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Michael Webb

(Tok Pisin for ‘bamboo band’).

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Elliot ]

(b Sans Souci, Trinidad, Nov 5, 1927). American steel pan musician. Called the “father of the modern steel drum,” Mannette began playing music as a child, and by age 11 he was already performing with the New Town Calvary Tamboo Bamboo. When the colonial British government banned traditional instruments, locals began experimenting with alternatives. Mannette was among those to introduce new percussion instruments made of trash can lids and other found objects, and he and several friends started the Oval Boys, which eventually took the name the Woodbruck Invaders. As a talented machinist, Mannette took oil drums and their lids to produce musical instruments, and he spent decades honing these skills to develop sophisticated creations. By 1951 the Trinidadian government realized the importance of Mannette’s work, and formed an 11-person pan-band called the Trinidad All-Steel Percussion Orchestra that was organized by Lt. Joseph Griffith. Mannette continued to work with the Invaders, however, and in ...

Article

John Chilton

(b New York, NY, June 28, 1903; d Homestead, FL, May 15, 1956). American jazz bass saxophonist and vibraphonist. He was originally a pianist and xylophone player, and worked from 1922 to 1927 with the California Ramblers, with whom he made hundreds of recordings. While with this band he bought his first bass saxophone, and specialized on this instrument throughout the 1920s and early 1930s; he also provoked admiring astonishment among fellow musicians by playing jazz on novelty instruments such as the “hot fountain pen” and the “goofus” (an instrument resembling a toy saxophone and made by Couesnon in France during the 1920s). In these years he became one of the first outstanding white jazz musicians; his adept improvisations on the unusually cumbersome bass saxophone were melodically inventive and possessed rhythmic vitality and swing. He is best remembered for his series of recordings with Bix Beiderbecke, wherein he displays considerable adroitness, both in the improvised ensembles and in his solos. During the 1930s he began to concentrate on playing vibraphone; he never rose above competence on that instrument, however, whereas in his by then rare performances on bass saxophone he still showed mastery. The last years of his life were spent mainly playing commercial engagements in Florida. His brother Art Rollini was a tenor saxophonist with Benny Goodman’s band....

Article

Daniel John Carroll

[McDaniel, Rudy ]

(b Hempstead, NY, June 11, 1956). American jazz electric bass guitarist. His name was Rudy McDaniel until his conversion to Islam. Tacuma began playing the bass at the age of 13 and by the age of 19 was a member of Ornette Coleman’s band Prime Time, an experience that he has described as revelatory. He also recorded his own albums Showstopper (1983), (In the) Nightlife (1983), Renaissance Man (1984), Music World (1986), and Jukebox (1988) for Gramavision. He also played in a duo, Drummer Exchange, with the drummer Cornell Rochester. In addition to performing in traditionally composed jazz ensembles, Tacuma has utilized less conventional instruments in his groups such as the Japanese shamisen and koto and Korean drums. He has also integrated elements of rap with jazz. He describes himself as a musician in a never-ending pursuit of the full potential of the electric bass, rather than confining himself to a background position in an ensemble. This aim is supported by his solo technique: upbeat, highly pointed, and exploiting the full tonal range of the bass....