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See Acoustic bass guitar and Electric bass guitar.

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Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from ...

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M. Rusty Jones

(b Jersey City, NJ, July 22, 1954). American jazz fusion guitarist and composer. He is known especially for his technical virtuosity and for combining Latin, world, and jazz styles. His guitar influences include Larry Coryell, Tal(madge Holt) Farlow, and Kenny Burrell. He was also inspired by the tangos of Ástor Piazzolla, with whom he developed a close friendship. He enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston in ...

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Stephen Montague and Kelly Hiser

(b Kankakee, IL, March 22, 1942; d San Rafael, CA, Sept 25, 1996). American composer, trombonist, conductor, and double bassist. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trombone with Robert Gray and composition with Kenneth Gaburo, herbert Brün , and salvatore Martirano ...

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Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet, founded 1999. Its line-up has remained constant since its foundation: David Pokorný and Vladimír Klánský on violins, Vladimír Kroupa on viola, and Vít Petrášek on cello. Although classical repertoire remains central to their professional lives, the Epoque Quartet is remarkable for the breadth and professionalism of its ‘crossover’ work. The quartet has performed with the leading artists of Czech popular music, arranged world music from various traditions (most recently with the clarinettist Irvin Venyš for their CD ...

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Loren Kajikawa

(b Lake Forest, IL, 1957). American jazz violinist and composer. Known for his unconventional violin technique, Hwang participated in downtown New York’s free jazz scene in the late 1970s and early 80s and became increasingly associated with Asian American jazz in the 1980s and 90s. His more recent work emphasizes cross-cultural themes, especially as they relate to the Chinese experience in the United States....

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Term for an electric guitar of a type commonly used since the 1930s for jazz performance, exemplified by Gibson L5 and similar models. Typically it is an archtop hollow-body instrument of large dimensions (especially depth), with elongated f-holes, steel strings fastened to a tailpiece rather than to the floating bridge, and one or two magnetic or piezo-electric pickups. Some types are solid-bodied. Paired tone and volume controls and a pickup selector switch are normally mounted on the top, and the upper treble bout is often cut away to facilitate fingering in high positions....

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Mark C. Gridley and Charles Garrett

(b Chicago, IL, March 11, 1932; d New York, NY, Feb 24, 2007). American jazz violinist, composer, and bandleader. He was influenced by the violinists Jascha Heifetz, Eddie South, and Bruce Hayden, as well as the saxophonists Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane. From ...

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Dean Alger

(b New Orleans, LA, Feb 8, 1894; d Toronto, ON, June 16, 1970). American blues and jazz guitarist and singer. Research indicates that Johnson was born in 1894 (Alger). He was influenced by the musical activities of his family and the rich musical environment in New Orleans of the early 1900s, including the early blues, jazz, and the lyrically expressive French and Spanish music traditions. He began playing violin, developed excellent guitar skill, and by the 1920s was also recording on piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonium....

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Barry Kernfeld

(b Muskogee, OK, Oct 17, 1923; d San Diego, CA, May 6, 2004). American jazz guitarist. He played with Chico Marx (1943) and performed in the short film Jammin’ the Blues (1944) before attracting attention in several big bands, including Artie Shaw’s (...

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J. Bradford Robinson

(b Baltimore, MD, Dec 31, 1908; d Hollywood, CA, June 14, 1952). American jazz double bass player and bandleader. Originally a trombonist, he played tuba and double bass with Fletcher Henderson (1930–34, 1935–6) and Chick Webb (1934–5), attracting attention with his strong pulse and walking bass lines. In ...

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David Chevan

(b Irvington, NJ, April 3, 1936; d Geneva, NY, July 6, 1961). American jazz double bass player, composer, and bandleader. While growing up in Geneva, New York, he took up clarinet, after which he played tenor saxophone at high school. The music education program he attended at Ithaca College required that LaFaro learn a string instrument, and so at age 18 he began to focus on double bass. He subsequently played with the Buddy Morrow band from ...

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Daniel John Carroll

(b Philadelphia, PA, May 31, 1972). American jazz bass player. He began studying electric bass at the age of nine and then attended the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia. In 1989 he moved to New York to study with the bass player Homer Mensch at the Juilliard School. He soon joined the band of the alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and left school after one year to tour with the trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He subsequently performed with the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and has also worked with Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock. His albums include ...

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Gayle Murchison

(b Minot, ND, 17/July 18, 1921; d Bakersfield, CA, March 4, 1992). American jazz guitarist and singer. One of 11 children born to Elvy and Estelle Orsborn, she was raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. Both parents played guitar and at an early age Osborne learned to play ukelele, violin, guitar, and bass. She played banjo in her father’s string band at ten and by 15 was a featured instrumentalist, singer, and dancer in a local trio. After hearing Charlie Christian in Bismarck, she switched to electric guitar. One of its early pioneers, she developed a single-line playing style influenced by Christian and Django Reinhardt. She played in an all-female band that later joined Buddy Rogers’ ensemble. In ...

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A. Scott Currie

(b Bronx, NY, Jan 10, 1952). American jazz bass player, bandleader, and composer. He grew up listening to such swing artists as Duke Ellington and played trumpet, trombone, and cello. Inspired by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, and Albert Ayler, he took up bass in his teens and had formal studies, first with Paul West, then with ...

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J. Bradford Robinson

(b New Brunswick, NJ, Jan 13, 1929; d Los Angeles, CA, May 23, 1994). American jazz guitarist and bandleader. Soon after beginning his career he began to take drugs and spent many years in prisons, hospitals, and halfway houses. In 1961, together with other jazz musicians in Synanon, a self-help organization for drug addicts, he issued a collective album which attracted some critical attention to his easygoing manner and astounding technical prowess. He then worked for several years in Los Angeles studios, recording with Johnny Griffin, Gerald Wilson, and Les McCann, among others, but remained more or less in obscurity until ...

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Barry Long

(b Burley, ID, May 12, 1935). American bass player. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and had begun taking piano and drum lessons by the age of 13. He moved to Los Angeles at 17 to study at the Westlake School of Music before enlisting in the army in ...

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J. Bradford Robinson

(b Okmulgee, OK, Sept 30, 1922; d Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept 8, 1960). American jazz double bass player, cellist, and bandleader. Of mixed African American and Native American heritage, he was born into a large, musical family and learned many instruments in the family’s touring band, which was based in Minneapolis. In ...

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Matthew Alan Thomas

(b Paterson, NJ, Jan 9, 1926). American guitarist. He was inspired to take guitar lessons when he heard his uncle Bobby Domenick play in a quartet led by a blind accordion player named Joe Mooney. He began playing professionally at the age of 17, when he got a job with Vaughn Monroe’s dance band. He was drafted into the US Army in ...

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John Cline

(b Ossining, NY, Aug 27, 1940; d Ossining, NY, May 26, 1994). American avant-garde jazz guitarist. Initially a doo-wop singer, Sharrock developed an interest in jazz during the late 1950s. Drawn to the saxophone playing of John Coltrane but prevented from adopting it because of asthma, Sharrock picked up guitar. A period of woodshedding was followed by entrée into the New York avant-garde jazz scene. Sharrock played with members of Sun Ra’s band and the percussionist Babatunde Olatunji before making his first recordings on Pharoah Sanders’s ...