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Article

Eric Thacker

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Allen, DavidDeLella, Albert David Robert]

(b Hartford, CT, July 19, 1919; d West Haven, CT, Nov 21, 2012). American singer. Details of his name, birth, and death are in the Connecticut Death Index, the 1920 census (incorrectly transcribed there as “Defella”), and a family tree. He sang on radio as Al DeLella in Connecticut in the late 1930s, then transferred to a New York City radio station to sing with the bandleader Buddy Rocco, who persuaded him to take the name David Allen. He performed and recorded with Jack Teagarden’s big band (1940–42); by this time he was using both forms of his new surname, Allen and Allyn. Drafted into the army in April 1942, he was discharged after being injured in March 1943. From 1944 he worked with Boyd Raeburn, sometimes singing complicated arrangements by George Handy; his style is well represented by I only have eyes for you, which he recorded with Raeburn in ...

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Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Marty Hatch

[Theresa ]

(b Toledo, OH, May 7, 1931; d New Rochelle, NY, October 17, 2007). American singer. She sang in public and on broadcasts frequently from the age of two, and began recording in the late 1940s, performing popular songs in a vigorous, crisp style with a biting tone that owed more to country music than jazz or blues. Between 1950 and 1956 she had six gold records. At the same time she achieved great success singing in nightclubs (particularly in Las Vegas), in stage shows, and on television. In 1972, shortly after her marriage to the jazz record producer Bob Thiele, she began to include more jazz in her repertory, often working with swing musicians. Although her characteristic vocal timbre became somewhat smoother, especially in such ballads as It had to be you, she continued to sing as exuberantly as she did in the 1950s; she transferred many of her nuances from this period to her later work, as may be heard, for example, on ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Chicago, Oct 10, 1926; d Chicago, May 29, 2005). American singer and songwriter. He wrote songs from childhood and appeared on a network radio soap opera while in high school. From 1943 to 1953 he attended five colleges and worked in a variety of jobs, having declined to follow his father, uncles, and cousins in becoming a lawyer; he entered the army in 1954 and became a professional singer and songwriter only after his discharge in 1956. Brown collaborated with Max Roach on the album We Insist!Freedom Now Suite (1960, Can. 9002) and the same year recorded his own first album, Sin and Soul (Col. CS8377). He acted as host for the television series “Jazz Scene USA” (1962), performed in London with Annie Ross in the revue Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma’am (1963), and worked in clubs in New York, Los Angeles, and London with Jonah Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. Thereafter he engaged in a socially and politically conscious approach to the arts in Chicago, bringing members of street gangs into the cast and production crews of his community presentations; he also restaged Jon Hendricks’s show ...

Article

Mark Gilbert

[John Symon Asher ]

(b Bishopbriggs, Scotland, May 14, 1943; d Suffolk, October 25, 2014). Scottish bass player, singer, and composer. Having studied for three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow he moved to London, where he played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated (late 1962 – early 1963) and then formed a group with Graham Bond, John McLaughlin, and the drummer Ginger Baker; this became known as the Graham Bond Organisation after McLaughlin left and Dick Heckstall-Smith joined. Bruce arrived in London as a jazz purist and had at first played double bass, but after using an electric bass guitar for a recording session with Ernest Ranglin in 1964 he transferred to that instrument and studied the mobile, melodic style of the Motown house bass player James Jamerson. The following year Bruce left Bond’s band because Baker felt that his bass playing was too busy and joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He is best known as the bass guitarist, singer, and principal composer with the highly successful blues and rock group Cream (...

Article

Mark Gilbert

(Crichton Mackinnon )

(b Derby, England, Sept 10, 1939; d London, May 30, 2008). English trombonist and singer. He was introduced to New Orleans jazz and skiffle at the age of 15 by a classmate, the clarinetist Chris Blount, with whom he played washboard. When he was 19 he emigrated to New Zealand, took up trombone, and worked with the Omega Jazz Band (1960–62). He then moved to Australia and performed with the Hot Sands Jazz Band (1962–4) and Geoff Bull’s Olympia Jazz Band (1964–5). In 1965 he returned to the UK via New Orleans, where he played at Preservation Hall. From autumn that year until the middle of the next he collaborated with Terry Lightfoot; he then joined Monty Sunshine before returning to Australia in December 1966. However, from summer 1969 he was a permanent resident in London. He worked with the pianist Ian Armit (late ...

