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Article

John Koegel

(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...

Article

Eric Thacker

(b Prague, 1934). Czech double bass player. He first studied violin and trombone (1945–52), then double bass and theory (1957). In the early to mid-1960s he recorded many albums in Prague with Zdenek Bartak’s big band, Karel Vlach (1962–3), Karel Velebný’s quartet and quintet (1962–5), Jan Konopasek (1963), and the pianist Milan Dvořák (1964); in 1965 he toured and recorded with the Reduta Quintet. In West Germany and France he played with Leo Wright and Booker Ervin. He moved in 1966 to the USA, where he worked as a producer, arranger, conductor, and performer; he played with Elvin Jones, Tony Scott, Howard McGhee, and Attila Zoller, and recorded with Sonny Stitt (1966), Chico Hamilton (c1967, c1974), and Ervin (1968). As a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (...

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

Lesley A. Wright

[Adrien ]

( b Bayonne, France, June 7, 1828; d Asnières-sur-Seine, France, Aug 13, 1898). French composer, pianist, and teacher . After studying with Leborne, he won the Prix de Rome in 1854. The music section of the Académie praised his envoi, the French opera Don Carlos (1857), for its craftsmanship, fine orchestration, and strong sense of the stage, and in 1858 they awarded him the Prix Édouard Rodrigues for his oratorio Judith, over the only other competitor, Bizet. That year Barthe married mezzo-soprano Anna Banderali.

The Théâtre-Lyrique opened a competition in 1864 on Jules Adenis’s libretto La fiancée d’Abydos, for Prix de Rome winners whose work had not yet reached the stage. Barthe was the unanimous choice of the jury, above Émile Paladilhe and three others. Extensive changes were made during rehearsal and the première took place on 30 December 1865. Critics were largely positive, though they noted resemblances to Meyerbeer, Félicien David, Gounod, and others, and found the libretto somewhat tedious. After a respectable 21 performances (in Paris and Bayonne) the work disappeared from the repertory....

Article

Leonard Bernardo

(Andrejevich )

(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Heidelberg, Germany, March 30, 1935). German vibraphonist and teacher. He studied classical piano from the age of ten. As the house pianist for jam sessions at the Club 54 in Heidelberg, he learned to play bop in the company of such visiting American servicemen as Leo Wright, Cedar Walton, Lex Humphries, and Don Ellis; he also took up vibraphone and became interested in free jazz. Following studies in musicology and philosophy in Heidelberg and Berlin (PhD 1963) he joined Don Cherry’s free-jazz quintet, then based in Paris (1965); during this period he appeared in Appunti per un film sul jazz (Notes for a Film on Jazz) (1965). When Cherry’s group recorded in New York in September 1966 Berger remained in the USA, performing in schools for Young Audiences, Inc., with Horacee Arnold’s group (1967–71), periodically touring with his own bands, of which Carlos Ward, Dave Holland, and Ed Blackwell were members, and playing alongside Ward in a group led by David Izenzon. In autumn ...

Article

(b New Orleans, LA, Oct 10, 1929; d Hartford, CT, Oct 7, 1992). American jazz drummer and educator. He grew up in a musical family in New Orleans. During the 1950s he was a member of the American Jazz Quintet, which included Ellis Marsalis, Alvin Battiste, Harold Battiste, and, for a time, Ornette Coleman. He also worked irregularly with Coleman between 1949 and 1956 in New Orleans and Los Angeles, toured with Ray Charles in 1957. In 1960 Blackwell moved to New York to become the drummer with Coleman’s quartet at the Five Spot club, a position previously held by Billy Higgins, and both Higgins and Blackwell performed as members of the double quartets on Coleman’s album Free Jazz: a Collective Improvisation (1960, Atl.). He became influential in the emerging free-jazz scene, performing and recording with, among others, Coleman (This is our Music, 1960, Atl., and ...

