Specs Powell

Gordon "Specs" Powell (June 5, 1922 – September 15, 2007) was a jazz drummer and percussionist who began in the swing era. He also worked in the Bebop and Hard bop idioms.

Specs was the First Black staff musician hired by CBS in 1943. Born in New York City, a proud Trinidadian, he started out on piano but became exclusively a drummer in the late 1930s. He worked with Edgar Hayes (1939), Benny Carter (1941–42), Ben Webster, and others early in his career.

Powell went on to play percussions on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1960s. His sole album as a leader, Movin' In (Roulette) was in 1957. He remained active professionally until the 1970s and was honored by the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 2004.

Birth and Death Data: Born June 5, 1922 (New York City), Died September 15, 2007

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: drums

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-067978 10-in. 10/7/1941 Tweed me John Kirby Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-067979 10-in. 10/7/1941 Move over John Kirby Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-067980 10-in. 10/7/1941 Wondering where Buster Bailey ; John Kirby Orchestra ; Russell Procope ; Charlie Shavers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio instrumentalist, drums  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Powell, Specs," accessed March 28, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107318.

Powell, Specs. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107318.

"Powell, Specs." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 28 March 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107318

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