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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

Lee Jeske

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Abrahams, Richard]

(b Chicago, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. He studied piano from the age of 17, attended the Chicago Musical College for four years, and first worked professionally in 1948. From 1950 he wrote arrangements for the saxophonist King Fleming and from 1957 to 1959 he played hard bop in Walter Perkins’s group MJT + 3, for which he also wrote arrangements and compositions. For several years he accompanied leading soloists during their visits to Chicago, including Miles Davis, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, and Johnny Griffin, and in 1963 he recorded with Eddie Harris. Of greater importance was his role in forming the Experimental Band (1961), one of the earliest free-jazz groups, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (1965), a musicians’ cooperative. As the association’s first president he encouraged young musicians to become familiar with the entire history of jazz and at the same time to experiment with new forms; he exerted a profound influence on such performers as Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, and George Lewis (ii). He toured Europe in ...

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

Scott DeVeaux

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(bTampa, FL, Nov 25, 1931; dLakeland, FL, Jan 2, 2000). Americancornetist, leader and composer, brother of Cannonball Adderley. His birthdate has appeared in all known reference sources as 25 November, but the Cadence interviewer asserts that it is 21 November, and Adderley replied “right”; he failed to answer a subsequent query about this. He took up trumpet as a teenager after World War II and began his career playing with local bands in Florida; both he and his brother received informal tutoring in jazz from Jaki Byard, then stationed at a nearby army camp. After changing to cornet (1950, or perhaps earlier, by another account) he played jazz in an army band under his brother's direction (1951–3). His first important association was with Lionel Hampton (July 1954 – May 1955), and in 1956 he joined the influential small group led by his brother. While Cannonball played with Miles Davis (...

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

J. Bradford Robinson

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Mariano, Toshiko]

(bDairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Americancomposer, pianist, and bandleader. She was born to Japanese parents in Manchuria less than two years before Japan wrested control of the region from China. She remained in Manchuria until 1946, when the family was expelled to Japan, and took classical piano lessons from the age of seven. While working in Japanese dance orchestras and tango bands, she suddenly turned to jazz after hearing recordings by Teddy Wilson. She was discovered by visiting American jazz musicians, among them Oscar Peterson, who persuaded Norman Granz to record her and urged her to take up a career in the USA. However, she remained in Japan, where she led a bop quartet which included Sadao Watanabe, until she was awarded a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. A few months after enrolling in 1956 she became highly regarded as a bop pianist. She performed regularly at the Storyville club, but also left Boston during breaks from college to play at other venues, including the Hickory House in New York. She formed a longstanding trio with Gene Cherico and Jake Hanna and found opportunities to play with Oscar Pettiford, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis. In ...

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

(b Amsterdam, Jan 22, 1943). Dutch double bass player and composer. He studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam (1961–7) and played with Marion Brown (recording in 1967), Theo Loevendie, Burton Greene, the ICP (recording in 1970), Willem Breuker (recording from 1971–3), Steve Lacy (recording in 1974 and again, in a duo, in 1978), Derek Bailey (including his Company festivals, annually from 1976 into the 1980s), Guus Janssen, and Günther Christmann (recording in 1979 – with Paul Lovens in the Phon Trio – and in 1980). Early in his career he often appeared as Maarten van Regteren Altena, but at some point, for reasons of simplification in the public eye, he shortened his name to Maarten Altena. He worked as a leader from 1975 and also performed as an unaccompanied soloist. In 1977 he formed a record company, Claxon, which recorded sessions led by Janssen. In the early 1980s he toured the USA, Canada, and South America. His octet, formed in ...

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, ...