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[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 ...




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,” ...


Pekka Gronow


(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 ...


Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...


Barry Kernfeld


(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 ...


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...


J. Richard Haefer


Conch horn of the Aztec or Nahua peoples of central Mexico, and other pre-Contact cultures. It was called puuaqua in Tarascan and paatáotocuècheni or paniçatàopáni in Zapotecan. The Aztecs called this the instrument of the ‘Wind God Quetzalcoatl; he who breathes life into a void’. It was usually played in pairs, and the shell was about 15 to 20 cm long.

The tecciztli [tecziztli, tezizcatli] was a similar instrument made from the Strombus gigas shell (about 12 to 18 cm long) though examples of clay or bone have been found. It was a priest’s instrument played ceremonially with the quiquiztli and teponaztli to please the ‘Sun God’. Traditionally it was played at midnight to awaken the priests to prayers.

The quiquiztli, made from the larger Fasciolaria gigantea shell (30 cm long or longer), was used for signalling in battle as well as for priestly functions including the sacrificial flaying of men and before the death of slaves....



K.A. Gourlay

revised by F.J. de Hen


Bullroarer of the Kuma of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It consists of a slightly concave ellipsoidal piece of wood measuring 30 × 10 cm along the axes. The instrument is whirled by a cord attached to one end and the sound produced is said to resemble the growling of a leopard. The bullroarer has associations with spirit voices and secret ceremonies such as circumcision, and has restrictions against women and non-initiates seeing it, as is customary for other bullroarers of the Congo. The varied names collected by de Hen suggest an onomatopoeic derivation, for example, the Adoi, Amanga, Andebogo and Andowi kundrukundru, Aimed kunzukunzu, Bagbwa and Mamvu egburuburu and arumvurumvu, and Bangba and Mayogo mbirimbiri. This pattern is not always followed, as with the Mbole inano, Nyali upa and Zande gilingwa.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 171ff...


John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

(Sp.: mocha, ‘to cut’)

An ensemble of gourd (puro) trumpets of various sizes, used in the Chota river valley of Imbabura and Carchi provinces of Ecuador. Formed in the late 19th century by Afro-Ecuadorians without access to Western military band instruments, the ensemble includes several puros (calabazas) and pencos (cabuyos) along with other instruments. Puros, about 30 to 60 cm long, are made by cutting a rectangular blowhole near the stem end of a dried gourd and opening the distal end to form a sort of bell. Various sizes provide lead, alto, and tenor ranges. Pencos are made of hollow agave stems about 30 cm long and 7 cm in diameter, with a blowhole cut near one end on a side. The similar chile frito, an ensemble of central Guerrero, Mexico, consists of imitation band instruments made of assembled sections of gourds.

C.A. Coba Andrade: ‘Instrumentos musicales ecuatorianos’, ...



Ferdinand J. de Hen



Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[bansi, bangsing, bengsi, bangsil, bahgseli, bangsiq]

Bamboo flute common in ancient Java and found nowadays in many parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. It exists as a duct flute in Minangkabau, Gayo and Alas (bangsi buluh), Siak (bansi), Halmahera (bangsil), Central Sulawesi (basing-basing), and in North Sulawesi as part of the orkes ensemble; as a ring flute in Minangkabau, Gayo, coastal Aceh, Jambi, North Sulawesi, Sangsihe, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan (bangsi), Tidore (bangseli), and Alas (bangsi buluh); as a transverse flute in Sulawesi and West Java (bangsi or bangsing); as a rice-straw flute in Alas (bangsi ngale); and as a nose flute in Semang areas of the Malay Peninsula (bangsi). In Luzon, southern Philippines, the bangsiq of the Hanunoo and the bansi of the Negrito in Bataan is an external duct flute. In the Alas area of Aceh, the ring flute is about 30–40 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. It has five or six fingerholes and a thumbhole. Below its top end there are two small holes covered with dried coconut leaf. It is played either solo by a male performer or with a ...


Geneviève Dournon


End-blown trumpet of Rajasthan, north India. It is made of a brass tube about 168 cm long: one part, of cylindrical bore, is bent back in a double U shape; the other, which extends it, widens gradually and terminates in a wide, open bulbous bell shaped like a ‘barbed dish’. It is decorated with engraved or painted floral motifs. In central Rajasthan it is played principally by professional musicians, the ...




