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Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

(Emerson) [Gay]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[William Richard; Beez]

(b Benton Harbor, MI, Sept 14, 1930; d Los Angeles, November 13, 2002). American trumpeter, cornetist, and bandleader. Born into a musical family, he traveled from infancy with his father, a professional double bass player. He studied piano from about the age of five and took up trumpet as a teenager. After traveling with midwestern territory bands (1947–50) and serving in the air force (1951–4) he studied at the Cincinnati College of Music (1954) and the Berklee School of Music (1955–7). While in Boston he played with Herb Pomeroy. From March to September 1957 he was with Woody Herman, but he returned to Boston, then performed in Cincinnati, and in 1960 briefly rejoined Herman. He worked with Maynard Ferguson (1960–61) and toured with Duke Ellington (1961–4), and became known for the obbligato he played for the tap-dancer Bunny Briggs on Ellington’s album ...

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....

Article

Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[John Joseph, John Jazza]

(b Adelaide, Australia, Jan 5, 1926; d Sarasota, FL, October 28, 2010). Australian vibraphonist, drummer, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He was playing xylophone by the age of six and later studied piano and drums; he became interested in jazz while serving in an RAAF entertainment unit (1944–6). After the war he led groups in Adelaide and played in coffee lounges and at concerts in Melbourne (1947–8). Among his sidemen at this period was Errol Buddle; Brokensha’s playing is well represented by the recording Buddle’s Bebop Boogie (1948, Jazzart 3–4). Extensive touring established his reputation in Australia, and he worked in Sydney (1949–50), Brisbane (1950), where his group disbanded, and Adelaide (1951). With Bryce Rohde he traveled in 1953 to Canada, where he became a founding member of the Australian Jazz Quartet (December 1954, with Rohde, Buddle, and the reed player Dick Healey). Later expanded to a quintet and occasionally to a sextet, the group was extremely successful in the USA; among its albums were ...

Article

Stan Britt

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Dumfries, Scotland, April 21, 1933; d London, Feb 25, 2009). English trumpeter, flugelhorn player, bandleader, composer, writer, and teacher, brother of Mike Carr. His mother played ukulele and banjo. Carr grew up in northeast England, where he took piano lessons from the age of 12 and taught himself trumpet from 1950. After studying at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne (1952–60, degree, English literature, diploma, education) he served in the army (1956–8), then played with his brother in a band, the Emcee Five (1960 – August 1962). He briefly joined Don Rendell in November 1962 and, after recovering from illness, formed a long-lived quintet with Rendell from 1963 to July 1969; during this period he also worked with Joe Harriott (recording in 1969), Don Byas, and John McLaughlin. In September 1969 he formed his own band, Nucleus, which rapidly became recognized internationally for its experiments with jazz-rock. As a result of its performance at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

(b Geneva, Oct 11, 1920). Swiss clarinetist, saxophonist, and bandleader . He organized his own Jam Band at the age of 17 and in 1939 he made the first of more than 2000 half-hour broadcasts on Geneva radio. He made his first recording, with the New Rhythm Kings, in 1942, playing alto saxophone on Arrêt facultatif (Parl. B35544). In 1943 he formed the Dixie Dandies, which included Henri Chaix and, occasionally, Wallace Bishop. By 1945 he was considered the best Swiss saxophone and clarinet soloist; his clarinet playing may be heard on Mississippi Moan (1951, Col. DZ1008). After 1953 he performed mainly in the swing style, making a number of recordings with vibraphone and rhythm section for Philips, but he also worked with a dixieland ensemble called Creole Jazz; its recordings of 1952 (among them Dippermouth Blues, Col. ESDF1055 [EP]) were awarded the Prix Jazz Hot in 1955...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[David Frederick ]

(b Freeling, nr Gawler, Australia, Oct 25, 1914; d Adelaide, South Australia, March 24, 2003). Australian composer, bandleader, pianist, arranger, and trombonist. He was first exposed to jazz through recordings, notably those of Duke Ellington. In 1945 he took over the leadership of the Southern Jazz Group, a dixieland band in Adelaide, and in 1946 appeared with it at the first Australian Jazz Convention; the band recorded several times between then and 1950, and Dallwitz remained its leader for its intermittent performances from 1951 to 1961. He then withdrew from jazz, but continued to play (on cello and bassoon) and compose in symphonic, chamber, and light-music contexts. His return to jazz performance and composition was marked by a recording in 1972. From that time he led several concert bands, including the Hot Six, a big band, and a ragtime ensemble – the last reflecting a change in his interests; these different groups provided opportunities for the presentation of his prolific compositional output, which often focused on Australian history. His finest album, ...

