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Article

Val Wilmer

(Stanley )

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962 he joined the Coon Carnival stage show. He then spent seven years in Swaziland, where he played bop with the pianists Roy Peterson and Howard Belling and accompanied Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In 1975 he traveled to England and worked in variety and dance bands before joining Dudu Pukwana’s group Zila. In 1981 he founded the trio District Six with Mervyn Afrika and the guitarist Russell Herman, both of whom grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town; with Abrahams as its leader, the trio expanded to a sextet (including Jim Dvorak from 1983 to 1993 and Claude Deppa at some point thereafter) and became an important focus for musicians who played both jazz and African rhythms. Abrahams also worked with Ronnie Scott, John Taylor, Johnny Dyani, and the Brotherhood of Breath. In ...

Article

André Clergeat

(b Zurich, July 27, 1939). Swiss cellist, violinist, and singer. She studied piano and violin from a very young age and played in the orchestra at the conservatory in Geneva. An encounter with Steve Lacy in Italy in the late 1960s led her to abandon classical music; the couple were married, and in 1970 they settled in Paris. Under Lacy’s counsel, as well as that of Dave Holland and Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Aebi taught herself to play cello, which became her preferred instrument in the group constituted by Lacy. She often makes use of her deep voice in the group, reciting as well as singing literary and political texts (from such authors as Lao Tzu, Guillaume Apollinaire, Herman Melville, and Brion Gysin) set to music by the saxophonist. Aebi has also performed with Kent Carter, notably in the string group Pinch with Jean-Jacques Avenel, with Takashi Kako, and with Oliver Johnson. She may be seen in the video ...

Article

Marty Hatch

[Nelson [née Turner], Dolorez Alexandria]

(bChicago, Aug 14, 1929; dGardena, CA, May 22, 2001). Americansinger. She grew up in a musical family, and sang gospel music at churches during the 1940s and early 1950s; she was also a member of a choral group that performed spirituals, jubilee music, comedy numbers, and other secular songs, which influenced her subsequent choice of repertory as a soloist. Later she sang at clubs in Chicago with the pianist King Fleming and others, and recorded four albums (1957–9). She performed with Ramsey Lewis in 1958 during an engagement at the Cloister which lasted seven months. Thereafter Alexandria began to concentrate on mainstream jazz and popular music; she recorded six albums in the early 1960s, using such sidemen as Lewis’s trio and members of Count Basie’s orchestra (1960), Howard McGhee (1962), and Wynton Kelly’s trio (1964). After moving to Los Angeles in ...

Article

Howard Rye

(bMemphis, July 30, 1906; dNew York, Feb 2, 1983). Americandouble bass and tuba player and singer. His date of birth, previously unknown, is taken from the social security death index. At Le Moyne College, Memphis, he played in a band with Jimmy Crawford. Both men recorded two titles in 1927 with the Chickasaw Syncopators (Col. 14301D), and Chickasaw Stomp includes an example of Allen’s half-spoken, half-sung vocal “preaching.” In summer 1928 Allen joined Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra, and four years later he changed from tuba to double bass. He may be heard on tuba on Sweet Rhythm (1930, Vic. 38141), while his double bass playing is prominent on such recordings by Lunceford as Avalon (1935, Decca 668), Organ Grinder’s Swing (1936, Decca 908), and Harlem Shout (1936, Decca 980), which reveal him as one of the major practitioners of the era; he also appears in the short film ...

Article

Eric Thacker

(bHartford, CT, July 19, 1923). Singer. He first performed and recorded with Jack Teagarden’s big band (1940–42). From 1944 he worked with Boyd Raeburn, sometimes singing complicated arrangements by George Handy; his style is well represented by I only have eyes for you, which he recorded with Raeburn in 1946 (Jwl 10002). (By this time he was using both forms of his surname.) Also in 1946 he recorded as a leader, accompanied by a quintet that included Lucky Thompson. Later he was associated with Paul Smith (1949), Johnny Mandel, Stan Kenton, and Count Basie. He sang at clubs, among them those on the Playboy Club circuit (1960–64), then from 1968 was less active in music for a period during which he worked with drug addicts in New York and Los Angeles. In 1975, however, he resumed recording in New York, making the album ...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, 1908). Italian pianist, singer, and violinist. He first worked in Genoa with Tullio Mobiglia and others (1927–33). From 1934 he played piano and violin in a small band led by Kramer Gorni in Milan, which made several recordings, including Anime gemelle (1935...

