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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

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

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

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

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 ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Stephen Kimball; Stevie-D]

(b Worcester, MA, April 14, 1967). American trombonist. His maternal grandmother was a semi-professional stride pianist and singer. He grew up in Binghamton, New York, where he played trumpet, euphonium, and tuba before taking up trombone at the age of 14; from 1983 to 1986 he attended summer music camps in Oneonta, New York, and served for the last two years on the faculty. He then moved to Hartford, Connecticut, to study with Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music (Bmus 1989); while there he also studied informally with Hotep Idris Galeta and Nat Reeves. His first important professional engagement was with Charli Persip’s Superband at Visiones, New York, in 1988. He worked with Persip through 1990, though during the same period he performed with the group of Eddie Henderson and the saxophonist Ron Bridgewater (1988) and with Galeta (1988–9). In mid-...

Article

Frederick A. Beck

[Lyle F. ]

(b Delevan, NY, July 12, 1918). American trumpeter, arranger, composer, and teacher. He trained to become a teacher at Fredonia (New York) College (1937–9) and later in life studied with the composers Paul Creston (1947–8) and Stefan Wolpe (1950–53) and the trumpeters Benny Baker (also 1950–53) and Murray Karpilosky (1955–8). In 1938–9 he worked with the clarinetist and saxophonist Dick Stabile and then joined Red Norvo, with whom his brother Arthur had previously played trombone. After leaving Norvo (1941) Dedrick performed and recorded with Claude Thornhill (1941–2), played briefly with Ray McKinley (1946), then returned to Thornhill (1946–7); his imaginative arrangement of ’Deed I do may be heard on the album The Uncollected Claude Thornhill (1947, Hindsight 108). In the 1950s and 1960s he worked as a freelance trumpeter, arranger, and composer in studios in New York, during which time he wrote music for Don Elliott, Maxine Sullivan, and Lee Wiley, among others; he performed with Urbie Green (...

Article

Lara Pellegrinelli

(b Omaha, NE, Sept 1, 1956). Bass player of Nigerian descent. He learned classical violin for two years and began playing double bass and electric bass guitar while at high school in Portland, Oregon; he continued his education at Mount Hood Community College, where he studied privately with faculty members. After graduation he performed in Portland for three years and spent a brief period in Los Angeles. Essiet then moved to Europe and toured there with Don Moye’s quartet in 1982. The following year he settled in New York, where he worked with Abdullah Ibrahim to 1988 and in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1988 until the leader’s death in 1990; he also toured with Mary Cook (autumn 1986) and recorded in the trio Triangular under Ralph Peterson, Jr. (1988). In the 1990s he toured and recorded as a member of Bobby Watson’s group Horizon (...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Charlottesville, VA, Oct 14, 1953). American guitarist and educator. As a teenager he played blues on acoustic guitar in local coffeehouses in Philadelphia. He encountered jazz while studying at the Berklee College of Music (BMus 1977), where he took lessons with Lenny Breau (1974–9); upon graduating he accepted a permanent position on the Berklee faculty, though he continued his own studies with Pat Martino (1981–6). From around 1983 he began performing regularly in Europe, initially in a trio which included Harvie Swartz, and from 1986 he led groups in the Boston area, most often a quartet with such sidemen as the pianists Frank Carlberg (1986–91), Fred Hersch (1992–5), Laszlo Gardony (1995–7), and Jim McNeely (1998), the double bass players Ben Street (1986–91), Cecil McBee (1992–7), and Steve LaSpina (1998...

Article

Mark Gilbert

[Franco ]

(b Canberra, Australia, Dec 22, 1958). Australian electric guitarist. He taught himself rock and blues guitar from the age of seven, later drawing on the work of Frank Zappa, Chick Corea, the Brecker Brothers, and the pop group Steely Dan. After attending the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California, in 1982–3, he taught on the faculty until 1987. He is best known internationally for his appearances with Corea’s Elektric Band (1986–93), but he also played with Jean-Luc Ponty (1986) and with Steve Smith’s group Vital Information (from the late 1980s). Beginning in 1986 he made several albums as leader, and from 1993 he toured with his own group and conducted master classes. In 1996 he was appointed head of the guitar department at the Los Angeles Music Academy. He took American citizenship in 1998. Most of Gambale’s work has been in a virtuoso jazz-rock context, and he achieved fame, and a certain notoriety, for developing the art of sweep-picking to a previously unknown level: this approach allows the execution of arpeggios and scale passages at extreme speed, but has been seen by some as putting technique before musicality. Gambale has been a regular contributor to ...

Article

Géza Gábor Simon

[Gárdonyi, László ]

(b Budapest, July 3, 1956). Hungarian pianist, composer, and teacher. He studied classical music, jazz, and ethnic music at the Béla Bartók Musical Training College in Budapest between 1976 and 1979 and first recorded with Zbigniew Namysłowski in 1983. From 1983 to 1985 he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston; as a member of the quartet Forward Motion with Tommy Smith, Terje Gewelt, and Ian Froman, he recorded at the college in 1984 and in Oslo in 1985. Gardony won first prize at the Great American Piano Competition in 1987 and joined the Berklee faculty that same year. He has toured extensively in North America and Europe, performing at major festivals and concert series, and he has played with such musicians as Dave Liebman, Miroslav Vitous, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, Garrison Fewell, Phil Wilson, Tony Lakatos, and the percussionist George Jinda. A video clip from his unaccompanied solo concert in Budapest in ...