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Daniel Zager

(b New York, Dec 18, 1928; d Feb 23, 2019). American writer. After attending the University of Missouri (1946–50) and Columbia University (1950) he worked for Prestige Records (1950–55). With Leonard Feather he collaborated on The Encyclopedia of Jazz (1955), for which he was an assistant writer and editor, and The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties (1966), and he was an author with Feather of The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (1976) and the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (1999). Gitler wrote for such periodicals as Metronome, Jazz Magazine, Down Beat (of which he was an associate editor), and Jazz Times, produced film scripts on Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton for the US Information Service, and was a commentator for radio station WBAI, New York; he also taught at CUNY. Among his more notable writings is ...

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Robert Gannon

(b London). English writer. As a critic he has written on both jazz and classical music, providing articles for The Times and numerous jazz periodicals, and his wide knowledge in one field has often led to insights into the other. As well as being a regular contributor to Jazz Monthly and Jazz and Blues, he was editor of the latter from December 1956 until the journal’s demise in 1971. He contributed to Albert McCarthy’s Jazz on Record (1968) and thereafter wrote two further critical guides to the recorded repertory; the second of these, The Essential Jazz Records, i: Ragtime to Swing (1984, written with Charles Fox and Eric Thacker), places each of 250 selected recordings in its musical context and offers a detailed critical review. Harrison is the author of the major article on jazz in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (...

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Daniel Zager

(b Laramie, WY, 1909; d Brielle, nr Spring Lake, NJ, Nov 19, 1967). American writer. After graduating in 1930 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a degree in engineering he moved to Illinois, and from 1935 until the end of World War II he worked as an engineer in Chicago. He took a great interest in jazz recordings, and from 1935 to the 1960s he contributed a column entitled “The Hot Box” to Down Beat which contained important discographical and biographical material on jazz musicians. In the mid-1940s he also wrote for Esquire’s Jazz Book. Hoefer moved in 1951 to New York, where he provided material for the periodicals Metronome, Jazz, and Melody Maker; from 1958 to 1961 he was an editor of Down Beat. His writings are notable for their accuracy and unusual attention to detail.

(selective list)

“Bix Beiderbecke,” “Bessie Smith,” The Jazz Makers...

Article

(well )

(b London, Feb 28, 1917; d Chichester, England, Aug 1, 1993). English writer. He taught himself to play saxophone and clarinet and worked in dance bands from 1930. After abandoning his career as a performer in 1935, in the late 1930s he formed the High Wycombe Rhythm Club and the Challenge Jazz Club. He was the jazz editor of Challenge in 1941–2 and worked as a commentator for the BBC’s program “Radio Rhythm Club” from 1942 to 1943; he continued to work occasionally in radio during the following decades. In 1942 he was a founder, with Albert McCarthy, of the journal Jazz Music (which he edited in 1944 and again from 1946 to the early 1950s) and from 1944 to 1946 he was the editor of a series of pamphlets entitled Jazz Music Books. Jones had a long association with Melody Maker, first as an editor with Rex Harris of “Collector’s Corner” (from ...

Article

Travis D. Stimeling

[Charles Stacy ]

(b Knoxville, TN, June 21, 1921; d Nashville, TN, March 7, 2012). American country music journalist, publisher, and promoter. Charlie Lamb reshaped the Nashville music industry’s business practices during the 1950s and 60s and promoted Nashville as an international music center. Lamb began his career in Knoxville, where, among other jobs, he booked artists to perform on radio station WROL and reported for the Knoxville Journal. After moving to Nashville in 1951, he joined Cash Box as a columnist and ad salesman and later formed the Charlie Lamb Agency to promote several top recording artists. Lamb was a founding member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Association and organized an annual DJ convention that brought thousands of disc jockeys to Nashville. In August 1956, Lamb founded Country Music Reporter (renamed Music Reporter in 1957), a trade paper that covered the Nashville music industry and offered expanded chart coverage for country singles and albums. Selling ...

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Article

Caroline Polk O’Meara

(bc1966). American music critic and editor. He graduated from Yale University in 1988. He began writing at the Rolling Stone in the late 1980s, where he often covered hip-hop, country, and rock music. In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Light advised readers to pay closer attention to rap, pointing out that many artists had been critiquing urban violence well before the Rodney King beating. In 1993, Light left Rolling Stone to help launch the hip-hop magazine Vibe, where he was first the music editor before being promoted to editor-in-chief at the age of 26. During his six years at Vibe, Light helped the magazine demonstrate the appeal, profitability, and significance of hip-hop culture to both readers and advertisers. He left Vibe for Spin, staying there for three years as editor-in-chief. While Light was at Spin, the magazine, known for its coverage of alternative music, expanded its coverage of mainstream artists, reaching out to a broader audience. Since leaving ...

