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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

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

T. Dennis Brown

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Viniello, Daniel Alvin ]

(b New York, Nov 29, 1902; d Chicago, Dec 6, 1958). American drummer and bandleader. He began playing professionally in New York with a white vaudeville singer known as Aunt Jemima (1918) and recorded there with Sophie Tucker (1919–22). His jazz career centered on Chicago, where he performed with Jules Buffano (1922), Charlie Straight, Elmer Schoebel, and Frankie Quartell (with whom he recorded in 1924); he later worked in commercial bands and briefly as a bandleader before joining Art Hodes (1933). In 1936 he returned to New York to work with musicians who were profiting by the revival of interest in dixieland. As a member of a small group led by Wingy Manone he recorded regularly in 1937–8 and again in January 1940; he also recorded with Joe Marsala (1937) and Bud Freeman’s Summa cum Laude Orchestra (...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

(b São Paulo, 1892; d Rio de Janeiro, 1979). Brazilian bandleader, violinist, and saxophonist. He studied music in Rio de Janeiro (1917–19) and directed his own dance orchestra, gradually changing its repertory from Latin American music to jazz. He recorded prolifically on the Odeon label (1919–24) and although he did not perform as a soloist he became one of the pioneers of jazz in Brazil. While touring Europe (1924–34) he played for a time with the dancer and bandleader Grégor Kélékian. He made several recordings for Grammophon in Berlin (including Everything is hotsy totsy now, 20338, and Big Bad Bill, 20340, both 1926), some of which show to advantage the hot trumpet playing of Mickey Diamond and the blue blowing on kazoo of Sydney Sterling. (R. E. Lotz: “Eduardo Andreozzi: the Jazz Pioneer from Brazil,” Sv, no.122 (1985–6), 62 [incl. discography])...

Article

Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy

(Noah )

(b Berkeley, CA, Aug 21, 1960). American bandleader, tenor saxophonist, composer, percussionist, and pianist. He played percussion and piano from an early age, took up drums while in elementary school, and began piano lessons when he was nine. In 1975 he formed his own improvisation group, the Berkeley Arts Company, and in 1977 he founded the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, which initially consisted of 16 reed and brass players and himself on drums; the following year he added other instruments to form a rhythm section. Having moved to New York state (c1979) he played percussion and drums in Karl Berger’s Woodstock Workshop Orchestra, and he toured and recorded with the group in Europe with Don Cherry as guest soloist (1979). Under Warren Smith (ii) he performed in the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble, and he played keyboards in Carla Bley’s Burning Sensations and worked briefly with Eddie Jefferson. In ...

Article

John Cowley and Howard Rye

(b Jamaica, c1900; d after 1954). Jamaican tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He moved to Great Britain around 1924 and performed in dance bands there and in Europe until the early 1930s. He played in London with West Indian jazz musicians, including Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz (...

Article

Dave Gelly

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Altwerger, John ]

(b Toronto, May 19, 1919; d Palm Springs, CA, Jan 8, 1990). American tenor saxophonist and bandleader. His family moved to New York in 1919. He first played professionally on alto saxophone, but changed to the tenor instrument because of Coleman Hawkins’s influence. He led his own band at Nick’s, New York, and worked with Bunny Berigan (1937–8) and Artie Shaw (c December 1938 – November 1939). Following Shaw’s first retirement he led the latter’s band briefly, then played for a short time with Jan Savitt and was a member of Benny Goodman’s orchestra and sextet (November 1940 – c June 1941); during the same period he recorded in Benny Carter’s band, accompanying Billie Holiday (September–October 1940), and again under Carter’s leadership (October 1940). After a second period with Shaw (to January 1942) Auld resumed bandleading (February 1942...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Stevensville, MT, March 20, 1916; d San Francisco, Oct 26, 1989). American pianist and bandleader. As a teenager he went with his family to Santa Clara, California, and in 1938 he moved to San Francisco, where he immediately began working professionally. He played traditional jazz with Turk Murphy (1942) and, after a brief period of army service, Lu Watters (1943) and performed and recorded with Bunk Johnson (1943–4). He led his own bands (1944–9), performed and recorded with Bob Scobey and Murphy again (December 1947, 1949–50), rejoined Watters (1949), and later worked with Marty Marsala (1954). Bales recorded as a leader in 1949, 1950, and 1957, and in 1958 and 1959 led bands at the first two Monterey jazz festivals, accompanying Lizzie Miles in the latter year. As an unaccompanied soloist he made recordings in ...

