(bNew York, Nov 2, 1920; dPoint Pleasant, NJ, Dec 23, 1974). Americanwriter. He studied geology at Columbia University (BS 1942), served as a navigator in the army air corps, and then returned to Columbia, where he gained a master's degree in mineralogy. Although an engineer by profession (PhD, Rutgers, 1964) and a teacher of ceramics engineering at Rutgers (1964-74), he was involved in jazz discography throughout his life, and with his scholarly training he recognized that this subject could be approached with the same rigorous concern for accuracy, weighing of evidence, and documentation of sources that would be expected in traditional fields. He prepared numerous brief discographies and wrote full-length bio-discographies of King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson, the latter being an exhaustive and definitive study. Allen published and distributed these books as part of his own Jazz Monograph series, which also included important works by Samuel B. Charters, Brian Rust, and others. As a further means of disseminating information he produced ...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Algiers, Feb 14, 1941). French pianist, arranger, leader, and musicologist. He discovered jazz following a period of classical piano studies. In 1962 he moved to Paris and performed in amateur bands, and in 1966 he became a professional musician. As house pianist at the Jazz O’Maniac he accompanied Albert Nicholas, Bill Coleman (1971–2), and Benny Waters (1971–3), as well as Benny Carter, Jo Jones, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Slam Stewart, Stephane Grappelli, Vic Dickenson, Cat Anderson, and others. From 1976 to 1979 he was co-director, with Marc Richard, of the Anachronic Jazz Band, which aimed to present modern jazz themes with a traditional New Orleans jazz orchestration, as may be heard on Anachronic Jazz Band, i–ii (1976, 1978, Open 02, 09). From 1979 to 1983 he led the Happy Feet Quintet, with which he recorded the album Happy Feet and Friends (...
(b Moose Jaw, Canada, Oct 27, 1918; d Toronto, Jan 16, 1981). Canadian theorist, teacher, and composer. He led dance bands and played trumpet in Toronto (1939–49) before he ended his career as a performer for reasons of health and turned to teaching (1950). He wrote texts on arranging, harmony, counterpoint, 12-tone music, and melody (New York, 1965–76) that became widely used, and he taught many leading jazz musicians in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s. He also composed several works in the third-stream idiom, of which he was an enthusiastic advocate; these include Collage no.3 and Song and Dance, both of which were recorded by Duke Ellington with the Ron Collier Orchestra on Duke Ellington: North of the Border (1967, Decca 75069). His Three Entertainments for Saxophone Quartet (1969) was recorded by the New York Saxophone Quartet. (EMC2...
Michael C. Heller
(b Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1948). American jazz and film critic and historian. After studying English at Grinnell College (BA 1972), he returned to New York and began writing on film for the Hollywood Reporter (1972) and on jazz for Down Beat (1972–3). Citing influence from the writers Martin Williams and Dan Morgenstern, he decided to focus his efforts exclusively on jazz and in 1973 was hired as a music critic by the Village Voice. His regular column “Weather Bird” became highly influential during the next three decades. Unlike critics who concentrated primarily on recent performances, Giddins wrote on a range of topics, including the legacies of historical figures, contemporary developments, and issues relating to jazz advocacy and education. From the 1980s he began publishing collections of his essays as well as book-length monographs, including biographies of Charlie Parker (1987), Louis Armstrong (...
[Leonard S. ]
(b Albany, NY, July 24, 1942). American writer. He studied philosophy at the University of Rochester (BA 1964) and Brown University (MA 1966, PhD 1969) and from 1969 taught philosophy at the University of Santa Clara; he also studied piano with Lennie Tristano. Among his published writings are The Great Jazz Pianists (1983), a collection of interviews with 27 jazz pianists that includes biographical material and discographies, and articles for Down Beat, Keyboard, and Guitar Player. He received the first Ralph J. Gleason Memorial Fund Award for Jazz Criticism at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1976. In the early 1980s he moved from Berkeley, California, to Lexington, Massachusetts.
(selective list)The 101 Best Jazz Albums: a History of Jazz on Records (New York, 1980) [listeners’ guide] The Great Jazz Pianists, Speaking of their Lives and Music (New York, 1983) with D. Perlo: Jazz Portraits: the Lives and Music of the Jazz Masters...