Article

Thomas Owens

(b Philadelphia, Dec 25, 1927). American singer. When still a boy he and his family moved to New Orleans, where he began playing drums under the tutelage of Bunk Johnson. In 1945 the family settled in Los Angeles, and he sang in the choir at Jefferson High School; he also worked as an usher at the Lincoln Theater on Central Avenue and won contests at amateur shows there. Andrews began recording during his high school years and was soon a successful performer, both in the Central Avenue milieu and around the country. He sang with Harry James’s band during the years 1959–69, took part in concerts with the Capp–Pierce Juggernaut in the 1970s and 1980s, and toured with the Philip Morris Superband led by Gene Harris in 1989–90, but otherwise he was active mostly as a leader, usually working with a trio. He is the subject of the video documentary ...

Article

Gerhard Conrad

(b Pforzheim, Germany, Oct 6, 1929). German soprano, tenor, and bass saxophonist. After receiving three lessons on guitar from a member of the Reinhardt clan he played in dance bands until 1950. He then contacted Sidney Bechet in Paris and learned to play soprano saxophone. He played in Germany with the arranger and bandleader Ernst Simon and also with American soldiers. In ...

Article

David Flanagan

revised by Anthony Barnett

(b Copenhagen, Feb 28, 1916; d Feb 7, 2017). Danish violinist, entertainer, and singer. He began playing violin as a young child. As a schoolboy he heard the popular violinists Eli Donde and Otto Lington, but did not at first consider music as a career. He undertook studies in sculpture (at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen), dentistry, and law, and during the same period led amateur orchestras. In 1933 he made his professional début at the Apollo Theater in Copenhagen, and the following year he formed a sextet, along the lines of Joe Venuti’s groups, which first recorded in 1935. In 1936 he heard Stuff Smith’s contemporary recordings; these exerted a great influence on his understanding of how the violin might be used as a jazz instrument. Asmussen played with the Mills Brothers (1937) and Fats Waller (1938) when they toured Denmark, and he recorded with Oscar Alemán (...

Article

Adam Cegielski and Barry Kernfeld

(b Słupsk, Poland, Aug 17, 1955). Polish singer. After graduating as a classical guitarist from the school of music in Słupsk she won a prize at a festival of Polish song in Opole (1979). She then worked with Janusz Muniak and others in the group Playing Family, as well as with such musicians as Marek Bliziński, Jarosław Śmietana, and Krzesimir Dȩbski. From 1988 to 1991 she studied at the Berklee College of Music, and during the same period she recorded with Michal Urbaniak, Urszula Dudziak, and American musicians. In 1994 she moved to Chicago; she has made frequent appearances at the Green Mill, and in 1998 she sang at the Chicago Jazz Festival. Auguścik’s numerous recordings include Don’t Let Me Go (1996, GMA 1724–1), an album of duos with Bogdan Hołownia, Pastels (1998, GMA 1724–2), and two albums in collaboration with Dudziak (...

Article

Floyd Levin

[Augusta ]

(b Yakima, WA, Nov 21, 1918; d Willits, CA, June 17, 1994). American singer. Interested in music from an early age, she studied piano and dancing in high school and sang in school and church choirs. At the age of 18 she became a professional singer, working in clubs in Washington, Oregon, and California, and during the war years she also performed in Cincinnati and Chicago. Turk Murphy discovered her during an appearance at the Clayton Club in Sacramento in 1951, and a year later she was invited to sing at Murphy’s opening at the Italian Village in San Francisco. She became an overnight sensation in the city and commuted from Sacramento on weekends to appear with the band. Her initial recordings with Murphy’s Jazz Band in April 1952 attracted national attention and added impetus to the dixieland jazz revival. After leaving Murphy in 1952, Austin, a mother of three children, did not appear professionally until ...

