Boogie Woogie Piano Greats

Dorothy Donegan

Dorothy Donegan (1922 -- 1998) was an American classically trained jazz pianist primarily known for performing in the stride piano and boogie woogie style. She also played bop, swing jazz, and classical music. She was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois and began studying piano at the age of eight. She took her first lessons from Alfred N. Simms, a West Indian pianist who also taught Cleo Brown. She graduated from Chicago's DuSable High School, where she studied with Walter Dyett, a gifted teacher who also worked with, among others, Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, and Von Freeman. Dorothy also studied at the Chicago Musical College and, later, the University of Southern California. In 1942 she made her recording debut. She appeared in Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway, Gene Rodgers and W. C. Fields and was known for her work in Chicago nightclubs. She was a protégée of Art Tatum, who once called her "the only woman who can make me practice". She said about Tatum that "He was supposed to be blind, I know he could see women".