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Jon Alan Conrad

(b Flint, MI, March 30, 1933). American orchestrator, conductor and composer. He studied music at Michigan State University and then at the New England Conservatory, which included conducting with Neel and Stokowski, and the double bass. The latter led to performing engagements with numerous orchestras; from 1961 to 1967 he also conducted, particularly ballet orchestras. At this time he began conducting tours and concerts of musicals, and in the 1970s his orchestrations for musicals were first heard. These included orchestrations reconciling a variety of sources with the requirements for modern revivals or compilations (as with Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Carousel, Show Boat, and his contributions to the restoration of the Gershwins’ Strike up the Band). He has composed incidental music, arranged for television and film, provided arrangements for recording (for Mandy Patinkin, Plácido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade), and written songs and musicals, as well as concert and dance works. Additionally he has provided re-creations of Prokofiev’s film music (...

Article

Lise Waxer

[Colón Román jr, William Anthony; ‘El malo’]

(b South Bronx, New York, April 28, 1950). American bandleader, composer, arranger, trombonist, popular singer, producer and actor. Dubbed ‘El malo’ (the ‘bad boy’) of salsa, he began playing the trumpet in 1963 with the teenage band the Dandees. Switching to trombone, he made his professional début at 17 with the album El malo (Fania, 1967). Both as a bandleader and a member of the Fania All-Stars, he quickly moved to the fore of the burgeoning New York salsa scene, cementing the raw, trombone-heavy ‘New York sound’ inspired by earlier artists such as Eddie Palmieri and Mon Rivera. Between 1967 and 1973 he made a series of important recordings with vocalist Hector Lavoe, which included the albums Asalto Navideño I and II (Fania, 1972 and 1973) with cuatro virtuoso Yomo Toro, where traditional Puerto Rican Christmas aguinaldos were fused with salsa. During his second period (...

Article

Lise Waxer

[Edward]

(b East Harlem, New York, Dec 15, 1936). American pianist, percussionist, bandleader, composer and arranger. Following his older brother Charlie, he took up the piano when he was eight, but at 13 he began playing the timbales in his uncle’s band, Chino y sus Almas Tropicales. Returning to the piano in 1951, he formed a nine-piece band with timbalero Joey Quijano. He replaced his brother Charlie in Johnny Segui’s band in 1955, then joined Tito Rodríguez in 1958. In 1961 he formed the ensemble La Perfecta. Modifying the flute-and-violin charanga format popular at the time, Palmieri used trombones in place of violins and coined the ‘trombanga’ sound that became his trademark and influenced later salsa bands. In his band were such leading musicians as the timbalero Manny Oquendo, the trombonist Barry Rogers and the vocalist Ismael Quintana. Complementing the group’s dynamic swing, Palmieri forged a percussive piano style, incorporating modal jazz influences from contemporary pianist McCoy Tyner. Among his representative tunes from this period are ...

Article

Lise Waxer

(b New York City, April 20, 1923; d New York City, May 31, 2000). American percussionist, bandleader, composer and arranger. He began performing with Los Happy Boys and other local bands as a child prodigy, and as a teenager played with Noro Morales and Machito. Following wartime service in the US Navy (...

Article

Lise Waxer

[Ramón]

(b Havana, April 7, 1927; d Miami, Feb 1, 2003). Cuban percussionist, bandleader, composer and arranger. He first began to learn the violin, but switched to percussion as a child. He left Cuba in 1948, moving to Mexico with his cousin, the bongo player Armando Peraza. They played in Pérez Prado’s mambo band, then moved to New York City in 1950, where they were known as the Black Cuban Diamonds. Santamaría soon found work with Tito Puente, working in the band for seven years alongside percussionist Willie Bobo. During this time he recorded various albums of authentic Cuban religious and secular drumming, both with Puente and under his own name. With Bobo he left to join Cal Tjader’s Latin jazz group in 1958. In 1961 Santamaría put together a charanga ensemble, and recorded with the Cuban vocalist La Lupe in 1963, helping to launch her US career. By the mid-1960s he turned to the Latin crossover vein, with widely popular hits such as ...

Article

(Michael O’Hara )

(b Bristol, Nov 1, 1930). English arranger, composer, conductor and performer. As a young man Scott was a highly respected flautist and arranger with bands such as those of Heath, Ambrose and Herman. For a while he was a member of the John Barry Seven, and played on several soundtracks by Barry, including some early films in the ‘James Bond’ series. He accompanied many leading singers on commercial recordings, including Matt Monro, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey. Much in demand as a session player, he worked with Mancini on several film scores and the experience persuaded him to concentrate on composing for the cinema. An operation on his jaw in 1971 ended his playing career.

Scott’s first feature, A Study in Terror (1965), led to numerous commissions, including Antony and Cleopatra (1972), England Made Me (1973) and Greystoke (1984), and in the early 1980s he embarked upon a long series of Jacques Cousteau documentaries. He also contributed many short pieces to publishers’ mood music libraries, and several became well known as signature tunes, for example those of the television programmes ‘Tonight’ and ‘Nationwide’. His style seemed ideally suited to nature programmes, and was used by the BBC for ‘The World About Us’ and in Anglia Television’s ‘Survival’. Scott’s music for television has won him two Emmy awards....

Article

Lise Waxer

[Francisco, Slinger]

(b Grand Roy, July 9, 1935). Trinidadian vocalist, composer and bandleader born in Grenada. His family moved to Trinidad when he was one year old. He sang as a church choirboy, and made his professional début at 19, performing in the annual calypso tent competition held during Carnival under the sobriquet Little Sparrow. In 1956 he changed his name to Mighty Sparrow and won the Calypso Monarch Competition with his road march Jean and Dinah. That same year he initiated the famous ‘calypso wars’ with his friend Lord Melody, performing at the Young Brigade Calypso Tent. The following year, his tune Carnival Boycott was taken up as an anthem to demand better competitive conditions and pay for calypsonians, masqueraders and pan-men, and which led to the founding of the Carnival Development Committee. In subsequent years, his songs Teresa (1958) and The Yankees Back (1960) also became instant hits....

Article

Jon Alan Conrad

(b New York, April 19, 1938). American orchestrator, conductor and composer. His education included degrees from Bard College (1958) and the Juilliard School of Music (1960), and compositional study with Nordoff, Giannini and Bernstein. Work in New York as an instrumentalist, conductor and arranger led to the first commercially successful musical with which Tunick was associated, Promises, Promises (1968). Company, two years later, cemented his position at the forefront of theatre orchestrators and led to a long-lasting association with the work of Stephen Sondheim. His pre-eminence in this area has caused notable theatre composers to seek his services, inluding David Shire, Charles Strouse and Maury Yeston, and has fittingly led to his receiving the first Tony award given for orchestration, for Titanic (1997). His film work includes scores for Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981), Endless Love (1981...