Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rue Rufus Rockhead

Rockhead’s Paradise was founded in 1928 at Mountain and St. Antoine Streets by Rufus Rockhead. Rockhead was a former railway porter from Jamaica who was able to draw the biggest jazz and blues names in the business during Montreal’s Sin City heyday from the 1930s to ’50s.


Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Leadbelly, Nina Simone, Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie and Sammy Davis Jr., among countless others, were drawn to the hot spot. While the aforementioned legends played upstairs at Rockhead’s Paradise, Rufus Rockhead and, later, his son Kenny gave then largely unknown local talent like the late Oscar Peterson, Charlie Biddle, Nelson Symonds, Andy Shorter and his dad, Andy Shorter Sr., as well as Jones, Georgette, Mason, Parris and Villeneuve their big breaks downstairs.
Some of these players would later form the Paradise Band, which became the house ensemble at Rockhead’s. In 1980, it was sold and then shortly thereafter was demolished. In the 1990's, this street was named after him in his honor.

Chicago Cubs - 0
Cleveland Indians - 1

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
The Past Whispers
All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment