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Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

(Emerson) [Gay]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...

Article

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

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[William Richard; Beez]

(b Benton Harbor, MI, Sept 14, 1930; d Los Angeles, November 13, 2002). American trumpeter, cornetist, and bandleader. Born into a musical family, he traveled from infancy with his father, a professional double bass player. He studied piano from about the age of five and took up trumpet as a teenager. After traveling with midwestern territory bands (1947–50) and serving in the air force (1951–4) he studied at the Cincinnati College of Music (1954) and the Berklee School of Music (1955–7). While in Boston he played with Herb Pomeroy. From March to September 1957 he was with Woody Herman, but he returned to Boston, then performed in Cincinnati, and in 1960 briefly rejoined Herman. He worked with Maynard Ferguson (1960–61) and toured with Duke Ellington (1961–4), and became known for the obbligato he played for the tap-dancer Bunny Briggs on Ellington’s album ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, England, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

Article

Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[John Joseph, John Jazza]

(b Adelaide, Australia, Jan 5, 1926; d Sarasota, FL, October 28, 2010). Australian vibraphonist, drummer, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He was playing xylophone by the age of six and later studied piano and drums; he became interested in jazz while serving in an RAAF entertainment unit (1944–6). After the war he led groups in Adelaide and played in coffee lounges and at concerts in Melbourne (1947–8). Among his sidemen at this period was Errol Buddle; Brokensha’s playing is well represented by the recording Buddle’s Bebop Boogie (1948, Jazzart 3–4). Extensive touring established his reputation in Australia, and he worked in Sydney (1949–50), Brisbane (1950), where his group disbanded, and Adelaide (1951). With Bryce Rohde he traveled in 1953 to Canada, where he became a founding member of the Australian Jazz Quartet (December 1954, with Rohde, Buddle, and the reed player Dick Healey). Later expanded to a quintet and occasionally to a sextet, the group was extremely successful in the USA; among its albums were ...

Article

Rick Mattingly

[Frankie; Cappuccio, Frank]

(b Worcester, MA, Aug 20, 1931; d Studio City, CA, Sept 12, 2017). American drummer and bandleader. He began playing drums around the age of five, after an uncle, who worked at a percussion accessories factory, gave him a pair of drumsticks; later he studied music education at Boston University. Having first worked with Stan Kenton (1951) and Neal Hefti, he led a quartet in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and then settled in Los Angeles (1953); there he performed with the singers Peggy Lee (1953–4) and Dorothy Dandridge, Betty Hutton, and Ella Fitzgerald (all 1955–6), as well as with Billy May, Harry James, and Charlie Barnet. From 1953 to 1956 he played West Coast jazz with Stan Getz, Red Mitchell, Marty Paich, Art Pepper, and Dave Pell (with whom he recorded between 1959 and 1961), and in 1957 he joined a trio led by André Previn. Capp made several recordings with Previn from ...

Article

Stan Britt

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Dumfries, Scotland, April 21, 1933; d London, Feb 25, 2009). English trumpeter, flugelhorn player, bandleader, composer, writer, and teacher, brother of Mike Carr. His mother played ukulele and banjo. Carr grew up in northeast England, where he took piano lessons from the age of 12 and taught himself trumpet from 1950. After studying at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne (1952–60, degree, English literature, diploma, education) he served in the army (1956–8), then played with his brother in a band, the Emcee Five (1960 – August 1962). He briefly joined Don Rendell in November 1962 and, after recovering from illness, formed a long-lived quintet with Rendell from 1963 to July 1969; during this period he also worked with Joe Harriott (recording in 1969), Don Byas, and John McLaughlin. In September 1969 he formed his own band, Nucleus, which rapidly became recognized internationally for its experiments with jazz-rock. As a result of its performance at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Scott Yanow

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph Armand]

(b Miami, AZ, Aug 15, 1927; d Las Vegas, Dec 13, 2009). American pianist and leader. He grew up in Pittsburg, California, where he played professionally from the age of 15. After spending two periods at San Jose State College (during the interim, spring 1946 – April 1947, he performed with an army band) he formed his own trio to accompany the singer Treasure Ford; Ralph Peña was their bassist from 1947 to May 1949. They worked mainly on the West Coast and in Hawaii; his sidemen included Red Mitchell and Chico Hamilton. From 1951 into the 1960s Castro was in a relationship with the tobacco heiress Doris Duke. In 1953 she installed a recording studio in her Beverly Hills mansion, where Castro participated in and recorded hundreds of hours of jazz rehearsals and jam sessions from that year to 1960. These recordings involved leading jazz musicians who were based in, or came through, the Los Angeles area, including Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, Paul Bley, Dexter Gordon, and Billy Higgins....