Article

Walter Ojakäär

(Mikhaylovich )

(b Moscow, June 9, 1944). Russian pianist, teacher, and composer. From 1962 to 1966 he led a trio at the Vserossiyskoye Gastrol’no-kontsertnoye Ob’yedinenie (All-Russian society for guest performances). He played with Aleksey Kozlov in the big band VIO-66 (the Vocal Instrumental Orchestra, directed by the composer Yuri Saulsky) and also in a quartet drawn from the band which recorded at a festival in Moscow in 1967. Thereafter he worked in a duo with German Luk’yanov (1969–70) and led various groups ranging in size from quartet to sextet (1969–91); these groups made several recordings, among them Pered zakhodom solntsa (1985, Mel. C60 21873003) and Live at the Village Gate (1988, Mobile Fidelity 861). Bril performed at festivals and concerts in Europe, Indonesia, Cuba, and the USA. From 1991 he led the group New Generation, which included his twin sons, the saxophonists Dmitry and Alexander (...

Article

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

Gary W. Kennedy

(Ray )

(b Hernando, MS, March 28, 1954). American pianist and composer. He grew up in Memphis in a musical family and played drums, baritone horn, and trumpet, on which he won several awards in his youth, before taking up piano. At Memphis State University (1972–5) he focused on piano and was encouraged to explore jazz by his classmate James Williams. He then worked locally before replacing Williams in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1981). While with Blakey he toured internationally and appeared in the video Jazz at the Smithsonian:Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (1982). In 1982 rheumatoid arthritis forced Brown to leave the group. From 1983 to 1985 he was a member of the faculty at the Berklee College of Music, and in 1988 he began teaching jazz history and leading student ensembles at the University of Tennessee. Although his activities have been limited by arthritis, he has occasionally worked with Freddie Hubbard, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and the ...

Article

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(Richard )

(b Framingham, MA, Dec 21, 1920; d New York, Dec 13, 1983). American teacher, bandleader, and trombonist. He taught himself to play various instruments at an early age. After gaining a BS degree in music from New York University (1949) he directed high-school bands in the New York area (1949–57) while pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University (MA music, 1953). His dance band from Farmingdale, the Dalers, played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957 to unprecedented acclaim, winning Brown international fame and an appointment to the Newport Festival board. He then toured Europe with George Wein to select members for the International Youth Band, which performed at the Brussels World’s Fair and at Newport in 1958. In New York he organized the Newport Youth Band, which played at Newport and other festivals (1959–60). Many members of Brown’s groups, such as Dusko Goykovic, Albert Mangelsdorff, George Gruntz, Gábor Szabó, Gil Cuppini, Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Owens, Mike Abene, and Ronnie Cuber, became well-known jazz artists. After the dissolution of the Newport Festival Corporation (...

Article

André Barbera

[David ]

(b Perth Amboy, NJ, March 5, 1924). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, pianist, and teacher. He studied trumpet from the age of nine, and was influenced by Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge as well as by Dizzy Gillespie, whom he heard at Minton’s Playhouse in New York when he was 16. After playing with Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans (1941–3) he led an air force band that included James Moody (1943–5). From 1946 to 1949 he was a member of Gillespie’s big band and was at times asked to reproduce Gillespie’s solos (as, for example, on the recording of the second part of One Bass Hit, 1946); while with Gillespie he appeared in the film Jivin’ in Bebop (1947), and he also recorded under Moody’s leadership (1948). He played with Duke Ellington (1950–52) and Moody (1952–7), and then worked for three years in New York as a freelance. Burns was a member of the sextet led by Billy Mitchell and Al Grey in ...

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

John Edward Hasse

(b Chicago, March 23, 1881; d Los Angeles, Aug 17, 1955). American popular pianist, teacher and editor. He studied the piano as a youth and in 1903 opened a teaching studio in Chicago with the advertisement ‘Ragtime Taught in Ten Lessons’. He simplified African-American ragtime piano playing to three essential melodic-rhythmic patterns or ‘movements’, and these became the basis for his teaching method and for a series of instruction books he brought out from 1904. Christensen’s Rag-time Instruction Book for Piano went through numerous revisions and title changes to incorporate early jazz and, eventually, swing styles; one method book remained in print until at least 1955.

Early in his career Christensen began establishing branch schools to teach ragtime piano. By 1914 he had founded 50 branches, and by 1918 he had schools in most major cities in the USA and also some abroad. By 1935 these schools had taught ragtime, popular piano and jazz piano to approximately 500,000 (mostly white) pupils....

