(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
Bill C. Malone
revised by Barry Mazor
[Chester Burton ]
(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...
Roxanne R. Reed
[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]
Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...
Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell
[Grupo Bronco, El Gigante de América]
Mexican grupera ensemble. Formed by José Guadalupe Esparza, Ramiro Delgado, Javier Villarreal, and José Luis Villarreal in 1979, this band came together at a time when the genre later known as onda grupera was still in development. Influenced by the sounds of cumbia ranchera music, and romantic ballad, the band became a decisive factor in the commercialization of the grupera phenomenon. Not only did Bronco consolidate cowboy clothing as a grupera staple but they also pioneered the use of elaborate staging, fireworks, and gigantic screens in grupera concerts. After seven years of activity Bronco reached international popularity with the hit “Que no quede huella” (1989), and in 1993 starred in Dos mujeres, un camino, a soap opera that became a commercial hit in Latin America. Clothing, concert entertainment, television, and motion pictures brought international recognition for the band in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Ultimately, these elements, accompanying Bronco’s enormous record and ticket sales, marked the mainstream emergence of onda grupera. After announcing their retirement in ...
revised by Megan E. Hill
International festival of orchestral and chamber music, solo recitals, and staged works, established in 1963 in Aptos, California. It was founded by Lou Harrison, the bassoonist Robert Hughes, and Ted Toews, an instructor at Cabrillo College. Held for two weeks in August in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and at various other locations, such as the Mission San Juan Bautista, the festival is noted for its innovative programming and emphasis on the works of living composers: it has staged at least 120 world premieres and over 60 US premieres. The first music director, Gerhard Samuel, was succeeded by Richard Williams in 1969, Carlos Chávez in 1970, Dennis Russell Davies in 1974, John Adams in 1991, and Marin Alsop in 1992. The directors have stressed making the artists accessible to their audiences through workshops and “Meet the Composer” sessions, open rehearsals, and a composer-in-residence program, in which John Adams, William Bolcom, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Carlos Chávez, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Lou Harrison, Jennifer Higdon, Keith Jarrett, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Pauline Oliveros, Arvo Pärt, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, Virgil Thomson, and Joan Tower have participated. The festival orchestra consists of about 65 musicians from leading orchestras in the United States and Canada....
Anne Beetem Acker
Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....
The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) was founded in 1983 at Columbia College Chicago by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. Its mission has remained the same since its inception: to document, preserve, and promote the music of the African Diaspora. This mission is accomplished through publications, conferences and symposia, performances, research fellowships, and the Library and Archives, housing books and research collections.
The Center’s flagship publication, Black Music Research Journal (1980–), antedates Floyd’s move to Columbia College. The Center has also published Lenox Avenue (1995–1999), the scholarly journal for a grant-funded project which explored music’s role in the arts of the African Diaspora. Various newsletters, including Black Music Research Newsletter/CBMR Bulletin (1977–1990), and CBMR Digest (1990–) informed members about the Center’s activities. Kalinda! (1994–1997), Stop-Time (1998–2000), and Cariso! (2003–2006) were published for specific grant-funded projects. The Center’s publications also include a bibliographic and reference series consisting of five CBMR monographs, ...
Chamber music society. Resident in New York at Alice Tully Hall, the society is a constituent of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. It was conceived by William Schuman, the president of Lincoln Center, who appointed the pianist charles Wadsworth as the society’s first artistic director (1969–89). Among the musicians Wadsworth assembled to perform for the opening season (1969–70) were Charles Treger (violin), Walter Trampler (viola), Leslie Parnas (cello), Paula Robison (flute), