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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

Digby Fairweather

revised by Simon Adams

(Bernard )

(b London, Nov 25, 1934). English arranger, composer, and soprano and tenor saxophonist . He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music, London (1953–6), and first appeared with his own band at Ronnie Scott’s in 1967. From the late 1960s he wrote compositions and arrangements for many musicians and groups, among them Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber, Bing Crosby, and the orchestras of radio stations in Germany, Denmark (the Radioens Big Band), and England. In 1971 he formed a big band to play the music of Duke Ellington; its most celebrated reconstruction was recorded on the album Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown & Beige (1972, Argo 159). The band broke up in 1973, and from 1978 into the mid-1980s Cohen and Keith Nichols led the Midnite Follies Orchestra, which toured, broadcast, and made recordings (including Hotter than Hades, 1978, EMI 1001). In 1985 Cohen wrote arrangements for the 31-piece band led by the drummer Charlie Watts, and the following year he formed his own quintet, in which he plays soprano saxophone. He wrote arrangements for a big band which accompanied Cab Calloway on BBC television in ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Laka D; Koc, Dorota Mary]

(b Oxford, England, Jan 8, 1953). English singer, pianist, composer, and music director. From a background in rock and soul bands, notably Soulyard, from 1982 to 1988 she was a member of the Guest Stars, in which she played piano and sang; she also wrote much of the group’s material. In 1982 she co-founded the Lydia D’Ustebyn Swing Orchestra, was an organizer of Early Evening Jazz, the first women’s jazz festival held in London (at the Drill Hall), and sang in the a cappella group the Hipscats (comprising five singers, including Jan Ponsford, Jim Dvorak, and Ruthie Smith, and later the pianist Alastair Gavin). An intermittent affiliation with Carol Grimes involved work in her band and in a duo. She sang and played piano with Annie Whitehead, with whom she recorded the album Mix Up (1985, Paladin 6), then led her own band, which included Claude Deppa. In the 1990s she played with Mervyn Afrika, Kate Westbrook, the percussionist Josefina Cupido, and the saxophonists Louise Elliot and Diane McLaughlin, composed and directed music for stage shows, and taught. Laka Daisical is a propulsive pianist and exciting performer heavily influenced by African-American gospel music, as exemplified by ...

Article

David Buckley

revised by Cecilia Sun

(Peter George St John Le Baptiste de la Salle )

(b Woodbridge, UK, May 15, 1948). English composer, singer, keyboard player, sound artist, and producer. He attended art school in Ipswich and Winchester, during which time he was inspired by John Cage’s Silence to develop an interest in experimental music. He later joined the Scratch Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia. He first worked professionally from 1970 to 1973 with the seminal art-rock band Roxy Music, playing keyboard on their first two albums Roxy Music (Island, 1972) and For your Pleasure (Island, 1973). By treating the group’s live sound electronically with a tape recorder and VCS 3 synthesizer, he defined a role for himself as an “aural collagist.” After leaving Roxy Music, Eno developed this interest in the timbral quality of music further with the albums No Pussy Footing (Island, 1973; with Robert Fripp) and Another Green World (Island, 1975), the latter a brilliant combination of quirky songs and pastoral instrumentals. In ...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Ann )

(b London, April 7, 1944). English singer, composer, and percussionist. She started singing on the streets of London in the 1960s, then formed the Race, singing blues with English, Jamaican, and Nigerian musicians. She performed with Lol Coxhill, Roy Babbington, and others in the group Delivery, led by the pianist Steve Miller (1970–72), then went to the USA (1974), where she recorded albums in Nashville and Memphis with leading soul session musicians. After returning to England she continued to sing blues, soul, and jazz with her own bands. She became associated with free improvisers in groups such as Maggie Nicols’s Contradictions and worked in the 1970s with a new wave of women jazz players, including Laka Daisical, the Guest Stars, and Annie Whitehead. While leading the ensembles Carol and the Crocodiles and Eyes Wide Open, she worked with the saxophonist Angèle Veltmeijer, Steve Lodder, the guitarist Maciek Hrybowicz, the double bass player Mario Castronari, and others, and wrote jazz-oriented material. Grimes formed musical partnerships with the singer Ian Shaw and the pianist Janette Mason, worked with Alan Barnes and the guitarist Tony Rémy, and collaborated with Indian singers and the Sudanese electric bass guitarist Sami El Salahi. For theater she wrote and produced the autobiographical ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

[Rhodes (née Guy), Helen M.]