Article

Thomas Owens

[Robert Chase ]

(b Los Angeles, May 20, 1932; d Los Angeles, May 15, 2008). American pianist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. His mother played music for films in Philadelphia. He began learning piano at the age of three and gave a recital when he was seven. From 1953 to 1955, while studying arranging at Los Angeles City College, he wrote his first big-band arrangements and formed a rehearsal band to play them. In 1955 he was a member of the band led by the guitarist Alvino Rey at Lake Tahoe, and in 1956 he briefly joined Les Brown’s orchestra. During this time he contributed some arrangements to Brown’s repertory, and he was soon writing for others as well: Harry James, Louie Bellson, and Jimmy Witherspoon (all 1959), Si Zentner (1959–70), Frank Capp (1960), Dave Pell (1962), the popular Brazilian pianist Sergio Mendes (1965...

Article

Clarrie Henley and Barry Kernfeld

[Dad ]

(b Dublin, Feb 26, 1907; d November 13, 2005). English tenor and bass saxophonist and bandleader. He grew up in London from the age of four, and studied piano, reed instruments, harmony, and counterpoint at the London College of Music (1921). He played with a jazz band, the Metronomes (1926–8), and the bands of the clarinetist Jack Padbury and others (late 1920s and early 1930s). After performing and recording with the bandleader Roy Fox, in 1939 he joined the violinist Oscar Rabin and formed, within Rabin’s orchestra, his own band, the Pieces of Eight; its recordings included Gold’s compositions Doubloon (1946), The Parade of the Pieces (1949), and Long John Stomp (1950). It continued to perform regularly into the 1960s, but from 1957 Gold gave its leadership over to his brother, the saxophonist Laurie Gold. He rejoined the band in the 1960s, and performed with it occasionally thereafter. Gold continued to work as a freelance throughout this period, notably with the bandleaders Geraldo (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Thomas O. ]

(b Norfolk, VA, Feb 28, 1921; d Virginia, February 11, 2003). American clarinetist, vibraphonist, and bandleader. He studied with Ernie Caceres and Peanuts Hucko and first played clarinet in college jazz groups and, during his military service, in army bands; having suffered lung damage in the war he took up vibraphone temporarily. In 1946–7, while studying journalism at New York University, he played with Charlie Byrd (a friend from his home town) in a group led by Sol Yaged. From 1951 to 1955 he lived in Norfolk, working for his family’s business and playing infrequently. He joined Bobby Hackett in 1956, and played vibraphone, soprano saxophone, and clarinet on the album Gotham Jazz Scene (1957, Cap. T857). Later he worked with Wild Bill Davison in Canada, with Billy Butterfield (1958–9), again with Byrd (1962–3), and with his own groups (from 1959). In ...

Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

[Görjen ]

(b Sweden, 1938; d Sweden, April 27, 2009). Swedish bandleader and pianist . He played dixieland while in his teens and formed a septet in 1959. Early in the 1960s this group acquired several new members (including Idrees Sulieman) and developed a rhythmic style that displayed the influence of Hank Crawford; it remained in existence until 1965. Hedrenius re-formed the group in 1971 as the Big Blues Band, and during the following years he made several recordings as its leader. For long periods from the 1970s into the 1990s the band played regularly in Stockholm at Bal Palais, Strömsborg, and other dance halls. In Stockholm he also managed Gugge’s Ballroom, despite its name not actually a ballroom, but a society which on a regular basis organized performances of jazz for dancing for its members, with his band appearing on its own, with guest soloists, or in alternation with other jazz groups. Hedrenius’s Big Blues Band made a tour of the USA in ...

Article

Wolfram Knauer

(b Bucharest, Dec 31, 1935; d Köln, March 27, 2010). German bandleader, trombonist, composer, and arranger of Romanian birth . After living for two years in Germany he moved in 1953 to Detroit, where he played guitar in clubs; he returned to Germany in 1957, took up trombone, and for one year attended the conservatory in Nuremberg. In the 1960s he played in the dance orchestra of Nuremberg radio under Josef Nissen, and in 1968 he joined the pit orchestra at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, of which Hans Koller was the music director. In the late 1960s he was a member of Radio Jazz Group Stuttgart. In 1969 he formed a big band, Rhythm Combination and Brass, which included leading musicians from European radio orchestras and for which he wrote most of the arrangements; among those who were at various times associated with the band were Dusko Goykovich, Herb Geller, Art Farmer, Palle Mikkelborg, Ack van Rooyen, Karl Drewo, Bo Stief, Ferdinand Povel, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Alex Riel, and Allan Botschinsky. In the late 1970s the band toured with such guest soloists as Stan Getz, Nat Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Toots Thielemans, Clark Terry, and Albert Mangelsdorff, among others. Herbolzheimer wrote music for the Olympic Games in Munich in ...

