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Article

Gary W. Kennedy and Barry Kernfeld

[Wilton Jameson ]

(b New Albany, IN, July 21, 1939). American educator, publisher, record producer, and saxophonist. He performed locally from the age of 15 and while studying at Indiana University (BM 1961; MM 1962) led groups that worked in southern Indiana and Kentucky. Having taught music education at Indiana University Southeast (1967–9) and classical saxophone at the University of Louisville (1970–72), in the early 1970s he established a week-long jazz workshop (or “jazz camp”) held during the summer; by the late 1990s the workshop took place twice annually. Aebersold also presented workshops in other countries, including Australia, Germany, England, Scotland, Denmark, and Canada. In 1992 he received an honorary doctorate in music from Indiana University and began teaching jazz improvisation at the the University of Louisville.

In addition to his principal instrument, Aebersold plays piano and double bass, but he is far better known as an educator than as a performer. In ...

Article

(b Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919). Record producer and writer of Armenian descent. He grew up in New York, played piano (from 1930), and studied English literature at Yale University (BA 1941); while a student he began to work as a jazz critic for Tempo (1937). Later he was a contributing editor on jazz to Mademoiselle and Pic (1946–8), contributed to Esquire’s 1947 Jazz Book, and, with W. E. Schaap, revised and enlarged Charles Delaunay’s Hot Discography for its first American edition (1948). He wrote articles for Down Beat and Metronome and provided numerous liner notes for jazz albums. Avakian produced the pioneering documentary jazz album Chicago Jazz (1939–40) for Decca, and in early 1940 began to work for Columbia, where he established a series of jazz reissues. After four years of military service he returned to Columbia as a full-time record producer for jazz and popular music; he was director of the international department and later head of the popular album department. In ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Stephen Alan ]

(b New York, June 3, 1942). American record producer. After working in promotion for the rock music labels MGM (1969–70) and Elektra (1970–71) he joined ABC–Impulse (1971), where he served initially as national director of promotion; he then resurrected the Impulse! label to produce and issue new recordings by, among others, Dewey Redman, Gato Barbieri, Keith Jarrett, Sam Rivers, and Marion Brown. In 1974 he moved to the newly formed company Arista (jazz), for which he created and directed jazz labels, organized the outright purchase of Savoy (ii), and, with the assistance of the producer Bob Porter, supervised the reissue of material from Savoy’s catalogue. Backer left Arista in 1980 and spent a year away from music. Early in 1982 he began to work for both Antilles (as a creative consultant and in artists and repertory) and Windham Hill (as its East Coast general manager); for the latter he created a short-lived jazz label, Magenta. Having joined RCA (mid-...

Article

J. Kent Williams

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Samuel David ]

(b Portsmouth, VA, Feb 22, 1926). American drummer and administrator. After serving as a pilot in World War II he studied drumming in New York and played with Johnny Hodges, Charles Mingus, Lou Donaldson (with whom he made several albums from 1957 to 1961), Curtis Fuller, and Horace Silver; he is best known for his work with Gerry Mulligan (1954–68) and with Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer (in the 1960s); he may be seen with Mulligan in the films Jazz on a Summer’s Day and The Subterraneans (both 1960). He also recorded with Al Sears (1954), Ben Webster (1957), Art Farmer (1958), Fuller (1959, 1961), Charlie Rouse (1960), Mark Murphy (1962), and Vi Redd and Lucky Thompson (both 1963), and in a quintet co-led by Zoot Sims and Brookmeyer (1965...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Benoit, Jean-Louis ]

(b Philadelphia, May 18, 1926; d nr Paris, Feb 10, 1997). American organist and leader. His father was from Martinique. A child prodigy, he grew up in Baltimore, where he was taught by his grandmother; his grandfather was a Baptist minister, and Bennett directed their church choir from the age of 12. After military service (1943–6), during which time he played tuba and thereby developed his ability to invent bass lines, he began his jazz career in Baltimore (1947), leading a piano trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole. In 1949, under the influence of Wild Bill Davis, he began to play organ, an instrument he used professionally from 1951. By 1956 he was performing in a style much closer to that of Jimmy Smith rather than Davis, and from 1957 to 1959 he toured the Midwest and the East Coast with his own hard-bop organ trio. The following year he moved to Paris, where he performed at the Blue Note with Jimmy Gourley or René Thomas in Kenny Clarke’s trio, accompanying numerous distinguished guest soloists (until ...

Article

(bc1926; d Los Angeles, Feb 6, 1988). American record producer. After working in 1950-51 for the Discovery label, in 1952 he became a founder of Pacific Jazz; he continued to be associated with that company until 1970, served as a film producer, and then returned to jazz and remained active until his death as a producer for Contemporary....

