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Mary Talusan

(b Anaheim, CA, Nov 15, 1970). American jazz percussionist and composer. Of Filipino heritage, Ibarra grew up in Houston, Texas. She received a music diploma from Mannes College and a BA from Goddard College. She studied drums with Buster Smith and Vernel Fournier and percussion with Milford Graves. She also played with William Parker and his big band, The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. In the 1990s, Ibarra became interested in Philippine musical traditions and took lessons on kulintang from master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. She joined the avant-garde free jazz quartet led by David S. Ware and became well known in the New York jazz scene. She collaborated on several albums with a number of respected musicians such as Assif Tsahar, Cooper-Moore, Charles Burnham, Chris Speed, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pauline Oliveros, notably on the album ...

Article

Jane Alaszewska

[wadaiko, taiko] (Jap.: ‘Ensemble of drums’, from kumi: ‘group’, ‘ensemble’;-daiko: the suffixing form of taiko, a generic term for Japanese drums)

An ensemble using mainly indigenous Japanese percussion instruments for performance on the stage.

Japanese indigenous percussion traditionally served as an accompaniment in ritual music and classical theatre. Its post-war transition to centre-stage was mainly a result of the work of jazz drummer Oguchi Daihachi who, by featuring these instruments in a series of compositions exploring the interface between jazz and ritual drumming, brought them to the fore in contemporary composition. The performance of Oguchi's work at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics inspired the formation of similar ensembles nationwide, notably in the Hokuriku area where kumi-daiko performance became standard evening entertainment at hot springs.

During the 1960s Japan underwent a period of rapid modernization. Many felt the ‘new’ Japan to be losing touch with its ‘traditional’ culture, leading to renewed interest in such arts. As part of this interest Den Tagayasu began assembling a commune with friends for the pursuit of traditional arts and crafts on the remote Sado island. Among the many projects initiated was a ...

Article

Rick Mattingly

(Ignatius)

Member of Marsalis family (jazz)

(b New Orleans, March 4, 1977). Drummer, son of Ellis Marsalis. He took violin lessons and played drums on a casual basis before studying percussion seriously; while in his teens he led his own quartet. From 1991 to 1998 he worked regularly with his father’s trio, and during the same period he performed and recorded with his brother Delfeayo Marsalis (1991–3) and Edward Petersen (1993–4). In autumn 1994 he began what became a long-lasting relationship with Marcus Roberts that included tours and recordings. In addition he recorded with Marcus Printup and the saxophonist Harold Battiste (1996) and worked briefly and recorded with Marlon Jordan (1997). In 1997–8 he was a member of a fusion band, Neslort, led by the trombonist Rick Trolsen, and from 1998 he performed and recorded alongside the percussionist Bill Summers under the leadership of the trumpet player Irvin Mayfield in Los Hombres Calientes. In the same year he formed his own quintet and recorded as a leader. Marsalis may be seen in the German and English video documentary ...

Article

Michael Baumgartner

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 25, 1931; d New York, NY, Nov 22, 2011). American jazz drummer and composer. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he began playing guitar and drums at the age of 12. During the Korean War he studied at the Navy School of Music in Washington before being stationed in Brooklyn from November 1953. After his discharge in September 1954 he moved to New York, entered the Manhattan School of Music and took private lessons on drums and timpani. In the mid- to late 1950s he accompanied various musicians, including Tony Scott, Stan Getz, Oscar Pettiford (in both his quintet and big band), Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. In 1956 Motian began collaborating with Bill Evans, appearing on the pianist’s first album. Subsequently he was the drummer in Evans’s first and second trios (1959–64). He continued his career as an experienced drummer of piano trios, first with Paul Bley’s group (...

Article

John L. Clark Jr.

(b Chicago, IL, June 22, 1903; d Palm Springs, CA, June 7, 1971). American jazz drummer and bandleader. Born into a wealthy family, he began playing drums and was hired by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, with whom he played and recorded in 1923. While with this band he became known as perhaps the best white drummer in the style and influenced the next generation of players, including Dave Tough and Gene Krupa.

After a year on the West Coast with the Harry Bastin band, he took over Bastin’s group in 1925. For the next 15 years Pollack led big bands, primarily in Chicago and New York, before settling in Los Angeles in the late 1930s. His first band included such later jazz worthies as Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman, and Glenn Miller.

By the early 1930s Pollack had replaced his early stars with younger musicians. His affair with singer Doris Robbins caused friction in the new band and most of the musicians left to form a cooperative group later fronted by Bob Crosby. Pollack again reformed, using other young musicians including Harry James and Irving Fazola....

