(b Algiers, Feb 14, 1941). French pianist, arranger, leader, and musicologist. He discovered jazz following a period of classical piano studies. In 1962 he moved to Paris and performed in amateur bands, and in 1966 he became a professional musician. As house pianist at the Jazz O’Maniac he accompanied Albert Nicholas, Bill Coleman (1971–2), and Benny Waters (1971–3), as well as Benny Carter, Jo Jones, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Slam Stewart, Stephane Grappelli, Vic Dickenson, Cat Anderson, and others. From 1976 to 1979 he was co-director, with Marc Richard, of the Anachronic Jazz Band, which aimed to present modern jazz themes with a traditional New Orleans jazz orchestration, as may be heard on Anachronic Jazz Band, i–ii (1976, 1978, Open 02, 09). From 1979 to 1983 he led the Happy Feet Quintet, with which he recorded the album Happy Feet and Friends (...
E. Ron Horton
(b San Francisco, CA, March 17, 1953). American percussionist, composer, and scholar. He is a California-based artist and educator whose world travels and ethnic heritage have had a major influence on his musical career. His mother was a native of Tokyo, Japan, and his father was of African American and Choctaw decent. He grew up in a military family, moving between California, Germany, and Japan during his formative years. His career in music began in earnest after he returned to San Francisco in 1980. In 1985 he moved to New York and further developed his career while studying jazz performance at Rutgers University. He subsequently earned a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, studying ethnomusicology, a field that allowed him to focus on the musical styles that reflected his cultural heritage. He then began an extensive relationship with the Smithsonian Institute working as the curator of American musical culture, director of the Jazz Oral History program, and a performer in the Smithsonian Jazz Trio. In ...
Brenda M. Romero
(b Tlaxiaco, Mexico, Sept 9, 1967). Mexican singer, composer, and anthropologist. She was already well known in Mexico when she emerged in the US mainstream with her performance in the film Frida (2002). Her father was Scottish American and her mother is Mixtec from Oaxaca, thus Downs grew up traveling back and forth between the United States and Mexico and between cultures. She began singing at the age of five and began formal classical voice studies at 14 at Bellas Artes in Oaxaca. She subsequently studied in Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, focusing on Oaxacan highland textiles. In addition to crediting African American music in general, and female singers and the music of jazz in particular, for showing her the many ways in which the voice can be used as an instrument to articulate a wide palette of expressiveness, she credits a range of musical influences, including the Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Meredith Monk (especially her extended vocal techniques), Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane. She has conducted most of her work in collaboration with her husband ...
(b San Diego, CA, May 22, 1953). American composer, media artist, performer, and bio-acoustic researcher. After taking violin and viola lessons with Mary Gerard, James Glazebrook, and Howard Hill and pursuing undergraduate studies in music at San Diego State University, Dunn earned the MFA in new media at the Danube University’s Transart Institute in Krems, Austria (2009). He also studied composition with David Ernst, kenneth Gaburo , Norman Lowrey, and Pauline Oliveros, and served as assistant to harry Partch (1970–74), in whose ensemble he performed for a decade. Engaging in both traditional and experimental compositional approaches, Dunn has conceived music for the concert stage, radio, and film, and explored sound art, including sound installations and soundscape recordings. Dunn has also dedicated himself to studies in acoustic ecology and bio-acoustic research. He has taught at the College of Santa Fe and San Diego State University, where he was director of the Electronic Music Studio. He has served as vice-president of the International Synergy Institute in Los Angeles (...
(b Norwich, April 11, 1912). Canadian composer, theorist and conductor of English origin. He moved to Canada in 1928, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1930. His composition teachers have included Alfred Whitehead in Montreal and Paul Hindemith at Yale University (1952–3). He also studied conducting with Willem van Otterloo in Utrecht (1956). From 1946 until his retirement in 1977, he taught at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He also conducted the Queen’s SO (1946–54), and founded and conducted both the Kingston Choral Society (1953–7) and the New SO of Kingston (1954–7).
