(b New Orleans, LA, Oct 10, 1929; d Hartford, CT, Oct 7, 1992). American jazz drummer and educator. He grew up in a musical family in New Orleans. During the 1950s he was a member of the American Jazz Quintet, which included Ellis Marsalis, Alvin Battiste, Harold Battiste, and, for a time, Ornette Coleman. He also worked irregularly with Coleman between 1949 and 1956 in New Orleans and Los Angeles, toured with Ray Charles in 1957. In 1960 Blackwell moved to New York to become the drummer with Coleman’s quartet at the Five Spot club, a position previously held by Billy Higgins, and both Higgins and Blackwell performed as members of the double quartets on Coleman’s album Free Jazz: a Collective Improvisation (1960, Atl.). He became influential in the emerging free-jazz scene, performing and recording with, among others, Coleman (This is our Music, 1960, Atl., and ...
John Edward Hasse
(b Chicago, March 23, 1881; d Los Angeles, Aug 17, 1955). American popular pianist, teacher and editor. He studied the piano as a youth and in 1903 opened a teaching studio in Chicago with the advertisement ‘Ragtime Taught in Ten Lessons’. He simplified African-American ragtime piano playing to three essential melodic-rhythmic patterns or ‘movements’, and these became the basis for his teaching method and for a series of instruction books he brought out from 1904. Christensen’s Rag-time Instruction Book for Piano went through numerous revisions and title changes to incorporate early jazz and, eventually, swing styles; one method book remained in print until at least 1955.
Early in his career Christensen began establishing branch schools to teach ragtime piano. By 1914 he had founded 50 branches, and by 1918 he had schools in most major cities in the USA and also some abroad. By 1935 these schools had taught ragtime, popular piano and jazz piano to approximately 500,000 (mostly white) pupils....
(b Detroit, MI, Aug 27, 1937; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 12, 2007). American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer, and spiritual teacher, wife of john Coltrane and mother of Ravi Coltrane. Raised in a musical family in Detroit, she studied piano between the ages of seven and ten, then percussion at North Eastern High School. A keyboard protégée, she played for gospel choirs during her teen years and attended bebop jam sessions with her half-brother, a bass player, Ernest Farrow (1928–69). Early piano mentors include Barry Harris and Terry Pollard.
From 1956 to 1960, she played organ with the Premieres in Detroit and accompanied the saxophonists Yusef Lateef and Sonny Stitt. In 1960, she married the singer Kenneth “Pancho” Hagood and moved to Paris, where she befriended Bud Powell and gave birth to a daughter, Michelle. After returning to New York, she played with Johnny Griffin and Lucky Thompson. Between ...
(b Westfield, MA, June 17, 1837; d New York, NY, Sept 5, 1903). American banjoist, composer, and teacher. Born into a musical family, which relocated to Elmira, New York, soon after his birth, he began studying piano at six and was a proficient performer at 12. When he was 14 he heard a banjo “in the hands of a colored man” (George Swayne Buckley) who was playing with thumb and first finger; in 1901 he notated those two tunes from memory thus producing what is possibly the oldest known document of African American banjo music. Despite family opposition, Converse devised a pioneering academic technique for the five-string instrument, both absorbing the “stroke” approach, inherited from slaves, and adapting the fingerpicking method of classical guitar. By 1853 he had started concertizing, touring with minstrel companies, and teaching. He edited Thomas Briggs’s Banjo Instructor (Boston, 1855) and may have had a hand in Phil Rice’s ...
Carl B. Hancock
(b Hollywood, CA, April 13, 1945; d Arlington, VA, June 29, 1979). American Rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, and leader of the group Little Feat.
Georgia, University of. State university founded in Athens in 1785. The university’s current enrollment exceeds 34,000 students. The Department of Music was established in 1928 with the hiring of alumnus Hugh Hodgson as the first professor of music, and was later named the Hodgson School of Music. The first degree programs were established between 1930 and 1941. Currently the school offers the BA and BM in composition, education, therapy, performance, and theory, and a certificate program in music business. Graduate degrees include the MA, MM, MME, EdS, DMA, EdD, and PhD in musicology, composition, conducting, performance, music literature, education, theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology. In 2009 enrollment reached 450 students (300 undergraduates, 150 graduate students) guided by a faculty of 65. The Music Library holds over 130,000 titles, including the archival collections of Guido Adler, ...
