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Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Hälsingborg, Sweden, Aug 7, 1920; d Stockholm, Feb 11, 1971). Swedish bandleader, arranger, and saxophonist. He led a big band in Malmö (1942–9), was a member of Thore Ehrling’s orchestra in Stockholm (1949–52), and worked as a studio musician. From 1956 to 1965 he was the leader of Radiobandet (the Swedish Radio Big Band), which achieved considerable success in the USA. First presented there as the Jazztone Mystery Band (an invention of the writer George T. Simon), it was mistaken by several critics and well-known musicians for one of the leading American big bands, and it received considerable further acclaim through albums released under Arnold’s own name. The ensemble played in a modernized swing style and included such prominent Swedish and Norwegian musicians as Arne Domnérus, Bengt Hallberg, Bjarne Nerem, Åke Persson, Carl-Henrik Norin, Egil Johansson, and Georg Riedel. Benny Bailey, living in Sweden at that time, was also an intermittent member, and he recorded as a soloist with the group, as did Nat Adderley and Coleman Hawkins as guests (all on ...

Article

Charles Fox and Digby Fairweather

(b Welwyn Garden City, April 17, 1930). English jazz trombonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied the trombone and the double bass at the GSM in London, and formed his first traditional jazz band in 1949. In 1953 he helped to organize a band that was led by Ken Colyer, at that time the most ardent British propagandist for traditional New Orleans music. The following year Barber took over the band; Colyer was replaced by Pat Halcox, and the ensemble soon became one of the most popular and technically accomplished groups of its kind. From the mid-1950s Barber helped foster British interest in blues by bringing over such American musicians as Muddy Waters, the harmonica player Sonny Terry and the guitarist and singer Brownie McGhee. He made several tours of the USA beginning in 1959, and also recorded two albums with his American Jazz Band, which included Sidney De Paris, Edmond Hall and Hank Duncan. Barber expanded his interests, recording classic rags (scored for his band) long before the popular rediscovery of Scott Joplin, and working with musicians from other areas of jazz (notably the Jamaican saxophonists Bertie King and Joe Harriott). Renewed interest in traditional jazz in the early 1960s brought wide success to Barber and his group, which included as its singer his wife, Ottilie Patterson. After rhythm-and-blues achieved general popularity in the early 1960s he re-formed his group as Chris Barber’s Jazz and Blues Band, and, while retaining his roots in New Orleans jazz, engaged rock and blues musicians guitarist John Slaughter and the drummer Pete York. During the 1970s the band toured frequently in Europe. In ...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, May 15, 1902). Italian violinist, pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. In Genoa he studied violin and composition and played banjo for a brief period in an orchestra. He was the leader and an arranger for the group Blue Star (to 1931), of which Sid Phillips was a member, and the orchestra Cetra (from ...

Article

Günther Huesmann

(b Düsseldorf, Germany, June 22, 1910; d Frankfurt am Main, Germany, May 21, 1979). German bandleader, trombonist, and arranger. He moved to Berlin in 1934, when he began to study trombone; he played with Heinz Wehner from 1934 and the Goldene Sieben from 1936, and in 1938 formed his own big band, with which he made numerous recordings (...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Bick, Herman ]

(b Reval [now Tallinn], Estonia, c1900; d ?Hollywood, CA). Estonian bandleader, pianist, and arranger. He toured Europe in the early 1920s as a concert pianist and conductor, then settled in Berlin as music director of the Vox company. Between 1928 and 1930 he recorded several titles as a novelty pianist and as leader of his own studio dance bands; these include ...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Bordeaux, France, Sept 28, 1945). French trumpeter, arranger, and bandleader. He studied trumpet at the conservatory in Bordeaux, but began on drums, which he played until 1984, most notably for a spell with the soprano saxophonist Marc Laferrière (1973–80). He was also an able harmonica player in the style of the bluesmen Jimmy Reed and Little Walter, and in 1973 recorded with François Guin’s group the Four Bones. As an organist he performed with Tiny Grimes. Biensan played trumpet with the clarinetist Christian Morin (1964–70), Guin (1971–3), Candy Johnson (1974), Jimmy Forrest, Bill Coleman, Benny Waters, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, and Doc Cheatham (variously in the years 1979–84), Daniel Huck (1981), the Ornicar Big Band (1982), Gérard Badini (from 1984) and François Laudet (from 1993). In 1986 he formed his own septet, Ellingtomania. His swinging style is well represented on the albums ...

