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David Wild and Barry Kernfeld

(Iweanya)

Member of Marsalis family

(b Breaux Bridge, LA, Aug 26, 1960). Tenor and soprano saxophonist, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played alto saxophone for seven years before changing to the tenor instrument. While attending Southern University, Louisiana, for a year, he took lessons from Alvin Batiste; he then studied for several years at the Berklee College of Music. After his graduation he replaced Bobby Watson in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (including his brother Wynton Marsalis), with which he remained for five months, working primarily as an alto saxophonist, and he toured with Clark Terry’s orchestra. He spent three years as a member of Wynton’s quintet (1982–5), during which time he also worked with John Hicks’s quintet (1982–4), toured with the quintet V.S.O.P. II (1983), recorded with Ray Drummond, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bobby Hutcherson (all 1984), and played in Miles Davis's group (...

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Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...

Article

Stephen Montague

revised by Kelly Hiser

(Arthur )

(b Kankakee, IL, March 22, 1942; d San Rafael, CA, Sept 25, 1996). American composer, trombonist, conductor, and double bassist. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trombone with Robert Gray and composition with Kenneth Gaburo, herbert Brün , and salvatore Martirano (BM in performance 1965). He studied jazz improvisation with lee Konitz and electronic music with richard b. Hervig at the University of Iowa (1970–71). He was a member of the Harry Partch Ensemble (1961–2) and the Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players (1963–6) and was an associate artist at the University of Iowa Center for New Music and New Performing Arts (1969–74). From 1974 to 1984 English lived in Europe, where he performed widely as a soloist and with jazz and new music ensembles, at festivals, and on radio. He collaborated with his wife Candace Natvig, a singer and violinist; in ...

Article

David Wozniak

(b Leavenworth, KS, May 25, 1936). American jazz saxophonist and studio woodwind musician. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Foster moved to Los Angeles, where he became a leading freelance performer on clarinet, saxophone, and flute. Since the late 1960s, he has been a member of several hundred film and television orchestras . Foster can be heard on more than five hundred movie soundtracks, including Chicago (2002) and Catch Me If You Can (2002). The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Foster the Most Valuable Player Award for woodwind doubling.

As a jazz saxophonist, he was a founding member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, performing with them from 1973 to 1982. He has appeared and recorded with jazz artists such as Clare Fischer, Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, and Bill Dobbins, and with popular musicians including Barbra Streisand, Mel Torme, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Rosemary Clooney. His jazz recordings include solo albums, including ...

Article

Richard H. Perry

(Lewis )

(b Montgomery, AL, Aug 7, 1941). American jazz tuba player, baritone saxophonist, and bandleader. Largely self-taught, he first learned baritone saxophone, then tuba. In 1963 he moved to New York, where he quickly established himself as a leading jazz tuba player and performed with Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, and, notably, Gil Evans. He played with Evans’s orchestra from 1966 until the leader’s death in 1988. He also worked with Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Chet Baker, and McCoy Tyner and spent several years with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk orchestra. From 1975 to 1980 he was a member of the house band for “Saturday Night Live,” serving as bandleader from 1979 to 1980.

Although Johnson has been recognized for his work on baritone saxophone, he is best known for his tuba playing and for his work with tuba ensembles. In 1968 he formed the first jazz tuba ensemble, Substructure. Although this group never recorded, Johnson subsequently formed Gravity, an ensemble with six tubas, in the 1970s; it released ...

Article

Ruth Rosenberg

[Cliff] (Laconia)

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 2, 1931; d New York, NY, March 27, 1993). American tenor saxophonist and bandleader. He was one of several notable jazz musicians to come out of DuSable High School on Chicago’s South Side, where his contemporaries included the tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and John Gilmore and the bass player Richard Davis. During his early years in Chicago he played with Max Roach and Sonny Stitt and a variety of rhythm-and-blues bands. In 1957 he moved to New York and recorded his first album, Blowing in from Chicago (BN) with the hard-bop pioneers Horace Silver on piano and Art Blakey on drums. In the years that followed Jordan performed and recorded prolifically, appearing with groups led by Silver and J.J. Johnson, as a sideman on recordings by Lee Morgan, among others, and co-leading a group with Kenny Dorham. In 1964 he toured Europe with the Charles Mingus Sextet playing alongside Eric Dolphy....

Article

J.R. Taylor

[Andrew Dewey ]

(b Newport, KY, May 28, 1898; d New York, NY, Dec 11, 1992). American jazz saxophonist and bandleader. He spent his childhood in Denver, where he studied piano, singing, alto saxophone, and music theory with Paul Whiteman’s father, Wilberforce Whiteman, among others. In 1918 he joined George Morrison’s orchestra as a bass saxophonist and tuba player. Around 1927 he moved to Dallas, where he joined Terrence Holder’s Dark Clouds of Joy orchestra; he assumed its leadership in 1929. In that year he transferred the band to Kansas City, Missouri, where it was known as the Clouds of Joy (among other related titles), rivaled Bennie Moten’s band, and made its first recordings (1929–30). From 1930 he made several nationwide tours, although the band continued to be based primarily in Kansas City. The success of “Until the Real Thing Comes along” (1936, Decca) established the band’s lasting popularity. Until the group disbanded in ...