(b Jamaica, NY, Aug 20, 1941). American jazz drummer and educator. He played conga drums as a child and only started using sticks when he was 17; later he studied tabla with Wasantha Singh. He became known in the mid-1960s through his appearances with Giuseppi Logan and with the New York Art Quartet at the “October Revolution” jazz concert series (1964). In 1966 he made two albums at a duet concert at Yale with the pianist Don Pullen. In the mid-1970s he performed with the drummers Andrew Cyrille and Rashied Ali in a series of concerts entitled “Dialogue of the Drums,” and established a practice of performing in African American neighborhoods. One of the most flamboyant avant-garde drummers of the 1960s, Graves has been influenced by Indian and African approaches to percussion, and has shown interest in performing non-Western percussion instruments. He has often appeared in groups composed solely of drummers. In ...
[Grice, George General; Qusim, Basheer]
(b Pensacola, FL, Nov 28, 1925; d Pensacola, FL, March 14, 1983). American jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer, arranger, music publisher, and teacher. Known more as a composer and arranger than as an instrumentalist, he was nonetheless an alto saxophonist out of the Charlie Parker tradition with a lyrical bent and a recognizable style and sound. He studied clarinet initially and after serving in the US Navy (1944–6) attended the Boston Conservatory (to 1952). His first exposure came through an encounter with the saxophonist Stan Getz in Boston who recorded several of Gryce’s compositions. After moving to New York in 1953, Gryce was soon a part of the city’s vibrant milieu, recording with the drummer Max Roach and the pianist Tadd Dameron. Throughout his career, Gryce collaborated with a number of noted trumpet players including Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, and Richard Williams. With Byrd, he co-led the Jazz Lab, which made a number of highly regarded recordings in ...
( Dallas, TX, Feb 3, 1933). American alto saxophonist and music educator. He was raised in California, where he studied clarinet before switching to alto saxophone. He has also played tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, piano, oboe, and percussion. Handy started his career performing in San Francisco with the blues musicians Lowell Fulson and Pee Wee Crayton and the jazz musicians Freddie Redd, Pat Martino, and Bobby Hutcherson. He then moved in 1958 to New York, where he formed his own group and worked with the pianist Randy Weston and the bass player and composer Charles Mingus (including the album Mingus Ah Um, 1959, Col.). In 1959 he recorded his first album, for Roulette. After studying music at San Francisco State College (BA 1963), he had a parallel career as a teacher, working at San Francisco State University and Conservatory, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University, among other institutions. He rejoined Mingus in ...
(b Detroit, MI, Dec 15, 1929). American jazz pianist, composer, and pedagogue. He first encountered music through the church where his mother worked as a pianist and he first performed. After starting piano lessons at the age of four, he taught himself the boogie-woogie style of Albert Ammons before hearing bebop at a performance by Charlie Parker at Club El Sino in 1947. Having played some of his first professional engagements with Frank Rosolino, Harris became the house pianist at the Blue Bird Inn in Detroit, where he accompanied Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, and Parker, among others. After travelling to New York in 1956 to record with Thad Jones and Hank Mobley, Harris remained in Detroit until 1960, when he moved to New York to join Cannonball Adderley’s group. Harris made his first recording as a leader in 1958 for the Argo label. Throughout the 1960s, he enjoyed working relationships with Coleman Hawkins and the A&R man Don Schlitten, for whom Harris recorded for Riverside and Xanadu. Although an active performer and recording artist, he solidified his place as an important jazz pedagogue through his codification of passing-note scales, his employment of moving diminished chords, and his ability to demystify bebop’s complexities. Harris created the Jazz Cultural Center as a hub for his educational initiatives in ...
(b Los Angeles, Oct 11, 1936; d Inglewood, CA, May 3, 2001). American jazz drummer, recording artist, and educator. He played drums from an early age, and his first professional experiences came backing up the rhythm-and-blues performers Amos Milburn and Bo Diddley. After turning his attention to jazz in the late 1950s, Higgins performed and recorded with Dexter Gordon and Thelonious Monk. He was also a member of the Jazz Messiahs with the trumpeter Don Cherry and of Ornette Coleman’s quartet with Cherry and the bass player Charlie Haden; he played with the latter group during a residency at the Five Spot in New York. Higgins performed on three of Coleman’s recordings: Something Else!!!! The Music of Ornette Coleman (1958, Cont.), which included the bass player Don Payne and the pianist Walter Norris; The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959, Atl.); and Change of the Century...