(b Paris, Jan 16, 1920; d Suresnes, Hautes de Seine, France, March 29, 2020). French clarinetist and bandleader. In 1941 he put together a jazz band which by 1943 had been joined by Boris Vian and was considered the first revival band in France. At its peak, in the years 1944–6, Abadie introduced such musicians as Claude Luter, Jef Gilson, and, from 1945, the Fol brothers, who may be heard on Tin Roof Blues (1946, Swing 212) and I’ve found a new baby (1946, Pathé 1013 [EP]). The band was strongly influenced by the Chicagoans and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1949 Abadie assembled a new band with such young players as Benny Vasseur and Jean-Claude Fohrenbach. He then retired from music (1952–63), but from 1965 led a modern-jazz nonet or tentet, which included the tenor saxophonist Paul Vernon (playing in a style influenced by Lester Young), with a repertory consisting of compositions by Ahmad Jamal, John Lewis, John Coltrane, and others. Abadie continued to lead this group for the remainder of his life, to age 100, directing and playing clarinet solos; they perform compositions of Thelonious Monk in the video ...
[Abramson, Raymond Joseph]
(b New York, Jan 23, 1920; d New York, July 6, 1992). American tenor saxophonist, brother of Lee Abrams. In the early 1940s he played in the resident band at Monroe’s Uptown House, which accompanied Coleman Hawkins in performances and on the first studio recordings of bop (February 16, 1944); he remained with the group when it became the core of Dizzy Gillespie’s first big band in 1945. The following year he recorded with Kenny Clarke and (during a tour of Europe) Don Redman; his solo playing is well represented on Redman’s For Europeans Only (1946, Ste. 6020–21). His own band (formed 1947) recorded with the singer Billy Stewart (1947, 1949) and under Abrams’s name (1948); Fats Navarro and Coleman Hawkins were among his sidemen. After playing with Andy Kirk (1947–8) he rejoined Gillespie and recorded with Cecil Payne (both ...
(b Turin, Italy, March 21, 1952). Italian tenor and baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and leader. He first played jazz in the Turin area in the early 1970s. In 1974 he was a founding member, with the guitarist Claudio Lodati, the double bass player Enrico Fazio, and the drummer Fiorenzo Sordini, of the quartet Art Studio, for which all four members provide compositions and arrangements; the group plays throughout Europe in a style mixing free improvisation techniques, extended forms, and contrapuntal work. In 1984 Actis Dato formed his own quartet, consisting of the saxophonist Piero Ponzo, Fazio, and Sordini; it toured internationally through the 1990s, from the USA to Africa to Japan. He was also a member of the Democratic Orchestra (1982–5), Mitteleuropa Orchestra (1982–90), Pino Minafra’s quintet (1984–9) and Sud Ensemble (from 1994), and the Italian Instabile Orchestra (from 1990). In ...
Rainer E. Lotz
[Rama IX Bhumibol; Phoemipol Aduldej]
(b Cambridge, MA, Dec 5, 1927; d Bangkok, Oct 13, 2016). Thai clarinetist and reed player. He was brought up in the USA and in Switzerland, where he learned to play clarinet; he later mastered the whole family of reed instruments, favoring soprano saxophone. Although he was interested in early jazz he was influenced predominantly by Benny Goodman, and participated in jam sessions with Goodman and other jazz musicians who visited Thailand, notably Jack Teagarden and Lionel Hampton. He occasionally played with his court orchestra in a swing style of the 1940s that was modified by the strong influence of traditional Thai music, but, on account of his official status as the king of Thailand, no recordings by him have been authorized for distribution. (H. Esman and V. Bronsgeest: “Een jazz king: Koning Phoemipol,” ...
(bLapinjärvi, nr Lovisa, Finland, Dec 10, 1918; d Finland, Aug 19, 2002). Finnish trumpeter and trombonist. He began his career in dance bands in the late 1930s in Helsinki and played with Eugen Malmstén and others. During World War II he led a band that introduced the big-band swing style to Finland; as the Rytmiorkesteri it made a series of recordings in ...
