Jazz guitarist Calvin Keys is a legend among soul-jazz fans for his appearances as a session musician and his small catalog of releases under his own name. Known for his lean, muscular single-string solo style, Keys was born in 1943 in Omaha, Nebraska. His first musical influence was his father Otis, a well-known drummer on the city's music scene. He passed the music bug on to Calvin, who picked up the guitar early. Keys eventually landed his first notable gig as a member of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's band when he was 17. He first hit the road with sax player Little Walkin' Willie during his that same year, before moving on to Kansas City. There his first gigs were with Preston Love (of the Count Basie Orchestra) and later the Frank Edwards Organ Trio. After woodshedding with Edwards, he landed a spot in organist Jimmy Smith's road trio. After leaving Smith, Keys worked the rest of the 1960s with Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, and Richard "Groove" Holmes.