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Michael C. Heller

(b Cardiff, UK, Jan 8, 1948). British jazz journalist and historian. He studied music theory and clarinet at the Welsh College of Music and Drama (1967–71), followed by ten years leading a jazz-rock band under the stage name Nick Stewart. In the early 1980s he began writing on jazz for various magazines and newspapers in the UK. Since then his pieces have appeared in a range of publications in Europe and the United States, including The Western Mail, Gramophone, The Observer, Jazzwise, Jazz Times, and The Wire. His writing expanded to book-length studies in the 1990s, including highly regarded biographies of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington, as well as broader surveys of jazz in the 1980s and jazz-rock. Since the early 2000s Nicholson has been a key chronicler of the European scene, especially movements blending jazz with local folkloric forms, classical music, and electronica. His controversial ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Boston, MA, May 10, 1937). American music critic, publicist, and editor. Solomon is best known for her contributions to the Village Voice, but has also written for Down Beat, Country Music, Hit Parader, the News World, and Us. She was one of the first women involved in popular music criticism; her work focused on folk music of the 1960s, jazz, blues, rock, and country music. Solomon’s column in the Village Voice was called “Riffs.” She also served as editor for the magazine ABC-TV Hootenanny (1963–4), which highlighted performers on the television show of the same name who were just beginning to rise to fame, including Judy Collins, Earl Scruggs, and Doc Watson. Other writers whose work appeared in the magazine included Theodore Bikel and Jean Shepard. Another of her important editing positions was on the magazine New Musical Express (NME) in the 1970s. Solomon also had a brief tenure as a publicist for Chess Records, where she produced a number of liner notes. Her commentary on such diverse subjects as J.J. Cale and Paul McCartney has given her voice a lasting impression in the music business....

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Alex Harris Stein

(Alan )

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 4, 1954). American writer. A jazz enthusiast from a young age, he became in 1977 the jazz editor of Record Review, a position which he held for the publication’s entire lifespan (1977–84). Since then, he has contributed to many jazz periodicals, including Downbeat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, Cadence, Coda, the Mississippi Rag, Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and the Jazz Rag. He was a contributor to the first edition of All Music Guide to Jazz (San Francisco, 1994), a co-editor of and contributor to the second edition (San Francisco, 1996), and the sole editor of the third edition (San Francisco, 1998), to which he contributed thousands of additional reviews spanning recordings from throughout the 20th century. He has also written 11 books on jazz and hundreds of disc notes, produced a series of albums for Allegro, and hosted a radio show, “Jazz after Hours.”...

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Alex Harris Stein

(b New York, NY, June 27, 1928). American writer. After graduating from Hamilton College (1950) and serving in the military (1950–51), he worked as a magazine editor in New York (1952–58) before striking out on his own as a freelance writer. He has since published prolifically on a wide range of subjects and is best known for his series of historical novels for young adults. Collier is also a jazz trombonist, and he has published six books on jazz. His first, The Making of Jazz (1978), was well received and became one of the first widely used textbooks on jazz history. His subsequent works, however, have sparked controversy, owing to his tendency to stake out provocative positions. For example, in his biography of Duke Ellington (1987), Collier contends that Ellington never realized his early potential later in his career. In ...

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Alex Harris Stein

(b Toronto, ON, Feb 13, 1913; d Escondido, CA, May 27, 2001). American writer and record producer. In 1934 she settled in Chicago, where she became active as a jazz journalist and promoter, writing for the Chicago Herald-Examiner and Down Beat, founding the Chicago Rhythm Club, and promoting listening concerts featuring such performers as Earl Hines and Billie Holiday. At one such concert, Dance was responsible for bringing together Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson in one of the first highly publicized interracial collaborations in jazz. She also produced her first recordings for the Okeh label (1935). In 1937 she relocated to New York, where she produced many of the legendary Duke Ellington small band recordings, collaborated with Red Norvo, Mildred Bailey, and Bob Crosby, and managed Chick Webb, organizing swing battles at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem featuring the Webb Orchestra and Ella Fitzgerald. Among the many concerts that she organized was Benny Goodman’s historic ...

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Michael C. Heller

(Mitchell )

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1948). American jazz and film critic and historian. After studying English at Grinnell College (BA 1972), he returned to New York and began writing on film for the Hollywood Reporter (1972) and on jazz for Down Beat (1972–3). Citing influence from the writers Martin Williams and Dan Morgenstern, he decided to focus his efforts exclusively on jazz and in 1973 was hired as a music critic by the Village Voice. His regular column “Weather Bird” became highly influential during the next three decades. Unlike critics who concentrated primarily on recent performances, Giddins wrote on a range of topics, including the legacies of historical figures, contemporary developments, and issues relating to jazz advocacy and education. From the 1980s he began publishing collections of his essays as well as book-length monographs, including biographies of Charlie Parker (1987), Louis Armstrong (...

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Michael C. Heller

(Waldo )

(b Oklahoma City, OK, March 1, 1913, d New York, NY April 16, 1994). American novelist, essayist, and cultural critic. He is best known as the author of the landmark novel Invisible Man (1952). Ellison was also a renowned commentator on jazz, a recurrent theme throughout his writing. A talented trumpet player during his youth, Ellison entered Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship in 1933. His focus shifted to literature by the late 1930s, and he wrote short stories and book reviews for several publications. He catapulted to fame with the publication of Invisible Man and was one of the world’s foremost African American intellectuals for the remainder of his life. He published several influential collections of essays, including many on jazz, and worked continuously on a second novel, which remained unfinished upon his death. Musicians appear as key guides for the protagonists in both of his novels....

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Lars Helgert

(b New York, NY, March 1, 1917; d Berkeley, CA, June 3, 1975). American jazz and rock critic. He studied at Columbia University (1934–8), where he was a jazz writer for the Columbia Spectator, and frequently attended performances at New York jazz clubs. In 1939 he co-founded Jazz Information, one of the earliest jazz magazines, and served as its editor until publication ceased in 1941. From 1942 until 1945 he was employed by the Office of War Information, spending time overseas. Gleason wrote for Down Beat from 1947 to 1961 (he also served as an associate editor) and for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1950 until his death. He founded another jazz periodical, Jazz: a Quarterly of American Music, which was published from 1958 to 1960. In 1967 he was a co-founder of Rolling Stone, to which he contributed for the next eight years. He also wrote for ...

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Leonard Bernardo

(Andrejevich )

(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...

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H.L. Lindenmaier

(b Berlin, July 20, 1922; d Hamburg, Germany, Feb 4, 2000). German writer and record producer. Having first studied in Berlin he attended the University of Karlsruhe (1940–42). He was a founder in 1945 of the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, where he led the jazz department until 1987, and in 1951 of the Deutsche Jazz Föderation. During the following decades he organized and directed many festivals and concert series (including Jazztime Baden-Baden, from 1947; the American Folk Blues Festival, 1962–8; the Berliner Jazztage, later known as the Jazzfest Berlin, 1964–72; the New Jazz Meeting Baden-Baden, which he founded in 1966; and the Olympic Games Jazz Festival in Munich, 1972) and was the producer and host of broadcasts both on radio (from the Baden-Baden festival) and television (“Jazz, gehört und gesehen,” 1954–72); he also organized an annual jazz concert at the Donaueschingen Festival for Contemporary Music (from ...