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

(b Geneva, Oct 11, 1920). Swiss clarinetist, saxophonist, and bandleader . He organized his own Jam Band at the age of 17 and in 1939 he made the first of more than 2000 half-hour broadcasts on Geneva radio. He made his first recording, with the New Rhythm Kings, in 1942, playing alto saxophone on Arrêt facultatif (Parl. B35544). In 1943 he formed the Dixie Dandies, which included Henri Chaix and, occasionally, Wallace Bishop. By 1945 he was considered the best Swiss saxophone and clarinet soloist; his clarinet playing may be heard on Mississippi Moan (1951, Col. DZ1008). After 1953 he performed mainly in the swing style, making a number of recordings with vibraphone and rhythm section for Philips, but he also worked with a dixieland ensemble called Creole Jazz; its recordings of 1952 (among them Dippermouth Blues, Col. ESDF1055 [EP]) were awarded the Prix Jazz Hot in 1955...

Article

Howard Rye

[Columbo, “Crazy” Chris; Morris, Joe; Morris, Joseph Christopher Columbus]

(b Greenville, NC, June 17, 1902; d Atlantic City, NJ, Aug 20 2002). American drummer and bandleader, father of Sonny Payne. His first job was in Atlantic City with Fletcher Henderson in 1921. He was active as a leader from the 1930s into the 1950s and his band was resident for a time at the Savoy Ballroom, New York. In 1943 he was a member of Al Sears’s band and from 1946 to 1952 he played regularly with Louis Jordan; he may be seen with Jordan’s group in the films Reet, Petite and Gone (1947) and Look Out, Sister (1948). Concurrently from around 1944 he began leading bands at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City, a job that continued intermittently until the club closed in 1978. In the 1950s and early 1960s he worked mainly in Wild Bill Davis’s trio; he then accompanied the singer Damita Jo and was briefly with Duke Ellington (...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[David Frederick ]

(b Freeling, nr Gawler, Australia, Oct 25, 1914; d Adelaide, South Australia, March 24, 2003). Australian composer, bandleader, pianist, arranger, and trombonist. He was first exposed to jazz through recordings, notably those of Duke Ellington. In 1945 he took over the leadership of the Southern Jazz Group, a dixieland band in Adelaide, and in 1946 appeared with it at the first Australian Jazz Convention; the band recorded several times between then and 1950, and Dallwitz remained its leader for its intermittent performances from 1951 to 1961. He then withdrew from jazz, but continued to play (on cello and bassoon) and compose in symphonic, chamber, and light-music contexts. His return to jazz performance and composition was marked by a recording in 1972. From that time he led several concert bands, including the Hot Six, a big band, and a ragtime ensemble – the last reflecting a change in his interests; these different groups provided opportunities for the presentation of his prolific compositional output, which often focused on Australian history. His finest album, ...

Article

Joachim E. Berendt and W. Knauer

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Stuttgart, Germany, Dec 30, 1935; d Stuttgart, Jan 10, 2020). German pianist, composer, and bandleader. He took piano lessons from the age of five. After beginning his professional career in 1957, he briefly studied trumpet and composition at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. In the early 1960s he was a member of Joki Freund’s sextet, and in 1963 he formed his own trio, with Eberhard Weber and Fred Braceful; their album Dream Talk (1964) was one of the first European recordings of free jazz. He also wrote music for television shows and commercials and arrangements for Erwin Lehn’s orchestra. In 1969 he became the leader of the Radio Jazz Group Stuttgart, for which he also wrote compositions, and the following year he formed the jazz-rock group Et Cetera. In the mid-1970s, with Hans Koller, Dauner led the Free Sound & Super Brass Big Band, and in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Edward Lozano]

(b San Francisco, Sept 6, 1925; d Sonoma, CA, Nov 22, 2019). American guitarist and leader. He learned piano, then guitar from the age of eight, and first played professionally when he was 15. At the time of his draft registration in September 1943 he was working at Chez Paree in San Francisco. He subsequently served in the navy. In 1948, with his brothers, the pianist Manny (Manuel) Duran and the double bass player Carlos Duran, he formed a trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole; it disbanded in 1952. From the early 1950s he performed in San Francisco with Charlie Parker and Chet Baker (both c1953), Flip Phillips, Red Norvo (in whose group he deputized for two weeks for Jimmy Raney), George Shearing (touring nationally through 1954), and other bop and swing musicians; he spent two weeks with Stan Getz’s group in Vancouver in ...

Article

Digby Fairweather

revised by Simon Adams and Barry Kernfeld

(b London, Oct 15, 1934; d May 2, 2016). English trumpeter, flugelhorn player, and bandleader. After studying the trumpet with Tommy McQuater and others, he played and recorded with Cy Laurie (December 1954 – spring 1956), an RAF band, and the trombonist Graham Stewart (from c September 1957), with whom he remained after his demobilization in February 1958. In April 1959 he joined Terry Lightfoot, under whose leadership he toured with Kid Ory and Henry “Red” Allen. From 1961 he led his own band, which performed and recorded into the 1990s; it acted as the support band for Edmond Hall and Albert Nicholas on their tours of England in 1966 and 1967 respectively, as well as on tours by the blues singer Howlin’ Wolf and others, and broadcast on many BBC radio shows. It may be seen, with Wingy Manone as guest soloist, on the television show “Jazz 625” (...

