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Leonard Bernardo

(Andrejevich )

(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...

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[Dionysus Lardner ]

(b Dublin, Dec 26, 1820 or 1822; d New York, Sept 18, 1890). Irish dramatist . Known primarily as an actor, he played regularly in New York and London from the 1850s, excelling in his depictions of Irish heroes. Though nearly all his dramatic works were adaptations, they were often brilliantly constructed. His most successful pieces were London Assurance (1841, produced under the pseudonym Lee Morton); The Colleen Bawn, or The Brides of Garryowen (1860, after G. Griffin: The Collegians, or The Colleen Bawn), later adapted by Boucicault and John Oxenford as the libretto for Benedict’s opera The Lily of Killarney (1862); and Arrah-na-Pogue (1865). With B. N. Webster Boucicault adapted an opéra comique by Ambroise Thomas, Le panier fleuri, for London, as The Fox and the Goose, or The Widow’s Husband (1844, Adelphi Theatre).

DNB (J. Knight) J. W. Cole...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b Minneapolis, Jan 22, 1952). American percussionist, clarinetist, pianist, and critic. His father was an orchestral percussionist. Having been exposed to jazz at an early age, he took up drums when he was nine and studied informally with his father. Later he learned piano (1966–7) until he tired of reading music, though he resumed playing the instrument from 1969, took up clarinet in 1972, and doubled on bass clarinet from 1989 to 1992 and alto clarinet from 1992. Around the age of 17 he played in a rock band, but because he wished to explore freer types of music he formed the experimental group Blue Freedom; it was later known as Blue Freedom New Art Transformation and from 1973 as the Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble (MFFJE), which from 1975 functioned primarily as a duo with the guitarist Steve Gnitka; the two men toured Europe in ...

Article

Robert Gannon

(Richard Jeremy )

(b Weymouth, England, April 7, 1921; d Weymouth, May 9, 1991). English writer. From 1965 he was the host in Britain of a weekly radio program, “Jazz Scene” (better known by its later title, “Jazz Today”); he also hosted “Jazz in Britain.” The two shows eventually merged, and continued on BBC Radio 3 until 1988. Fox became the jazz critic of the New Statesman and also contributed occasionally to The Guardian, the Sunday Times, and The Gramophone. In the USA he is best known for The Essential Jazz Records, i: Ragtime to Swing (1984), a guide to 250 jazz recordings written with Max Harrison and Eric Thacker. He also wrote a brief, insightful book on Fats Waller (1960).

(selective list)

Fats Waller (New York, 1960); repr. in Kings of Jazz, ed. S. Green (South Brunswick, NJ, and New York, 1978) with P. Gammond and ...

Article

Caroline Polk O’Meara

[Jones, Alexander Roger Wallace ]

(b New York, NY, 1967). American musician and writer. Frere-Jones has performed with his band Ui since the early 1990s, when he also began writing about music for publications including the Village Voice, New York Times, and Spin. Since 2004 he has been the pop music critic at The New Yorker. His columns often cover popular musicians, but he has also been an early champion of many lesser-known groups from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Sleigh Bells. His experience as a professional musician shines in his authorial voice; he writes accessibly and in depth about musical content. Frere-Jones’s controversial 2007 New Yorker article, “A Paler Shade of White,” produced a large amount of support and criticism in the press. The wide-ranging article began with him mourning the absence of African American music traditions in indie rock (centering on the group Arcade Fire) before addressing the question of musical miscegenation, which he claims is sadly absent in most current rock music. Frere-Jones’s clever quips are frequently quoted in the work of other writers, making him something of a critic’s critic....