(b Château Hardelot, nr Boulogne, c1858; d London, Jan 7, 1936). French composer, pianist and singing teacher. She was the daughter of an English sea captain and the singer Helen Guy. At the age of 15 she was taken to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury, and success came in her early 20s with the song Sans toi (words by Victor Hugo). Gounod and Massenet were among those who encouraged her in composition, and those who introduced her songs included Nellie Melba, Victor Maurel and Pol Plançon, as well as Emma Calvé, with whom she went to the USA in 1896 as accompanist. After marrying an Englishman she settled in London, where she continued to produce sentimental songs, about 300 in all, notable for their easy melody and typical dramatic climax. They include Three Green Bonnets (H.L. Harris; 1901), Because (E. Teschemacher; ...

Article

Géza Gábor Simon

(b Budapest, 1967). Hungarian pianist, violinist, singer, arranger, and composer. He began to learn violin when he was six and took piano lessons from the age of eight; following his graduation as a violinist from the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest he taught classical violin in the Kodály Musical High School in Kecskemét. A ragtime and traditional jazz player, Ittzés has arranged and recorded rags and early jazz tunes which were popular in Hungary in the first three decades of the 20th century. He has regularly toured Europe and the USA as the leader of the Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band (which he founded in 1985) and as an unaccompanied ragtime soloist. He is chairman of the Kecskemét Jazz Foundation (founded in 1991), and from 1992 he has directed Eastern Europe’s biggest traditional-jazz event, the annual International “Bohém” Ragtime and Jazz Festival. He published Four Rags (Kecskemét, ...

Article

Dave Laing

(Hercules)[Dwight, Reginald Kenneth]

(b Pinner, March 25, 1947). English composer, singer and pianist . The son of a dance band musician, he was awarded a junior exhibition to the RAM where he learned the basic principles of composition (1958–62); he was already a devotee of rock and roll and the greatest influences on his percussive piano style were Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. His musical apprenticeship between the ages of 14 and 22 encompassed classical training, work as a jobbing rock musician, journeyman songwriting and performing in a local public house. He worked at the Mills Music publishing company and played the piano and sang with Bluesology, a soul and blues group which also made a few undistinguished singles before becoming the backing group for Long John Baldry. Elton John's stage name was drawn from those of Baldry and the saxophonist Elton Dean.

From 1967 he concentrated on songwriting, working with Bernie Taupin (...

Article

André Clergeat

(b Brussels, March 22, 1965). Belgian singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. His father is a musician who worked as a producer for Belgian radio. From 1972 he studied piano, flute, and various other instruments, including drums (with Kenny Clarke); later he served as an accompanist to many musicians, notably Harry Edison, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, and Horace Parlan, before comitting himself exclusively to singing. Having collaborated with James Baldwin, he set some of Baldwin’s poetry to music and recorded these songs on his album A Lover’s Question (1986–7). In 1988 he went to the USA to participate in a tribute to Baldwin. From 1992 Linx has worked in a duo and as a co-leader with Diederik Wissels, in which settings he has performed his own gentle poetic texts in his lightly veiled and phantom-like voice. A composer and arranger for film, theater, and dance, he also teaches at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles....

Article

Erik Wiedemann

(b Copenhagen, Oct 10, 1906; d Copenhagen, Dec 16, 1969). Danish pianist, singer, band-leader, composer, and arranger. He played in the group We Three with Otto Lington and Anker Skjoldborg (1927–8), toured Germany and Sweden (1928–31), and worked with the dance-band leader Kai Julian (1932) and Erik Tuxen (1932–6). From 1936 to 1951 he was active as a leader (his bands were especially prominent during World War II), and recorded prolifically as a soloist (for example, A Wee Bit of Swing, 1941, Odeon D515), as a singer and as leader of a small group modeled after those of Fats Waller (Take it Easy, 1941, Odeon D504), and with big bands (Jungle Party, 1942, Odeon D792); many of his recordings were of his own compositions. Mathisen worked as a lounge pianist from 1951 to 1953, but then became inactive owing to failing health....