Article

Ed Hazell

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Toledo, OH, May 5, 1941). American pianist, composer, record producer, and leader. He played piano from the age of four and when he was only six heard Art Tatum. Having pursued classical studies on piano and pipe organ, he was, at the age of 14, a soloist with the Toledo Youth Orchestra, a church organist and choir director, and a jazz pianist. He attended Oberlin College Conservatory (BM 1962), spent his junior year (1960–61) at the Mozarteum Academy, and undertook graduate studies at the University of Wichita (1962–3), the University of Southern California (1963–4), and the University of Michigan (MM 1966); while at Oberlin he played with Roland Kirk. Following graduation he worked with Marion Brown (1966–7) and Max Roach (1967–70) and in a quintet led by Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Land (1968–71). From ...

Article

Alex Harris Stein

(b Toronto, ON, Feb 13, 1913; d Escondido, CA, May 27, 2001). American writer and record producer. In 1934 she settled in Chicago, where she became active as a jazz journalist and promoter, writing for the Chicago Herald-Examiner and Down Beat, founding the Chicago Rhythm Club, and promoting listening concerts featuring such performers as Earl Hines and Billie Holiday. At one such concert, Dance was responsible for bringing together Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson in one of the first highly publicized interracial collaborations in jazz. She also produced her first recordings for the Okeh label (1935). In 1937 she relocated to New York, where she produced many of the legendary Duke Ellington small band recordings, collaborated with Red Norvo, Mildred Bailey, and Bob Crosby, and managed Chick Webb, organizing swing battles at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem featuring the Webb Orchestra and Ella Fitzgerald. Among the many concerts that she organized was Benny Goodman’s historic ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

(Winston )

(b Philadelphia, May 14, 1889; d New York, May 19, 1939). American dancer, choreographer, and impresario. He went to Ireland in 1903 as a member of a juvenile “piccaninny” group, then toured Europe with Belle Davis (1903–8); his dancing during this period may be seen in the film Die schöne Davis mit ihren drei Negern (1906). Thereafter he worked as an eccentric solo act, and from 1910 into the 1930s was featured as a step dancer in revues in London, Paris, and Berlin; he also toured South America in 1923. In 1925 he starred in La revue nègre, with music provided by Claude Hopkins’s Charleston Jazz Band. He then organized his own revue, Black People (1926), which toured Europe and North Africa with members of Sam Wooding’s band. He organized further revues in Berlin (1926) and New York (1927...

Article

Howard Rye

[Nugetre ]

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], July 31, 1923). American record producer, brother of Nesuhi Ertegun. He traveled internationally in his youth – his father was minister to Switzerland, Turkish observer at the League of Nations, and the Turkish ambassador to France (living in Paris from 1929), Great Britain (London from 1931), and the United States (Washington, DC, from 1934) – and was educated at St. John’s College, Annapolis (BA 1944). He first became involved with Herb Abramson in running two small, short-lived record labels, Quality and Jubilee; then in late 1947 the two men founded the company and label Atlantic (jazz), with Ertegun as vice-president. It became one of the largest independent labels concerned with jazz, rhythm-and-blues, and soul recordings, and retained this position throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The company was purchased by Warner Bros. in 1967 but remained under its previous management. In the 1980s and 1990s Ertegun continued to be an executive of great importance in popular music, and in ...

Article

Howard Rye

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], Nov 27, 1917; d New York, July 15, 1989). American record producer, brother of Ahmet Ertegun. Like his brother, he moved about internationally on account of his father’s ambassadorial career. After moving to Washington in 1934 he promoted jazz concerts there (1941–4), then settled in Los Angeles, where he and his wife, Marili Morden, organized a band led by Kid Ory; they established the record label Crescent in Hollywood to record the band. Later they operated the Jazzman label (1946–51), which again had a repertory of traditional jazz. In the mid-1940s Ertegun wrote for the journal Clef and was editor of Record Changer. From 1951 to 1954 he lectured in the history of American music at UCLA, and delivered the first courses on the history of jazz given for college credit in any American university; during this period he also worked for the Good Time Jazz and Contemporary labels. In ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(Nicholas )