Article

Steve Smith

(Marc )

(b Chicago, Dec 26, 1950). American writer. He learned piano and flute as a child and pursued his formal education at Syracuse University (1970–72), Mills College (1972), and Roosevelt College (1973–5); he also studied boogie-woogie, swing, and blues piano with leading players in Chicago. In 1975 he embarked on his writing career, working for Down Beat (as associate editor, 1978–81), The Wire, Musical America, Tower Pulse!, the Village Voice, the Washington Post, Billboard, the New York Times Book Review, and Jazziz. He contributed scripts for jazz shows on NPR and held editorial positions at Guitar World (1982–3), Ear (1987–92), the JVC Jazz Festival program guide published by Tower Pulse! (from 1994), and Rhythm Music (1996–7). Mandel was a founder of the Jazz Journalists’ Association: in 1992 he became its president and in 1997 editor of its website, ...

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Brian Priestley

(John )

(b Camborne, England, April 17, 1920; d London, Oct 3, 1987). English writer. He became interested in jazz in the mid-1930s and established contact with record collectors such as Max Jones, Charles Fox, and Leonard Hibbs. In 1942 McCarthy and Jones founded the Jazz Sociological Society and became the editors of its journal, Jazz Music; from 1944 to 1946, to circumvent wartime rationing of paper, the journal was temporarily discontinued and instead a series of separate booklets entitled Jazz Music Books was issued. McCarthy then edited the short-lived Jazz Forum: Quarterly Review of Jazz and Literature (1946–7), and, with Dave Carey, compiled six volumes of a discography of jazz. From 1955 to 1972 he was editor of the influential periodical Jazz Monthly, which, in addition to its catholic coverage of jazz and blues, also included items on related topics such as the record industry; in March 1971...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(David )

(b Toronto, Nov 6, 1951). Canadian writer and photographer. He studied at York University in Toronto (BFA 1973) and worked as a contributor to Coda (1973–6, 1988), DownBeat (as its Toronto correspondent, 1975–92), and Jazz Forum (as its Canadian correspondent, 1977–90), as well as writing on jazz for other periodicals; in 1978 he became the jazz critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail. Having served as a subject editor on jazz and English-language popular music for the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (1981), he was one of its associate editors for the second edition (1992). Miller has also written liner notes, notably providing the overview and notes for Radio Canada International’s Anthology of Canadian Jazz (1991), and has published many of his photographs of jazz musicians. Throughout his career he has concentrated on jazz musicians and the development of jazz in Canada, and he is the author of two collections of biographical essays and a history of the early years of jazz in Canada....

Article

Paula Morgan

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(Michael)

(b Munich, Oct 24, 1929). American writer. He grew up in Vienna, but left in 1938 and spent the next nine years as a refugee in Denmark and Sweden. After moving to the USA in 1947 he studied history at Brandeis University (1953–6). From 1958 to 1961 he was the New York correspondent for Jazz Journal. He then served as editor of Metronome (1961), Jazz (1962–3), and Down Beat (New York editor, 1964–6, editor 1966–73) magazines; during the 1960s he also produced jazz concerts in New York and for television. In the mid-1970s he held appointments as visiting lecturer in jazz at Brooklyn College and the Peabody Institute, and in 1976 he became director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, in which capacity he has worked as an editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies (from 1982 the Annual Review of Jazz Studies...

Article

Reinhard Oehlschlägel

(b Saalfeld, Feb 16, 1939). German writer . After working in industry and the press, Müller studied journalism at the Karl Marx University, Leipzig, 1959–63, and was a cultural editor for the state news service in Halle, Leipzig and Berlin until 1980, when he became principal dramatic adviser at the Komische Oper, Berlin. In 1986 he took the doctorate at the Humboldt University, East Berlin, with a dissertation on Heine’s views on music.

As well as his musical criticism, musical journalism and satirical pieces for East German radio, the weekly Sonntag (Freitag from 1990) and the satirical magazine Eulenspiegel, Müller has written librettos for the operas Candide, after Voltaire, by Reiner Bredemeyer (1986, Halle), Gastmahl, oder Über die Liebe, after Plato, by Georg Katzer (1988, Schwetzingen) and Antigone oder Die Stadt, after Sophocles, also by Katzer (composed 1989–90). He has also prepared a German text for Joplin’s ...