Article

Article

Eddie Lambert

[Wimp, Kathryn Elizabeth ]

(b Evanston, IL, Dec 5, 1920; d Apopka, FL, January 27, 2012). American singer. She studied singing and piano at Northwestern University (1938–43), then taught and gave recitals for several years. Her singing with Duke Ellington (from the autumn of 1944), which was usually in the soprano range and wordless, inspired some of Ellington’s most original works in the late 1940s; she also sang ballads occasionally as a contralto. After touring Britain with Ellington, Ray Nance, and a British rhythm section (June–July 1948) she appeared with his orchestra in the film shorts Symphony in Swing (1949) and Salute to Duke Ellington (1950). In July 1950 she married and ceased working full-time in music.

(all as sideman with D. Ellington)

FeatherE...

Article

David Flanagan

(b Seattle, Feb 11, 1914; d Riverside, CA, June 21, 2002). American songwriter, arranger, pianist, and singer. His parents were vaudeville artists, and he learned piano from an early age. He played piano in Horace Heidt’s dance band in 1933, but for much of the 1930s worked in Hollywood as a nightclub singer and pianist and as a vocal coach for band singers. In the early 1940s he was composer and arranger for Tommy Dorsey and wrote a number of hit songs for the band which were performed by Frank Sinatra. During World War II he played briefly in Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Thereafter he worked principally as a nightclub entertainer, and issued some recordings under his own name, including Matt Dennis Plays and Sings (c1957, Kapp 1024). Dennis also arranged music for radio programs (1946–8), appeared in films and on television, and composed the song ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(Alexandre )

(b Paris, Jan 29, 1933; d Rayol-Canadel-sur-mer, July 22, 2004). French guitarist and singer. He received his first piano lessons at the age of five from his uncle Ray Ventura, and took up guitar in 1948. The following year he formed a quintet which included Mimi Perrin and Jean-Louis Viale. In 1952 he played with Bernard Peiffer and at the Ringside with Pierre Michelot and the pianist Art Simmons. After performing in a stage show in New York for five months, during which he had an opportunity to hear many leading jazz musicians in local clubs, he returned to Paris, where he worked with Henri Renaud, Jimmy Gourley, Guy Pedersen and Viale at the Tabou (1953), Barney Wilen, Bobby Jaspar, and René Urtreger at Club Saint-Germain, and Fats Sadi and Kenny Clarke at the Ringside, and recorded with the pianist Raymond Le Senechal (1953); around this time he also performed with Martial Solal. After becoming a successful pop singer he worked rarely as a jazz musician, except for occasional performances on guitar. In the mid-1950s he took part in several recording sessions in Paris as a guitarist with Lionel Hampton, Jaspar, and John Lewis, and with his own swing and bop bands. He also played guitar in a duo with Barney Kessel, in a trio with lesser-known guitarists, and on recordings he made as a leader with Slide Hampton in ...

Article

Scott Yanow

[Rosetta ]

(b Dyersburg, TN, Feb 15, 1910; d San Diego, CA, April 20, 2003). American trumpeter and singer. At an early age he learned mellophone (his father’s instrument) and trumpet (which his elder brother Wilbur played professionally), and he made his professional début at the age of 14 with a medicine show. In 1925 he moved to Chicago, and from around 1927 to spring 1930 he played with the bandleader and pianist Sammy Stewart. In 1931 he joined Earl Hines’s orchestra, where he was a valuable sideman; while he left Hines to work with Horace Henderson from August 1937 to August 1938, he was again with the group until September 1940. (Reports in the International Musician confirm these affiliations, but the dates given are not quite the same; Fuller is reported with Hines from April 1932 to August 1937 and again from March 1939 through August 1940, and with Henderson only from June to ...