(b Manchester, CT, Nov 17, 1931; d New York, Aug 26, 2003). American trombonist. His full name appears in the Social Security Applications and Claims Index. After studying at the Schillinger House in Boston (1949–50) he performed and recorded with Charlie Spivak (1950–51). During the Korean War he served in an Air Force band (September 1951 – June 1955) and began writing arrangements. Following his discharge he performed and recorded with the Sauter–Finegan Orchestra (July 1955 – December 1956), and Woody Herman (Dec 31, 1955 – July 1956) and recorded with Kai Winding’s septet (July 1956 – May 1958). He also composed and arranged for Winding, and he plays a solo in his own piece Nutcracker on Winding’s Trombone Sound (1956, Col. CL936). He then studied at the Manhattan School of Music (BA 1962) and began working as a studio musician in New York (from ...
(b Pforzheim, Germany, Oct 6, 1929; d Königsbach-Stein, Germany, Aug 5, 2015). German soprano, tenor, and bass saxophonist. After receiving three lessons on guitar from a member of the Reinhardt clan he played in dance bands until 1950. He then contacted Sidney Bechet in Paris and learned to play soprano saxophone. He played in Germany with the arranger and bandleader Ernst Simon and also with American soldiers. In 1952 he founded the Quartier Latin Jazz Band, which he led to at least 2009; among its recordings is Dieter Antritter’s Quartier Latin Jazz Band (1996, Jazzpoint 1046). It gave concerts with many visiting musicians, including Mezz Mezzrow, Michel Attenoux, Benny Waters, Nelson Williams, and Peanuts Hucko. Antritter visited Canada in 1989 and worked with local musicians. His playing was influenced by the creole New Orleans jazz musicians and by swing musicians. He also wrote many articles for various newspapers and magazines....
John Cowley and Howard Rye
(b Porus, Jamaica, June 2, 1903; d 2000). Jamaican tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He was a bandsman with the West India Regiment at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and later returned to Great Britain and played in dance bands there and in Europe until the early 1930s. He led his own band in London in 1931–2 and in November 1932 relocated to the Netherlands with the pianist and singer Lily Jemmott, Welsh born of mixed African American and Bajun parentage, whose stage name was “Spadie Lee.” They remained in Europe until 1935. From 1936 he played in London with West Indian jazz musicians, including Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz (1936), and in 1937 he led his own band. In the 1940s he worked mainly with Cyril Blake and also with Jiver Hutchinson (1944–5). Appleton’s clarinet playing may be heard on Muscat Ramble...
revised by Simon Adams and Barry Kernfeld
(b Guildford, England, Feb 20, 1964). English tenor, alto, and soprano saxophonist. His father, Mark Ballamy, is a pianist. Having studied piano privately from 1970 to 1978, he taught himself to play alto saxophone from the age of 14, and later took up tenor saxophone. From 1983 he led a quintet (which included Django Bates and Mick Hutton), re-forming it in November 1983 as a quartet, the Iains, with Bates, Hutton, and Steve Argüelles; in the same month he joined Graham Collier’s workshop band, which later developed into the group Loose Tubes. In April 1985 he formed the quartet Bush Sense, including Dale Barlow and Argüelles. In May of that year he became a member of the Voice of God Collective, led by Billy Jenkins, and in December he recorded with Gil Evans for the film Absolute Beginners. He also worked with Clark Tracey (briefly in 1983), Jim Mullen (late ...
(b Los Angeles, Sept 9, 1930; d California, Aug 14, 2000). American tenor saxophonist. His full name appears in the California Birth Index and other genealogical sources. He began playing saxophone in high school. After performing in army bands (1950–53) he recorded in Los Angeles with Kenny Clarke (The Kenny Clarke Sextet, 1954, Savoy 15051) and in a jam session with Clifford Brown and Max Roach. He then worked with the pianist Perez Prado (1954–7), making an extensive tour of Asia in 1956. Later he made recordings as a soloist in Victor Feldman’s orchestra (1959) and with his own group in New York (1960–61), including the fine album Out of the World (1960, Jlnd 28), in which Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb or Albert “Tootie” Heath took part as his sidemen. Benton performed and recorded bop and free jazz with the adventurous groups led by Roach (...
