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Article

Michel Laplace

(b Loda, nr Lantosque, France, March 1, 1917; d Monaco, July 13, 1995). French trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. He was largely self-taught as a musician. He went to Paris in January 1940 and played with the bandleader and saxophonist Raymond Legrand (1940), Fred Adison’s band, the pianist Raymond Wraskoff (1940–41), Hubert Rostaing (1940–41), Alix Combelle’s group the Jazz de Paris (1940–41), Maceo Jefferson, and André Ekyan (1941). In 1943–5 he performed and recorded as the leader of a successful group consisting of a trumpet, five saxophones, and a rhythm section; Dizzy Gillespie was a guest soloist with the band in 1948. Barelli recorded in jam sessions with Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet (1949), and Django Reinhardt (1952), and from 1966 worked as a bandleader in Monte Carlo. Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Harry James, and Gillespie, Barelli was the most technically proficient French trumpeter; his performance on ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Brian Peerless

[Gordon ]

(b Fort Worth, Feb 12, 1914; d Costa Mesa, CA, May 30, 2000). American tenor saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. As a child he played soprano saxophone, and in his teens he worked with territory bands in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1938 he joined Glenn Miller, to whom he had been recommended by Gene Krupa. Miller gave him a highly prominent role, and his playing may be heard on In the Mood and other pieces. Beneke also became one of the band’s principal singers; he often took duets with Marion Hutton, and sang with the Modernaires on such recordings as Chattanooga Choo Choo. He appeared with the band in films and became extremely popular, winning several polls. When the ensemble disbanded in 1942 Beneke toured with the Modernaires. During World War II he directed a navy dance band in Oklahoma, and following his discharge he was selected by the administrators of Miller’s estate to assume leadership of the latter’s band (...

Article

Otto Flückiger

(b Berne, Jan 11, 1912; d Zurich, Nov 28, 1999). Swiss double bass player, singer, and bandleader. In 1935 he joined the Dutch band the Harlem Kiddies, with which he toured Europe until 1939, and in 1937 he recorded I’m in the mood for love in a trio with Coleman Hawkins (first issued on the album 1935–1965: 30 Jahre Jazz Made in Switzerland, 1935–65, EMI 13C152-33894–5). Bertschy married the Dutch singer Kitty Ramon, who sang in his group the Swing Kiddies. During the war he served in the Swiss Army; he also performed and recorded (1941) with Teddy Stauffer’s Original Teddies. After a period with the Lanigiros (1942–6), with which he recorded My Melancholy Baby (1942, Col. ZZ1104), he formed the Continentals, a ten-piece ensemble with which he toured Europe until it disbanded in 1963; the group’s recordings include the album Undecided (...

Article

Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 26, 1942). Australian trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. In 1959 he participated in Sydney Jazz Club workshops. After playing in 1961 with the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, the following year he formed his Olympia Jazz Band in Sydney, which included the guitarist and banjoist Geoff Holden (who had introduced him to jazz), the clarinetist Peter Neubauer, and the double bass player Dick Edser, and which often played at the Brooklyn and Orient hotels. In 1966-7 he performed overseas, among other places in New Orleans and Europe, and recorded with Alton Purnell, Barry Martyn, and Capt. John Handy. Back in Sydney he returned to the Orient Hotel. He recorded Geoff Bull's Olympia Jazz Band (1969, Swaggie 1261) and continued to lead a number of versions of the Olympia Jazz Band. In 1974 he revisited New Orleans, and thereafter he traveled frequently between the two cities; he recorded in New Orleans with several veteran musicians and he organized Australian tours for Purnell and Sammy Price. Bull briefly ran a restaurant in ...

Article

Géza Gábor Simon and Rainer E. Lotz

[Eduard; Buttler, Eddy]

(b Budapest, 1902; d Budapest, c1981). Hungarian alto saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. He learned to play piano at the age of seven and led his first band when he was 14. At 16 he began to study singing at the National Conservatory in Budapest. He performed on alto saxophone and sang as the leader of the Jolly Boys (also known as Buttola Ede Jazz-Zenekara), who toured Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Austria (1927–34) and first recorded in Copenhagen in 1929. From 1936 to 1943 Buttola made many recordings with his own big band in Budapest, including Caravan (1937, Radiola 70) and Bei mir bist du schön (1938, Radiola 116), as well as swing interpretations of music by Rachmaninov, de Falla, and Dvořák. Besides his principal activities he also played clarinet, baritone saxophone, piano, and accordion, and he was the music director of the Radiola Electro record label....

