Had Chu Berry's life not been cut short when he died at age
33 as the result of an automobile accident, who knows what
might have been. But what he did achieve was enough.
Considering the brevity of his life, and that his recording
career spans a mere decade, it is remarkable that his name
continues to loom large in the annals of jazz.
Leon "Chu" Berry was born in Wheeling on Sept. 13, 1908,
into a relatively well-to-do family that included a very musical
half sister who played piano in a jazz trio that rehearsed in
the Berry home, Chu's love of music and the saxophone
Inspired by Coleman Hawkins (whom he heard on tour) to
take up the saxophone, he played the alto instrument while
at Lincoln High School in Wheeling and at West Virginia
State College in Charleston