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Article

Gregory E. Smith

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Michael Christian Joseph, Jr.]

(bNew York, July 2, 1942). American pianist, arranger, and composer. His father was a guitarist and bandleader. Abene performed and recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in Marshall Brown’s International Youth Band (1958) and studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music (1959–61), though he is primarily self-taught. After working with Clark Terry, Jimmy Nottingham, and others at the Cork ’n Bib on Long Island (1960) he played piano with Don Ellis (1960–61), Maynard Ferguson (1961–5), for whom he also wrote arrangements, Buddy Rich, Harry Edison, and Georgie Auld (in Las Vegas, 1963). From the mid-1960s he performed regularly in New York at the Half Note (with the quintets led by Al Cohn and Zoot Sims and by Bill Berry and Richie Kamuca, 1965–7), Bradley’s (1972–5), Sweet Basil (1978), and Freddy’s (with the singer Barbara Rankin, ...

Article

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Emmanuel]

(bSamaná, Dominican Republic, June 24, 1922; dCroton, NY, October 2, 2001). Americanarranger and composer. He was brought up in New York, where he first played (usually baritone saxophone) and wrote arrangements for Don Joseph (1940), Muggsy Spanier (1941), Bob Chester (1942), Georgie Auld (1942–5), Charlie Spivak, and Boyd Raeburn (1943–5). Following army service (1945–6) he undertook similar work for Sam Donahue (1947), Charlie Barnet (1948–9), Jerry Wald (1949), and others. In 1951 he gave up playing to concentrate on arranging and composing. He achieved considerable success during the 1950s and 1960s with several albums recorded as the director of his own studio bands and also with his arrangements for prominent jazz musicians, including leaders of small groups (Terry Gibbs, Hal McKusick, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Cohn, and Stan Getz), and big bands (Count Basie, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich) as well as singers (Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Dakota Staton). From ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(Bothelo )

(b Rio de Janeiro, April 28, 1950). Brazilian double bass player, pianist, and composer. From 1964 he played piano in the trio Camara, and later made a tour of France, where he settled in 1973; he then changed from piano to double bass and also studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire. He formed a duo with the pianist Jean-Pierre Mas (1978), appeared in Martial Solal’s trio, and played in Eric Le Lann’s quartet (1982). Between 1982 and 1985 he was heard with Jean-Louis Chautemps, Philip Catherine, Joachim Kühn, Michel Portal, and the Americans Charlie Mariano, Joe Henderson, and Lee Konitz. In 1985 he resumed playing piano and formed the Cesarius Alvim Connection, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark on double bass and André Ceccarelli on drums. After a period of voluntary retirement from 1992 to 1997 (though he continued to make recordings) Alvim resumed working: he composed a piece for symphony orchestra, ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(b Oran, Algeria, Oct 25, 1961). French pianist and composer. After taking lessons in classical piano he went to the USA to study at the Berklee College of Music (1981–3) and then at the Manhattan School of Music (MM composition). He appeared in the BMI Jazz Composition Workshop under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer (1984) and wrote for Mel Lewis’s orchestra. Based in New York from 1985, he worked in clubs with such musicians as Joshua Redman, Bobby Watson, Ernie Watts, and Sonny Fortune and toured Brazil with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet. In 1987 he formed a quartet with the saxophonist Tim Ries for a tour of Europe, and then in 1990 recorded his first album as a leader, with Gary Peacock and Bill Stewart as his sidemen. He composed for a Belgian chamber orchestra and for the Orchestre National de Jazz in Paris. Amsallem has continued to play with Ries, and in the course of working in both the USA and Europe he recorded with the saxophonist in a trio with Leon Parker (...

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

Raymond J. Gariglio

(b Westwego, LA, March 29, 1901; d New Orleans, Feb 6, 1948). Clarinetist and composer. He played on Mississippi riverboats with Johnny Stein, then moved in 1922 to New York, where until 1925 he performed with the Original New Orleans Jazz Band. He worked in San Antonio with the New Orleans Rhythm Masters (1926) and in New Orleans with the Halfway House Orchestra and Monk Hazel, for whom he also occasionally played tin whistle (1928). Between tours with the trombonist Sunny Clapp (1929) and the New Orleans Swing Kings (1930) he participated in the renowned recording session by the Jones and Collins Astoria Hot Eight. After working in Kansas City during summer 1933 Arodin returned to New York the following year with Louis Prima’s band; he also played there with Wingy Manone and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. During 1939...

