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J. Kent Williams

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Mjumbe ]

(b Detroit, Sept 3, 1938; d Detroit, Nov 15, 2005). American drummer, percussionist, and jazz educator. His mother sang in church. Brooks cites Elvin Jones as his first important influence. He first worked with Yusef Lateef, then joined Horace Silver’s quintet, of which he was a member from 1959 to 1964; during the same period he recorded with his fellow sidemen Junior Cook (1960) and Blue Mitchell (1961, 1963), as well as with Sonny Red (1960), Buddy Tate and Stanley Turrentine (both 1961), and Shirley Scott (1961–3). Later he performed with Wes Montgomery, Lateef (1967–70), Pharoah Sanders, James Moody (1970–72), Sonny Stitt (recording in 1972–3), Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon, Randy Weston, Milt Jackson, Charles Mingus (mid-1972–1973, beginning with a tour of Europe), and Abdullah Ibrahim (including recordings, 1973, 1976, 1977), and recorded with Chet Baker (...

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

Brian Priestley

(Daniel )

(b Philadelphia, April 1, 1920; d Sarasota, FL, May 12, 2004). American saxophonist, clarinetist, and teacher. He was a sideman in the big bands of Bob Chester (1942–4) and Woody Herman (1944–6; while with Herman he appeared in the film Earl Carroll Vanities (1945). He then studied with Lennie Tristano and other teachers, and he recorded with Tristano in 1947. With Teo Macero, Charles Mingus, and others, he was a founding member in 1953 of the Jazz Composers’ Workshop; this established an experimental movement in New York which rivaled that in Los Angeles. LaPorta studied at the Manhattan School of Music (BS clarinet 1956, MME 1957), after which he began teaching there. From 1959 to 1985 he served on the faculty at the Berklee School of Music (from 1973 the Berklee College of Music), where he performed in a faculty saxophone quartet. He also played in Herb Pomeroy’s big band from ...

Article

(b Gloucester, MA, April 15, 1930; d Gloucester, MA, August 11, 2007). Bandleader, trumpeter, and teacher. After studying at the Schillinger House of Music (1950–52) and playing in Boston with Charlie Parker (for one week in June 1953) and Charlie Mariano (later that same year) he toured as a trumpeter with Lionel Hampton (December 1953 – April 1954) and Stan Kenton (September 1954). He then returned to Boston and worked with Serge Chaloff (1954–5). In 1955 he began teaching at Schillinger, which the previous year had taken a new name, the Berklee School of Music. While establishing himself as the cornerstone of this school’s growing jazz program he led a 16-piece swing and bop ensemble that performed regularly at The Stables (1956–60); among its sidemen were Joe Gordon, Jaki Byard (who was then playing tenor saxophone), Boots Mussulli, and later, Mariano and Bill Berry. He was also the leader of another band (...

Article

James M. Doran

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Sarney ]

(b Chicago, Oct 6, 1929). American pianist, arranger, and teacher. Simmons reported to the Lewises (2000) that he was given the forename Sarney but was originally called Billy; he registered for school as Norman. He studied piano at the Chicago School of Music (1945–9) and first performed with Clifford Jordan (1946). Around 1950 he deputized for Lou Levy for two weeks in the group led by Bill Harris (i) at the Blue Note in Chicago. After taking time off to practice in Minneapolis he returned to Chicago, where in July 1952 he began an engagement at the Capitol Lounge as a member of Coleman Hawkins’s small group. He then joined Paul Bascomb’s group (1953). Soon afterwards he worked as the house pianist at the Bee Hive (1953–6), where once again he accompanied Hawkins before forming a trio with Vernel Fournier and Victor Sproles. This trio supported such distinguished soloists as Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray (with whose sextet it recorded in ...

Article

James Patrick

(b Ansonia, CO, May 28, 1921). American jazz pianist. As a child performer he appeared in the original production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 1935. From 1939 to 1943 he led the house band at Monroe’s Uptown House in New York, where he was in the forefront of the modernist movement that crystallized in the bop idiom. Though his work was seldom recorded, his harmonically advanced, flowing, and lightly percussive style mark him as an important forerunner of such early modern pianists as Bud Powell, George Wallington, Al Haig, and Duke Jordan. Repelled by the influence of narcotics in jazz, from 1946 he turned increasingly to other musical opportunities. In 1968 he settled in Buffalo, New York, where he performed, lectured at SUNY, and co-directed a state prison music program. He received an honorary doctorate from Buffalo State College in 1999.

L. Feather: Inside Be-bop (New York, 1949/...