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 and Arild Wideröe

(François )

(b Geneva, Feb 21, 1925; d Geneva, June 11, 1999). French pianist, bandleader, and arranger . Although he was born in Geneva, he was French and never took Swiss citizenship. He began playing professionally in 1943, when he became a member of Loys Choquart’s Dixie Dandies. In 1951 he joined a band led by the soprano saxophonist Claude Aubert and in 1961 he assumed its leadership. From 1962 to 1971 he led his own orchestras, for which he wrote arrangements modeled after small groups associated with Duke Ellington and featuring such soloists as the alto saxophonist Roger Zufferey and the tenor saxophonist Michel Pilet. Chaix led a trio from the 1970s consisting of the double bass player Alain Du Bois and the drummer Romano Cavicchiolo. For several years he also worked with such Swiss musicians as Oscar Klein, the Tremble Kids, and the Hot Mallets. He made recordings as an unaccompanied soloist (...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Toulouse, France, Oct 1, 1960). French clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied clarinet at the conservatory in Toulouse, then saxophone under Guy Lafitte (1980). He worked with Lulu White’s Jazz Band, the trumpeter Gérard Siffert’s Hot D’oc (1982), the trombonist Jean Osmont (1983), the trombonist Philippe Renault’s Middle Seven (1985), Lafitte (1990), Renault’ Nonet (1991), and Claude Tissendier’s Saxomania (1995). He also played bop with Big Band 31 (1986–8), Dee Dee Bridgewater (1989) and the Beré Quartet (1993). In 1983 he founded a trad-mainstream group called Banana Jazz, which appeared regularly at Aspen from 1994; from 1992 this original group, combining two reeds, a banjo, and a double bass, has featured Michel Pastre. Chéron’s playing is well represented by What a Dream! and Jubilee Stomp on ...

Article

Lise Waxer

[Cugat Mingall de Brú y Denolfeo, Francisco de Asís Javier]

(b Gerona, Jan 1, 1900; d Barcelona, Oct 27, 1990). Spanish bandleader, violinist and arranger, active in America. Cugat’s family moved to Cuba when he was five. A child prodigy, he was playing the violin in Havana cafés by the age of seven or eight, and later studied formally in Berlin and peformed with the Berlin PO. He arrived in New York City in 1921 and formed a tango orchestra, and then moved to Hollywood, taking up a life-long hobby as caricaturist before returning to New York with a contract at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1930. Despite his European origins, Cugat became the most commercially famous name in Latin music during the 1930s and 40s, especially among non-Latino North Americans, and his Latin orchestra remained resident at the Waldorf Astoria through the next decade.

Cugat did not pretend to perform authentic Latin American music, yet his lush orchestral arrangements helped popularize Cuban and other Latin American sounds in mainstream North America, earning him the title of the ‘King of the Rhumba’. Among his most famous recordings are ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(b La Garenne-Colombes, France, April 14, 1955). French pianist, arranger, conductor, and author. After undertaking advanced studies in economic science and cinematography he founded the Big Band Lumière in 1979, which first recorded in 1981. In the early 1980s he made two short films and became involved in several artistic revues as a critic. At the beginning of 1987 he collaborated with Gil Evans, whom he brought into his orchestra for a tour of Europe and a series of recordings (1988–9); he also published Las Vegas Tango: une vie de Gil Evans (Paris, 1989). He composed for the ministry of culture (1986) and l’Union Européenne de Radio (1991) and directed the Orchestre National de Jazz (1993–7), with which he recorded four albums, made numerous tours, and presented his composition Gli amici italiani, this last for combined jazz and symphonic orchestras. He also wrote string arrangements for a recording by Abbey Lincoln in ...