(b Welwyn Garden City, England, April 17, 1930; d Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, March 2, 2021). English trombonist and bandleader. He began studying violin while evacuated to Royston, England, in 1943 during World War II, starting a sizeable collection of jazz and blues records at the same time. In 1946, in London, he took up the trombone. He formed his first amateur band in 1948. In 1951, while studying to become an actuary, he led this band, which included Dickie Hawdon, on its first issued recordings, modeled on King Oliver’s 1920s work. Barber’s early bands often included Alexis Korner, who shared his interest in the blues. In September 1951 he abandoned accountancy to study trombone and double bass at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

In 1952 he formed his first professional band, with Pat Halcox, Monty Sunshine, and Lonnie Donegan, to play jazz in the New Orleans revival style. Ken Colyer replaced Halcox and assumed titular leadership of the group. After touring to Denmark and recording there and in the UK, the band split from Colyer in ...


Vasil S. Tole

(b Përmet, Albania, May 2, 1929; d Përmet, Jan 26, 2014). Albanian folk music performer. A clarinettist and vocalist, nicknamed ‘Përmeti’s nightingale’, founder of the instrumental iso-polyphonic group (saze ensemble) in the Southern town of Përmet (1944–2004). At a young age, he showed a special ability to design and make instruments. He was taught to play the lute and the clarinet by the saze masters in the city of Korçë. Then his family returned to Përmet, where he joined the saze of Vangjel Leskoviku (1944). At Përmet, he organized his own saze and participated in the Folk Music Festival in Tirane (1952), where he was awarded the First Prize for the best folk clarinettist. His saze was composed of a clarinet, two lutes, two accordions, a frame drum, and a violin. The saze played instruments and sang at the same time. He is a composer of songs, clarinet ...



Ferdinand J. de Hen


Bas (i)  

revised by Margaret J. Kartomi and Mayco A. Santaella

Bamboo trumpet of the Toraja people in the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It comprises a forward-projecting mouthpipe (blown directly, without mouthpiece) about 20 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, inserted and sealed with wax to a downward section about 9 cm by 1 cm, this connected to a horizontal section, and this to the main, vertical tube, 36 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, closed by a node at its base. The instrument is reinforced by a horizontal bamboo beam near the top of the main tube and by rattan string wound around the joints. These measurements are for the smallest bas; the largest is about 135 cm in overall tube length. It produces a single low-pitched tone. Various sizes of bas provide the main harmonic element in the Bas-suling ensemble. A similar trumpet played in the orkes bambu metalu of Minahasa, North Sulawesi, is called overton...


Alastair Dick and Geneviève Dournon

[bansi, bā̃slī]

Term in the north Indian languages for flutes of different types (ba ̄̃s: ‘bamboo’).

In the eastern regions of the subcontinent—Bengal, Orissa, Assam, and so on (eastern India and Bangladesh)—ba ̄̃sī (here pronounced ba ̄̃shi) commonly denotes a transverse flute, mostly of bamboo, which abounds in the area. The most usual type is stopped by a natural node at one end, and has a simple lateral mouth-hole and a number of fingerholes. Sizes vary greatly, but the typical rustic flute is fairly small; large versions are found especially in Bangladesh. Flutes of the tribal peoples of the region include the tirāyu, tirio, rutu, and murlī. In Orissa the duct flute is also termed ba ̄̃sī (dobandī ba ̄̃sī, ekbandī ba ̄̃sī).

In the Raipur and Bilaspur districts of Madhya Pradesh (central India), ba ̄̃sī denotes an end-blown duct flute. The bamboo tube, 40 cm long, has five fingerholes and a thumbhole. The duct at the upper end consists of a plug of wax partly blocking off the bore, which causes the air to strike the sharp edge of a small opening made in the wall. The opening is partly covered by a slip of bamboo bark which conducts the air current in the correct direction. Like the ...


Geneviève Dournon and Mireille Helffer

[bāṃsurĩ, bānsurī, bānsrī, bā̃surī bā̃sī]

North Indian term for flutes of various types, one of many words deriving from Sanskrit va ṃśa and new Indo-Aryan ba ̄̃s, ‘bamboo flute’. The ba ̄̃surī played by the Rawat shepherds of Raipur district, Madhya Pradesh, central India, is a double duct flute consisting of two bamboo (or plastic) pipes about 53 cm long; one is a melody pipe with five fingerholes and the other a drone. A duct, similar to that of the Rawat Ba ̄̃sī, is formed by a block inserted at the upper end of each pipe. The two pipes are bound together at their upper ends so that they can be blown simultaneously, but diverge below; hence they are also called dandha ba ̄̃sī, ‘joined flute’. The instrument is played with circular breathing. For the large transverse flute ba ̄̃surī used in Hindustani or north Indian classical music, see Vaṃśa.

The ba ̄̃surī of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal is a transverse flute made of a turned wooden tube, with six fingerholes at the front and one thumbhole at the back. It can be decorated with carvings and silver inlays. It is played in groups by Newar farmers in procession and to accompany dance, lifecycle, and other rituals. ...