From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Cooke, Charles L. "Doc"

(born: 1887  -  died: 1958) 

Born in Louisville, KY, Charles Lee Cooke earned a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in music from the Chicago College of Music in 1926. He was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in music. He began writing music compositions when he was a child in Louisville and had organized an eight piece band by the time he was 15. His family moved to Detroit, MI, when he was 18. Cooke played the piano and was the conductor and director of the Chicago Dreamland Ballroom Orchestra during the 1920s. He was better known as a conductor than for his playing. When his career as a conductor in Chicago ended, Cooke moved to New York, where he was an arranger at R.K.O. and Radio City Music Hall. According to his WWI Draft Registration Card, Charles Lee Cooke was born 09/03/1887. For more see Charles "Doc" Cooke at; Charles "Doc" Cooke at; and Doc Cook [Cooke, Charles L.] at Grove Music Online. View image and listen to Doc Cook's Dreamland Ballroom Orchestra - Sidewalk Blues (1926) on YouTube.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Grove Music Online [New Grove dictionary of music and musicians (Online)]

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Pasquall, Jerome Don, Sr.
NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Cooke, Charles L. "Doc",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 21, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 23:06:40