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Article

E. Ron Horton

[Tony]

(b San Francisco, CA, March 17, 1953). American percussionist, composer, and scholar. He is a California-based artist and educator whose world travels and ethnic heritage have had a major influence on his musical career. His mother was a native of Tokyo, Japan, and his father was of African American and Choctaw decent. He grew up in a military family, moving between California, Germany, and Japan during his formative years. His career in music began in earnest after he returned to San Francisco in 1980. In 1985 he moved to New York and further developed his career while studying jazz performance at Rutgers University. He subsequently earned a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, studying ethnomusicology, a field that allowed him to focus on the musical styles that reflected his cultural heritage. He then began an extensive relationship with the Smithsonian Institute working as the curator of American musical culture, director of the Jazz Oral History program, and a performer in the Smithsonian Jazz Trio. In ...

Article

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 21, 1941). American Gospel music historian, performer, and songwriter. She founded and has served as CEO of the Heritage Music Foundation, which seeks to establish a permanent home and museum for gospel music. Brought up within the Los Angeles public school system, she earned degrees from California State University and the University of Southern California before earning the PhD from the University of Beverly Hills. As a youth she directed and accompanied the children’s choir at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, a church founded in Los Angeles by her father, the Rev. Earl A. Pleasant. Thereafter she became the accompanist for the Sunday School Baptist Training Union and the Young People’s Choir. A prolific arranger and composer, she has composed hundreds of songs performed by some of the best gospel ensembles and artists, including Rev. James Cleveland and the Gospel Music Workshop of America, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and the Sounds of Blackness. Her most well-known songs include “Give me a Clean Heart” (...

Article

Brenda M. Romero

(b Tlaxiaco, Mexico, Sept 9, 1967). Mexican singer, composer, and anthropologist. She was already well known in Mexico when she emerged in the US mainstream with her performance in the film Frida (2002). Her father was Scottish American and her mother is Mixtec from Oaxaca, thus Downs grew up traveling back and forth between the United States and Mexico and between cultures. She began singing at the age of five and began formal classical voice studies at 14 at Bellas Artes in Oaxaca. She subsequently studied in Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, focusing on Oaxacan highland textiles. In addition to crediting African American music in general, and female singers and the music of jazz in particular, for showing her the many ways in which the voice can be used as an instrument to articulate a wide palette of expressiveness, she credits a range of musical influences, including the Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Meredith Monk (especially her extended vocal techniques), Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane. She has conducted most of her work in collaboration with her husband ...

Article

John Cline

(Aloysius )

(b Takoma Park, MD, Feb 28, 1939; d Salem, OR, Feb 22, 2001). American guitarist, folklorist, and record producer. As a teenager, Fahey’s early interest in country music was expanded to include bluegrass and country-blues due to a friendship with richard Spottswood , later a noted folk and ethnic music scholar. With Spottswood and famed collector Joe Bussard, Fahey sought out pre-war 78 r.p.m. records. After taking up the guitar, Fahey’s made his first recordings for Bussard’s private Fonotone label on 78 r.p.m. shellac discs, some of which Fahey claimed to have slipped into boxes of more “authentic,” vintage records at flea markets. In 1959 Fahey founded Takoma Records to distribute his own recordings, beginning with the LP Blind Joe Death; his liner notes also frequently mock the language of then-contemporary blues scholars, the very people he had hoped to fool with the Fonotone 78s.

Despite his sense of humor Fahey was a serious student of American vernacular music. He travelled long distances to find Bukka White and Skip James in the Mississippi Delta in the early 1960s; he relates these events in the memoir, ...

Article

Jayson Greene

(b Alameda, CA, Jan 7, 1945). American rock journalist, author, and broadcaster. His father, born Fong Kwok Seung, changed his surname to Torres and posed as a Filipino in order to immigrate to the United States and sidestep the Chinese Exclusion Act. The family subsequently adopted the surname Fong-Torres. Ben Fong-Torres studied radio, television and film at San Francisco State University (BA 1966). He worked as a writer and senior editor for Rolling Stone, coming on board in 1969, shortly after the magazine’s inception, and staying until 1981. During his tenure, he conducted interviews with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt, Marvin Gaye, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Paul McCartney, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Martin, and many others. His interview with Ray Charles received the Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing in 1974. Fong-Torres was also a DJ for San Francisco rock station KSAN-FM from ...

