born on 7/8/1887 in Philadelphia, PA, United States
died on 5/2/1968 in New York City, NY, United States
Charles Luckyth Roberts (August 7, 1887 February 5, 1968), better known as Luckey Roberts, was an American composer and stride pianist who worked in the jazz, ragtime, and blues styles.
Luckey Roberts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was playing piano and acting professionally with traveling Negro minstrel shows in his childhood. He settled in New York City about 1910 and became one of the leading pianists in Harlem, and started publishing some of his original rags.
Roberts toured France and the UK with James Reese Europe during World War I, then returned to New York where he wrote music for various shows and recorded piano rolls.
With James P. Johnson, Roberts developed the stride piano style of playing about 1919.
Robert's reach on the keyboard was unusually large (he could reach a fourteenth), leading to a rumor that he had the webbing between his fingers surgically cut, which those who knew him and saw him play live denounce as false; Roberts simply had naturally large hands with wide finger spread.
Luckey Roberts noted compositions include "Junk Man Rag", "Moonlight Cocktail", "Pork and Beans", and "Railroad Blues". "Moonlight Cocktail" was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and was the best selling record in the United States for ten weeks in 1942.
An astute businessman, Roberts became a millionaire twice through real estate dealings. He died in New York.
- List of ragtime composers
- Jasen, David A.; Gene Jones (2002). Black Bottom Stomp: Eight Masters of Ragtime and Early Jazz, p. 5166, Routledge.
- Scivales Riccardo (ed.), Harlem Stride Piano Solos, Katonah, New York, Ekay Music, 1990.