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Gregory E. Smith

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Michael Christian Joseph, Jr.]

(bNew York, July 2, 1942). American pianist, arranger, and composer. His father was a guitarist and bandleader. Abene performed and recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in Marshall Brown’s International Youth Band (1958) and studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music (1959–61), though he is primarily self-taught. After working with Clark Terry, Jimmy Nottingham, and others at the Cork ’n Bib on Long Island (1960) he played piano with Don Ellis (1960–61), Maynard Ferguson (1961–5), for whom he also wrote arrangements, Buddy Rich, Harry Edison, and Georgie Auld (in Las Vegas, 1963). From the mid-1960s he performed regularly in New York at the Half Note (with the quintets led by Al Cohn and Zoot Sims and by Bill Berry and Richie Kamuca, 1965–7), Bradley’s (1972–5), Sweet Basil (1978), and Freddy’s (with the singer Barbara Rankin, ...

Article

Lars Westin

(b Spånga, Sweden, April 18, 1945). Swedish trumpeter, composer, and leader. He started playing in amateur bands around Stockholm while in his teens and worked towards a career as a lawyer before becoming a full-time musician in 1972, upon the formation of the group Egba; he eventually became the leader of the band and the main contributor of compositions to its repertory. Egba’s music combined jazz-rock with African and Latin rhythms and melodies, though its last album (it disbanded in 1991) incorporates drum machines and other computerized elements. Adåker also worked with Johnny Dyani, the Stockholm-based orchestra Hot Salsa, and Radiojazzgruppen (ii), among others. From the early 1990s he has appeared as a jazz soloist in a variety of settings, often playing in the hard-bop tradition. His own groups have varied in size from quartet to octet (including a string section), and he has displayed great skill and imagination as a composer of works for Radiojazzgruppen (as heard on the album ...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Peter )

(b Cape Town, Oct 18, 1950). South African pianist, composer, and arranger. He grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town with the guitarist Russell Herman, studied music at the University of Cape Town, and played in various groups with Herman, including Oswietie, with which they toured South Africa and Angola. After joining Sipho Gumede in the funk-jazz group Spirits Rejoice he traveled along Africa’s west coast as far as Gabon, then in 1979 he settled in London. There he worked with Julian Bahula’s Jazz Africa and with Dudu Pukwana, and in 1981 he founded the trio (later, sextet) District Six with Herman and Brian Abrahams, the latter serving as the group’s leader. In 1984 Afrika performed in the USA as a member of Hugh Masekela’s group, and in 1986 he recorded with Pukwana. He led his own quartets and quintets and accompanied the singer Carmel, and during the same period he collaborated with Masekela, Courtney Pine, and the reed player David Jean-Baptiste and performed frequently as an unaccompanied soloist. In ...

Article

André Clergeat

(b Paris, Dec 7, 1968). French guitarist, leader, and composer. He studied guitar under the guidance of Philippe Petit and Marc Ducret and was influenced by the avant-garde musicians Derek Bailey and John Zorn. After having played alongside John Abercrombie, Tal Farlow, and Dave Liebman he abandoned bop, oriented himself “beyond” jazz, and adopted a violent “jungle style,” which had nothing to do with Duke Ellington’s aesthetic of the same name but borrowed instead mainly from electronics. In the early 1990s he founded the groups Unit (including Julien Lourau) and Trash Corporation (involving Bojan Zulfikarpasic), played in the cooperative Astrolab, and appeared frequently in Henri Texier’s group. Later he joined the groups Machination (alongside Hélène Labarrière), Tribulation, and the Recyclers, and led the ensemble M.A.O. Akchoté has taught at the Centre d’Information Musicale and at EDIM (Enseignement Diffusion Information Musique).

Article

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Emmanuel]

(bSamaná, Dominican Republic, June 24, 1922; dCroton, NY, October 2, 2001). Americanarranger and composer. He was brought up in New York, where he first played (usually baritone saxophone) and wrote arrangements for Don Joseph (1940), Muggsy Spanier (1941), Bob Chester (1942), Georgie Auld (1942–5), Charlie Spivak, and Boyd Raeburn (1943–5). Following army service (1945–6) he undertook similar work for Sam Donahue (1947), Charlie Barnet (1948–9), Jerry Wald (1949), and others. In 1951 he gave up playing to concentrate on arranging and composing. He achieved considerable success during the 1950s and 1960s with several albums recorded as the director of his own studio bands and also with his arrangements for prominent jazz musicians, including leaders of small groups (Terry Gibbs, Hal McKusick, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Cohn, and Stan Getz), and big bands (Count Basie, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich) as well as singers (Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Dakota Staton). From ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(Bothelo )

