(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 ...
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
[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 ...
(b Dallas, TX, Jan 26, 1922; d Suffern, NY, Nov 4, 1999). American recorder player, editor, teacher, and conductor. His early musical experience included playing the trumpet in small jazz bands and in Broadway pit bands and arranging music for shows in New York. While studying with erich Katz at the New York College of Music he developed an interest in early music. He learned to play the recorder, crumhorn, sackbut, and viola da gamba and arranged and directed medieval and Renaissance music. He edited music for the American Recorder Society, which published several of his compositions, and later was general editor of the series Music for Recorders (Associated Music Publishers). He took part in the debut of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua under Noah Greenberg in 1953 and rejoined them from 1960 until 1970; during this time he became director of the instrumental consort and assistant director of the Renaissance band. He toured internationally with them and played on many recordings. In ...
(b Richmond, VA, May 7, 1957). American conductor, educator, and flutist. Karen Deal studied flute at Oral Roberts University (BMus 1980) and orchestral conducting at Virginia Commonwealth University (MM 1982). She made her European conducting debut in 1984 with the Pro Arte Orchestra in Vienna, Austria, while pursuing postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darnstellende Kunst. During coursework toward a DMA in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Deal studied with Praul Vermel on an Aspen Music Festival Fellowship (1988) and won the National Repertory Orchestra Biennial Conducting Competition. She was the founding director for the Sinfonia Concertante in Maryland in 1988 and the Chesapeake Youth Symphony in 1990 while serving as Associate Conductor for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and teaching music history and flute at Loyola College.
After study with gustav Meier , Leonard Slatkin, and Leon Fleisher at the Tanglewood Music Festival in ...
Mark E. Perry
(b San Juan, PR, March 26, 1854; d San Juan, PR, April 4, 1934). Puerto Rican composer, flutist, scholar, and conductor. His earliest achievements came as a flutist; he studied flute with Italian-born Rosario Aruti. Chiefly self-taught as a composer, he was influenced musically by his father, a cellist and double bass player, and Felipe Gutiérrez Espinosa, an established Puerto Rican composer of sacred music. In 1877 Dueño Colón received the gold medal from the Ateneo Puertorriqueño for the symphonic work La amistad (1877). In 1880 he formed a municipal band in Bayamón and shortly afterwards served as the flutist for the chapel of San Juan Cathedral. Awards for his compositions continued, including a silver medal at the Pan American Exposition, held in Buffalo in 1901, for Canciones escolares, a collection of original songs as well as arrangements for Puerto Rican school children. In addition to showing substantial interest in European masterworks, he embarked on the scholarly study of the Puerto Rican ...
Eldonna L. May
(b New York, NY, Jan 5, 1956). American conductor, composer, and clarinetist. After growing up in Harlem and the South Bronx, he attended the Eastman School (BA 1978), Queens College (MA 1979), and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (PhD 1982). He served as assistant professor of music at Carleton College (1982–6), then became the principal guest conductor at the Dance Theatre of Harlem (1986–99) and the resident conductor at the Detroit SO (1987–99). From 1994 to 2001 he worked as assistant to veteran conductor Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic. He served as music director of the Detroit SO and the Dearborn SO (1987–94), Symphony Nova Scotia (1996–9), and the Annapolis SO (1998–2003). He was principal conductor of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago (2003–9), and in 2009 he became the principal conductor of the Louisville Ballet. He has conducted the major American orchestras and has been a prominent international guest conductor, leading ensembles such as the Royal Ballet of London, the Madrid SO, and the Warsaw Sinfonia. He has been a regular visitor to South Africa, where he has performed with that country’s major orchestras, including the KwaZulu-Natal PO. Dunner was the first American winner of the Arturo Toscanini International Conducting Competition in ...
revised by Kelly Hiser
(b Kankakee, IL, March 22, 1942; d San Rafael, CA, Sept 25, 1996). American composer, trombonist, conductor, and double bassist. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trombone with Robert Gray and composition with Kenneth Gaburo, herbert Brün , and salvatore Martirano (BM in performance 1965). He studied jazz improvisation with lee Konitz and electronic music with richard b. Hervig at the University of Iowa (1970–71). He was a member of the Harry Partch Ensemble (1961–2) and the Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players (1963–6) and was an associate artist at the University of Iowa Center for New Music and New Performing Arts (1969–74). From 1974 to 1984 English lived in Europe, where he performed widely as a soloist and with jazz and new music ensembles, at festivals, and on radio. He collaborated with his wife Candace Natvig, a singer and violinist; in ...
