(Jan. 1, 1918-June 12, 1991). Erroll Grandy was apianist affectionately nicknamed the “godfather of Indianapolis jazz” in deference to his influence on the city’s jazz scene from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born Lucas Erroll Grandy near Norfolk, Virginia, he began playing hymns on the piano at age three and later starred in his own local radio show. He moved to Indianapolis in 1936 when his father, Thomas Leroy Grandy, became pastor at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. He graduated from in 1940.
Though afflicted by chronic eye disease, Grandy earned a B.A. in music from Jordan Conservatory (st Street and Boulevard Place.) in 1944, working his way through college by playing for $15 a night (about $75 in 2020) at the Boulevard Kitchen at 21
After a brief tour with theBand, he settled into the Indianapolis club circuit backing visiting musicians such as Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, and Count Basie, and serving as a mentor to aspiring local players , , Flo Garvin, Leroy Vinegar, , and .
Grandy’s musical contributions were recognized by a mayoral proclamation of Erroll Grandy Day on May 6, 1984, highlighted by a marathon benefit concert featuring 14 leading Indianapolis jazz groups. He continued to perform regularly until moving to thein 1986, where he died.