Article

Susan Fast

(b Macclesfield, Nov 29, 1933). English guitarist, keyboard and harmonica player, singer and composer. He formed his own bands in Manchester in the late 1950s and early 60s and, influenced by Alexis Korner, formed Blues Syndicate and moved to London. In 1963 he formed the Bluesbreakers with John McVie and others. The personnel of this band was fluid, and many aspiring blues musicians served their apprenticeship in it. Certain important line-ups were briefly established, the first including McVie (bass), Hughie Flint (drums) and Eric Clapton (guitar; formerly of the Yardbirds). They recorded the important and commercially successful Bluesbreakers – John Mayall with Eric Clapton (Decca, 1966), a mixture of original material by Mayall and covers of blues standards, and which is the first blues/rock album to be so completely dominated by the guitar.

Clapton left the group shortly afterwards and Peter Green replaced him; Aynsley Dunbar also replaced Hughie Flint. The new line-up recorded the album ...

Article

David Gutman

(b Liverpool, June 18, 1942). English pop singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and composer , member of the Beatles, the. His first major assignment away from the Beatles was the music for the film The Family Way (Decca, 1966). His solo album McCartney (Apple, 1970) marked the group’s demise, and set a pattern for the future: where even the most celebratory Lennon-McCartney songs had included a sense of loneliness and alienation, McCartney’s 1970s work turned cosily domestic. The amateurish WildLife (Apple, 1971) was the first to appear under the imprimatur of Wings, and the group’s albums Band on the Run (Apple, 1973) and Venus and Mars (Capitol, 1975) were major commercial achievements which helped to restore McCartney’s credibility. In 1977 the Arcadian single Mull of Kintyre sold over 2·5 million copies in Britain alone. From the 1980s McCartney reasserted himself as a solo artist and maintained a high international profile through duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. His most artistically successful albums were ...

Article

[Serious ]

(b Germantown, PA, Oct 2, 1906; d July 10, 1992). American double bass player, singer, and arranger. His middle name has appeared as Ernest in reference sources, and his birthday as 7 October, but he gave 2 October and both printed and signed his name as Wilson Ernestine Myers in his application for social security; perhaps he was embarrassed by his middle name and thus gave it as Ernest when writers enquired. His nickname, Serious, was derived from his interest in classical music. He first played drums and then (from 1925) guitar and banjo, notably with King Oliver in 1931. After changing to double bass he performed with various bands, among them the led by Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier (September 1932 – early 1933), Lucky Millinder’s orchestra (with which he performed in France in summer 1933), Willie Bryant’s orchestra, and the Spirits of Rhythm (...

Article

Nico  

Lisa MacKinney

[Päffgen, Christa ]

(b Cologne, Germany, Oct 16, 1938; d Ibiza, Spain, July 18, 1988). Singer, composer, instrumentalist, model, and actress of German birth. In her teens, she embarked on a successful modeling career, which led to roles in several European films, most famously in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960). In 1963 she played the lead role in Jacques Poitrenaud’s Strip-Tease (also called Sweet Skin); she also sang the theme song, a collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg. Her first recorded release was a single, “I’m Not Sayin’” (b side “The Last Mile”), for Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label in 1965. After relocating to New York, Nico became a close associate of Andy Warhol, appearing in several of his experimental films and spending a brief tenure as singer with the Velvet underground , contributing vocals to three songs on their first album, released in 1967. That year Nico also released her first solo album, ...

Article

John Shand

[Miklos Jozsef ]

(b Budapest, May 8, 1948; d Sydney, February 4, 2008). Hungarian and Australian composer, arranger, electric bass guitarist, and singer. He studied classical piano and violin. By the time he was in his early twenties he was a significant influence in Hungarian rock music, though his band Syrius, which toured Europe and then Australia in 1970–71, incorporated jazz concepts. In 1974 he returned to Australia and recorded his first jazz album. He took dual citizenship in 1979. While he worked mainly within the soul genre, Orszaczky regularly used jazz musicians in his bands, and thereby proved an enormous influence on the composing, arranging, producing and bandleading skills of a generation of Sydney-based musicians. Some of his bands, such as the Hungarian Rap Sadists and Industrial Accident, were more unclassifiable and experimental in nature. In the late 1990s his Orszaczky Budget Orchestra performed compositions by Albert Ayler and Eddie Harris alongside those of the soul singer James Brown and Orszaczky himself....