Article

Joachim E. Berendt

revised by Wolfram Knauer

(b Stuttgart, Germany, Dec 30, 1935). German pianist, composer, and bandleader. He took piano lessons from the age of five. After beginning his professional career in 1957, he briefly studied trumpet and composition at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. In the early 1960s he was a member of Joki Freund’s sextet, and in 1963 he formed his own trio, with Eberhard Weber and Fred Braceful; their album Dream Talk (1964) was one of the first European recordings of free jazz. He also wrote music for television shows and commercials and arrangements for Erwin Lehn’s orchestra. In 1969 he became the leader of the Radio Jazz Group Stuttgart, for which he also wrote compositions, and the following year he formed the jazz-rock group Et Cetera. In the mid-1970s, with Hans Koller, Dauner led the Free Sound & Super Brass Big Band, and in 1975 he organized the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble...

Article

Simon Collier

(b Buenos Aires, Dec 11, 1899; d Mar del Plata, Mar 11, 1980). Argentine tango violinist, bandleader and composer. The son of an Italian immigrant proprietor of a private conservatory in Buenos Aires, he served his apprenticeship in tango bands such as those of Eduardo Arolas (1918–19) and Osvaldo Fresedo (1919–20). In 1923 he formed his first sextet, which included his brothers Francisco (piano) and Emilio (second violin). The band remained a sextet until 1930, after which it enlarged to between 10 and 14 instrumentalists; and this remained its standard size until De Caro’s retirement (1954). One of the best-loved dance bands of the tango’s ‘Golden Age’ (1920–50), it made successful trips to Brazil (1927), Italy and France (1931) and Chile (1937). With its clarity, meticulous phrasing, careful instrumental balance and sophisticated arrangements, it pioneered the ‘evolutionist’ trend in tango music, contrasting with the ‘traditionalist’ tendency favoured by more conservative bandleaders. Like his brother Francisco, De Caro was an expert arranger and composer who made notable contributions to the tango repertory. His autobiography was published as ...

Article

Milena Bozhikova

(b Vidin, Bulgaria, Sept 12, 1951). Bulgarian composer, conductor, and piano improviser. He was educated at the High School of Music in Sofia (percussion class under Dobri Paliev, 1965–71), and at the State Musical Academy in Sofia (1973–9), majoring in composition under Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Parashkev Hadzhiev, and orchestral conducting under Konstantin Iliev. He made his name as an active jazz pianist and composer, forming his own jazz trio and participating in several international festivals (in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Cuba, Romania, Germany, Portugal, and Yugoslavia). While a student he won the position of conductor at the State Musical Theatre (1977–86), bringing to the stage a number of classical operettas and contemporary musicals. His background also includes courses in conducting under Franco Ferrara (1980, Siena, Italy) and Edward Dawns (1981, Hilversum, Holland), and in composition with Anatol Vieru (...

Article

(b Berlin, Oct 29, 1908; d Berlin, Feb 16, 1996). German trombonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He studied piano at the Berlin Conservatory and from 1930 played trombone in Teddy Stauffer’s group, with which he toured Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands and played on the SS Reliance (1936). In the USA he heard Duke Ellington, the Casa Loma Orchestra, Adrian Rollini, and others. From 1936 to 1939 he recorded with Stauffer, for whom he also worked as a music director and arranger. He played with Kurt Hohenberger in 1939, various studio groups to the end of World War II, and the Deutsches Tanz- und Unterhaltungsorchester in 1942. In 1947 he formed a swing band for Radio Berlin with which he recorded about 70 tracks, including several with Rex Stewart (1948). In the early 1950s he led a big band but later worked exclusively as an arranger. Dobschinski’s playing is well represented on the album ...

