DON SANDS

Don Sands, in his over sixty five years of experience as a musician, has lived the history of black music. Growing up in Harlem he heard the "greats" play at the numerous clubs that thrived in Harlem and was also a part of the thriving cultural scene taking place there. When he was fifteen he was a part of a group mentored by Duke Ellington’s cousin, Major Wright. He won an area Chopin competition and played concerts at the YMCA and local churches in Harlem. He also went on tour playing piano for the Small’s Paradise Dance Troupe as a part of the Esther Williams spectacular.

As a teenager he was irresistibly drawn to the jazz clubs and the bebop being played there. He played in Smalls, Mintons, Sugar Rays and other famous clubs in the 50’s and 60’s. He learned from, and played with, the jazz greats including Joe Henderson, George Benson, Roy Haynes, Charles Lloyd,Grant Green, Larry Young Junior, Hubert Laws, George Coleman and many others. During the day, from 1956 to 1970, he also worked at CBS. While there he started playing the organ and played on Arthur Godfrey’s show and worked as a rehearsal pianist for many of the famous entertainers who were guests on CBS shows.