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Barry Kernfeld


(b Los Angeles, Sept 21, 1921; d New York, Nov 25, 2013). American jazz drummer, bandleader, and commercial composer. He toured with Lionel Hampton and Lester Young, among others (1940–41), before serving in the US Army. From 1948 to 1955 he regularly accompanied Lena Horne and in 1952 he played in Gerry Mulligan’s original pianoless quartet. In 1955 Hamilton founded the first of a series of quintets which introduced such emerging jazz musicians as Eric Dolphy, Ron Carter, Jim Hall, and Charles Lloyd. The groups’ innovative instrumentation—winds, cello, guitar, double bass, and drums—and soft, controlled sounds became, by jazz standards, extremely popular; their performances were captured on film in The Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1958). From 1960 Hamilton’s quintet adopted a gutsy blues and swing style, and Hamilton subsequently replaced the cello with a trumpet and then a trombone. In ...


John L. Clark Jr.

(b Chicago, IL, June 22, 1903; d Palm Springs, CA, June 7, 1971). American jazz drummer and bandleader. Born into a wealthy family, he began playing drums and was hired by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, with whom he played and recorded in 1923. While with this band he became known as perhaps the best white drummer in the style and influenced the next generation of players, including Dave Tough and Gene Krupa.

After a year on the West Coast with the Harry Bastin band, he took over Bastin’s group in 1925. For the next 15 years Pollack led big bands, primarily in Chicago and New York, before settling in Los Angeles in the late 1930s. His first band included such later jazz worthies as Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman, and Glenn Miller.

By the early 1930s Pollack had replaced his early stars with younger musicians. His affair with singer Doris Robbins caused friction in the new band and most of the musicians left to form a cooperative group later fronted by Bob Crosby. Pollack again reformed, using other young musicians including Harry James and Irving Fazola....