Article

Erik Wiedemann and Frank Büchmann-Møller

(b Copenhagen, Feb 28, 1946). Danish electric guitarist, bandleader, and composer. He worked as a leader from 1960, played free jazz as a member of John Tchicai’s big band (1969–71), then led or was a member of several groups that offered a combination of free jazz and rock (1971–7). From 1978 he led a quartet, Thermænius, which played in a style influenced by Balkan folk music, and from 1980 he led the New Jungle Orchestra, which was one of the first Danish bands to introduce African and other ethnic musics into its performances; at the same time he continued to collaborate with Tchicai (who was a member of the New Jungle Orchestra for several periods), to lead other groups, and to write compositions that display a dadaistic sense of humor. He also recorded in a trio with Johnny Dyani and Khan Jamal (1984...

Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Stockholm, Dec 29, 1912; d Stockholm, Oct 21, 1994). Swedish bandleader, trumpeter, and arranger. He began his career in the band of the tenor saxophonist Frank Vernon (1930–34), and after attending the Royal Swedish Musical Academy in Stockholm (1931–5) he worked with Håkan von Eichwald (1935–8); some of his many compositions and arrangements were recorded in 1936 by Benny Carter and Arne Hülphers. In 1938 he formed a seven-piece group, which later evolved into a big band and made several influential recordings; it disbanded in 1957. Ehrling’s orchestra was the best known and most consistent of the Swedish big bands of the 1940s and 1950s. Although it played mainly popular music, many of the foremost Swedish jazz soloists worked in it over the years, and most of the finest Swedish jazz arrangers contributed to the band’s library. Moreover, from 1943 and into the 1950s his group was effectively the Swedish radio dance orchestra, being heavily featured on what was then the sole Swedish radio channel. Ehrling himself was an excellent trumpeter and jazz soloist and contributed to several jazz recordings in the 1930s, but he lessened his role as an instrumentalist in the early 1940s in order to concentrate on his work as a bandleader and to take care of his interests in the music business (which were many); most notably, he was a founder in ...

Article

Gerhard Conrad

(b Grossburschla, nr Eisenach, Germany, Dec 20, 1922). German trumpeter, arranger, and bandleader. He studied trumpet at the City Orchestra School in Zschopau from 1937 to 1941, then from 1945 played in various bands in Chemnitz, where he was a member of the Karl Walter Orchestra (1946–7). In September 1947 he joined the Kurt Henkels Orchestra in Leipzig, and soon became its chief arranger; he also wrote many new compositions for the band, including Grand mit Vieren (1957, Amiga 45001) and Whisky Soda (1957, Amiga 550035). From 1953 to 1956 Eichenberg was a freelance arranger for Henkels, Erwin Lehn in Stuttgart, and the violinist and bandleader Adalbert Luczkowski in Cologne, among others. He returned to Henkels’s orchestra in 1956, and from 1961 until his retirement in 1991 served as leader. He made more than 5000 titles for broadcast, television, and recordings, including the album ...

Article

Walter Starkie

revised by Charles Fox and Alyn Shipton

[Federico]

(b Manila, Dec 12, 1907; d Manila, Jan 16, 1979). Filipino bandleader, pianist, conductor and composer of Spanish parentage. He studied at the Madrid Conservatory, with, among others, Trago and Perez Casas. In 1921 he went to England for two years' study at St Joseph's College, London, and later entered Stanford University, California, where his parents intended him to study law. However, under the influence of Bloch, with whom he had composition lessons, he left in 1926 to give his attention to music. At this point his fascination for jazz and dance music began, and he led the Stanford University Band for a season at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, while continuing formal composition studies. After cutting his first discs with his Cinderella Roof Orchestra in Hollywood, he returned to England to read law at Cambridge University (where his brother, the saxophonist Manuel (Lizz) Elizalde, was also a student) in ...

Article

Erik Wiedemann

(b Copenhagen, Dec 7, 1924). Danish pianist, arranger, and bandleader. He led amateur bands from 1940 which made several recordings (notably The Jeep is Jumpin’, 1942, Odeon D523). In 1942–3 he worked professionally with the alto saxophonist Kaj Møller and from 1943 to 1946 made recordings (including Joy at Spring...