Article

Gareth Dylan Smith

[Charles D. ]

(b New York, NY, Dec 15, 1931; d New York, NY, March 16, 1988). American jazz drummer. He is widely acknowledged as one of the great, if underappreciated, jazz drummers, developing a new vocabulary on the instrument in the early 1960s along with Billy Higgins and Ed Blackwell. He came to fame in the explorative, pioneering, and avant-garde band of bassist Charles Mingus, which he joined in 1956 after upstaging Mingus’s then-drummer Willie Jones at a jam session. The new vitality and energy that he brought to the band was evident from his recording debut, The Clown (1957), and is perhaps exemplified on Mingus’s most popular album, Mingus Ah Um (1959). Prior to joining Mingus on drums, Richmond had studied reeds, piano, and percussion at the Music Center Conservatory in Brooklyn, and had worked as a tenor saxophonist on tour with Paul Williams, among others....

Article

(b Savannah, GA, July 17, 1933). American jazz drummer. Riley moved to New York at age four and as a teenager began music studies with Cecil Scott, in whose band he also played. After returning to Harlem following his service as a member of the 187th Airborne band (1951–2) he joined the second wave of New York bebop players, working regularly with Randy Weston and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, first at Minton’s and then from 1960 as a member of his two-tenor quintet with Johnny Griffin. Subsequently he became a busy sideman, performing with Sonny Rollins (appearing on the classic The Bridge), among others. He became a favorite of piano players including Ahmad Jamal, Billy Taylor, and Ray Bryant, for his tasteful, sympathetic swing. After three weeks opening for Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot, playing with Bobby Timmons, Junior Mance, and Walter Bishop, Jr., Monk asked him to play on ...

Article

Michael Fitzgerald

[Granville William ]

(b Miami, FL, Sept 3, 1932). American jazz drummer. Roker moved to Philadelphia at age ten and was introduced to music in school bands and local drum and bugle corps, in which he played by ear. Formal studies began at age 23, following service in the US Army from 1952 to 1955. He began playing jazz in Philadelphia with Sam Reed in 1956, worked with Jimmy Heath, Jimmy Oliver, and Johnny Coles, and met Kenny Barron, McCoy Tyner, and Reggie Workman in local jam sessions.

With the encouragement of Workman, Roker moved to New York in 1959, playing for two years and recording three albums with Gigi Gryce. His next long-term engagements were in the trios of Ray Bryant and Junior Mance. Preferring to stay in New York rather than travel, Roker joined Mary Lou Williams, working steadily at the Hickory House in the mid-1960s. Concurrently he collaborated with Duke Pearson in both a big band and small groups and appeared on numerous recordings for various labels, including Blue Note....

Article

J. Bradford Robinson

[Dav(e)y; David Jaffray]

(b Oak Park, IL, April 26, 1907; d Newark, NJ, Dec 9, 1948). American jazz drummer. As a member of the Austin High School Gang in the mid-1920s he had a formative influence on Chicago-style jazz. In the late 1920s he toured Europe, where he made his first recordings in Berlin (1927), and took part in numerous recording sessions with Eddie Condon, Red Nichols, and others in New York. Incapacitated, mainly by alcoholism, from 1929 to 1935, he then joined Tommy Dorsey’s big band (1936–7), replaced Gene Krupa in the Benny Goodman Orchestra (1938), then rejoined Dorsey (1939). He was a leading drummer of the swing period. Two prominent features of his playing with Dorsey—his ride patterns on Chinese cymbal (and later on large Turkish cymbal) and his irregular bass drum figures—were far in advance of their time, becoming widespread only in the bop style of the 1940s. He also adapted to the progressive big band style as a member of Woody Herman’s first “Herd” (...

Article

Matthew Alan Thomas

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 20, 1960). American percussionist. He began playing snare drum at nine years old and performed with the Pittsburgh Youth SO as a teenager. He studied classical percussion at Duquesne University before transferring to Berklee College of Music, where he met Kevin Eubanks, Branford Marsalis, and Wallace Roney. He frequently performed on vibraphone as a Berklee student and played with Marvin “Smitty” Smith in the school’s fusion ensemble. Watts recorded and toured regularly with Wynton Marsalis’s quintet (1982–8). His acting debut came when he was invited to play the role of fictional drummer Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues (1990).

Watts collaborated with pianist Kenny Kirkland and bassist Charles Fambrough on his first album as bandleader Megawatts (1991, Sunnyside). After making several recordings with Branford Marsalis, Watts moved to Los Angeles to play with Branford in the Tonight Show Band (...