Article

Johnny Simmen

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Evergreen, AL, Dec 4, 1904; d New York, June 14, 1980). American trumpeter and singer. While he appears throughout the literature as Autrey, on the label of an acetate recording made by Stuff Smith in Cincinnati in 1942 he signs his name clearly and unambiguously as Herman Autry. He studied alto horn from 1914 but changed to trumpet in 1919. In 1923 he moved to Pittsburgh, where he performed with local bands; he also toured extensively, mostly in the South, and worked temporarily as a bandleader in Florida. After playing in Boston he moved to Washington, then three years later settled in Philadelphia, where he performed mainly with the bandleader George “Doc” Hyder until 1933. In late 1933, while playing with the pianist Charlie Johnson at Smalls’ Paradise in New York, he caught the attention of Fats Waller; Autrey may be heard on most of Waller’s recordings, both with sextet and big band, between ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, Sept 10, 1957). Japanese singer. She learned piano from the age of three, studied singing when she was 17, and in her youth undertook some work as a piano accompanist. After graduating from high school she lived alternately in Kobe, Japan, and Los Angeles. She then went to New York, where she sang from 1986 to 1991 as a member of the gospel choir of the Tabernacle Church in Harlem. In 1991 she returned to Japan and performed with the trio led by the pianist Hiroshi Minami in 1992 and Mikio Masuda’s trio in 1998. Among her recordings is an album (1996) on which she was accompanied by a quartet comprising the guitarist Satoshi Inoue, Junior Mance, Calvin Hill, and Akira Tana. Ayado was employed as a dietician until 1998 and then decided to work exclusively as a professional musician. Since then she has become one of the most successful jazz singers in Japan. She teaches gospel-style choirs in several Japanese cities and also plays piano and organ....

Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Kalmar, Sweden, Jan 26, 1924). Swedish singer. She made her début on radio at the age of 14 and her first recordings when she was 15, appeared in the film Swing it Magistern (1940), and was acknowledged as the most popular teenage idol in Scandinavia throughout the World War II years, being featured in several films and on numerous recordings, often accompanied by the leading orchestras and jazz soloists of the day. In 1949 she performed with a Swedish all-star band at the Paris Jazz Fair. In the 1950s she achieved success as a popular singer in Germany and elsewhere, then from 1958 to 1963 she was a member of the trio Swe-Danes with Svend Asmussen and Ulrik Neumann. From 1963 she performed and recorded with Duke Ellington in Europe and New York, and she made important contributions to Ellington’s sacred concerts of 1968 and ...

Article

(b Louisville, KY, Nov 1, 1904; d New York, Dec 8, 1967). American trumpeter and singer. He was brought up in Chicago from the age of three. He first played with Zinky Cohn in Harbor Springs, Michigan (1926), then in 1928 moved to New York, where he worked with Bingie Madison (1928), recorded with Bessie Smith (1930) and Louis Armstrong (1932), and performed and recorded with Chick Webb (1930–?1934), Benny Carter (1932), Duke Ellington (1933–4), and Armstrong (1935–8). In 1938 tuberculosis forced a temporary retirement. After working with Carter again (at the Savoy Ballroom, March–May 1939) he toured Europe with Willie Lewis and recorded as a leader and with Freddy Johnson in Paris (both 1939) and with Lewis in Zurich (1941). In 1941 he returned to the USA, where he played and recorded with Cootie Williams (briefly in spring ...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Kiel, Germany, Aug 13, 1950). French trombonist and singer. He played banjo with the soprano saxophonist Jacques Doudelle (1975), then changed to trombone and worked with the soprano saxophonist Olivier Franc and, from 1979, with Maxim Saury. In 1981 he co-founded the quartet Slapscat with the bass player Gilles Chevaucherie, and from 1981 to 1984 he was in residence at the Meridian hotel in Paris, where he played with Joe Newman, Clark Terry, Doc Cheatham, and Slim Gaillard. In 1983 he joined François Biensan’s Ellingtomania, with which he recorded Almost Cried (1994, Jazz aux Remparts 64006). He also played with the Parad Brass Band (1992) and the François Laudet Big Band (from 1993). A capable scat singer, Bacqueville is an accomplished trombonist who was influenced mainly by Vic Dickenson.