Article

Mark C. Gridley

revised by Charles Garrett

(b Chicago, IL, March 11, 1932; d New York, NY, Feb 24, 2007). American jazz violinist, composer, and bandleader. He was influenced by the violinists Jascha Heifetz, Eddie South, and Bruce Hayden, as well as the saxophonists Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane. From 1965 to 1969 he played in Chicago with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Creative Construction Company, becoming the leading violinist in the free jazz style. He then helped to organize the Revolutionary Ensemble (1971) and led his own trio (1977–9) and quintet (1982–3). In addition to collaborating with such musicians as Cecil Taylor, Joseph Jarman, and Myra Melford, he also contributed to the new music scene by serving on the board of directors of the Composer’s Forum. In his later career, he turned to creating theatrical productions, including the operas Mother of Three Sons...

Article

Richard H. Perry

(Lewis )

(b Montgomery, AL, Aug 7, 1941). American jazz tuba player, baritone saxophonist, and bandleader. Largely self-taught, he first learned baritone saxophone, then tuba. In 1963 he moved to New York, where he quickly established himself as a leading jazz tuba player and performed with Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, and, notably, Gil Evans. He played with Evans’s orchestra from 1966 until the leader’s death in 1988. He also worked with Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Chet Baker, and McCoy Tyner and spent several years with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk orchestra. From 1975 to 1980 he was a member of the house band for “Saturday Night Live,” serving as bandleader from 1979 to 1980.

Although Johnson has been recognized for his work on baritone saxophone, he is best known for his tuba playing and for his work with tuba ensembles. In 1968 he formed the first jazz tuba ensemble, Substructure. Although this group never recorded, Johnson subsequently formed Gravity, an ensemble with six tubas, in the 1970s; it released ...

Article

Yozo Iwanami

[Joji ]

(b Fukakusa, Kyoto, Japan, June 15, 1927; d Tokyo, November 1, 2003). Japanese drummer and leader. He was brought up in Dairen, Manchuria (now Lü-ten, China), in a musical family, and joined his father’s band there when he was 18. After World War II he returned to Japan, and he began playing professionally in 1947. He worked with the Azumanians, a septet, and from 1953 into the 1980s played in the Big Four, whose founding members were Hidehiko Matsumoto, the pianist Hachidai Nakamura, and the double bass player Mitsuru Ono; the group operated and recorded mainly under Kawaguchi’s leadership. In 1981 he recorded as a leader with Art Blakey, and the following year he performed at the Kool Jazz Festival in New York; he gave concerts in Tokyo and Osaka in 1985. In 1987 he deputized for Blakey at the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival. Kawaguchi used two bass drums and was known for his extended solos; he projected strength and vitality as a drummer but was also capable of great delicacy....

Article

Klaus Schulz

(b Vienna, Feb 12, 1921; d Vienna, Dec 22, 2003). Austrian tenor saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. He studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna (1936–9) and, after serving in the army (1940–46), joined the group Hot Club Vienna (1947), of which he later became the leader. In 1950 he moved to Germany, where he played for a short time with Freddie Brocksieper and then formed a quartet, which made several successful recordings for Discovery in 1952; he also led the New Jazz Stars, which included Albert Mangelsdorff and Jutta Hipp. He worked with Dizzy Gillespie (1953), Bill Russo (1955), Lee Konitz and Lars Gullin (for a tour of Europe from c late 1955 into early 1956), Stan Kenton (1956), Eddie Sauter (1957–8), and Benny Goodman (1958). During the late 1950s Koller led a quartet (with Attila Zoller, Oscar Pettiford, and Kenny Clarke or Jimmy Pratt), while at the same time working in Hamburg as the music director of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk jazz workshops (...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b London, July 29, 1919; d London, Feb 9, 2009). English bandleader, guitarist, singer, and cornetist. He started on banjo before taking up guitar. In the mid-1930s he played in a band with George Shearing and Carlo Krahmer, and in 1938 he visited New York, where he performed with Bobby Hackett. In the same year he led a group for a recording session that included Hackett, Eddie Condon, Zutty Singleton, and other American musicians. During his service in the RAF (1939–44) he performed and recorded as a guitarist with Buddy Featherstonhaugh, and his playing from this period may be heard on Vic Lewis Jam Sessions, 1944–1945: the War Years (1944–5, Harl. 3008). While in the air force he also learned to play trombone, and he founded, with Jack Parnell, a dixieland band, the Jazzmen. Following his discharge in 1945 he continued the Jazzmen, initially with Parnell and then as sole leader, and he worked briefly with Stephane Grappelli. In ...