Article

Daphne G. Carr

(b Sussex, England, June 25, 1946). British popular music scholar and critic. Frith is a foundational figure in intellectual inquiry on popular music since his first book, The Sociology of Rock (1978). His scholarly work has influenced the terrain of cultural studies in the study of popular music, beginning with mass culture, media, criticism, consumption, leisure, and youth; moving to questions of “authenticity,” taste, cultural hierarchy, and legitimacy; record production and producers; questions of copyright and public policy; and historical accounts of local scenes and live music. Frith has written a number of influential general texts on popular music, co-edited numerous foundational anthologies, educated several generations of British pop scholars, and served as a prominent public intellectual on popular music as culture. Frith was a founding member of International Association for the Study of Popular Music and a founding editor of the journal Popular Music (...

Article

J.W. Junker

[Edward] (Leilani)

(b Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug 4, 1927). Hawaiian musician, bandleader, songwriter, and researcher. A leading figure in the late 20th century revival of Hawaiian culture, Kamae has led the seminal Sons of Hawaii band for over 50 years. He has reintroduced a large number of classic Hawaiian songs from earlier eras, composed several standards, and has documented important Hawaiian topics on over 1000 hours of film.

He began his career in 1948 performing light classics and pop with Shoi Ikemi as The Ukulele Rascals. Self taught, Kamae developed chord voicings and plucking techniques that expanded the instrument’s reach. In 1959 Kamae met Gabby Pahinui and formed Sons of Hawaii. He radically transformed his style for the group, moving between rhythmic accompaniment and pa‘ani (soloing) in a fluid give and take. He also began singing in a distinctive voice full of Hawaiian vocal inflections. With mentoring from scholar Mary Kawena Pukui and others, Kamae began researching older Hawaiian repertoire and composing. His arrangement of waltzes, such as “Sanoe,” and other songs of the 19th century introduced a classical elegance into the group. At the same time The Sons performed downhome party favorites, like “‘Ama ‘Ama.”...

Article

Travis D. Stimeling

[ard ]

(b Greensburg, PA, March 1, 1951). American country music critic and historian. An occasionally controversial journalist and tough critic, Kienzle’s work challenges notions of genre that are often used to separate country, jazz, pop, and rock into discrete categories, instead arguing for a holistic approach that is more representative of the diverse musical interests of recording artists. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh (BA, English, 1973), he sold his first reviews to Country Music Magazine and, over the next 25 years, served as a columnist, critic, and contributing editor for the publication. His contributions to Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar have documented the lives and careers of numerous country and jazz guitarists, while his reviews and articles for No Depression helped to shape the alternative country movement’s view of country music history. To date, he has contributed liner notes for more than 370 CD reissues of country, pop, and jazz records, including several notable releases for Sony Legacy and Bear Family Records. In ...

Article

Stevan Key

revised by Benjamin Piekut

(b Chicago, IL, July 14, 1952). American improviser, composer, and scholar. A trombone student of Dean Hey, he attended Yale University, where he majored in philosophy (BA 1974). In 1971, he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a Chicago-based collective devoted to experimental music. He studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams, a founder of the AACM, and worked closely with many other AACM members. From 1980 to 1982 he was music director of the Kitchen, an avant-garde cultural center in New York. From 1991 to 2003, he taught at the University of California, San Diego, where he co-established the program in Critical Studies/Experimental Practices. He served as the Milhaud Professor of Music at Mills College in 1994. In 2004, he was appointed Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, where he also served as Director of the Center for Jazz Studies (...

Article

Robin Denselow

[Carolanne]

(b Nottingham, Sept 19, 1944). English folk-rock and neo-traditional singer, fiddle player, songwriter and ethnomusicologist. In the early 1960s she was a resident singer at the Nottingham folk club. From 1964 to 1969, she and her husband Bob Pegg ran the traditional club the Sovereign in Leeds, and performed together on the national folk circuit. She introduced to the folk scene the English fiddle style (comprising short choppy bow strokes, double-stopping, drones and no vibrato), learnt from traditional fiddlers, including Jinky Wells, Peter Beresford and Harry Cox.