Michael C. Heller
(b Cardiff, UK, Jan 8, 1948). British jazz journalist and historian. He studied music theory and clarinet at the Welsh College of Music and Drama (1967–71), followed by ten years leading a jazz-rock band under the stage name Nick Stewart. In the early 1980s he began writing on jazz for various magazines and newspapers in the UK. Since then his pieces have appeared in a range of publications in Europe and the United States, including The Western Mail, Gramophone, The Observer, Jazzwise, Jazz Times, and The Wire. His writing expanded to book-length studies in the 1990s, including highly regarded biographies of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington, as well as broader surveys of jazz in the 1980s and jazz-rock. Since the early 2000s Nicholson has been a key chronicler of the European scene, especially movements blending jazz with local folkloric forms, classical music, and electronica. His controversial ...
Gary W. Kennedy
(b Scranton, PA, May 14, 1951). Musicologist and educator. His family changed its surname from Portnoff to Porter around 1952, after moving to North Decatur, Georgia; from 1958 Porter grew up in New York, where he learned violin from the ages of ten to twelve and took up piano. While studying psychology at the University of Rochester (1968–72) he took music courses at the Eastman School, led his own jazz trio, and began on alto saxophone (1971). Following graduate work in counseling at Northeastern University in Boston (MEd 1976) he studied music theory at Tufts University (MA 1979), at which he served as the school’s first jazz band director, conducted the symphonicwinds, and taught jazz history and other courses (1977–86). Concurrently, he completed a doctoral degree in musicology at Brandeis University (1983), where he founded and directed the school’s jazz ensemble (...
Alex Harris Stein
(b Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 29, 1915; d Paterson, NJ, March 18, 1995). American writer on jazz, record producer, and folklorist. He coedited one of the first scholarly books on jazz with Charles Edward Smith, Jazzmen: the Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men who Created It (New York, 1939). Supported in part by Guggenheim Fellowships (1953, 1955), Ramsey conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the American South, photographing African American life and recording interviews and music. The results of his travels are detailed in his books Been Here and Gone (New Brunswick, NJ, 1960) and Where the Music Started (New Brunswick, NJ, 1970). Many of his field recordings were released by Folkways Records as Music of the South (1954). He produced a historical anthology of recordings for Folkways titled Jazz (1950–53). Later, grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (...
William Kirk Bares
(b Sharon, CT, Nov 17, 1935). American trombonist, ethnomusicologist, and composer. A well regarded jazz soloist, he is perhaps best known as a musical collaborator with ecumenical tastes. Strongly influenced by New Orleans jazz at a young age and seasoned by work in traditional jazz bands as a student at Yale, he transitioned easily to the collective free improvisation scenes of 1960s and 70s New York. Early partners included Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Enrico Rava, Carla Bley, John Tchicai, and Milford Graves; he worked with the last two in the New York Art Quartet. The open spirit of his early work is preserved on Archie Shepp’s Four for Trane (1964, Imp.), to which he contributed adventurous arrangements, and his own eclectic Blown Bone (1976, Phillips), which features several of the above artists.
Rudd’s subsequent collaborations have extended his longtime interest in non-Western music. He has carried out research for Alan Lomax’s cantometrics project (from early 1980s) and taught ethnomusicology at Bard College (...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
[William; Wagner, Russell William]
(b Canton, MO, Feb 26, 1905; d New Orleans, Aug 9, 1992). American jazz historian, record producer, violinist, and composer. He played violin from the age of ten, and later studied music in Chicago (1924). After private violin tuition in New York (1927) he attended Columbia University Teachers College (1929), where he took up composition; around 1930 he dropped his surname, Wagner, to avoid comparisons with a rather more famous composer in the field. While touring with a theatrical group, the Red Gate Shadow Players, which staged classical Chinese puppet plays (1934–40), he began collecting early jazz records, reselling many through the Hot Record Exchange that he ran from 1935 with the painter Steve Smith. He contributed articles to the magazine Jazz hot and wrote three chapters of Jazzmen: the Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men who Created it...