Article

Bruce Johnson

[Francis James ]

(b Emmaville, Australia, Sept 10, 1904; d Sydney, 6 or April 7, 1979). Australian bandleader, trombonist, trumpeter, arranger, and singer. From 1922 he worked in Sydney and Melbourne in the bands, among others, of Bill James (1923), Frank Ellis (1924), Walter Beban (1925), Carol Laughner (1926–7), and Linn Smith (1927–8). In England he worked with Jack Hylton, Fred Elizalde, Al Collins, and Al Starita (all 1928–9). Following his return to Australia he played as a sideman and as a leader in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and during a residency at the Sydney Trocadero (1936–9) he established a reputation as a pre-eminent swing bandleader. He led an army band (1943–5), then played again at the Sydney Trocadero (1946–51, 1954–70), after which he gradually withdrew from musical activities. The finest dance-band and swing musicians in Australia passed through the ranks of Coughlan’s band....

Article

Howard Mandel

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Jones, Charles, III ]

(b Louisville, MS, Jan 12, 1941). Trumpeter, cornetist, singer, and bandleader. He was brought up in Natchez, Mississippi, and took up trumpet at the age of seven. Following navy service, in 1963 he moved to New York, where in 1969 he adopted his Yoruba name and resumed playing. As a sideman he worked with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (c1973) and various reed players belonging to the Black Artists Group (such as Oliver Lake), as well as with David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Bill Laswell (in the group Material), and others. He performed and recorded with Hamiet Bluiett in New York (1976) and with Phillip Wilson in a duo in Paris (1977) and in a quartet at the Moers festival, Germany (1978); he also recorded with Lake (1975), Murray (1976), James “Blood” Ulmer (1980), Julius Hemphill (in Milan, Italy, ...

Article

Otto Flückiger

(b Indianapolis, Feb 17, 1926). American pianist, vibraphonist, singer, and bandleader. After serving in France during the war he studied music at the conservatory in Dijon, at the University of Washington, and elsewhere. He led a jump band, the Question Marks, in Seattle through the late 1940s, then formed a trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole. From 1952 to mid-1953 he toured the USA and Canada with Lionel Hampton and later traveled in Alaska and California with his own groups. Having settled on the Canadian west coast, Gill hosted jazz projects involving such guest stars as Wes Montgomery. From the mid-1980s he toured internationally.

Article

Michel Laplace

[Frick ]

(b Contres, France, May 18, 1938). French trombonist, flutist, singer, and bandleader. He studied piano, violin, and solfeggio, but first played trumpet with the soprano saxophonist Marc Laferrière (1957). The following year, after hearing André Paquinet, he changed to trombone and then played with Raymond Fonsèque’s traditional band (1959–60), ragtime brass band (1960), and trombone quartet (1960–62). He also worked for the bandleaders Jacques Hélian, Christian Chevallier (1960), Daniel Janin (1961–2), Jacques Denjean (1962), and Michel Legrand (1968), and he played with the trombonist Luis Fuentes (1964), Gerry Mulligan (1969, in Montreux), Duke Ellington (1969, at the Salle Pleyel in Paris), Bill Coleman (1971), and Claude Bolling (1973). Guin’s strong style is well represented on the album Bill Coleman + Four: Three Generations Jam...

Article

Jack Litchfield

(Easton )

(b Vancouver, Canada, June 23, 1920; d Langley BC, Nov 26, 2000). Canadian tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, singer, banjoist, and bandleader. After playing banjo and guitar as a youth he took up the saxophone. In the 1930s he played in several dance bands in Vancouver, and he continued to perform while in the Canadian Air Force during World War II. He was a member of various theater and dance bands in Vancouver over the next 20 years but at the same time was active as a bandleader and arranger: his dixieland band, formed in 1950 and still active in the 1990s, recorded (1959–73) and performed in Vancouver and played regularly on radio and television; on the CBC television program “Some of those Days” (1961–6) he led an orchestra that re-created in an authentic way the “hot” dance music of the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1990s he continued to lead his dixieland band in Vancouver clubs and appeared at many traditional-jazz parties....

