(Jan. 23, 1931-Dec. 7, 1993). A native of Aberdeen, Mississippi, Robert Lee Gholson moved with his family to Gary, Indiana, in 1938. At age nine, he was permanently blinded in an accident and enrolled in thewhere he learned to play trumpet, drums, organ, and piano and mastered piano tuning and repair. A 1957 School of Education graduate of Indiana University and member of the campus , Gholson performed in Bloomington during the mid-1950s as the leader of The Blue Notes, working with several future stars including , Eddie Harris, , and Larry Ridley.
From 1957 to 1984, Gholson taught industrial arts and piano tuning at the Indiana School for the Blind and for much of that time also served as a piano tuner-technician with the Riddick, Wilking, and Wurlitzer companies, maintaining pianos at Indianapolis’ major performance venues including, Indiana Roof (see ), , and Murat Temple (see ).
Influenced stylistically by Indianapolis pianistsand Earl Van Riper, Gholson performed in Indianapolis nightclubs for 35 years as a soloist and jazz combo leader, displaying a remarkable technical facility and vast repertoire spanning gospel, rhythm-and-blues, soul, swing, bebop, contemporary , popular standards, boogie-woogie, and .