Article

Michael Baumgartner

[Ronald Theodore ]

(b Columbus, OH, Aug 7, 1935; d Bloomington, IN, Dec 5, 1977). American tenor saxophonist, flutist, and multi-instrumentalist. Blind from the age of two, he took up saxophone and clarinet at the Ohio State School for the Blind in 1948. By 1951 he was performing on tenor saxophone professionally in several local rhythm-and-blues bands. In the second half of the 1950s he worked in Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, before moving in 1960 to Chicago, where he recorded his first jazz album under his own name, Introducing Roland Kirk (1960, Argo). In 1961 he moved to New York, was part of the Charles Mingus Workshop for three months, and toured Germany in April and California in December. In 1963 he began a residency at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, an engagement which he repeated nearly every year during the 1960s. Until his death, Kirk led his own group, the Vibration Society. With this band he toured North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand performing in a multitude of jazz styles. In the early 1970s he was the leader of the Jazz and People’s Movement, an organization for the promotion of black music. In ...

Article

Nicholas Higgins

(b Trieste, Italy, May 4, 1971). saxophonist of Italian birth. Of South Asian descent, he grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and started playing alto saxophone at age 11. He studied briefly at North Texas State University and received his BM from the Berklee College of Music; he later earned a master’s degree in jazz composition from DePaul University in Chicago. After moving to New York in 1997, Mahanthappa played a crucial role in the pianist Vijay Iyer’s quartet in the 1990s and early 2000s and produced four unique projects with his own quartet. One of these, Mother Tongue (2005), used tonal transcriptions of phrases from Indian languages as melodic source material for his compositions; another, Codebook (2006), applied cryptographic methods to musical composition.

Mahanthappa’s subsequent music has featured other alto saxophonists. His project with Bunky Green (2010) featured the pianist Jason Moran, the bass player François Moutin, and the drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette. The Dakshina Ensemble, his project with the South Indian musician Kadri Gopalnath, combined jazz and South Indian classical-music ensembles. A two-saxophone project, Dual Identity, featured the alto saxophonist Steve Lehman as well as Reid, the bass player Matt Brewer, and the guitarist Liberty Ellman....

Article

Charles Garrett

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

Member of Marsalis family

(b New Orleans, July 28, 1965). Trombonist and record producer, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played electric bass guitar and took up trombone at the age of 12, and later studied record production and trombone at the Berklee College of Music. After graduating (spring 1989) he performed around New Orleans, and at some point he read English at the University of New Orleans. Having worked with Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Abdullah Ibrahim’s septet Ekaya, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, around spring 1991 Marsalis began leading his own quintet, which has included Mark Turner, the pianist Victor “Red” Atkins, the double bass player Greg Williams, Brian Blade, and his brother Jason Marsalis; in September 1992 he led the group at the reopening of Kimball’s in San Francisco. Between 1993 and 1998 he was a member of Elvin Jones’s Jazz Machine. He moved to New York in ...

Article

Thomas Owens

(Louis)

Member of Marsalis family

(b New Orleans, Nov 14, 1934). Pianist, father of Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis. As a youth he played clarinet and tenor saxophone as well as piano. He studied at Xavier University Junior School of Music and earned a degree in music education at Dillard University (BA 1955); years later he continued these studies at Loyola University (MME 1986). Marsalis undertook his first paying jobs at the age of 13 and continued playing locally at weekends during his high school and college years. In the mid-1950s he played together with Alvin Batiste, the saxophonist Harold Battiste, and Ed Blackwell in the American Jazz Quintet. In 1956 he and Blackwell visited Los Angeles and began playing with Ornette Coleman, though the association was short-lived for Marsalis. At the end of the year Marsalis joined the Marine Corps; during most of his two-year service he was based in southern California and played for a weekly television show, “Dress Blues.” Following his discharge he returned to New Orleans and formed a group that included Blackwell, with whom he recorded in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(Learson)

Member of Marsalis family

(b New Orleans, Oct 18, 1961). Trumpeter and leader, son of Ellis Marsalis. From an early age he studied both jazz and classical music: when he was about eight he belonged to a children’s marching band led by Danny Barker that performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and when he was 14 he performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra. He attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (near Lenox, Massachusetts) and while a student at the Juilliard School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1980). In 1981 he toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams and recorded his first album as a leader, then early in 1982 left the Jazz Messengers to form a quintet with his brother Branford, Kenny Kirkland on piano, the double bass players Charles Fambrough, Phil Bowler, or Charnett Moffett, and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums; he also toured with Hancock in ...