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Walter ]

(b Mount Healthy, OH, May 10, 1907; d Plymouth, MA, June 22, 1979). American trombonist, singer, and bandleader. His father played violin and his mother played guitar. After completing his studies at Ohio State University and the Cincinnati Conservatory he played with Jean Goldkette’s band (late 1927 – early 1929). He was one of the original members in 1929 of the Casa Loma Orchestra, with which he remained until May 1943 (for illustration see ) and appeared in 1943 in the short film Smoke Rings. His playing may be heard to advantage on Casa Loma Stomp (1930, OK 41492); he also sang with the band in a humorous and languorous manner modeled after Jack Teagarden’s vocal style. Hunt worked for a year as a disc jockey in Hollywood, then in 1945 joined the merchant marine and produced shows and led a band on Catalina Island. In 1946...

Article

Frank Driggs and Howard Rye

(Thomas )

(b Brinkley, AR, July 8, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 4, 1975). American saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. He was taught clarinet and saxophone by his father, who led the band for the Rabbit Foots Minstrels (Jordan toured with them while still in high school). He made his professional début with Jimmy Pryor (1929), then worked with Ruby Williams and other bandleaders in Arkansas until moving to Philadelphia to join the tuba player Jim Winters (1932). He performed with Charlie Gaines (1933–5), the violinist Leroy Smith (1935–6), and Chick Webb (1936–8), and played briefly with Fats Waller and Kaiser Marshall before forming his own ensemble to work in New York. This group, which became known as the Tympany Five, was tremendously popular both in Harlem and throughout the rest of the country until the late 1950s. Jordan also appeared in films with the Tympany Five. He led a big band briefly (...

Article

Bob Weir

[Tippy ]

(b Houston, Oct 10, 1910; d Houston, Aug 31, 1996). American bandleader, trumpeter, and singer. His name is often misspelled Larkins. After building up a local reputation as a dynamic trumpeter and singer he formed his own big band in Houston in 1936. This toured extensively throughout the Southwest and secured successful engagements in Kansas City, Chicago (1941–2), and New York (at the Apollo Theatre). The group, which included such sidemen as Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Illinois Jacquet, and Arnett Cobb, became one of the finest of the territory bands. Larkin served in an army band from November 1943 to around July 1946, then re-formed his big band, but he failed to achieve his former success. He made his first recording, Chicken Blues, in 1946 (Stinson 455). Thereafter he led small touring groups, and in 1956 he settled in New York and held a long residency with his swing septet at the Celebrity Club. In the mid-1970s he retired to Houston. He may be heard to good effect on Cobb’s ...

Article

[Johnson, Charles LaVere ]

(b Salina, KS, July 18, 1910; d Ramona, CA, April 28, 1983). American pianist, bandleader, and singer. He played alto saxophone, trombone, and trumpet, and also sang, but he was principally a pianist. In 1933 he worked with Wingy Manone and recorded in Chicago with Jack Teagarden. Recordings he made in 1935 with his own all-star group (which included Jabbo Smith and Zutty Singleton) were first issued, unnumbered, on the Black Diamond label and later released on the album Chicago in the 30s (Tax M8007); Boogaboo Blues from this session is a good example of his style as a pianist. He played with Paul Whiteman (1937 – early 1938) and Frankie Trumbauer, and recorded with Ben Pollack, Connee Boswell, and Hoagy Carmichael (all 1938) and the Casa Loma Orchestra (1941). From 1939 to 1947 he accompanied Bing Crosby and in 1947 he made a hit recording as a popular singer. He also composed several pieces, among them ...

