Little Elliott Lloyd
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Little Elliott Lloyd was born Lloyd Elliott Paioff on his father's birthday, September 7, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York. He came from a long line of professional musicians and artists. His grandfather, Louis, aka Abraham Paioff, made and sold violins. After arriving in America from his native Russia, Abraham played in society orchestras in NYC with his family members. Little Elliott’s father Leon Paioff was a highly skilled photographer, painter, and sculptor as well as a classical and jazz pianist who was related to Man Ray, the world renowned Dadaist. Little Elliott's maternal grandmother was Madame Rochelle, owner and designer of a fashion house in 1920s Paris, France.
This rich heritage of creativity certainly contributed to Little Elliott's development as an artist, musician, and charismatic personality. After he graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn he attained a BA degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. During this time he began forming bands and playing locally in Fort Greene and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. He recalled opening for Guitar Crusher in Eric's Bar near Pratt during this germinal time.
He settled in the Mid Hudson Valley around 1969, where he dedicated the rest of his life to playing (harmonica/guitar/bass), composing, and singing his heart out. Some of his very popular and ever evolving bands in the 1970s and 1980s included The Big Deal Blues Band, The Honeymoon Cats, The Funky Huns and The Elliott Lloyd Project. They played all over the Hudson Valley, i.e. New Paltz (St Blaises, The North Light, Coochie’s, The Barn), Poughkeepsie (The Chance, Rocky's Bar, The Derby, Frivolous Sal’s, Shaboo), Rosendale, Woodstock, Rifton (Sturbridge Lion, Hotel Astoria, The Black Swan).
He was the founder of Larkin Talent Associates, a company that helped to guide the careers of cutting edge jazz artists Matthew Shipp, David S Ware, Kali Fasteau, and Rob Brown. Some legendary bluesmen and musicians that he played with included: Eddie Kirkland, Little Sammy Davis, Harvey Brooks, Brad Lee Sexton, Lonnie Mack, Pee Wee Ellis, and Johnny Mars. In the mid 1980s his band opened locally for headliners James Brown, Gary US Bonds, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, and Levon Helm. Elliott hired a number of future NY Blues Hall of Fame members into his bands, including Fred “Midnite Slim” Scribner, Danny Lewis, Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz, DA Flash and Jimmy Eppard, In 1984, Elliott was endorsed by Hohner Harmonicas and appeared in their annual calendar.
Little Elliott Lloyd died of leukemia at the age of 45 at Albany Medical Center on June 19, 1993. Many of the musicians that he played with such as Little Sammy Davis, Kali Fasteau, Rob Brown and Matthew Shipp came to visit him in the hospital, which gave him strength in his final days. During his short but dynamic life he left a rich legacy of soulful blues and R&B, empowering people "to get on up” and “keep moving”.