Article

O Flückiger

(Lee)

(b Indianapolis, Feb 17, 1926; d Anghiari, Toscana, Italy, May 24, 2004). American pianist, vibraphonist, singer, and bandleader. After serving in France during the war he studied music at the conservatory in Dijon, at the University of Washington, and elsewhere. He led a jump band, the Question Marks, in Seattle through the late 1940s, then formed a trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole. From 1952 to mid-1953 he toured the USA and Canada with Lionel Hampton and later traveled in Alaska and California with his own groups. Having settled on the Canadian west coast, Gill hosted jazz projects involving such guest stars as Wes Montgomery. From the mid-1980s he toured internationally.

Article

Chris Sheridan

[William Randall]

(b Chicago, March 19, 1926; d Los Angeles, April 3, 2016). American singer. He performed in local shows from the age of four and became a professional musician in 1952. After working sporadically in Chicago with Ramsey Lewis he moved to New York, and from 1958 he made recordings as a leader with Horace Silver and Jimmy Smith among his sidemen; one of these, Señor Blues (1958), was successful commercially. Henderson won a poll conducted by Down Beat in 1960 and then returned to Chicago, where he worked at intervals with Lewis; later he performed with Oscar Peterson (1963–4) and Count Basie (September 1965 – autumn 1966). Having settled in Los Angeles he worked principally as an actor (taking a leading role in the film Inside Moves, 1980), although he continued to sing frequently on television and occasionally for recordings; in 1999...

Article

Howard Rye

[Matthews, Melinda Helen]

(b New Orleans, Dec 14, 1924; d Milwaukee, WI, April 10, 2017). American singer. From the ages of eight to 18 she was a member of the Southern Harp Spiritual Singers. After moving to Richmond, California, she performed in 1950 at Slim Jenkins’s club in Oakland, where she was noticed by Johnny Otis, with whom she made her first recordings in January 1951. Hopkins made further recordings under her own name in May 1951, 1953 (with Red Callender’s orchestra), 1954, 1956, and 1957. She was resident at the Baby Grand in Harlem in early 1957 and that June embarked on a nationwide tour with Arnett Cobb and his orchestra. In 1960 she was featured in the show Jazz Train, with which she toured the USA and Canada and then Europe, where it was known as Broadway Express; she recorded in Basle in April of that year. From 1960 to 1965...

Article

Howard Rye

[née BigbeeHall, Betty]

(b Topeka, KS, Jan 11, 1911; d Torrance, CA, April 20, 2009). American pianist and singer. The daughter of a cornetist and brass-band leader named George Arthur Bigbee, she learned piano from an uncle. Her family moved to California while she was a child, and after graduating from Hollywood High School in 1926 she married a banjoist named Hall. They were separated by 1936, when she worked for five weeks as relief pianist in Buster Moten’s band at the Reno Club in Kansas City. On her return to California she joined Roy Milton’s band at Louie’s in Los Angeles, and she stayed with Milton until 1942. In 1945 she joined Luke Jones’s trio. During the latter part of the decade she made recordings with Jones (I love you, love me too, Atlas 134, and Boogieology, Atlas 143, both c1946) and other leaders, including Maxwell Davis. In the mid-1940s she married the trombonist Jasper Jones, and in ...

Article

Reg Cooper and Barry Kernfeld

(Joseph )

(b Chicago, Oct 10, 1921; d Montclair, NJ, August 2, 2002). American singer, pianist, and arranger, brother of Irene Kral. While working with a quartet in Chicago he met the singer Jackie (Jacqueline Ruth) Cain (b Milwaukee, 22 May 1928; d Montclair, N.J., 15 September 2014), with whom he formed a duo, Jackie and Roy. They joined Charlie Ventura in 1948; Kral, who was also Ventura’s pianist, contributed many excellent arrangements to the band, including Flamingo and Pennies from Heaven. After leaving Ventura the couple married in June 1949, formed a bop sextet, then in 1950 moved to Chicago, where they appeared in their own television show. Their musical collaboration was interrupted by the birth of two daughters (Anita O’Day temporarily took Cain’s place in the first instance) during the 1950s, but nonetheless they returned to Ventura for eight months in 1953 and worked as a duo in New York, Las Vegas (...