George’s music is in a 20th-century idiom characterized by traditional formal structures and modal harmonies, and influenced by his studies of ethnomusicology and the structural aspects of music. His operas are large-scale works based on historical events with librettos adapted from contemporary writing. He has also composed many choral pieces....
Jay W. Junker
(b Honolulu, HI, Aug 4, 1927; d Honolulu, Jan 7, 2017). Hawaiian musician, bandleader, songwriter, and researcher. A leading figure in the late 20th-century revival of Hawaiian culture, Kamae has led the seminal Sons of Hawaii band for over 50 years. He reintroduced a large number of classic Hawaiian songs from earlier eras, composed several standards, and documented important Hawaiian topics on over 1000 hours of film.
He began his career in 1948 performing light classics and pop with Shoi Ikemi as The Ukulele Rascals. Self taught, Kamae developed chord voicings and plucking techniques that expanded the instrument’s reach. In 1959 Kamae met Gabby Pahinui and formed Sons of Hawaii. He radically transformed his style for the group, moving between rhythmic accompaniment and pa‘ani (soloing) in a fluid give and take. He also began singing in a distinctive voice full of Hawaiian vocal inflections. With mentoring from scholar Mary Kawena Pukui and others, Kamae began researching older Hawaiian repertoire and composing. His arrangement of waltzes, such as “Sanoe,” and other songs of the 19th century introduced a classical elegance into the group. At the same time The Sons performed downhome party favorites, like “‘Ama ‘Ama.”...
William Kirk Bares
(b Sharon, CT, Nov 17, 1935; d Kerhonkson, NY, Dec 21, 2017). American trombonist, ethnomusicologist, and composer. A well-regarded jazz soloist, he is perhaps best known as a musical collaborator with ecumenical tastes. Strongly influenced by New Orleans jazz at a young age and seasoned by work in traditional jazz bands as a student at Yale, he transitioned easily to the collective free improvisation scenes of 1960s and 70s New York. Early partners included Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Enrico Rava, Carla Bley, John Tchicai, and Milford Graves; he worked with the last two in the New York Art Quartet. The open spirit of his early work is preserved on Archie Shepp’s Four for Trane (1964, Imp.), to which he contributed adventurous arrangements, and his own eclectic Blown Bone (1976, Phillips), which features several of the above artists.
Rudd’s subsequent collaborations extended his longtime interest in non-Western music. He carried out research for Alan Lomax’s cantometrics project (from the early 1980s) and taught ethnomusicology at Bard College (...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
[William; Wagner, Russell William]
(b Canton, MO, Feb 26, 1905; d New Orleans, Aug 9, 1992). American jazz historian, record producer, violinist, and composer. He played violin from the age of ten, and later studied music in Chicago (1924). After private violin tuition in New York (1927) he attended Columbia University Teachers College (1929), where he took up composition; around 1930 he dropped his surname, Wagner, to avoid comparisons with a rather more famous composer in the field. While touring with a theatrical group, the Red Gate Shadow Players, which staged classical Chinese puppet plays (1934–40), he began collecting early jazz records, reselling many through the Hot Record Exchange that he ran from 1935 with the painter Steve Smith. He contributed articles to the magazine Jazz hot and wrote three chapters of Jazzmen: the Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men who Created it...
(b Marburg an der Drau [now Maribor], Nov 23, 1903; d Vienna, Dec 12, 1984). Austrian conductor, composer and musicologist. He studied with Hermann Frisch in Marburg and Roderich von Mojsisovics (composition) at the Graz Conservatory. From 1924 to 1928 he was double bass player, répétiteur and conductor at the Stadttheater in Graz and then successively conductor of a touring opera company (1928–9), at the Theater an der Wien and Vienna Stadttheater (1929–33) and at the Vienna Volksoper (1933–8). From 1931 to 1968 he conducted for Vienna Radio, giving many concerts with the Vienna SO during the 1930s and founding a radio orchestra in Vienna in 1945; he also made guest appearances on foreign radio stations. He came to specialize in light music, and his radio performances of Viennese operetta and dance music displayed a rare sense of Viennese style. He received the title of professor in ...