Article

(b Palestine, TX, Jan 21, 1902; d Fort Worth, May 2, 1984). American singer and bandleader. He led his own band in Dallas (c1925) and toured Texas, then briefly led the Wolverines. In 1928 he worked as a banjoist in New York, but from 1929 he specialized as a singer. He made a large number of recordings as a leader (1929–31, 1934), as well as with such musicians as the Dorsey Brothers (1928–9), Irving Mills, the Goofus Five, and Ben Pollack (all 1929), the California Ramblers, Joe Venuti, and Frankie Trumbauer (all 1929–30), the violinist Ben Selvin (1929–31), Duke Ellington (1930, notably Nine Little Miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee, Vic. 22586), and Red Nichols and Benny Goodman (both 1931). During the early 1930s his band held many residencies in New York, and Ballew also led an all-star group which included Bunny Berigan and Glenn Miller. Later he appeared in many films....

Article

Howard Rye

(b Vicksburg, MS, July 8, 1905; d Natchez, MS, April 23, 1940). American bandleader, clarinetist, and saxophonist. After studying music in Chicago he formed his own quartet (1926). Later he led the Royal Creolians, which held many engagements in the Chicago area (to 1930) and was also resident at the Savoy Ballroom, New York (1929). In 1928–9 he made several recordings with the band, among them Buffalo Rhythm (1929, Bruns. 7072) and If you’re thinking of me (1929, Bruns. 4480). It toured the South and Midwest (1930s), where it became very popular, and by 1938 it comprised 16 musicians. In 1939 Barnes re-formed the band for a residency at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago. While on tour in 1940 he, eight of his sidemen, and the singer Juanita Avery were killed in a fire at the Rhythm Club, Natchez. The tragedy has been the subject of several blues recordings, including ...

Article

Brian Peerless

[Gordon ]

(b Fort Worth, Feb 12, 1914; d Costa Mesa, CA, May 30, 2000). American tenor saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. As a child he played soprano saxophone, and in his teens he worked with territory bands in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1938 he joined Glenn Miller, to whom he had been recommended by Gene Krupa. Miller gave him a highly prominent role, and his playing may be heard on In the Mood and other pieces. Beneke also became one of the band’s principal singers; he often took duets with Marion Hutton, and sang with the Modernaires on such recordings as Chattanooga Choo Choo. He appeared with the band in films and became extremely popular, winning several polls. When the ensemble disbanded in 1942 Beneke toured with the Modernaires. During World War II he directed a navy dance band in Oklahoma, and following his discharge he was selected by the administrators of Miller’s estate to assume leadership of the latter’s band (...

Article

Brian Peerless

[William ]

(b Charleston, WV, 1902). American tuba player and bandleader, brother of Tommy Benford. His mother died when he was young, and after his father, aunt, and uncle ran into personal difficulties they sent the brothers to the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina, where they received their musical education; despite reports to the contrary, only Bill toured with its band to England in 1914. To escape from the orphanage the brothers joined the Green River Minstrels (c1920), then, around 1922, played together in New York, where they worked for a number of bandleaders, including Marie Lucas and Elmer Snowden. In the mid- to late 1920s Benford led his own band. Jelly Roll Morton admired this group and recorded with it under his own name between 1928 and 1930; Benford’s playing is well represented on Morton’s Kansas City Stomps (1928), Shoe Shiners Drag (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Benoit, Jean-Louis ]