Article

Catherine Collins

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Leandro J. ]

(b Rosario, Argentina, Nov 28, 1934). Argentine tenor saxophonist and composer. Several members of his family were musicians, and he studied clarinet as a child. He moved in 1947 to Buenos Aires, where he learned alto saxophone and became first alto saxophonist in Lalo Schifrin’s band; his early influences were Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Later he formed his own quartet and changed to the tenor instrument. In 1962 he moved to Rome, and in 1965 (or late in 1964) he joined Don Cherry’s group in Paris (to 1966). It was while he was participating in avant-garde orchestral sessions with Carla Bley (under Gary Burton’s leadership, 1967, and under Bley herself, 1968–71), the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra (1968), and Charlie Haden (1970), and also recording in a free-jazz duo with Dollar Brand, that Barbieri began to develop his own approach, moving away from Cherry’s free-jazz style towards Latin American music; he became known internationally through his performances at festivals in Bologna (...

Article

Robert H. Dickow

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Michael ]

(b Detroit, Dec 27, 1936). American trombonist, composer, and arranger, brother of Gary Barone. He grew up in Cleveland and first studied trombone with his father, who played trumpet with Bob Crosby (briefly in 1936) and many other lesser-known bands. He also learned guitar and the Schillinger method of composition. Following military service, during which he played in army bands, he moved in 1959 to Los Angeles, where he worked with Si Zentner, Louie Bellson, and Gerald Wilson and took part in recording sessions with Dave Grusin, Tom Scott, and Lalo Schifrin. He led the first big band at Donte’s from 1966 to 1969. Although after the turn of the decade he continued to record occasionally, he largely ceased performing and concentrated on composing and arranging (his works are published by Barone Music, Jenson, and H. Leonard). Barone has written and orchestrated music for several television shows and commercials and composed scores for the Grammy and Academy Award ceremonies; in the course of an association of 23 years he contributed more than 300 scores to Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show” big band. His large-scale orchestral piece Themes and Variations won the first annual Shelly Manne award in ...

Article

Paul Rinzler

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[William, Jr. ]

(b Philadelphia, March 27, 1927; d Middletown, CT, Sept 21, 1989). American tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, and teacher, brother of Kenny Barron. He first studied piano with his mother from the age of nine, but four years later changed to soprano saxophone and then to the tenor instrument. At the age of 17 he toured with the Carolina Cotton Pickers, after which he served as a musician in the army (1943–6), where his fellow bandsmen included Randy Weston and Ernie Henry. He then played tenor saxophone in Philadelphia with Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, and Philly Joe Jones; Dexter Gordon influenced his early style. In 1958 he moved to New York. There he performed and in 1959 recorded with Cecil Taylor, recorded with Jones in 1959–60, and co-led the group the Barron Brothers; he also formed a group with Ted Curson which in 1964 toured Europe, where it frequently broadcast on radio and television and recorded in Paris. He appeared with Taylor’s free-jazz group at the Newport Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Paul Rinzler

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Kenneth ]

(b Philadelphia, June 9, 1943). American pianist, composer, leader, and teacher, brother of Bill Barron. He learned piano from the age of 12 and with the help of his brother secured an engagement when he was 15 with a rhythm-and-blues orchestra led by Mel Melvin; while in high school he also played double bass and tuba. Having worked with Philly Joe Jones (1959) and Jimmy Heath, and in Detroit with Yusef Lateef (1960), in 1961 he moved to New York and began appearing regularly at the Five Spot with James Moody, on whose recommendation he was engaged by Dizzy Gillespie; from 1962 to 1966 he toured Europe and North America with Gillespie. Barron then played briefly with Stanley Turrentine and was a member of several groups led by Freddie Hubbard (1967–9); by 1970 his compositions had been recorded by Gillespie, Hubbard, and Moody. He was again with Lateef from ...