Article

George J. Grella

(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA 1976), where he played jazz piano, sang, composed chamber music, and organized free-jazz ensembles. He moved to New York and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, producing work for Paul Bley’s label Improvising Artists and for composer La Monte Young, while making music on the side. Garland followed the twin paths of piano improvisation and composition for chamber ensembles in the minimalist style and later joined Nigel Rollings’s band Ad Hoc Rock; with Rollings he sang and played drums, guitar, and keyboards and appeared at The Kitchen, Carnegie Hall, and in the Noise Fest at White Columns (1981). In ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Reading, PA, Dec 18, 1932). American writer. He learned clarinet from the age of 12 and taught himself to play alto saxophone. After studying music theory at Florida State University (BA 1961) he played with the pianist John Benson Brooks (c1961–3), whose trio explored 12-tone composition and improvisation. From the early 1960s Heckman contributed to Down Beat, Metronome, and Jazz Review, and in the process he wrote a number of musical analyses of jazz performances (notably “Miles Davis Times Three,” DB, xxix/23 (1962), 16), which was an unusual practice at the time. Around the same period he played occasionally with Don Ellis, broadcast a jazz radio show on WBAI-FM in New York (1963–4), and performed in the October Revolution in Jazz (1964). From 1964 to 1972, with the tenor saxophonist Ed Summerlin, he co-led the ensemble Improvisational Jazz Workshop, in which Steve Kuhn, Ron Carter, Steve Swallow, Ed Shaugnessy, and Charli Persip were among their sidemen; the group recorded an eponymous album in ...

Article

(well )

(b London, Feb 28, 1917; d Chichester, England, Aug 1, 1993). English writer. He taught himself to play saxophone and clarinet and worked in dance bands from 1930. After abandoning his career as a performer in 1935, in the late 1930s he formed the High Wycombe Rhythm Club and the Challenge Jazz Club. He was the jazz editor of Challenge in 1941–2 and worked as a commentator for the BBC’s program “Radio Rhythm Club” from 1942 to 1943; he continued to work occasionally in radio during the following decades. In 1942 he was a founder, with Albert McCarthy, of the journal Jazz Music (which he edited in 1944 and again from 1946 to the early 1950s) and from 1944 to 1946 he was the editor of a series of pamphlets entitled Jazz Music Books. Jones had a long association with Melody Maker, first as an editor with Rex Harris of “Collector’s Corner” (from ...

Article

Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...

Article

Susan Fast

(b Paris, April 19, 1928; d London, Jan 1, 1984). British guitarist, bandleader, journalist and broadcaster. In the late 1940s and 50s he played traditional jazz and skiffle, but his musical sympathies lay with the country blues of artists such as Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy. He befriended the jazz musician Chris Barber, who had similar musical interests and had brought several blues artists over to England; Korner met many of these artists and promoted them in articles for journals including Melody Maker and Jazz on Record, and from 1958 through broadcasts on the BBC. With Cyril Davies, he formed the first British blues club, the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club. He had played acoustic guitar in the armed forces in Germany (1947–9), but took up electric guitar only after hearing Muddy Waters in 1958. With Davies he formed the electric band Blues Incorporated (...

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Article

Steve Smith

(Marc )

(b Chicago, Dec 26, 1950). American writer. He learned piano and flute as a child and pursued his formal education at Syracuse University (1970–72), Mills College (1972), and Roosevelt College (1973–5); he also studied boogie-woogie, swing, and blues piano with leading players in Chicago. In 1975 he embarked on his writing career, working for Down Beat (as associate editor, 1978–81), The Wire, Musical America, Tower Pulse!, the Village Voice, the Washington Post, Billboard, the New York Times Book Review, and Jazziz. He contributed scripts for jazz shows on NPR and held editorial positions at Guitar World (1982–3), Ear (1987–92), the JVC Jazz Festival program guide published by Tower Pulse! (from 1994), and Rhythm Music (1996–7). Mandel was a founder of the Jazz Journalists’ Association: in 1992 he became its president and in 1997 editor of its website, ...

Article

Sergey Belichenko

(Pavlovich )

(b Braşov, Romania, April 20, 1947). Russian pianist, keyboard player, and journalist of Romanian birth. In Lithuania he studied accordion at Vilnius Music College (1961–5) and composition at the Lithuanian State Conservatory (1965–8). He first led quartets at the festivals in Tallinn (Estonian SSR [now Estonia]) in 1966 and 1967, and from 1969 to 1970 he led groups in Vilnius. In 1979 he began working with Vladimir Chekasin in settings ranging from a duo to a large orchestra. He performed at Soviet festivals in Riga and Krasnoyarsk, and internationally in Karlshamn (Sweden), Münster, Göttingen, and Munich (Germany), Lyons (France), Skopje (Yugoslavia), Salzburg (Austria), Venice and Rome (Italy), and Budapest, and played with such leading Lithuanian musicians as Petras Vyšniauskas, Vytautas Labutis, and the alto saxophonist Danielius Praspaliauskis. After studying journalism he published articles on Lithuanian jazz, and in 1989 he joined the staff of the new Russian magazine ...

