multiple Sclerosis. In tribute to his musical contribution to the city and the state, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke officially promulgated the "Cal Lampley Day" on May 1, 1994 in Baltimore at a City Hall ceremony.

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Mar 4, 1924
Also known as
  • Lampley, Cal
Jul 6, 2006

on July 23, 2013


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