Article

Frederick A. Beck

(William) [Puddinghead]

(b Atlanta, Oct 3, 1907; d New York, Feb 6, 1977). American trumpeter, arranger, and composer. He began playing trumpet at the age of eight. While studying at Morris Brown College he formed the Dixie Serenaders, and later he led the Dixie Ramblers in Atlanta, as well as playing with other leaders. He worked with Andy Kirk (1930), Blanche Calloway (1931), his own band (1933), Sam Wooding and Benny Carter (1934), and Alex Hill (1934); with Willie Bryant (1935–6) he played trumpet, valve trombone, and alto saxophone. In 1936 Battle performed on radio broadcasts of the revue George White’s Scandals. He led his own band in 1937, but then stopped playing to devote his time to composition and writing arrangements. He wrote pieces for Cab Calloway, Paul Whiteman, Fats Waller, Earl Hines, Count Basie, Jack Teagarden, and Louis Prima, among others; his compositions include ...

Article

Paul Rinzler and Barry Kernfeld

[Richie ]

(b New York, May 23, 1947). American pianist and composer. As a youth he was trained in both the classical and jazz traditions; he studied at the Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music (BA 1972). His first major engagement was with Stan Getz (c August 1972 – September 1973), but his most important association has been with Dave Liebman. In 1973 he became a member of Liebman’s innovative group Lookout Farm, the music of which drew on the influences of jazz, rock, and ethnic music; although he plays mainly piano, Beirach also used electronic keyboards with this group. After Lookout Farm disbanded in 1976 Beirach formed his own trio, Eon, though he continued to work with Liebman in a duo. He was one of the original members of John Abercrombie’s quartet (formed in 1978). Late in 1981 Beirach and Liebman established the quartet ...

Article

Mark Gilbert

[James Robert]

(b Evanston, IL, Oct 31, 1956; d New York, NY, May 20, 2015). American saxophonist and arranger. He played piano, composed, and wrote arrangements from an early age and took up saxophone when he was 11. Later he studied at North Texas State University (BA composition 1973–8), where the university’s group, the One o’Clock Lab Band, recorded seven of his arrangements. In January 1979 Belden replaced Joe Lovano in Woody Herman’s ensemble, toured Europe with the group, and wrote an arrangement of Caravan that was recorded later that year at the Monterey International Jazz Festival. After leaving Herman (May 1980) he settled in New York, where he played with Donald Byrd and Mel Lewis, among others, and worked as a studio musician for film and television. He formed the Bob Belden Ensemble in 1989 and the Manhattan Rhythm Club in 1994, and became known as a leader for his jazz arrangements of music by Giacomo Puccini and such popular artists as Sting, Prince, and Carole King. As a freelance he wrote arrangements for Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, and Paquito D’Rivera. Belden also worked extensively as a record producer and annotator, and in the 1990s he supervised major reissues of recordings by Miles Davis and Hancock for Columbia and Blue Note respectively. In addition he contributed to various periodicals, notably ...

Article

John Voigt

(Ramon )

(b Des Moines, IA, May 24, 1928). American bass player and composer. In his teens he took up trombone and then guitar. He played double bass with Herbie Fields (1949), Georgie Auld, Terry Gibbs, and Charlie Ventura (all 1951), served in the US Army (September 1951 – September 1953), and worked with Stan Kenton (1954 –5). After settling in Los Angeles, in 1957 he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, with whom he toured as part of the Jazz at the Philharmonic series the following year; he also recorded with Conte Candoli, Stan Levey, Charlie Mariano (all 1954), Frank Rosolino (1955), Jack Montrose (1956), Lou Levy (1956–63), and Mel Tormé and Bob Cooper (both 1957). He then played in Terry Gibbs’s big band, and made several recordings with the group (1959) which were released to great acclaim years later. From ...

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

Jeff Potter

(de Costa )

(b New York, April 27, 1917; d New York, May 24, 1965). American drummer and composer. He began piano lessons at the age of six, then later took up trumpet, and by 1940 was performing professionally with Chris Columbus and Joe Gordon. Following the discovery of a lung disorder he was advised to cease playing, and he began working as a pianist; he also played double bass and drums, which by 1943 had become his main instrument. An engagement with Ben Webster in 1943–4 established his reputation as a drummer, and he was immediately employed by Coleman Hawkins, with whom he worked from 1944 to 1945. Best appeared (but did not play) in the film The Crimson Canary (1945), and in 1945 he also worked with John Kirby. He then played with Illinois Jacquet and toured Sweden with Chubby Jackson (1947–8). From 1949 to 1952...