The Peggs recorded their interpretations of Sydney Carter's songs on And Now it is So Early (Galliard), and their own songs on He Came from the Mountains (Transatlantic, 1971), by which time they had launched the experimental and controversial folk-rock band Mr Fox . Carole Pegg's singer-songwriter album Carolanne (1973) mixed traditional English influences with rock and country music, and featured the guitarist Albert Lee. She went on to form Magus with Graham Bond while continuing to perform solo....

Article

Ramona H. Matthews

revised by Karen M. Bryan

(b North Brookfield, MA, April 27, 1894; d Princeton, NJ, Oct 8, 1979). American Psychologist and musicologist. He studied at Clark College (BA 1915), Clark University (PhD 1921), the University of Cambridge (1919), and the University of Berlin (1931). After serving as instructor and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University (1923–38), he moved to Rutgers University, where he was professor and chair of the department (1937–45). He directed the Institute of Psychology and Philosophy at Ankara University (1945–7) before being appointed chairman and professor of psychology at Princeton University (1948–62) and then at Rider College (1962–71). He served as editor of the Psychological Review (1948–53) and as president of the American Society for Aesthetics (1950–2).

Pratt studied and wrote about various aspects of aesthetics and the psychology of music. Examining objective and subjective musical experience, he concluded that the hearer responds primarily to the inherent tonal design of the music rather than to its symbolic references, and therefore that some important aspects of musical response are not culturally determined. His writings include ...

Article

William Kirk Bares

(Hopkins )

(b Sharon, CT, Nov 17, 1935). American trombonist, ethnomusicologist, and composer. A well regarded jazz soloist, he is perhaps best known as a musical collaborator with ecumenical tastes. Strongly influenced by New Orleans jazz at a young age and seasoned by work in traditional jazz bands as a student at Yale, he transitioned easily to the collective free improvisation scenes of 1960s and 70s New York. Early partners included Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Enrico Rava, Carla Bley, John Tchicai, and Milford Graves; he worked with the last two in the New York Art Quartet. The open spirit of his early work is preserved on Archie Shepp’s Four for Trane (1964, Imp.), to which he contributed adventurous arrangements, and his own eclectic Blown Bone (1976, Phillips), which features several of the above artists.

Rudd’s subsequent collaborations have extended his longtime interest in non-Western music. He has carried out research for Alan Lomax’s cantometrics project (from early 1980s) and taught ethnomusicology at Bard College (...

Article

James G. Roy Jr

revised by Carman Moore and J. Bradford Robinson

(Allan)

(b Cincinnati, June 23, 1923; d Boston, July 27, 2009). American jazz composer and theorist. He played the drums in local clubs while a student at Wilberforce University High School. During a long illness in 1945–6 he formulated the basis of his ‘Lydian concept’, a system of composition based on grading intervals by the distance of their pitches from a central note. After his recovery he wrote scores for Dizzy Gillespie, including Cubana Be/Cubana Bop (one of the earliest works to combine jazz and Latin influences), and for Buddy DeFranco (A Bird in Igor’s Yard) and Lee Konitz (Ezz-thetic and Odjenar); meanwhile he also studied composition with Stefan Wolpe. From 1950 he consolidated and refined his ideas on music theory, publishing them as The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (1953, 2/1959), which was immediately received as the first major contribution by a jazz musician to the field of music theory. Works followed on an increasingly large scale, establishing Russell, along with Gil Evans, as a leading postwar jazz composer; he combined advanced jazz idioms with an unusually rigorous concern for structure, harmony, and the balance between composition and improvisation. In ...

Article

Craig Havighurst

[Edward Lawrence ]

(b Bethesda, MD, Nov 25, 1961). American disc jockey, bluegrass fiddle player, country music historian, and host of the Grand Ole Opry. Raised in bluegrass-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Stubbs began playing fiddle at age four and was inspired by his father’s passion for family history to develop his skills as an interviewer. After high school, Stubbs spent ten years as fiddle player in the Johnson Mountain Boys, a top traditional bluegrass band of the 1980s. Stubbs began broadcasting for WYII in Williamsport, Maryland, in 1983, moving a year later to WAMU, a bluegrass-oriented public station in Washington, DC. In 1990 Stubbs earned his own WAMU show, which he would anchor until 2007. He moved to Nashville in 1995, accepting an invitation from country legends Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright to play fiddle in their band. Within a few weeks, he won an audition for an announcer slot on the ...