Article

Michel Laplace

[Jeannine]

(b Paris, Feb 2, 1926; d Paris, Nov 16, 2010). French pianist, singer, and arranger. She began her career as the leader of a trio and in 1956 recorded as a pianist and singer. Around the same year she joined the Blue Stars, of which she remained a member until 1958; she also recorded with the pianist Christian Chevallier (1959). She is best known for having led the Double Six (1959–66), with which she made recordings (including Dizzy Gillespie et les Double Six, 1963, Phi. 200106); she also appeared in Martin Ritt’s film Paris Blues (1961). Illness curtailed Perrin’s career in 1966. In 1968 she moved to the USA and from 1972 translated books into French. Initially working in science fiction and fantasy, she later translated Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, jazz and film biographies, and the works of John le Carré. The date of her return to France is unknown. Perrin’s style was strongly influenced by the work of King Pleasure and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross....

Article

Ken Rattenbury

revised by Alyn Shipton

(b London, Jan 12, 1900; d London, Feb 1, 1971). English bandleader, clarinettist, singer and composer. From 1919 he organized dance bands with his brother Syd, including Syd Roy’s Lyricals; they performed in London at Oddenino’s, Rector’s, the Hammersmith Palais and the Café de Paris, and at Rector’s in Paris. In 1928 the brothers toured South Africa and Australia (1929), then returned to England to play in variety theatres before touring Germany. In 1931 Harry formed his own band and, after touring (1933), held residencies at the Café Anglais and the Mayfair Hotel in London. He continued to tour extensively in theatres until 1939 and throughout World War II but after 1945 never regained his former status in London’s clubland. Roy was essentially a show-band leader, an energetic front man, a light, sometimes comic, singer, and a clarinettist in the style of Ted Lewis. Although hardly a jazz musician himself he employed as sidemen a number of players who later became prominent in jazz. His signature tune, ...

Article

Klaus Schulz

(b Vienna, March 18, 1954). Austrian soprano and tenor saxophonist, leader, and composer. He began to play jazz together with the keyboard player Peter Wolf when he was ten. In 1976 he joined a funk band which included the Austrian pianist Peter Ponger and the Swiss drummer Joris Dudli, and later that year he worked professionally in his own band, Timeless, with Dudli, the Swiss double bass player Heiri Känzig, and Uli Scherer. In 1977 he was a co-founder of the Vienna Art Orchestra, and one year later he became a member of Art Farmer’s European quintet; with Farmer he performed at the Viennese club Jazzland, recorded, and toured the USA, appearing at Sweet Basil in New York. He was also the Austrian member of Palle Mikkelborg’s EBU big band. In 1985 he performed in France with Michel Portal, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Aldo Romano, Joachim Kühn, Dave Holland, Mino Cinélu, Daniel Humair, and the Austrian guitarist Harry Pepl. He led his own trio (with Känzig and the Swiss drummer Jo Jo Mayer), with which he performed at festivals in Moers and Cologne, Germany; Helsinki; Montpellier, France; and Skopje, Yugoslavia. He also toured twice with Carla Bley’s big band. He joined Friedrich Gulda’s Paradise Band in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Boskovice, 19 Jan 1984).Czech composer and performer (voice, accordion, and tap dance). She studied the accordion (2004–10) and composition (2007–8) at the Brno Conservatory, and composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (with martin smolka and Peter Graham[1]). She also studied as an exchange student at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the California Institute of the Arts (with michael pisaro), the Universität der Künste Berlin (with Marc Sabat), and Columbia University (with george e. lewis).

While she often works with elements outside of music, there is almost always an intense engagement with direct listening, often arrived at through intense focus on very limited material. Sources for her work include Morse code, maps of garments which she turns into scores (Shirt for Harp, Oboe, and Accordion; Jacket for Ensemble), field recordings which she notates descriptively and then asks musicians to interpret the notation (...