Article

(b Monticello, AR, Nov 27, 1907; d Houston, May 12, 1976). American flugelhorn player and arranger. His first professional work was as a tuba player. He then took up flugelhorn and toured and recorded with Isham Jones (c1930–1935), for whom he composed Blue Prelude (1933, Vic. 24298). From 1936 to 1940 he was a member of the new Woody Herman Orchestra, and he returned to Herman as a staff arranger in 1942; his arrangements include versions of Woodchopper’s Ball (1939, Decca 2440) and his own composition Blue Flame (1941, Decca 3634), which replaced Blue Prelude as Herman’s theme song. He also recorded with the pianist Cow Cow Davenport and the singer Jimmy Gordon (both 1938). Suffering from tuberculosis, Bishop was obliged to enter a sanatorium in autumn 1940. From 1942 he worked as a freelance arranger, but further ill-health forced him to retire from music in ...

Article

Pekka Gronow

(b Los Angeles, Feb 11, 1956). Finnish guitarist and composer. The son of the Finnish-American actress Taina Elg, he grew up in California and moved to Finland as a teenager; he studied first at the Helsinki Conservatory and later at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. His first mature work was with Edward Vesala’s free-jazz group Sound and Fury, with which he recorded three albums in the mid-1980s. In 1985 he founded his own group, Krakatau. Björkenheim has also composed works for the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and UMO.

Oral history material in FiHJ.

P. Silas: “I Want to Teach the World to Jazz,” Finnish Music Quarterly (1989), no.2, p.97...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Norbert )

(b New Orleans, Feb 1, 1940; d New Orleans, Aug 30, 1988). American drummer and composer. He studied piano and then majored in brass instruments at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he first played trumpet in the concert orchestra. After changing to drums he secured his first professional job in 1958, playing rhythm-and-blues. However, like most New Orleans musicians of his generation he moved easily between that genre and bop, and he performed in a group co-led by Nat Perrilliatt and the guitarist Roy Montrell. He replaced Ed Blackwell in the band of Ellis Marsalis, with whom he had a lifelong working association. In 1962, with Perrilliatt and Marsalis, he recorded with the Adderley brothers. Two years later he left for New York with the singer and record producer Joe Jones, for whom he made some recordings. He joined Horace Silver at Birdland, toured for a year and a half with Lionel Hampton, and spent two years with Yusef Lateef before returning to New Orleans, where he continued to play rhythm-and-blues with the pianists and singers Dr. John, Fats Domino, and Professor Longhair and jazz with Marsalis, James Rivers, Earl Turbinton, and his own band. Influenced by marching bands and the city’s “second line” culture, Black developed a propulsive, dancing style, employing elements of parade drumming in a modern context. A percussionist whose playing encapsulated the known spectrum of New Orleans drumming, he was also a composer who specialized in pieces in 3/4 and 5/4 time, of which ...

Article

Howard Rye

[Chabania, Jacinto ]

(b Gary, IN, Jan 23, 1908; dc 1961). American saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, and singer. He studied violin, then alto saxophone and clarinet. After playing briefly with Charlie Turner’s Arcadians he took ship for Europe with Sam Wooding (1928), with whom he recorded in Barcelona and Paris (1929). He then moved to New York, played with Chick Webb, toured with Zack Whyte’s Chocolate Beau Brummels, performed and recorded with Don Redman (late 1933 – late spring 1934) and Willie Lewis (in Europe, to c spring 1935), and worked with Claude Hopkins, both in New York and on tour (mid-1936). In October 1936 he joined Fletcher Henderson’s group, with which he made several recordings in 1937, but around February 1938 he left the group to become Cab Calloway’s music director. In April 1942 he recorded with Count Basie, and later that year, having left Calloway’s employ, he played briefly with Basie (June) and with Earl Hines (September) before rejoining Henderson (October–November). In ...