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Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from 1960 to 1968. Upon discharge from the US Air Force in 1968 he started to make his first guitar and began repairing Gibson, D’Angelico, and New York Epiphone instruments. At the time he was the youngest and least experienced archtop maker of a group that included William Barker, Carl Barney, Roger Borys, James D’Aquisto, Sam Koontz, and Philip Petillo. In the 1970s jazz guitarists such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Chuck Wayne, and Martin Taylor began to use and endorse Benedetto’s instruments. He incorporated his business as Benedetto Guitars, Inc., but in ...

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Term for an electric guitar of a type commonly used since the 1930s for jazz performance, exemplified by Gibson L5 and similar models. Typically it is an archtop hollow-body instrument of large dimensions (especially depth), with elongated f-holes, steel strings fastened to a tailpiece rather than to the floating bridge, and one or two magnetic or piezo-electric pickups. Some types are solid-bodied. Paired tone and volume controls and a pickup selector switch are normally mounted on the top, and the upper treble bout is often cut away to facilitate fingering in high positions....

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Jane Alaszewska

[wadaiko, taiko] (Jap.: ‘Ensemble of drums’, from kumi: ‘group’, ‘ensemble’;-daiko: the suffixing form of taiko, a generic term for Japanese drums)

An ensemble using mainly indigenous Japanese percussion instruments for performance on the stage.

Japanese indigenous percussion traditionally served as an accompaniment in ritual music and classical theatre. Its post-war transition to centre-stage was mainly a result of the work of jazz drummer Oguchi Daihachi who, by featuring these instruments in a series of compositions exploring the interface between jazz and ritual drumming, brought them to the fore in contemporary composition. The performance of Oguchi's work at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics inspired the formation of similar ensembles nationwide, notably in the Hokuriku area where kumi-daiko performance became standard evening entertainment at hot springs.

During the 1960s Japan underwent a period of rapid modernization. Many felt the ‘new’ Japan to be losing touch with its ‘traditional’ culture, leading to renewed interest in such arts. As part of this interest Den Tagayasu began assembling a commune with friends for the pursuit of traditional arts and crafts on the remote Sado island. Among the many projects initiated was a ...

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David Fuller

(Fr.: ‘unequal notes’)

A rhythmic convention according to which certain divisions of the beat move in alternately long and short values, even if they are written equal.

As it existed in France from the mid-16th century to the late 18th the convention of notes inégales was first of all a way of gracing or enlivening passage-work or diminutions in vocal or instrumental music. As styles changed and the figurations born of diminution entered the essential melodic vocabulary, inequality permeated the musical language. Its application was regulated by metre and note values; it always operated within the beat, never distorting the beat itself. (An anomalous instance of alteration of the beat appears in Gigault; see §2.) The degree of inequality (i.e. the ratio between the lengths of the long and short notes of each pair) could vary from the barely perceptible to the equivalent of double dotting, according to the character of the piece and the taste of the performer. Inequality was considered one of the chief resources of expression, and it varied according to expressive needs within the same piece or even within the same passage; where it was felt to be inappropriate it could be abandoned altogether unless explicitly demanded....

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Tuba  

Clifford Bevan

A valved brass instrument of wide conical bore. The tubing is usually coiled into an elliptical shape and terminates in a wide bell (usually pointing upwards) and a deep, cup-shaped mouthpiece. The instrument has an open fundamental of 8′ C (or lower) and is equipped with three to six (usually four, rarely seven) valves to alter the length of the tubing and hence the pitch. It is generally used in jazz as the bass or contrabass member of the band.

A group of related instruments, in various shapes and sizes, may be said to constitute a tuba family; its members are known generically as brass bass. The most important are the euphonium (sometimes referred to, especially in the USA, as the baritone horn, see Saxhorn (jazz)), which is essentially a tenor tuba in B♭; and the helicon and sousaphone, which are both types of bass tuba distinguished from the rest of the family by their circular shape. The lower members of the saxhorn group are also sometimes regarded as forming part of the tuba group. The sousaphone, named after the composer and bandmaster John Philip Sousa, is used mainly in marching bands. Like the helicon (now almost obsolete, but used by Rich Matteson on recordings by Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band in the 1950s and 1960s), it encircles the player, resting on the left shoulder and passing under the right arm, with the bell pointing forwards above the player’s head; this form was devised to facilitate carrying the instruments while marching. Some upright tubas have been made with the bell facing forwards; this “recording” bell was introduced during the 1920s, when the tuba often substituted for the double bass in recording studios....