World-class jazz pianist, composer, community artist, founder of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra
Horace Tapscott’s involvement in the community goes back to 1961, when he decided to turn his attentions to his community and to work at getting Los Angeles youths off the street and into community activities, particularly the arts. His passions for the music ran deep. “The only way I felt like I could get satisfied was to make a move toward preserving the music that black musicians, through the years, have died unknown for, and have contributed so much to this country musically for.” A world-class musician & composer, Tapscott would pack concert halls in Europe, Japan and New York and yet come back home and play gratis at events and venues in the community. He has mentored hundreds of artists, many among the leading jazz artists of today.
In 1961, he formed Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (originally called the Underground Musicians Association). The Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra played at churches, big park events, or at lunchtime in schools. Rarely paid, they saw the music as a necessary service to their people. During and after the uprising in Watts in 1965, the Arkestra played on the streets and in the backs of flatbed trucks amidst the debris of the rebellion. They brought the music back to the community. Since that time they have performed in Europe, Asia and across the U.S.
Horace Tapscott passed away in February 27, 1999 from lung cancer.