(b Philadelphia, May 18, 1926; d nr Paris, Feb 10, 1997). American organist and leader. His father was from Martinique. A child prodigy, he grew up in Baltimore, where he was taught by his grandmother; his grandfather was a Baptist minister, and Bennett directed their church choir from the age of 12. After military service (1943–6), during which time he played tuba and thereby developed his ability to invent bass lines, he began his jazz career in Baltimore (1947), leading a piano trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole. In 1949, under the influence of Wild Bill Davis, he began to play organ, an instrument he used professionally from 1951. By 1956 he was performing in a style much closer to that of Jimmy Smith rather than Davis, and from 1957 to 1959 he toured the Midwest and the East Coast with his own hard-bop organ trio. The following year he moved to Paris, where he performed at the Blue Note with Jimmy Gourley or René Thomas in Kenny Clarke’s trio, accompanying numerous distinguished guest soloists (until ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, March 30, 1949). American arranger, composer, and conductor. His mother played piano, and he studied classical music at grade school and was exposed to jazz at high school. After studying at the Berklee School of Music (1966) he performed in local jazz groups while attending Ithaca College (BMus 1971). He then moved to New York (1971), where he formed his own rehearsal band, played trumpet with Jimmy Maxwell (1972–80) and Lee Castle (1973), performed with and arranged for Mercer Ellington (1974), Chuck Israels’s National Jazz Ensemble (1975–80), and Gunther Schuller (1980), and composed and arranged for, among others, the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Buddy Rich’s big band, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Stan Getz, Lee Konitz’s nonet, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In addition he continued his education at the Eastman School (...

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

Frank Driggs

revised by Howard Rye

[Andrew ]

(b Quitman, MS, June 10, 1898; d Baldwin Park, CA, Feb 12, 1992). American trumpeter and bandleader. In 1979 he moved to Chicago and two years later became involved in music; he studied with W. L. Jackson (Erskine Tate’s stepfather). He played his first job on Labor Day 1922, in Gary, Indiana, with, among others, Lester Boone. He then worked for the pianist Glover Compton and Doc Cook, rehearsed with Jelly Roll Morton (1925), and spent two weeks with King Oliver at the Plantation, replacing Tommy Ladnier when the latter went to Europe, until Bob Shoffner could join. After returning to Cook he led a band for six weeks at the Charleston Café (late 1925). Having accepted an invitation to travel to Los Angeles to join the Sunnyland Band, directed by Buster Wilson, he arrived at Thanksgiving (presumably 1925 rather than 1926), but very soon left and worked for the violinist and saxophonist Johnny Mitchell in a band that included Lionel Hampton and Les Hite. In ...

Article

Jeff Potter

[Correa, William ]

(b New York, Feb 28, 1934; d Los Angeles, Sept 15, 1983). American percussionist and bandleader. The son of a Puerto Rican immigrant, he grew up in Spanish Harlem. He taught himself to play bongos when he was 14, worked as a “band boy” for Machito, and played in Latin bands in New York and with Perez Prado. He recorded with Mary Lou Williams (who gave him the nickname Bobo) in 1951, then worked with Tito Puente (1954–8), Cal Tjader (1957–61), and Herbie Mann (1961–3). In 1963 he made his first recording as a leader, on which Clark Terry and Joe Farrell performed as sidemen; in that same year Bobo himself recorded as a sideman for Herbie Hancock’s third small-group album (playing the drum set, not Latin percussion). After settling in California in 1969 he played jazz and Latin music throughout the 1970s, sometimes adding his own vocal part to his band’s performances in order to broaden its appeal; he may be seen leading a sextet in the film documentary ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

(b Berlin, Feb 7, 1886; d Amsterdam, July 30, 1934). German bandleader, alto saxophonist, and clarinetist. He played first clarinet with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra before World War I. After hearing jazz in the USA in 1918–19, he organized a band modeled on the Louisiana Five. He accompanied silent films and also appeared as a jazz bandleader in two films (...

Article

(b Gary, IN, May 23, 1919). American alto saxophonist and bandleader. After playing in Chicago (1940) he moved to New York, where he recorded with Woody Herman (1943) and Sonny Dunham (1944–6), and was a soloist with Boyd Raeburn (1944–5) and Gene Krupa (1945). He then led his own big bands (1945–7) and also recorded with a small group (Dear Max/Chelsea Bridge, 1946, Sig. 15085). He led another small group in Chicago (1948), worked in New England, and again led a band in New York (1949), after which he left music and moved to Miami. On Worried Life Blues (1945, Manor 1034), from a big-band session led by Oscar Pettiford, he plays a brief but effective slow blues solo, after the manner of Johnny Hodges, as an accompaniment to the singer Rubberlegs Williams....