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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 ...

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H.L. Lindenmaier

(b Berlin, July 20, 1922; d Hamburg, Germany, Feb 4, 2000). German writer and record producer. Having first studied in Berlin he attended the University of Karlsruhe (1940–42). He was a founder in 1945 of the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, where he led the jazz department until 1987, and in 1951 of the Deutsche Jazz Föderation. During the following decades he organized and directed many festivals and concert series (including Jazztime Baden-Baden, from 1947; the American Folk Blues Festival, 1962–8; the Berliner Jazztage, later known as the Jazzfest Berlin, 1964–72; the New Jazz Meeting Baden-Baden, which he founded in 1966; and the Olympic Games Jazz Festival in Munich, 1972) and was the producer and host of broadcasts both on radio (from the Baden-Baden festival) and television (“Jazz, gehört und gesehen,” 1954–72); he also organized an annual jazz concert at the Donaueschingen Festival for Contemporary Music (from ...

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Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

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Alex Harris Stein

(b New York, NY, June 27, 1928). American writer. After graduating from Hamilton College (1950) and serving in the military (1950–51), he worked as a magazine editor in New York (1952–58) before striking out on his own as a freelance writer. He has since published prolifically on a wide range of subjects and is best known for his series of historical novels for young adults. Collier is also a jazz trombonist, and he has published six books on jazz. His first, The Making of Jazz (1978), was well received and became one of the first widely used textbooks on jazz history. His subsequent works, however, have sparked controversy, owing to his tendency to stake out provocative positions. For example, in his biography of Duke Ellington (1987), Collier contends that Ellington never realized his early potential later in his career. In ...

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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 ...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b New Rochelle, NY, May 18, 1951). American writer. In 1986 he became jazz critic for the New York Post. During the course of his career he also contributed to the periodicals Crescendo International (later Crescendo & Jazz Music), Coda, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Mississippi Rag...

Article

Michael C. Heller

(Waldo )

(b Oklahoma City, OK, March 1, 1913, d New York, NY April 16, 1994). American novelist, essayist, and cultural critic. He is best known as the author of the landmark novel Invisible Man (1952). Ellison was also a renowned commentator on jazz, a recurrent theme throughout his writing. A talented trumpet player during his youth, Ellison entered Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship in 1933. His focus shifted to literature by the late 1930s, and he wrote short stories and book reviews for several publications. He catapulted to fame with the publication of Invisible Man and was one of the world’s foremost African American intellectuals for the remainder of his life. He published several influential collections of essays, including many on jazz, and worked continuously on a second novel, which remained unfinished upon his death. Musicians appear as key guides for the protagonists in both of his novels....

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Minneapolis, Jan 22, 1952). American percussionist, clarinetist, pianist, and critic. His father was an orchestral percussionist. Having been exposed to jazz at an early age, he took up drums when he was nine and studied informally with his father. Later he learned piano (1966–7) until he tired of reading music, though he resumed playing the instrument from 1969, took up clarinet in 1972, and doubled on bass clarinet from 1989 to 1992 and alto clarinet from 1992. Around the age of 17 he played in a rock band, but because he wished to explore freer types of music he formed the experimental group Blue Freedom; it was later known as Blue Freedom New Art Transformation and from 1973 as the Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble (MFFJE), which from 1975 functioned primarily as a duo with the guitarist Steve Gnitka; the two men toured Europe in ...

Article

Robert Gannon

(Richard Jeremy )

(b Weymouth, England, April 7, 1921; d Weymouth, May 9, 1991). English writer. From 1965 he was the host in Britain of a weekly radio program, “Jazz Scene” (better known by its later title, “Jazz Today”); he also hosted “Jazz in Britain.” The two shows eventually merged, and continued on BBC Radio 3 until 1988. Fox became the jazz critic of the New Statesman and also contributed occasionally to The Guardian, the Sunday Times, and The Gramophone. In the USA he is best known for The Essential Jazz Records, i: Ragtime to Swing (1984), a guide to 250 jazz recordings written with Max Harrison and Eric Thacker. He also wrote a brief, insightful book on Fats Waller (1960).

(selective list)

Fats Waller (New York, 1960); repr. in Kings of Jazz, ed. S. Green (South Brunswick, NJ, and New York, 1978) with P. Gammond and ...

Article

Michael C. Heller

(Mitchell )

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1948). American jazz and film critic and historian. After studying English at Grinnell College (BA 1972), he returned to New York and began writing on film for the Hollywood Reporter (1972) and on jazz for Down Beat (1972–3). Citing influence from the writers Martin Williams and Dan Morgenstern, he decided to focus his efforts exclusively on jazz and in 1973 was hired as a music critic by the Village Voice. His regular column “Weather Bird” became highly influential during the next three decades. Unlike critics who concentrated primarily on recent performances, Giddins wrote on a range of topics, including the legacies of historical figures, contemporary developments, and issues relating to jazz advocacy and education. From the 1980s he began publishing collections of his essays as well as book-length monographs, including biographies of Charlie Parker (1987), Louis Armstrong (...