Trudi Ann Wright
(b Summit, MS, July 5, 1913; d Petersburg, VA, April 16, 1989). American conductor, clarinetist, and educator. He gained his musical training at Oberlin College, Northwestern University, and Columbia University, where he received his doctorate in music education. After graduation he became a faculty member at Bennett College and then at Lincoln University in Missouri. From 1947 he spent 29 years working at Virginia State College (from 1979, Virginia State University), where he directed instrumental music. He led military, symphonic, and marching bands, which toured and won recognition throughout North America and Europe. He was also active as a band clinician, guest conductor, and workshop consultant. Along with his work as an educator, Gatlin maintained a performance career as a clarinetist, appearing with numerous US bands and orchestras including the St. Louis SO.
In 1960 Gatlin co-founded the Intercollegiate Music Association with Evelyn Johnson and Albert Grauer which in the early 2010s was continuing to “enrich and enhance the development of the students” in its historically black member institutions. After his retirement from Virginia State in ...
Richard H. Perry
(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 ...
(b Chicago, IL, Sept 2, 1931; d New York, NY, March 27, 1993). American tenor saxophonist and bandleader. He was one of several notable jazz musicians to come out of DuSable High School on Chicago’s South Side, where his contemporaries included the tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and John Gilmore and the bass player Richard Davis. During his early years in Chicago he played with Max Roach and Sonny Stitt and a variety of rhythm-and-blues bands. In 1957 he moved to New York and recorded his first album, Blowing in from Chicago (BN) with the hard-bop pioneers Horace Silver on piano and Art Blakey on drums. In the years that followed Jordan performed and recorded prolifically, appearing with groups led by Silver and J.J. Johnson, as a sideman on recordings by Lee Morgan, among others, and co-leading a group with Kenny Dorham. In 1964 he toured Europe with the Charles Mingus Sextet playing alongside Eric Dolphy....
(b Los Angeles, CA, June 3, 1946). American composer, conductor, flutist, and lecturer. Kessner studied composition with henri Lazarof at UCLA where he earned a PhD with Distinction in 1971. He taught music composition and theory at California State University, Northridge, from 1970 to 2006. Kessner has composed more than 100 works: orchestral (14), choir and stage (9), symphonic band (8), and various chamber music settings (80). His music is performed worldwide and has been recorded commercially. His compositional style evolved into centric harmony with explorations in microtonality and free rhythmic associations. While at California State University, he founded and directed The Discovery Players, a contemporary music performance group. He has served as guest conductor for several regional orchestras in the United States and for the Black Sea Philharmonic of Constanta, Romania. With his wife and pianist Dolly Eugenio Kessner, he created the Duo Kessner, which primarily performs contemporary flute literature. Since ...
[Kuczynski, Julius Frank Anthony ]
(b Milwaukee, WI, Feb 18, 1914; d Louisville, KY, March 7, 2000). American country music accordionist, bandleader, songwriter, and vocalist. His musical career was inspired by his father, John, a Polish American who led a local polka band. At 15, he began learning accordion and, in 1930, met popular bandleader Wayne King who suggested the youth take the surname “King” in the interest of simplicity. His first band, the King’s Jesters, played both country music and polkas. In 1934, the group filled in for Gene Autry’s band when Autry, then a star of WLS’s National Barn Dance, toured Wisconsin. King joined Autry (who dubbed him “Pee Wee”) in Louisville until the singer left to launch his Hollywood film career. He briefly led a Louisville band known as the Log Cabin Boys, then in 1937 organized the Golden West Cowboys, who joined the Grand Ole Opry with a distinctive, progressive repertoire blending country, pop, polkas, waltzes, and western swing. From ...
[Andrew Dewey ]
(b Newport, KY, May 28, 1898; d New York, NY, Dec 11, 1992). American jazz saxophonist and bandleader. He spent his childhood in Denver, where he studied piano, singing, alto saxophone, and music theory with Paul Whiteman’s father, Wilberforce Whiteman, among others. In 1918 he joined George Morrison’s orchestra as a bass saxophonist and tuba player. Around 1927 he moved to Dallas, where he joined Terrence Holder’s Dark Clouds of Joy orchestra; he assumed its leadership in 1929. In that year he transferred the band to Kansas City, Missouri, where it was known as the Clouds of Joy (among other related titles), rivaled Bennie Moten’s band, and made its first recordings (1929–30). From 1930 he made several nationwide tours, although the band continued to be based primarily in Kansas City. The success of “Until the Real Thing Comes along” (1936, Decca) established the band’s lasting popularity. Until the group disbanded in ...
[Friedman, Theodore Leopold ]
(b Circleville, OH, June 6, 1890; d New York, NY, Aug 25, 1971). American bandleader, clarinetist, and entertainer. After working in tent shows and on the vaudeville circuit he settled in New York, first playing with Earl Fuller’s band, then forming his own group in 1918. Within two years he began recording for Columbia and appearing in various revues: the Greenwich Village Follies (1919 and 1921), Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolics (1919), and the Ted Lewis Frolics (1923). In the early 1930s Lewis recorded with such first-rate jazz musicians as Muggsy Spanier, Georg Brunis, Frank Teschemacher, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Fats Waller. He continued to lead groups of various sizes through the mid-1960s, working most often at hotels, resorts, and nightclubs. Lewis’s approach changed little over the years. At the end of his career he still appeared with battered top hat and cane performing old vaudeville routines, delivering songs he had popularized years before (“When My Baby Smiles at Me,” “Me and My Shadow”) in his characteristic patter style (more spoken than sung), playing his old Albert-system clarinet; and asking his favorite, time-worn question, “Is everybody happy?” His archival materials are held in ...
