Otis Spann

Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 - April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician whom many consider to be the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, Spann became known for his distinct piano style. Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls. ...show more

Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 - April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician whom many consider to be the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, Spann became known for his distinct piano style. Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls.

His father played piano, non professionally, while his mother had played guitar with Memphis Minnie.[citation needed] Spann began playing piano by age of eight, influenced by his local ivories stalwart, Friday Ford. At the age of 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo Merriweather, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946. Other sources say that he moved to Chicago when his mother died in 1947 playing the Chicago club circuit and working as a plasterer. Spann gigged on his own, and with guitarist Morris Pejoe, working a regular spot at the Tic Toc Lounge before hooking up with Muddy Waters in 1952.

Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist, Spann was a full-time member of the Muddy Waters band from 1952 to 1968. In that period he also did session work with other Chess artists like Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley. Spann's own Chess Records output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil" / "Five Spot", which featured B.B. King and Jody Williams on guitars. ...show less