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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

Lars Helgert

(b New York, NY, March 1, 1917; d Berkeley, CA, June 3, 1975). American jazz and rock critic. He studied at Columbia University (1934–8), where he was a jazz writer for the Columbia Spectator, and frequently attended performances at New York jazz clubs. In 1939 he co-founded Jazz Information, one of the earliest jazz magazines, and served as its editor until publication ceased in 1941. From 1942 until 1945 he was employed by the Office of War Information, spending time overseas. Gleason wrote for Down Beat from 1947 to 1961 (he also served as an associate editor) and for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1950 until his death. He founded another jazz periodical, Jazz: a Quarterly of American Music, which was published from 1958 to 1960. In 1967 he was a co-founder of Rolling Stone, to which he contributed for the next eight years. He also wrote for ...

Article

Howard Rye

(b Ohain, Belgium, May 21, 1898; d Brussels, June 27, 1984). Belgian writer. He first encountered syncopated music in 1918 as a civilian interpreter for a Canadian army unit. In 1919 he heard (Louis) Mitchell’s Jazz Kings in Brussels and thereafter sought out jazz wherever it was to be heard. In 1922–3 he led a band of Brussels University students called the Doctor’s Mysterious Six. In 1932 he published Aux frontières du jazz, dedicated to Louis Armstrong, and generally acknowledged as the first serious full-length book on jazz. He visited the USA in 1939 and the following year fled the Nazi occupation of Belgium, eventually reaching New York via Portugal. There he devoted himself to jazz, helping to organize the annual Esquire Jazz Concerts, and writing a number of books of enduring worth which make use of original interview material with New Orleans pioneers. After returning home in ...

Article

Robert Gannon

(b London). English writer. As a critic he has written on both jazz and classical music, providing articles for The Times and numerous jazz periodicals, and his wide knowledge in one field has often led to insights into the other. As well as being a regular contributor to Jazz Monthly and Jazz and Blues, he was editor of the latter from December 1956 until the journal’s demise in 1971. He contributed to Albert McCarthy’s Jazz on Record (1968) and thereafter wrote two further critical guides to the recorded repertory; the second of these, The Essential Jazz Records, i: Ragtime to Swing (1984, written with Charles Fox and Eric Thacker), places each of 250 selected recordings in its musical context and offers a detailed critical review. Harrison is the author of the major article on jazz in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (...

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 ...

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Daniel Zager

(b Laramie, WY, 1909; d Brielle, nr Spring Lake, NJ, Nov 19, 1967). American writer. After graduating in 1930 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a degree in engineering he moved to Illinois, and from 1935 until the end of World War II he worked as an engineer in Chicago. He took a great interest in jazz recordings, and from 1935 to the 1960s he contributed a column entitled “The Hot Box” to Down Beat which contained important discographical and biographical material on jazz musicians. In the mid-1940s he also wrote for Esquire’s Jazz Book. Hoefer moved in 1951 to New York, where he provided material for the periodicals Metronome, Jazz, and Melody Maker; from 1958 to 1961 he was an editor of Down Beat. His writings are notable for their accuracy and unusual attention to detail.

(selective list)

“Bix Beiderbecke,” “Bessie Smith,” The Jazz Makers...

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Robert Gannon

(b Reading, England, Sept 13, 1932; d Somerset, England, Jan 26, 1998). English writer . He studied at Reading University and in Strasbourg. His career as a jazz writer began in earnest in 1957, when he first wrote articles for Jazz Monthly, to which he continued to contribute until the magazine ceased publication in 1971. He also wrote many articles for the Jazz Review (1959–61) and Melody Maker (1978–80) and occasionally contributed to Coda and Jazz Forum. His brief monographs on Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie include not only biographies of their subjects and assessments of their influence but also detailed analyses of their recordings, which illustrate how the musicians departed from conventional harmony, rhythm, and phrasing to establish their own distinctive styles.

(selective list)

Dizzy Gillespie (London, 1959) Ten Modern Jazzmen: an Appraisal of the Recorded Work of Ten Modern Jazzmen (London, 1960) Miles Davis...

Article

(well )

(b London, Feb 28, 1917; d Chichester, England, Aug 1, 1993). English writer. He taught himself to play saxophone and clarinet and worked in dance bands from 1930. After abandoning his career as a performer in 1935, in the late 1930s he formed the High Wycombe Rhythm Club and the Challenge Jazz Club. He was the jazz editor of Challenge in 1941–2 and worked as a commentator for the BBC’s program “Radio Rhythm Club” from 1942 to 1943; he continued to work occasionally in radio during the following decades. In 1942 he was a founder, with Albert McCarthy, of the journal Jazz Music (which he edited in 1944 and again from 1946 to the early 1950s) and from 1944 to 1946 he was the editor of a series of pamphlets entitled Jazz Music Books. Jones had a long association with Melody Maker, first as an editor with Rex Harris of “Collector’s Corner” (from ...

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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 ...

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