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John Edward Hasse

(b Chicago, March 23, 1881; d Los Angeles, Aug 17, 1955). American popular pianist, teacher and editor. He studied the piano as a youth and in 1903 opened a teaching studio in Chicago with the advertisement ‘Ragtime Taught in Ten Lessons’. He simplified African-American ragtime piano playing to three essential melodic-rhythmic patterns or ‘movements’, and these became the basis for his teaching method and for a series of instruction books he brought out from 1904. Christensen’s Rag-time Instruction Book for Piano went through numerous revisions and title changes to incorporate early jazz and, eventually, swing styles; one method book remained in print until at least 1955.

Early in his career Christensen began establishing branch schools to teach ragtime piano. By 1914 he had founded 50 branches, and by 1918 he had schools in most major cities in the USA and also some abroad. By 1935 these schools had taught ragtime, popular piano and jazz piano to approximately 500,000 (mostly white) pupils....

Article

Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Jim ]

(b Berwyn, IL, Sept 3, 1940). American editor, writer, teacher, leader, and pianist. He studied composition at the University of Illinois (BMus 1962, MMus 1963, DMA 1971) and from 1966 taught at the University of Michigan. In his work as an editor and writer he has devoted particular attention to the music of Jelly Roll Morton; his book Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton: the Collected Piano Music (1982) offers a comprehensive edition of transcriptions of a jazz musician’s work and includes biographical material and analysis. He also wrote entries on major jazz musicians for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London, 1980). As a pianist Dapogny has performed widely in concert and on radio and television, and he recorded as the leader of the Chicago Jazz Band, in a duo with Butch Thompson, and with the State Street Aces, the Mysterious Babies, and Sippie Wallace. His Chicago Jazz Band, founded in ...

Article

Noal Cohen

[Grice, George General; Qusim, Basheer]

(b Pensacola, FL, Nov 28, 1925; d Pensacola, FL, March 14, 1983). American jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer, arranger, music publisher, and teacher. Known more as a composer and arranger than as an instrumentalist, he was nonetheless an alto saxophonist out of the Charlie Parker tradition with a lyrical bent and a recognizable style and sound. He studied clarinet initially and after serving in the US Navy (1944–6) attended the Boston Conservatory (to 1952). His first exposure came through an encounter with the saxophonist Stan Getz in Boston who recorded several of Gryce’s compositions. After moving to New York in 1953, Gryce was soon a part of the city’s vibrant milieu, recording with the drummer Max Roach and the pianist Tadd Dameron. Throughout his career, Gryce collaborated with a number of noted trumpet players including Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, and Richard Williams. With Byrd, he co-led the Jazz Lab, which made a number of highly regarded recordings in ...

Article

Steve Smith

(Marc )

(b Chicago, Dec 26, 1950). American writer. He learned piano and flute as a child and pursued his formal education at Syracuse University (1970–72), Mills College (1972), and Roosevelt College (1973–5); he also studied boogie-woogie, swing, and blues piano with leading players in Chicago. In 1975 he embarked on his writing career, working for Down Beat (as associate editor, 1978–81), The Wire, Musical America, Tower Pulse!, the Village Voice, the Washington Post, Billboard, the New York Times Book Review, and Jazziz. He contributed scripts for jazz shows on NPR and held editorial positions at Guitar World (1982–3), Ear (1987–92), the JVC Jazz Festival program guide published by Tower Pulse! (from 1994), and Rhythm Music (1996–7). Mandel was a founder of the Jazz Journalists’ Association: in 1992 he became its president and in 1997 editor of its website, ...