Member of Marsalis family
(b New Orleans, Oct 18, 1961). Trumpeter and leader, son of Ellis Marsalis. From an early age he studied both jazz and classical music: when he was about eight he belonged to a children’s marching band led by Danny Barker that performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and when he was 14 he performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra. He attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (near Lenox, Massachusetts) and while a student at the Juilliard School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1980). In 1981 he toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams and recorded his first album as a leader, then early in 1982 left the Jazz Messengers to form a quintet with his brother Branford, Kenny Kirkland on piano, the double bass players Charles Fambrough, Phil Bowler, or Charnett Moffett, and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums; he also toured with Hancock in ...
(b Frederiksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Aug 17, 1934). Crucian guitarist, saxophonist, band leader, and singer. He was the son of Ivan McIntosh, a saxophonist active during the early 20th century, and Ethel McIntosh, a singer. He learned music from them as a youth and soon joined a “scratch band,” a local ensemble feature cane flute, gourd rasp, guitar, drum, and bass. By the age of 15, he had joined his father’s group as a guitarist, learning an older repertoire and touring widely throughout the island. During this same period, McIntosh learned traditional songs from his mother, who also encouraged him to study with local storytellers and folk performers. He also joined a carnival-oriented ensemble titled the Wild Indians. By 1955 he created his own “scratch band” called the Pond Bush Hot Shots. In the 1960s he was invited to become the lead alto sax player for the Joe Parris Hot Shots, the country’s leading quadrille group, with whom he recorded into the 1970s. Although he was an active musician during his life, McIntosh labored primarily for the Department of Public Works in St. Croix, as reflected in the name of his next band, Blinky and the Roadmasters (formed in ...
Jeffery S. McMillan
(b Philadelphia, PA, July 10, 1938; d New York, NY, Feb 19, 1972). American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. One of the charismatic individualists to emerge in the late 1950s, he began playing vibraphone at 12, but soon thereafter turned to trumpet. He studied music at Jules E Mastbaum Vocational Technical High School and privately with the trumpeter Tony Marchione, but learned jazz by playing in Philadelphia rehearsal bands, sitting in with visiting professionals, and leading his own combo from age 15. After graduation in 1956, Morgan played a week with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and made his first recordings as a leader for Blue Note. He was a featured soloist on “A Night in Tunisia” with Gillespie until the band dissolved in January 1958. After a short period of freelancing, he joined a revamped edition of the Jazz Messengers and stayed until ...
(b Oakland, CA, Feb 19, 1955). American jazz saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, and leader. He grew up in Berkeley, where he received his first musical training, in stride and ragtime piano. At the age of nine he began playing alto saxophone and at the age of 11 tenor saxophone. From the age of 12 through his later teens he led several R&B bands. He continued his formal training at Pomona College in Los Angeles, where stanley Crouch and Margaret Kohn were among his teachers. After his graduation in 1975 Murray moved to New York where he began playing the loft circuit with such experimental musicians as Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, and Julius Hemphill. His first steady engagement came with the Ted Daniels’ Energy Band; its members were Hamiett Bluiett, Lester Bowie, and Frank Lowe. After his first European tour in 1976, Murray established the renowned World saxophone quartet ...
[Melvin James ]
(b Battle Creek, MI, Dec 17, 1910; d New York, NY, May 28, 1988). American arranger, composer, producer, bandleader, trumpeter, and singer. Growing up as an African American musician in Zanesville, Ohio, Oliver was self taught as a trumpeter and arranger. After playing in territory bands in and around Zanesville and Columbus, he became a member of Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra in 1933. His charts for the Lunceford band were distinguished by contrasts, crescendos, and unexpected melodic variations, thereby setting new standards in big band swing and close-harmony singing. His use of two-beat rhythms also set his arrangements apart.
In 1939 Oliver was hired by the trombonist Tommy Dorsey and turned his band into one of the hardest swinging and most sophisticated ensembles of the early 1940s. In 1946 he started his own big band. During the late 1940s and 1950s he mainly did studio work, as a music director for the labels Decca, Bethlehem, and Jubilee. He continued to lead big bands and smaller ensembles, recycling his old Lunceford and Dorsey successes and performing new arrangements. Along with Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, Oliver must be rated one of the top arrangers of the swing era and infused almost every chart with vigor and surprise....