(b Boston, May 19, 1961). American pianist and record producer. He attended the Oberlin (Ohio) Conservatory of Music (BM piano and jazz 1983) and also studied classical Indian music (1983–4). Between 1986 and 1990 he led his own quartet, with either Joe Lovano or Dick Oatts on saxophone and Drew Gress and Jamey Haddad filling out the rhythm section, and from ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Manhasset, NY, Aug 11, 1959). American tenor saxophonist, record producer, and leader. He grew up in Connecticut, where he played violin and piano between the ages of seven and 12. When he was 17 he took up alto saxophone, after dreaming he was playing with John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard, and during his late teens he performed with local rock bands. In ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Svir, Lithuania, 1903; d New York, May 11, 1989). American club owner. In 1908 he moved with his family to Providence, Rhode Island; several years later they settled in Portland, Oregon. He attended Reed College, then Stanford University, and finally graduated from Reed. In 1926 he moved to New York to attend Columbia Law School, but shortly after arriving he abandoned his studies to pursue a career as a writer. He spent a short period in Portland in summer 1929, but by November 1929 he had returned to New York, where he continued to work as a freelance writer. From late 1932 for about a year he and his sister ran the Village Fair Coffee House on Sullivan Street, at which they held poetry readings. In February 1934 Gordon opened the first Village Vanguard, at 1 Charles Street; about a year later it moved to 178 7th Street. From around ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, Dec 9, 1954). American record producer, composer, bandleader, and percussionist. He began playing percussion at the age of nine and as a teenager he performed with local Latin bands and with Carla Bley. After studying art at Cooper Union in New York and then independently in the western Sahara, India, Haiti, and Europe, he worked with Chico Freeman. In 1979 he founded the record company and label American Clavé, the first release of which was Jerry Gonzalez’s album Ya yo ma curé; other artists presented by the label include the Argentinian bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla. In 1984 Hanrahan formed the group Conjure, which performs his own compositions and uses lyrics based on the poetry of Ishmael Reed. From the mid-1980s into the 1990s he performed internationally in both small groups and large orchestras, collaborating with, among others, Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Don Pullen, D. D. Jackson, Kenny Kirkland, Billy Bang, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Steve Swallow, Anthony Cox, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Andy Gonzalez, Jack Bruce, Billy Hart, Ignacio Berroa, Little Jimmy Scott, the Latin percussionist Milton Cardona, the avant-rock guitarist Arto Lindsay, and the blues singer Taj Mahal. Hanrahan usually serves as a conductor, but he also plays guitar and sings. His eclectic style of music blends elements of rock, jazz, blues, and popular song over various rhythmic structures, which are often based on Latin music. He likens his role to that of a film director and has been called “the Jean-Luc Godard of music.”...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Reading, PA, Dec 18, 1932). American writer. He learned clarinet from the age of 12 and taught himself to play alto saxophone. After studying music theory at Florida State University (BA 1961) he played with the pianist John Benson Brooks (c1961–3), whose trio explored 12-tone composition and improvisation. From the early 1960s Heckman contributed to Down Beat, Metronome, and Jazz Review, and in the process he wrote a number of musical analyses of jazz performances (notably “Miles Davis Times Three,” DB, xxix/23 (1962), 16), which was an unusual practice at the time. Around the same period he played occasionally with Don Ellis, broadcast a jazz radio show on WBAI-FM in New York (1963–4), and performed in the October Revolution in Jazz (1964). From 1964 to 1972, with the tenor saxophonist Ed Summerlin, he co-led the ensemble Improvisational Jazz Workshop, in which Steve Kuhn, Ron Carter, Steve Swallow, Ed Shaugnessy, and Charli Persip were among their sidemen; the group recorded an eponymous album in ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Trenton, NJ, Feb 1, 1902; d New York, Sept 29, 1988). American club owner. His birth date appears in the social security death index under the surname Josephsen (probably a typo). He initially worked in areas other than music, but early in 1938 he borrowed $6000 to purchase a basement club in Sheridan Square, which opened in late December 1938 or early January 1939 as Café Society (see Nightclubs and other venues). Josephson’s intention was to present little-known white and African-American entertainers to a racially mixed audience in honest, attractive surroundings. John Hammond, a good friend of Josephson’s, served as a one of the club’s talent scouts. Its first house band was built around Frankie Newton, and later performers included Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis. On 8 October 1940 the club became known as Café Society Downtown when Josephson opened a second venue, Café Society Uptown; he moved his well-known artists to the new location and began using the older club as a proving ground for new musicians....

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, March 2, 1923; d El Cerrito, CA, March 1, 2015). Record producer. After graduating from Columbia University (BA English 1943) and serving in the army he worked for a publishing company; from 1948 he wrote for Record Changer, published by his former classmate Bill Grauer. In 1952 he and Grauer initiated for RCA Victor’s X label a series of 10-inch albums of reissues of important recordings by such artists as Johnny Dodds, Jelly Roll Morton, Bennie Moten, and King Oliver. In the following year they founded the record company and label Riverside, which at first offered a similar series of reissues but soon made many important new recordings in bop and related styles, including seminal albums by Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans (ii); Keepnews acted as producer for most of these sessions himself. Following a period during which he undertook freelance work he ran the company and record label ...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Clarke, Sr.)

(b New Orleans, Nov 18, 1930; d New Orleans, Dec 4, 1972). American cornetist and record producer. He grew up in a musical family, was playing with Paul Barbarin at the age of 15, and while still in high school organized his own band with Fats Domino on piano. Following army service he formed a duo with his brother, the saxophonist David Lastie, and they toured California, Canada, and Mexico with Joe Turner (ii). In 1961, when the alto saxophonist Harold Battiste formed the A.F.O, Lastie became a board member; both men then moved to Los Angles, where they ran Hal-Mel Productions, published music, and worked with the singer Sam Cooke. In New York Lastie recorded with Lou Donaldson, managed, arranged for, and played with Willie Bobo, and continued in record production. An early advocate of Ornette Coleman, with whom he had played in the band led by the blues singer Clarence Samuels, he was a pivotal figure in the mutually self-nourishing circles of New Orleans jazz and rhythm-and-blues. His fat sound and volatile attack, even when muted, are well represented on ...