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LISTEN: This genius pianist was “openly, defiantly gay”, even in the 1800s

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David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music cites Jackson as “openly, almost defiantly gay” throughout his turn-of-the-century career.

Bullock also recounts singer Alberta Hunter, who popularized a version of Jackson’s “Pretty Baby” standard and was a lesbian herself, as saying Jackson’s titular “pretty baby” was “a tall, skinny fellow.”His talent was ubiquitously recognized by his peers; famed jazz composer Clarence Williams is quoted as saying “He was great because he was original in all his improvisations … We all copied him.” This was true in both his musical and his style, as his manner of dress became the standard for ragtime pianists of the era.Even ragtime great Jelly Roll Morton, a man boastful enough to claim that he invented jazz, apparently cited Jackson as the only musician of the time more talented than himself.“He was the outstanding favourite of New Orleans,” Morton said in Alan Lomax’s biographical Mister Jelly Roll. “Tony was considered among all who knew him the greatest single-handed entertainer in the world … He had such a beautiful voice and a marvellous range.

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