Article

Walter Aaron Clark and William Craig Krause

(b Madrid, March 3, 1891; d Madrid, Sept 12, 1982). Spanish composer, conductor and critic. He first studied music with his father, José Moreno Ballesteros, an organist and teacher at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid, and with whom he collaborated on his first zarzuela, Las decididas (1912). He later studied composition with Conrado del Campo at the Royal Conservatory, where his tone poem La ajorca de oro was first performed in 1918. In 1926 he married Pilar Larregla, the daughter of a Navarrese composer; the folk music of Navarra along with that of Castile was to serve as a major source of inspiration in his music. Although not a guitarist himself, in the 1920s his growing friendship with Segovia inspired him to begin writing for the guitar, and the resulting compositions such as Sonatina (1924) and Piezas características (1931) are among his finest works. He also established himself as a composer for the stage, and his zarzuela ...

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Nucleus  

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(b Little Rock, AR, June 19, 1945; d Valhalla, NY, Nov 20, 1997). American writer. As a youth he played reed instruments with rock, country, and soul bands, and later performed as a member of an eclectic group called the Insect Trust, with which he recorded two albums. He was a co-founder of the Memphis Blues Festival in 1966, and the following year graduated from the University of Arkansas. In New York thereafter he became a widely published freelance writer on jazz, rock, and the avant garde. From 1975 he was a regular reviewer for the New York Times and in 1981 he was appointed to its staff of jazz and pop critics. Palmer wrote four books, the most important of which was a study of the Delta blues (Deep Blues, New York and London, 1981). He held teaching positions at Bowdoin College, Memphis State University, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Mississippi, where he worked after leaving the ...

Article

Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Robert (D.) ]

(b New York, c1945). American writer. He studied clarinet and drums and played drums in workshops with Jaki Byard (1968–71) and Cedar Walton (1972). In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote for American and European periodicals, including Down Beat, Jazz Journal, and Jazz Forum, and in 1975 he began publishing the monthly magazine Cadence, which in the following years printed many wide-ranging interviews with jazz and blues musicians and reviews of recordings. Later he formed Cadence Jazz Records (1980), which by the late 1990s had issued more than 100 recordings; North Country Record Distribution (1983), which distributes the jazz and blues recordings of more than 900 small independent labels; Cadence Jazz Books (1992), which publishes reference books, histories, and discographies; and CIMP (1996), for which he had produced about 100 recordings by the turn of the century. He donated his extensive indexed collection of books and journals, covering jazz and blues literature in the English language, to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library (...

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(b Dresden, 1738; d Schleswig, Nov 22, 1789). German actress and writer. At the end of an unhappy childhood she took to the stage. In 1754 she married the actor Hensel, but they separated three years later. She worked with various troupes and appeared several times in Vienna. After the collapse of the Hamburg Nationaltheater, she took up with the impresario Abel Seyler in 1769, and married him three years later, by which time she was recognized as Germany’s foremost tragedienne. Lessing praised her passionate and majestic acting at Hamburg, and Benda and F. W. Gotter wrote their chilling melodrama Medea to set off her skills in 1775. At the end of her career she wrote a five-act libretto Hüon und Amande, based on Wieland’s epic poem Oberon and set by the Schleswig music director Karl Hanke in 1789. The text was adapted for Paul Wranitzky shortly thereafter by Gieseke as ...

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Nicholas Temperley

(b Exeter, Oct 28, 1823; d Leeds, June 16, 1897). English organist and writer. His father William Spark (1797–1865) was a lay vicar of Exeter Cathedral; two brothers were also musicians. He was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral and was articled to S.S. Wesley for five years in 1840. When Wesley moved to Leeds parish church in 1842, Spark went with him, and was soon appointed organist successively at Chapeltown and St Paul’s, Leeds. Appointments at Tiverton, Daventry, and St George’s, Leeds (1850), followed. From his return to Leeds he was extremely active in local music, founding the Leeds Madrigal and Motet Society, the People’s Concerts, and other organizations. With Henry Smart he designed the large organ for the new town hall, opened in 1858, and was elected borough organist, a post which he held until his death. His views on organ building, tending to promote the French school, were influential. He played an organ sonata at the first Leeds Festival (...