(b Asker, Norway, June 6, 1926; d Stabekk, Bærum, Norway, May 30, 2010). Norwegian tenor saxophonist. After beginning his career as a clarinetist, in 1948 he moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, to play in orchestras led by the trumpeter Sven Sjøholm and the saxophonist Malte Johnson (the latter from 1956 to 1957). He played swing and bop with the drummer Stein Lorentzen, Rowland Greenberg, the group Ny Norsk Jazz, and his own small groups. He remained active, principally in Oslo, through 1990, when he recorded with Bjarne Nerem, after which ill health forced his retirement.J. Bergh: Norwegian Jazz Discography, 1905–1998 (Oslo, 1999)Obituaries: Norsk JazzArkiv (June 2, 2010) <
revised by Lars Westin
(b Helsinki, Feb 17, 1934; d Stockholm, Dec 17, 2020). Swedish tenor saxophonist and bandleader of Finnish birth. He moved to Sweden in 1945 and gained recognition in the early 1950s in Gothenburg, where he worked with the drummer Kenneth Fagerlund (1951–4). From 1954 to 1959 he led groups which worked at Nalen in Stockholm; these often involved Åke Persson and performed arrangements by Jan Johansson and others. The recording On the Alamo (1955), which Björksten made as the leader of a quintet that included Persson, shows to advantage his fluent technique, large tone, and rhythmic spark. After several years of inactivity he recorded again as a leader (1972, 1979). Although he pursued a profession outside of music, he continued to perform and record as a leader, and in 1987 he made a trio album with Mel Lewis and Ulf Johansson as his sidemen. He resumed recording as a leader in ...
John Cowley and Howard Rye
(b Trinidad, Oct 22, 1897; d London, Dec 3, 1951). Trinidadian trumpeter. He was previously believed to have been born in October or November 1900, but on his merchant seaman's identity certificate his birthdate appears as October 22, 1897. He reached England as a stowaway in April 1916 and served for several years in the merchant marine. In 1921 he played guitar in the Southern Syncopated Orchestra. During the 1920s he performed in clubs in London and Paris and changed to trumpet. In 1928 a tour with Thompson’s Negro Band took him to Hamburg, the Netherlands, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Madrid. After returning to London in 1930 he worked with Leon Abbey, his brother Happy [George Lionel] Blake (who played drums) and the clarinetist Rudolph Dunbar (both 1933), Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz (1936), and Joe Appleton (1937). Blake led his own bands from ...
(b Gary, IN, Jan 23, 1904/1906/1908; d c 1961). American saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, and singer. Various sources give alternative birth years: 1904 appears on a 1929 passenger list; he gave his age as 20 upon marrying in 1926; 1908 appears on his 1940 draft registration, which he signed as Jacinto Chabania. Blake is the name of his adoptive parents. His birth father was Cuban and his birth mother was reportedly born in France. Blake studied violin, then alto saxophone and clarinet. After playing briefly with Charlie Turner’s Arcadians he took ship for Europe with Sam Wooding (1928), with whom he recorded in Barcelona and Paris (1929). He then moved to New York, played with Chick Webb, toured with Zack Whyte’s Chocolate Beau Brummels, and performed and recorded with Don Redman (late 1933 – spring 1934). In April 1934, calling himself Jacinto Blake, he moved to France to work with Willie Lewis, remaining in Europe until May 1935. He worked with Claude Hopkins, both in New York and on tour (mid-...