Article

Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Robert (D.) ]

(b New York, c1945). American writer. He studied clarinet and drums and played drums in workshops with Jaki Byard (1968–71) and Cedar Walton (1972). In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote for American and European periodicals, including Down Beat, Jazz Journal, and Jazz Forum, and in 1975 he began publishing the monthly magazine Cadence, which in the following years printed many wide-ranging interviews with jazz and blues musicians and reviews of recordings. Later he formed Cadence Jazz Records (1980), which by the late 1990s had issued more than 100 recordings; North Country Record Distribution (1983), which distributes the jazz and blues recordings of more than 900 small independent labels; Cadence Jazz Books (1992), which publishes reference books, histories, and discographies; and CIMP (1996), for which he had produced about 100 recordings by the turn of the century. He donated his extensive indexed collection of books and journals, covering jazz and blues literature in the English language, to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library (...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, Oct 31, 1950). American writer. After studying music at CUNY and at the guitar center of the New School for Social Research he worked as an editor, feature writer, and columnist for the periodical of Tower Records, Pulse (1983–91), and contributed numerous articles to Down Beat (1984–93). While serving as a music critic for The Nation (from 1986) he was a columnist for 7 Days (1987–9) and Taxi (1988–90); he then wrote essays for Atlantic Monthly and taught at CCNY (both from 1991). As both a music critic and a feature writer he has contributed to the New York Post (1988–90), the New York Daily News (from 1993), and Fi (1996–9), and he has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Musician...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Boston, MA, May 10, 1937). American music critic, publicist, and editor. Solomon is best known for her contributions to the Village Voice, but has also written for Down Beat, Country Music, Hit Parader, the News World, and Us. She was one of the first women involved in popular music criticism; her work focused on folk music of the 1960s, jazz, blues, rock, and country music. Solomon’s column in the Village Voice was called “Riffs.” She also served as editor for the magazine ABC-TV Hootenanny (1963–4), which highlighted performers on the television show of the same name who were just beginning to rise to fame, including Judy Collins, Earl Scruggs, and Doc Watson. Other writers whose work appeared in the magazine included Theodore Bikel and Jean Shepard. Another of her important editing positions was on the magazine New Musical Express (NME) in the 1970s. Solomon also had a brief tenure as a publicist for Chess Records, where she produced a number of liner notes. Her commentary on such diverse subjects as J.J. Cale and Paul McCartney has given her voice a lasting impression in the music business....

Article

Daphne G. Carr

[Thackray, Jerry ]

(b Chelmsford, England, April 21, 1961). English popular music critic and publisher. True is known as an incendiary character in British popular music journalism due to his self-aggrandizing tone, his polemical attitude, and his general curmudgeonliness. His pseudonym comes from an early 20th-century comic strip of a similarly behaving character.

He is known as the Legend, after Creation Records head Alan McGee gave him the role of MC at his club, Communication Bar. McGee let him write for the club’s fanzine, but True quit after two issues and started his own fanzine The Legend! He then wrote for New Musical Express (1983–8), was fired, and went to work for its rival Melody Maker (1988–2000). A 1989 assignment to profile Sub Pop Records for Melody Maker led him to befriend Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. True was at Cobain’s house at the time of Cobain’s suicide. He later published ...

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Jayson Greene

[neth ]

(b New York, NY, Feb 1, 1953). American music critic, film critic, and editor. Ken Tucker is the pop-music critic for the NPR program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, appearing weekly to review new releases. He is also editor-at-large for Entertainment Weekly magazine, where he has worked in various capacities since its founding in 1989. His Entertainment Weekly writing has won two National Magazine Awards, and his music criticism earned him two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards (2003, 2004). Prior to that, he was the TV critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1984. He also served as film critic for New York Magazine in the years 2004–05. His writing about television, books, and music has appeared in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Esquire, the Village Voice, Vogue, and the New York Times. He has also made numerous television appearances, serving as a cultural observer on programs such as ...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, April 10, 1918; d New York, April 30, 2000). American writer. His father was concert master for the conductor Arturo Toscanini. He was interested in jazz from a young age and attended Columbia University (AB 1939) to be closer to the jazz movement in Harlem; while a student he published articles on jazz in The Spectator. Following graduation he edited Swing: the Guide to Modern Music (c1939–40), Listen (1940–42), and the Review of Recorded Music (1945–6). As the editor of Metronome: Modern Music and its Makers (1943–55) he changed the focus of the journal from classical music and white swing groups to other aspects of jazz, notably bop and its African-American components; in 1950 he designed the Metronome Yearbook. In addition Ulanov organized all-star bop groups which broadcast on WOR (1947) and published biographies of Duke Ellington (...