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Fort Worth Flashback: I.M. Terrell music program produced jazz greats

Posted Nov. 21, 2012

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Majorettes lead the I.M. Terrell High School marching band in a mid-1950s parade in downtown Fort Worth.

G.A. Baxter was the school’s music teacher during most of the mid-20th century, when several students who would later become prominent jazz and rhythm and blues musicians attended the school.

Jazz innovator Ornette Coleman was in the school band until, according to stories, he was dismissed for improvising during “The Washington Post.”

Fellow musicians John Carter, King Curtis, Prince Lasha and Dewey Redman all attended I.M. Terrell with Coleman. Other greats to emerge from the program were Julius Hemphill, Ronald Shannon Jackson and Cornell Dupree.

I.M. Terrell closed in 1972 during racial integration of Fort Worth schools. The building reopened in 1998 as I.M. Terrell Elementary School.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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