Article

Frank Driggs

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Booneville, MO, April 28, 1896; d Los Angeles, Oct 2, 1958). American bandleader, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, brother of Julia Lee. He played baritone saxophone and piano with an army band in 1917 and sang with a vocal quartet, then in 1920 formed his first group, which included his sister, and worked mainly at Lyric Hall in Kansas City. Documents from this era testify to his playing tuba, guitar, banjo, ukulele, several types of saxophone, and clarinet, although his principal role was as a singer. By 1927 he had organized a larger band and two years later, at the urging of his saxophonist Budd Johnson, he engaged Jesse Stone to modernize it so that he could compete on equal musical terms with Bennie Moten; Stone provided new arrangements and recruited musicians who played in a less archaic style, such as Eddie Thompkins, Keg Johnson, Tommy Douglas, the saxophonist Herman Walder, and Baby Lovett. Lee merged his group briefly with that of Moten in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b London, July 29, 1919; d London, Feb 9, 2009). English bandleader, guitarist, singer, and cornetist. He started on banjo before taking up guitar. In the mid-1930s he played in a band with George Shearing and Carlo Krahmer, and in 1938 he visited New York, where he performed with Bobby Hackett. In the same year he led a group for a recording session that included Hackett, Eddie Condon, Zutty Singleton, and other American musicians. During his service in the RAF (1939–44) he performed and recorded as a guitarist with Buddy Featherstonhaugh, and his playing from this period may be heard on Vic Lewis Jam Sessions, 1944–1945: the War Years (1944–5, Harl. 3008). While in the air force he also learned to play trombone, and he founded, with Jack Parnell, a dixieland band, the Jazzmen. Following his discharge in 1945 he continued the Jazzmen, initially with Parnell and then as sole leader, and he worked briefly with Stephane Grappelli. In ...

Article

Frank Driggs

revised by Howard Rye

[William T. ]

(b Cleburne, TX, June 10, 1905; d New York, Jan 13, 1971). American alto and baritone saxophonist, clarinetist, singer, and bandleader. He was brought up in Dallas and began his professional career playing in a variety theater. He studied at the New England Conservatory and toured briefly with Will Marion Cook’s orchestra before joining Sam Wooding at the Nest Club in New York. From 1925 he toured Europe, South America, and North Africa with Wooding’s Symphonic Syncopators, and when the group broke up in 1931 Lewis formed his own band from among its members. During the 1930s he became the most prominent African-American bandleader in Europe, and by 1935 his sidemen included such players as Herman “Ivory” Chittison, Frank “Big Boy” Goudie, and Benny Carter; later George Johnson and Bill Coleman also joined the group. Lewis disbanded his orchestra in 1941 and returned to New York, where in the 1940s and 1950s he dabbled in acting, though he worked chiefly as a cook and waiter in Harlem....

Article

Howard Rye

(b Newby, OK, Oct 14, 1922; d Durham, NC, July 18, 1983). American guitarist, singer, and bandleader, brother of Joe Liggins. His family moved to San Diego in 1932. He formed his own group there in 1946, with Harold Land and Charles Ferguson on tenor saxophones. They began recording for Specialty in September 1947 as his Drops of Joy, and toured extensively until 1 April 1948, when Liggins was accidentally shot at a dance in Jackson, Mississippi. In October he recruited a new band in Texas, which was augmented with the addition of Maxwell Davis for recordings. In the early 1950s he recruited bands in New Orleans, Columbus, Georgia, and Belle Glade, Florida, for various tours, and in 1958 he founded his own Duplex label, which operated for twenty years from various locations. He settled in the mid-1970s in Durham, North Carolina, where he ran a record shop, studios, and a nightclub, while continuing to play one-nighters. ...

Article

Howard Rye

(b Guthrie, OK, July 9, 1916; d Los Angeles, July 31, 1987). American pianist, singer, and bandleader, brother of Jimmy Liggins. He started playing piano at the age of eight, but also played trumpet for five years. After his family moved to San Diego in 1932 he studied music at San Diego State College and wrote arrangements on a freelance basis for Curtis Mosby’s Blue Blowers. About 1935 he joined the Creole Serenaders, led by the drummer Ellis Walsh. He moved in 1939 to Los Angeles, where he worked with Illinois Jacquet and Cee Pee Johnson, then at the Elk’s Ballroom with the California Rhythm Rascals, led by the pianist Sammy Franklin (c1942). He formed his own band in 1944 and achieved success with The Honeydripper (1945, Exclusive 207), from which his band was named. This and other recordings, such as Dripper’s Boogie (...