Article

Dave Gelly

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b South Bend, IN, Nov 28, 1932). Tenor saxophonist, composer, and teacher . He joined Woody Herman’s orchestra in late 1953, interrupting his music studies at Indiana University, and toured with the group until summer 1954; his solo on I Love Paris (1953, Mars 1002) attracted considerable critical acclaim. He recorded in Paris for the Vogue label (1954) and in San Francisco as a leader and with Mel Lewis (both 1956), then worked as a freelance on the West Coast, playing for a brief period with Stan Kenton. His work with college bands led to his becoming a prominent teacher of jazz, and in 1960 he was appointed to the first of several university posts. Coker has written a number of books about jazz and is one of the most highly regarded writers within the field of jazz education; he has also composed for student bands. In the mid-1980s he recorded two new albums as a leader, ...

Article

Franya Berkman

[Sangitananda, Turiya]

(b Detroit, MI, Aug 27, 1937; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 12, 2007). American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer, and spiritual teacher, wife of john Coltrane and mother of Ravi Coltrane. Raised in a musical family in Detroit, she studied piano between the ages of seven and ten, then percussion at North Eastern High School. A keyboard protégée, she played for gospel choirs during her teen years and attended bebop jam sessions with her half-brother, a bass player, Ernest Farrow (1928–69). Early piano mentors include Barry Harris and Terry Pollard.

From 1956 to 1960, she played organ with the Premieres in Detroit and accompanied the saxophonists Yusef Lateef and Sonny Stitt. In 1960, she married the singer Kenneth “Pancho” Hagood and moved to Paris, where she befriended Bud Powell and gave birth to a daughter, Michelle. After returning to New York, she played with Johnny Griffin and Lucky Thompson. Between ...

Article

Marcello Piras

(b Westfield, MA, June 17, 1837; d New York, NY, Sept 5, 1903). American banjoist, composer, and teacher. Born into a musical family, which relocated to Elmira, New York, soon after his birth, he began studying piano at six and was a proficient performer at 12. When he was 14 he heard a banjo “in the hands of a colored man” (George Swayne Buckley) who was playing with thumb and first finger; in 1901 he notated those two tunes from memory thus producing what is possibly the oldest known document of African American banjo music. Despite family opposition, Converse devised a pioneering academic technique for the five-string instrument, both absorbing the “stroke” approach, inherited from slaves, and adapting the fingerpicking method of classical guitar. By 1853 he had started concertizing, touring with minstrel companies, and teaching. He edited Thomas Briggs’s Banjo Instructor (Boston, 1855) and may have had a hand in Phil Rice’s ...

Article

André Barbera

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Norfolk, VA, July 17, 1926; d New York, May 18, 1984). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, and teacher, father of Keith Copeland. He studied classical trumpet and in his teens played with groups in Brooklyn. After working in New York with Cecil Scott at the Savoy Ballroom (1945) and Chris Columbus at Small’s Paradise (1946) he toured with Mercer Ellington (1947–8) and the Savoy Sultans (i) and recorded with Lucky Thompson (1949). During the early 1950s he worked only part-time as a trumpeter, for Andy Kirk, Lucky Millinder, Sy Oliver, and others. He was featured in the film Kiss her Goodbye (1959), and played bop and swing with Lionel Hampton (recording in August 1956), Oscar Pettiford’s orchestra (at Birdland in 1957), Specs Powell’s orchestra (recording in 1957), Randy Weston (1957–8), and Gigi Gryce and Johnny Richards (both ...

Article

Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Jim ]

(b Berwyn, IL, Sept 3, 1940). American editor, writer, teacher, leader, and pianist. He studied composition at the University of Illinois (BMus 1962, MMus 1963, DMA 1971) and from 1966 taught at the University of Michigan. In his work as an editor and writer he has devoted particular attention to the music of Jelly Roll Morton; his book Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton: the Collected Piano Music (1982) offers a comprehensive edition of transcriptions of a jazz musician’s work and includes biographical material and analysis. He also wrote entries on major jazz musicians for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London, 1980). As a pianist Dapogny has performed widely in concert and on radio and television, and he recorded as the leader of the Chicago Jazz Band, in a duo with Butch Thompson, and with the State Street Aces, the Mysterious Babies, and Sippie Wallace. His Chicago Jazz Band, founded in ...