(b Rio de Janeiro, April 28, 1950). Brazilian double bass player, pianist, and composer. From 1964 he played piano in the trio Camara, and later made a tour of France, where he settled in 1973; he then changed from piano to double bass and also studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire. He formed a duo with the pianist Jean-Pierre Mas (1978), appeared in Martial Solal’s trio, and played in Eric Le Lann’s quartet (1982). Between 1982 and 1985 he was heard with Jean-Louis Chautemps, Philip Catherine, Joachim Kühn, Michel Portal, and the Americans Charlie Mariano, Joe Henderson, and Lee Konitz. In 1985 he resumed playing piano and formed the Cesarius Alvim Connection, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark on double bass and André Ceccarelli on drums. After a period of voluntary retirement from 1992 to 1997 (though he continued to make recordings) Alvim resumed working: he composed a piece for symphony orchestra, ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(b Oran, Algeria, Oct 25, 1961). French pianist and composer. After taking lessons in classical piano he went to the USA to study at the Berklee College of Music (1981–3) and then at the Manhattan School of Music (MM composition). He appeared in the BMI Jazz Composition Workshop under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer (1984) and wrote for Mel Lewis’s orchestra. Based in New York from 1985, he worked in clubs with such musicians as Joshua Redman, Bobby Watson, Ernie Watts, and Sonny Fortune and toured Brazil with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet. In 1987 he formed a quartet with the saxophonist Tim Ries for a tour of Europe, and then in 1990 recorded his first album as a leader, with Gary Peacock and Bill Stewart as his sidemen. He composed for a Belgian chamber orchestra and for the Orchestre National de Jazz in Paris. Amsallem has continued to play with Ries, and in the course of working in both the USA and Europe he recorded with the saxophonist in a trio with Leon Parker (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy

(Noah )

(b Berkeley, CA, Aug 21, 1960). American bandleader, tenor saxophonist, composer, percussionist, and pianist. He played percussion and piano from an early age, took up drums while in elementary school, and began piano lessons when he was nine. In 1975 he formed his own improvisation group, the Berkeley Arts Company, and in 1977 he founded the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, which initially consisted of 16 reed and brass players and himself on drums; the following year he added other instruments to form a rhythm section. Having moved to New York state (c1979) he played percussion and drums in Karl Berger’s Woodstock Workshop Orchestra, and he toured and recorded with the group in Europe with Don Cherry as guest soloist (1979). Under Warren Smith (ii) he performed in the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble, and he played keyboards in Carla Bley’s Burning Sensations and worked briefly with Eddie Jefferson. In ...

Article

Simon Adams

(Richard )

(b Wallington, England, May 26, 1937; d Milford, Derbs., Feb 23, 2004). English composer. He first played piano and tenor saxophone, and after graduating from Bristol University (1959) he studied arranging and composition with Raymond Premru (1960–61) and Bill Russo (1962). From 1964 to 1968 he directed the New Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble that provided a forum for its members to perform their own compositions; among the musicians in the group were Harry Beckett, Jack Bruce, Ian Carr, Mike Gibbs, Jon Hiseman, Don Rendell, Barbara Thompson, and Norma Winstone. Several of these played in the occasional orchestra that Ardley subsequently led under his own name (1969–81). He wrote music for both orchestras, notably the multimovement work Kaleidoscope of Rainbows, which was recorded on an album of the same name in 1976 (Gull 1018). In 1988 he formed Zyklus with Warren Greveson and John L. Walters to perform improvised electronic music utilizing the Zyklus Midi Performance System; the group recorded its first album, ...

Article

Johs Bergh

(Syver )

(b Bergen, Norway, March 3, 1950). Norwegian pianist, composer, and arranger. He established himself as a talented player in local groups in the early 1970s. While leading his own group Ny Bris (1980–83) he also played in a Scandinavian jazz ensemble led by Carla Bley (1980) and with Thorgeir Stubø (1980–82). Having moved to Oslo in 1981, he worked with Knut Riisnaes (1981–5), led his own trio (from 1983), and toured Norway with Joe Henderson (1988). From 1988 he has lived partly in Bergen, partly in Oslo, leading his own groups in both cities and frequently accompanying visiting foreign soloists. He was the festival composer at Vossajazz (1987) and subsequently won national awards for a composition inspired by Edvard Grieg, Rusler rundt 152 (“Moving around 152” – 152 being a house number where Grieg once lived). An excellent soloist in a modern style inspired by the early playing of Keith Jarrett, Arnesen is also a creative composer, both in small- and large-group formats....