Article

Russ Musto

(b Joplin, MO, July 24, 1939). American alto and tenor saxophonist and composer. One of the most inventive bebop alto saxophonists in the tradition of Charlie Parker, he possesses a fluid melodic style that reflects the initial influence of Johnny Hodges. At age nine he moved to Detroit and at 13 started playing saxophone. He began studies with barry Harris when he was 18 and landed his first professional gigs with the pianist a year later in a band that also featured Lonnie Hillyer. McPherson arrived in New York in 1959 and the following year joined Charles Mingus, with whom he played for the next decade and a half. He made his first album as a leader, Bebop Revisited!, for Prestige in 1964 and recorded frequently for that label for the next five years. During the 1970s he made three records each for the Mainstream and Xanadu labels, the dates for the latter offering some of the purest bebop of its time. He relocated to San Diego in ...

Article

Charles E. Kinzer

[Mesirow, Milton ]

(b Chicago, IL, Nov 9, 1899; d Paris, France, Aug 5, 1972). American jazz clarinetist. He learned clarinet as a teenager and picked up saxophone in 1917, while in reform school. A streetwise champion of African American jazz, he socialized and played occasionally with the younger musicians of the Austin High School Gang in Chicago in the mid-1920s. After recording with the Chicago Rhythm Kings and others (1928) he moved to New York, where he recorded with Eddie Condon, toured with Red Nichols, and freelanced. In the 1930s he organized recording sessions, notably with Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier (1938). He also founded an interracial band (1937), worked with Art Hodes (1943–4), and led bands at Kelly’s Stables (1943) and Jimmy Ryan’s (1945). In 1945 he co-founded the King Jazz label, for which he made some of his best recordings with Bechet. In ...

Article

Charles Garrett

Article

Ruth Rosenberg

(b Savannah, GA, March 26, 1925; d San Diego, CA, Dec 9, 2010). American saxophonist and flutist. He grew up in New Jersey and attended Arts High in Newark. In 1943 he was drafted into the US Army Air Corps, where he played in the all-black band on the segregated base. He began his professional career playing alongside Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and Milt Jackson in the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie’s big band shortly after World War II. He recorded his first session as a leader, for Blue Note Records in 1948. He relocated to Paris shortly thereafter, but returned to the United States in 1951 to form a septet with the singer Eddie Jefferson that mixed modern jazz and rhythm-and-blues.

While in Europe in 1949, Moody, who usually played tenor saxophone, recorded a version of “I’m in the mood for love” on a borrowed alto. His improvised version of the song became a jazz classic after Eddie Jefferson put lyrics to it and King Pleasure recorded it as “Moody’s Mood for Love” in ...

Article

Jeffery S. McMillan

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 10, 1938; d New York, NY, Feb 19, 1972). American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. One of the charismatic individualists to emerge in the late 1950s, he began playing vibraphone at 12, but soon thereafter turned to trumpet. He studied music at Jules E Mastbaum Vocational Technical High School and privately with the trumpeter Tony Marchione, but learned jazz by playing in Philadelphia rehearsal bands, sitting in with visiting professionals, and leading his own combo from age 15. After graduation in 1956, Morgan played a week with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and made his first recordings as a leader for Blue Note. He was a featured soloist on “A Night in Tunisia” with Gillespie until the band dissolved in January 1958. After a short period of freelancing, he joined a revamped edition of the Jazz Messengers and stayed until ...

Article

Michael Baumgartner

(b Oakland, CA, Feb 19, 1955). American jazz saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, and leader. He grew up in Berkeley, where he received his first musical training, in stride and ragtime piano. At the age of nine he began playing alto saxophone and at the age of 11 tenor saxophone. From the age of 12 through his later teens he led several R&B bands. He continued his formal training at Pomona College in Los Angeles, where stanley Crouch and Margaret Kohn were among his teachers. After his graduation in 1975 Murray moved to New York where he began playing the loft circuit with such experimental musicians as Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, and Julius Hemphill. His first steady engagement came with the Ted Daniels’ Energy Band; its members were Hamiett Bluiett, Lester Bowie, and Frank Lowe. After his first European tour in 1976, Murray established the renowned World saxophone quartet ...

Article

Michael Conklin

(b Corsicana, TX, Feb 24, 1933; d Kingston, NY, Jan 20, 2009). American saxophonist and flutist. At an early age he moved with his family moved to Dallas, where he attended Lincoln High School. After graduation he earned a scholarship to study music and theology at Jarvis Christian College. After two years of college, Newman decided to perform professionally with alto saxophonist Buster Smith. While touring with Smith, he played with rhythm-and-blues bands that featured such musicians as Lowell Fulson and Ray Charles, who was Fulson’s pianist. From 1954 he played in Charles’s band and in 1958 made his first recording as a leader, the album Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David “Fathead” Newman for Atlantic Records. Newman left Charles’s band in 1964 and moved to New York. From the late 1960s through the 1970s, he parlayed the fame garnered while working with Charles to record albums for Atlantic Records, Warner Bros., and Prestige, some of which were heavily produced and pop-oriented. He returned to his hard bop roots in the 1980s and began a productive association with HighNote Records in the 1990s that lasted until his death from pancreatic cancer. Newman’s final two recordings, ...