Born in Los Angeles in 1937, Paul Starks grew up listening to church hymns played on piano by his mother, and his brothers were self-taught piano players. Later Starks heard jazz swing, then classical music where he found a home until the jazz bebop era blossomed.
He played baseball in high school and later became an umpire. He did not attend college except to take self-enrichment classes.
“I have a long history of listening to jazz and classical music,” he said. “I taught the history of jazz music at VVC for two years as a member of its Community Teachers Program.”