The Columbus Jazz Society celebrates the life and work of Columbus’ own Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, who is universally known as "the Mother of the Blues." She was born April 26, 1886 and died on Dec. 22, 1939.
The procession begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Liberty Theatre, 813 Eighth Ave. and goes to the Porterdale Cemetery, where flowers will be placed on her grave. Then the procession goes to the Ma Rainey Blues Museum, 805 Fifth Ave., where a wreath will be put on the door. Columbus musician Ed Cox will play the saxophone and sing.
There will be a blues concert in the Liberty Theatre featuring Kathy Roberts & Co. at 3-5 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Rainey first appeared on stage in 1900. Two years later, she married song-and-dance man William "Pa" Rainey. That's when she got the nickname of "Ma." It stuck, even though the marriage didn't.
Her band included musicians like Louis Armstrong, Thomas Dorsey and Coleman Hawkins, who later became jazz legends. Between 1923 and 1928 she recorded more than 100 songs for Paramount. She helped mentor the career of Bessie Smith.
The Great Depression ended her career as her fan base lost their ability to buy her records. She retired back to Columbus and died of a heart attack.
Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
For more information, call the Ma Rainey Blues Museum at 706-653-4960.