(b Ross, IN, May 23, 1917; d Lakeland, FL, Sept 12, 1995). American alto saxophonist and bandleader. His birth details have appeared as Gary, Indiana, in 1919, but on his handwritten 1940 draft registration card he gives his full name and Ross, Indiana, in 1917, which his Indiana birth certificate confirms. Death details are from the Social Security Death Index and newspaper obituaries. After playing in Chicago (1940) he moved to New York, where he recorded with Woody Herman (1943) and Sonny Dunham (1944–6), and was a soloist with Boyd Raeburn (1944–5) and Gene Krupa (1945). He then led his own big bands (1945–7) and also recorded with a small group (Dear Max/Chelsea Bridge, 1946, Sig. 15085). He led another small group in Chicago (1948), worked in New England, and again led a band in New York (...
David Wild and Barry Kernfeld
Member of Marsalis family
(b Breaux Bridge, LA, Aug 26, 1960). Tenor and soprano saxophonist, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played alto saxophone for seven years before changing to the tenor instrument. While attending Southern University, Louisiana, for a year, he took lessons from Alvin Batiste; he then studied for several years at the Berklee College of Music. After his graduation he replaced Bobby Watson in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (including his brother Wynton Marsalis), with which he remained for five months, working primarily as an alto saxophonist, and he toured with Clark Terry’s orchestra. He spent three years as a member of Wynton’s quintet (1982–5), during which time he also worked with John Hicks’s quintet (1982–4), toured with the quintet V.S.O.P. II (1983), recorded with Ray Drummond, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bobby Hutcherson (all 1984), and played in Miles Davis's group (...
[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 ...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Warren Co., NC, Feb 7, 1933; d Roscoe, NY, April 5, 2017). American tenor saxophonist. His middle name, Waddell, appears in Monticello, New York, public directories; a family tree gives his name as Hugh Abdullah Rashid Brodie. His mother was an art teacher and a pianist who played blues and country music. When he was six or seven his family lived in Brooklyn for about six months before settling in Newark, New Jersey. Brodie was involved with gospel music in Sanctified and Baptist churches and attended an arts and music high school. While in his youth he was interested mainly in art; when he was 17 he took up tenor saxophone after hearing Lester Young and decided to pursue a career in music. He studied the Schillinger method, and by 1952 he was performing and touring in small organ groups alongside such musicians as Sonny Stitt and Babs Gonzales; he may have recorded with Gonzales in October the following year, but Brodie himself was unsure if the saxophonist is him or Buddy Tate....
(b Geneva, April 27, 1925; d Geneva, Feb 2, 2016). Swiss trumpeter. He began on piano, and later took up guitar and flugelhorn in addition to trumpet. From 1940 to 1942 he was a member of amateur groups, and in 1944 he became a professional musician. After playing with the Lanigiros (1945–6) he worked with Hazy Osterwald (1947), Eddie Brunner (1948), Mac Strittmatter (1949), and various French bands. He then joined Swiss Radio Services, serving from 1953 to 1990 as the producer and host of jazz broadcasting in Geneva and performing from 1961 to 1986 as lead trumpeter and a gifted improvising soloist in the radio band. During the same period he played frequently with other Swiss groups as well as with such visiting musicians as Sidney Bechet and Dizzy Gillespie. Brooke may be heard to advantage on Somebody stole my gal...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
[Robert Otis, Sr.]
(b Hattiesburg, MS, May 19, 1934; d Los Angeles, June 10, 1998). American trumpeter. His full name and vital records appear in Social Security indexes and a family tree. He played trumpet and tenor saxophone in school bands, then moved in 1952 to Chicago, where he studied classical trumpet at the Cosmopolitan School of Music (BME 1957). After graduating he played in small groups and with Red Saunders, and led a band that accompanied the singer Billy Williams on tour. In 1960 he recorded in New York as a member of big bands accompanying Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. He moved to Los Angeles in 1961, then toured internationally until 1965 as a lead trumpeter with the singer Vic Damone. He also recorded with Charles Mingus (at the Monterey Jazz Festival, 1964) and Oliver Nelson (1966–c1969). As a studio musician he led the band on Bill Cosby’s television comedy series, served as music director for an NBC series on African-American history, and played jazz for many other television shows and film soundtracks, notably as a flugelhorn soloist in ...