Article

Roger T. Dean

[Keith Joseph ]

(b Sydney, March 21, 1927; d Sydney, April 13, 2007). Australian singer. He first played drums but then concentrated on singing, working in both Sydney and Melbourne in the immediate postwar period, and entranced by the idea and style of bop. He was influential for many younger modernists of the time, and notably again in the latter part of the 1990s, when he recorded as a leader (The Arrival, 1996, Spiral Scratch 0012) and as a sideman with Tim Hopkins (Upon my Camel, 1996, ABC 54460-2) and collaborated with Sandy Evans on Testimony (1999). He was mainly in Sydney from 1963, apart from a period in New Zealand, and formed the big band Killer Joe with the drummer Dennis Sutherland. Lane was an intense, unpredictable, and extroverted singer and personality.

A. Bissett: Black Roots, White Flowers: a History of Jazz in Australia (Sydney, 1979, rev. 2/1987)...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b London, July 29, 1919; d London, Feb 9, 2009). English bandleader, guitarist, singer, and cornetist. He started on banjo before taking up guitar. In the mid-1930s he played in a band with George Shearing and Carlo Krahmer, and in 1938 he visited New York, where he performed with Bobby Hackett. In the same year he led a group for a recording session that included Hackett, Eddie Condon, Zutty Singleton, and other American musicians. During his service in the RAF (1939–44) he performed and recorded as a guitarist with Buddy Featherstonhaugh, and his playing from this period may be heard on Vic Lewis Jam Sessions, 1944–1945: the War Years (1944–5, Harl. 3008). While in the air force he also learned to play trombone, and he founded, with Jack Parnell, a dixieland band, the Jazzmen. Following his discharge in 1945 he continued the Jazzmen, initially with Parnell and then as sole leader, and he worked briefly with Stephane Grappelli. In ...

Article

Scott Fredrickson and Gary W. Kennedy

[Kristin Conway ]

(b Annapolis, MD, Jan 18, 1954; d Austin, TX, June 16, 2009). American singer. She began her career in New York as an actress, singer, and writer before moving in 1977 to Austin, Texas. Influenced by Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers, she worked in the New Visions Ensemble, with which she performed the music of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, as well as original works. In 1980 she formed her Creative Opportunities Orchestra (CO²), a collective organization modeled after the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Locally, its members gave performances and workshops, worked with such guest artists as Roscoe Mitchell, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler, and Billy Hart, and in 1992 appeared on television. CO² also gave concerts at various southwestern festivals. By the mid-1990s it was operating as a quartet. In 1981 Marsh formed the sextet Collaborative Voices, which performed original compositions and improvisations, and she recorded with Alex Coke. In ...

Article

Clarrie Henley

(Heywood )

(b Liverpool, England, Aug 17, 1926; d London, July 5, 2007). English singer. He took up blues singing in the late 1940s and joined Mick Mulligan’s Magnolia Jazz Band, with which he performed and recorded until the early 1960s. During this period his repertory was built around the classic blues and vaudeville songs of Bessie Smith. Gulf Coast Blues (1957, Decca LK4226) is a fine example of his work at this time. Thereafter he concentrated on journalism and criticism, contributing articles on art and music to many English newspapers and periodicals. He also appeared on a series of television programs about art. In 1970 he began singing again, and in 1974 formed a highly successful association with John Chilton’s Feetwarmers that continued through the 1990s. He toured widely in Europe and performed in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and China. The passionate blues style of his early work came to be replaced by an ostentatious but highly effective showmanship, which may be heard to advantage on the album ...