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Val Wilmer

(Stanley )

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962 he joined the Coon Carnival stage show. He then spent seven years in Swaziland, where he played bop with the pianists Roy Peterson and Howard Belling and accompanied Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In 1975 he traveled to England and worked in variety and dance bands before joining Dudu Pukwana’s group Zila. In 1981 he founded the trio District Six with Mervyn Afrika and the guitarist Russell Herman, both of whom grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town; with Abrahams as its leader, the trio expanded to a sextet (including Jim Dvorak from 1983 to 1993 and Claude Deppa at some point thereafter) and became an important focus for musicians who played both jazz and African rhythms. Abrahams also worked with Ronnie Scott, John Taylor, Johnny Dyani, and the Brotherhood of Breath. In ...

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André Clergeat

(b Zurich, July 27, 1939). Swiss cellist, violinist, and singer. She studied piano and violin from a very young age and played in the orchestra at the conservatory in Geneva. An encounter with Steve Lacy in Italy in the late 1960s led her to abandon classical music; the couple were married, and in 1970 they settled in Paris. Under Lacy’s counsel, as well as that of Dave Holland and Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Aebi taught herself to play cello, which became her preferred instrument in the group constituted by Lacy. She often makes use of her deep voice in the group, reciting as well as singing literary and political texts (from such authors as Lao Tzu, Guillaume Apollinaire, Herman Melville, and Brion Gysin) set to music by the saxophonist. Aebi has also performed with Kent Carter, notably in the string group Pinch with Jean-Jacques Avenel, with Takashi Kako, and with Oliver Johnson. She may be seen in the video ...

Article

(bIsmâ’ ilîya, Egypt, June 8, 1931). Frenchsinger and pianist. He studied music in Paris and played piano with Don Byas (1955) and Stephane Grappelli (1957). He was a singer with the Blue Stars (1955–6), toured and recorded with the Double Six (1959–65), and took part in a session with Jon Hendricks and others (1965). Aldebert was married to the singer Monique Dozo (b Monaco, 5 May 1931; later known as Monique Aldebert-Guérin), who had sung with Bernard Peiffer (1947) and performed in Paris clubs with Byas, Django Reinhardt, Bobby Jasper, the Double Six (with which she recorded in 1959 and 1964), and Bill Coleman (1966). After moving to the USA (1967) the couple settled first in Las Vegas, where they appeared in revues, and then in Los Angeles (...

Article

Marty Hatch

[Nelson [née Turner], Dolorez Alexandria]

(bChicago, Aug 14, 1929; dGardena, CA, May 22, 2001). Americansinger. She grew up in a musical family, and sang gospel music at churches during the 1940s and early 1950s; she was also a member of a choral group that performed spirituals, jubilee music, comedy numbers, and other secular songs, which influenced her subsequent choice of repertory as a soloist. Later she sang at clubs in Chicago with the pianist King Fleming and others, and recorded four albums (1957–9). She performed with Ramsey Lewis in 1958 during an engagement at the Cloister which lasted seven months. Thereafter Alexandria began to concentrate on mainstream jazz and popular music; she recorded six albums in the early 1960s, using such sidemen as Lewis’s trio and members of Count Basie’s orchestra (1960), Howard McGhee (1962), and Wynton Kelly’s trio (1964). After moving to Los Angeles in ...

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[Liza Mae]

(bChicago, Aug 31, 1904). Americansinger. Based in Chicago, she worked as a cabaret artist with Jimmie Noone (c1922), Carroll Dickerson (at the Sunset Cafe), and in a duo with Ollie Powers. She recorded two titles with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five – Big Butter and Egg Man...

Article

Howard Rye

(bMemphis, July 30, 1906; dNew York, Feb 2, 1983). Americandouble bass and tuba player and singer. His date of birth, previously unknown, is taken from the social security death index. At Le Moyne College, Memphis, he played in a band with Jimmy Crawford. Both men recorded two titles in 1927 with the Chickasaw Syncopators (Col. 14301D), and Chickasaw Stomp includes an example of Allen’s half-spoken, half-sung vocal “preaching.” In summer 1928 Allen joined Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra, and four years later he changed from tuba to double bass. He may be heard on tuba on Sweet Rhythm (1930, Vic. 38141), while his double bass playing is prominent on such recordings by Lunceford as Avalon (1935, Decca 668), Organ Grinder’s Swing (1936, Decca 908), and Harlem Shout (1936, Decca 980), which reveal him as one of the major practitioners of the era; he also appears in the short film ...

Article

Eric Thacker

(bHartford, CT, July 19, 1923). Singer. He first performed and recorded with Jack Teagarden’s big band (1940–42). From 1944 he worked with Boyd Raeburn, sometimes singing complicated arrangements by George Handy; his style is well represented by I only have eyes for you, which he recorded with Raeburn in 1946 (Jwl 10002). (By this time he was using both forms of his surname.) Also in 1946 he recorded as a leader, accompanied by a quintet that included Lucky Thompson. Later he was associated with Paul Smith (1949), Johnny Mandel, Stan Kenton, and Count Basie. He sang at clubs, among them those on the Playboy Club circuit (1960–64), then from 1968 was less active in music for a period during which he worked with drug addicts in New York and Los Angeles. In 1975, however, he resumed recording in New York, making the album ...

Article

[Overton ]

(b Washington, DC, Dec 14, 1905; d Washington, July 5, 1989). American trumpeter and singer. His birth and death dates, previously unknown, are taken from the social security death index. After working in New York with the trombonist Bill Brown (1928–30) he performed and recorded with Claude Hopkins (1931–6); a good example of his playing may be heard on I would do anything for you (1932, Col. 2665D), and he may be seen with Hopkins in the short films Barber Shop Blues (1933) and By Request (1935). He then formed his own big band, which made its début at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in December 1936 and held residencies at various clubs in New York, including the Ubangi Club (1937), the Plantation Club (1937–8), the Roseland Ballroom (1939–41, 1942–7) and the Baby Grand Café (...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, 1908). Italian pianist, singer, and violinist. He first worked in Genoa with Tullio Mobiglia and others (1927–33). From 1934 he played piano and violin in a small band led by Kramer Gorni in Milan, which made several recordings, including Anime gemelle (1935...

Article

Thomas Owens

(b Philadelphia, Dec 25, 1927). American singer. When still a boy he and his family moved to New Orleans, where he began playing drums under the tutelage of Bunk Johnson. In 1945 the family settled in Los Angeles, and he sang in the choir at Jefferson High School; he also worked as an usher at the Lincoln Theater on Central Avenue and won contests at amateur shows there. Andrews began recording during his high school years and was soon a successful performer, both in the Central Avenue milieu and around the country. He sang with Harry James’s band during the years 1959–69, took part in concerts with the Capp–Pierce Juggernaut in the 1970s and 1980s, and toured with the Philip Morris Superband led by Gene Harris in 1989–90, but otherwise he was active mostly as a leader, usually working with a trio. He is the subject of the video documentary ...