Article

Robert J. Iannapollo

revised by Simon Adams and Barry Kernfeld

(b Le Locle, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, June 2, 1937). Swiss drummer, percussionist, and leader. He taught himself to play drums when he was 15 and worked professionally from the age of 17. He played in bop and dixieland groups, from around 1955 with such American musicians as Albert Nicholas and Lil Armstrong, and from 1957 was a drummer and percussionist with the orchestra of Radio Basel. Having performed in George Gruntz’s trio and Flavio Ambrosetti’s quintet, in 1959 he appeared with Gruntz and Ambrosetti at the first Comblain-la-Tour Jazz Festival. He went to Paris as a freelance in 1960, worked in Rome with the American Jazz Ensemble of Bill Smith (i) in 1961, and first recorded with Max Greger’s big band in Munich in 1962. In the early 1960s he also played with Barney Wilen, Lou Bennett, Lars Gullin, Bud Powell, Booker Ervin, and Benny Bailey, formed a trio with the pianist Joel Vandroogenbroeck and the double bass player Erich Peter, and recorded with Don Menza (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Antwerp, Belgium, Aug 11, 1930; d New York, Aug 17, 2016). American pianist, composer, and leader. He grew up in a musical family and began learning piano at the age of five. In May 1940 his family fled from Antwerp to France and thence to Cuba via North Africa before arriving in Miami on April 8, 1943; he appears with his family in a passenger list on the ship from Havana as “Joan” (presumably Johann), male, age 12. Fischer took American citizenship in 1947. In the late 1960s he played free jazz in Boston and Syracuse, New York, with Perry Robinson. He recorded as a leader in 1974 and from around 1975 led the group Interface, which at various times included Mark Whitecage, Charles Tyler, Robinson, Byard Lancaster, Marion Brown, Theo Jörgensmann, the flute player Jean-Luc Barbier, the alto saxophonist Melvin Poore, Vincent Chancey, the double bass player Rick Kilburn, Mike Richmond, Phillip Wilson, and the drummer Ben Kilmer. In New York he became involved in the promotion of loft jazz and helped to found the venue Environ (...

Article

Thomas Owens

[Robert Chase ]

(b Los Angeles, CA, May 20, 1932; d Thousand Oaks, CA, May 15, 2008). American pianist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. His mother played music for films in Philadelphia. He began learning piano at the age of three and gave a recital when he was seven. From 1953 to 1955, while studying arranging at Los Angeles City College, he wrote his first big-band arrangements and formed a rehearsal band to play them. In 1955 he was a member of the band led by the guitarist Alvino Rey at Lake Tahoe, and in 1956 he briefly joined Les Brown’s orchestra. During this time he contributed some arrangements to Brown’s repertory, and he was soon writing for others as well: Harry James, Louie Bellson, and Jimmy Witherspoon (all 1959), Si Zentner (1959–70), Frank Capp (1960), Dave Pell (1962), the popular Brazilian pianist Sergio Mendes (...

Article

Erik Wiedemann

(Hartvig)

(b Copenhagen, Jan 28, 1916; d Zurich, Nov 28, 2014). Danish double bass player and bandleader. He began his career as a guitarist in Svend Asmussen’s group (1933–4), then played double bass with Asmussen (1935–7) and others. From 1940 to 1948 he led and played trombone in his own bands, for which he composed much of the repertory; these groups made several recordings, including Rain (1942, Odeon D814). Foss also recorded in a duo with Børge Roger Henrichsen in 1942 (Prelude in C, HMV DX6877). Later he performed with Peter Rasmussen (1949–51), and in 1957 he moved to Switzerland, where he continued to work part-time until at least 1999, and to teach guitar and bass playing until, in his 90s, he entered a nursing home. (E. Wiedemann: Jazz i Danmark i tyverne, trediverne og fyrrerne: en musikkulturel undersøgelse [Jazz in Denmark in the twenties, thirties, and forties: a study of musical culture] (Copenhagen, ...

Article

Walter Ojakäär

(Aramovich)

(b Moscow, Aug 15, 1934; d Krasnodar, Russia, Jan 11, 2010). Russian alto saxophonist, composer, and bandleader of Armenian descent. Formerly known as Garanyan, he began to spell his surname Garanian at some point in the 1990s. He taught himself to play saxophone and led an amateur octet (1954–7) which later evolved into the youth orchestra of the Art Workers’ Central House in Moscow. For the next eight years he was a principal soloist in and arranger for Oleg Lundstrem’s orchestra (1958–66); he also led a quartet with the guitarist Nikolay Gromin, performing at festivals in Tallinn, Prague, and Moscow. He was a member of the Kontsertny Estradny Orkestr Tsentral’novo TV i Vsesoyuznovo Radio (‘Concert variety orchestra of the central TV and all-union radio’) from 1966 to 1970, and after studying at the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory (until 1969) he led the orchestra from ...