R. Fonsèque: “Portrait,” Jazz Dixie/Swing: du Ragtime au Big Band, no.9 (1995), 12...

Article

Howard Rye

(b New Orleans, July 31, 1949). American singer and dancer. He majored in theater studies at Xavier University and then studied drama in Europe. On his return to New Orleans he founded the New Experience Theatre and became involved in jazz by conceiving the show One Mo’ Time, which sought to re-create an evening at the city’s Lyric Theater in 1927. The show received its première at the Toulouse Theater, where it eventually ran for six and a half years. In 1979 a One Mo’ Time company opened in New York at the Village Gate Downstairs, where the show ran for 1300 performances. A road company was formed in 1980, and troupes later toured to Britain and Australia. Bagneris himself sang and danced with each of these companies at various times. With choreography by Pepsi Bethel and music by Orange Kellin and the pianist Lars Edegran, the show featured the New Orleans Blue Serenaders, which included Walter Payton on tuba, the drummers John Robichaux and Herlin Riley, and a starring trumpeter, a role played at various times by Jabbo Smith, Bill Dillard, and Franc Williams. Among featured singers were Lillian Boutté, Sandra Reaves Phillips, and Sylvia “Kuumba” Williams. The Village Gate cast with Smith and Williams is heard on the original cast album ...

Article

Howard Rye

(“Guitar”) [Baker, McHouston; McHouston, Big Red]

(b Louisville, KY, Oct 15, 1925). American guitarist and singer. He spent some of his childhood in an orphanage. Having initially played trumpet and double bass, he settled on guitar in the early 1940s and took private lessons on the instrument between 1945 and 1948. In 1947–8 he was a member of the trio led by the pianist Jimmy Neely. Stranded in California without work in 1949, he heard the singer and guitarist Pee Wee Crayton and became aware of the potentialities of blues. During the next few years he toured with Lester Young, Paul Williams, and Paul Quinichette, then joined the trio of the pianist Billy Valentine, with whom he first recorded in 1951. In August 1952 he recorded for Savoy with Hal Singer (under both their names), thereby launching a career as a session musician which encompassed most of the musical idioms then current. Among many others, he accompanied the singers Ruth Brown, Joe Turner (ii), Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, and LaVern Baker, and recorded with Jesse Stone, Sammy Price, King Curtis, Louis Jordan, Al Sears, Sam “the Man” Taylor, and Hot Lips Page. From ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b 1955). Polish singer. He led small groups, appeared as a soloist with such musicians as Billy Hart, Klaus Ignatzek, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, Zbigniew Namysłowski, and Sławomir Kulpowicz, and formed the group Cantabile in Jazz, consisting of singers (including Urszula Dudziak, Michele Hendricks, and Judy Niemack) and bass (either double bass or electric bass guitar). In the late 1990s his cooperative group Triology, with Art Lande and the flutist Günter Wehinger, toured, broadcast, and recorded in Poland (the album Triology, 1997, Gowi 49), and in 1999 it performed in the USA. Bałata also took a featured role in a musical, The Magician of Lublin. He is a scat singer and vocalizer in various styles, including bop, blues, romantic music, contemporary art music, and Polish folkloric traditions, and he is particularly skilled at imitating the sounds of instruments. A graphic designer, he has created performances integrating jazz with drawing and video projections....

Article

Howard Rye

(Victor )

(b Baton Rouge, LA, April 15, 1909; d California, Oct 1983). American pianist, leader, and singer. Details of his birth appear in his application for social security. After working with the drummer Curtis Mosby from around 1933 to 1934 he ceased full-time performing, but he played in a band during his military service. On recordings made in Los Angeles in late 1945 he accompanied Ernie Andrews with his own trio (which included Charles Mingus) and Dinah Washington as a member of Lucky Thompson’s All Stars. He also formed the Rhythm Bombardiers with a number of fellow servicemen; this group recorded with such well-known musicians as Vic Dickenson, Willie Smith, and Dizzy Gillespie, who played for union scale. Baranco’s playing and singing may be heard on Everytime I think of you/Baranco’s Boogie (1946, Black & White 42). In 1946 he recorded with Mingus and by 1947 he was leading a trio, in which Ulysses Livingston was a sideman. He later worked as a music teacher in California, and the social security death index gives his last known residence as El Cerrito. (D. Saleman: Liner notes, ...