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Rainer E. Lotz

(Alexander)

(bMinneapolis, May 7, 1900; dMinneapolis, Sept 15, 1975). Americanbandleader and violinist. He began his career playing light and classical music as a member of J. Rosamond Johnson’s orchestra (1920–25). In 1925 he recorded as a soloist with Clara Smith (If you only knowed, Col. 14058D, and You better keep the home fires burning, Col. 14062D) and began to lead his own band. The following year he directed the Savoy Bearcats, and in 1927 he reorganized the group for a tour of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay; he also took a band to England. Between 1928 and 1939 he toured extensively in Europe and visited India twice. After returning to the USA he organized a band in 1940 for Ethel Waters, toured with a small group, and then settled in Chicago, where he played regularly with a trio until 1964. Although he was not a jazz soloist, Abbey employed excellent sidemen, including Fletcher Allen, Emile Christian, Bill Coleman, Peter DuConge, and Crickett Smith. His jazz recordings as a leader remain unissued except for ...

Article

Barry Long

(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944; d Cortlandt Manor, NY, Aug 22, 2017). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Giovanni]

(bSan Girolamo di Lusiana, province of Vicenza, Italy, May 15, 1898; dMilan, Aug 1960). Italianbandleader, saxophonist, and violinist. He was brought up in Switzerland, where he formed a café orchestra with his brother Felice, who played banjo and violin. From 1925 to 1932 he toured Italy, Germany, and Switzerland and made several recordings as a leader for Homocord (1927–8, including Just Once Again, 2514, and Say it with a Red Rose, 2524, both 1928), in which Arthur Briggs may have taken part. Abriani held an engagement in Calcutta from 1932 to 1934, during which time he recorded for HMV’s Twin label. After returning to Europe he toured (1934–9) and made further recordings (1937–9), and then settled in Italy. Although he was not himself a jazz soloist, he often employed excellent jazz players as his sidemen. (A. Mazzoletti: Il jazz in Italia: dalle origini al dopoguerra...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(bSydney, March 31, 1922; dSydney, Aug 11, 1987). Australiansaxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He began to play saxophone in 1933 and joined George Fuller before working as a freelance musician and in wartime entertainment units. Following the war he performed in nightclubs and pit orchestras, and in coffee lounges in Melbourne (1948), then worked in Sydney with the trombonist George Trevare and as a freelance musician. From 1955 he led bands in Sydney hotels, among them the Criterion (1958–65), the Windsor Castle, and the Bellevue. Later he was a member of bands led by Dick Hughes (1979–85) and Alan Geddes (1984–6) and led his own group at the Canberra Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. He retired in 1986 because of ill-health. Acheson’s playing, which was chiefly in dixieland and swing styles, is heard to advantage on Merv Acheson 60th Birthday Concert...

Article

John Koegel

(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...

Article

J. Bradford Robinson

(b Dairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Japanese jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. She studied classical music and turned to jazz only in 1947 after moving to Japan. There she was discovered by Oscar Peterson, who urged her to take up a career in the USA. After studying at Berklee College of Music (1956–9) she became a highly regarded bop pianist, especially in groups with the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano (who was at that time her husband). She worked in Japan (1961), joined Charles Mingus in the USA (1962–3), then returned to Japan until 1965. In 1973 she founded a large rehearsal band in Los Angeles with the tenor saxophonist and flautist Lew Tabackin, whom she had married in 1969. Its first album, Kogun (1974, RCA), was commercially successful in Japan, and the group attracted increasing popularity and critical acclaim until, by ...

Article

Lawrence Koch

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Dominique, Albert]

(bNew Orleans, Aug 5, 1908; dSan Antonio, Jan 1980). Americantrumpeter and bandleader, nephew of Natty Dominique. His father was a singer and violinist with whom Albert began to take voice and violin lessons at the age of eight; his cornet studies got underway the following year and involved several teachers, including Papa Tio, A. J. Piron’s elder brother Milford Piron, and Manuel Perez, to whom he turned when Milford Piron disapproved of his having taken professional work in a Mardi Gras parade at the age of 14. He played with Perez’s band and on the steamer Susquehanna. From the age of 16 he became active in the Southwest and toured with one of Alphonso Trent’s bands (1925) and Troy Floyd (1926–9). While with Floyd he also recorded as a soloist, playing muted and open trumpet, in a small group accompanying the singer Hattie Burleson; among the results of this session was the pairing ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(Lee )

(b Milwaukee, April 25, 1961). American drummer and leader, brother of Eddie Allen. His mother was a gospel singer and an elder brother also played drums. He took up drums around the age of ten, was a member of a drum and bugle corps when he was 13, and organized his first jazz group a year later. The director of his high school band, who was himself a drummer, introduced him to recordings by Sid Catlett, Baby Dodds, Roy Haynes, and Philly Joe Jones. Allen performed locally with Sonny Stitt and Red Holloway at the age of 16 and then worked with James Moody. In 1979 he declined an offer from Mel Lewis to join Count Basie’s orchestra because he thought he was not good enough, and instead he studied classical percussion at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay; in 1981 he transferred to William Paterson College, Wayne, New Jersey, where he earned a degree in jazz studies and performance (...

Article

Barry Long

(b Louisville, KY, May 25, 1924). American alto saxophonist and bandleader. He began clarinet lessons when he was ten and later took up alto saxophone. After joining the US Army at 18 years of age, Allen performed in military bands and, while stationed in Paris, formed a trio with Art Simmons and Don Byas. Allen remained in Europe following his discharge, touring with James Moody and studying clarinet at the Paris Conservatory with Ulysse Delécluse. He returned to the United States in 1951 and led dance bands and worked as a composer in Chicago. After hearing a demo recording of Sun Ra’s Arkestra in a record store, Allen sought out the bandleader during a rehearsal and began an apprenticeship. He subsequently rehearsed with the Arkestra for more than a year before joining officially in 1958. His association with the ensemble has lasted more than 50 years.

Allen worked closely with Sun Ra for much of his professional career, composing for the bandleader and performing both in concert and on more than 200 albums; he even shared a house with him. Alongside John Gilmore Allen anchored the reed section, adding flute, clarinet, oboe, and in later years wind synthesizer. He invented the morrow, a woodwind instrument combining a saxophone mouthpiece with an open-holed wooden body, and learned to play and build the kora, a West African multi-string instrument. Allen rarely worked outside the Arkestra, although he made a notable recording with Paul Bley (...

Article

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...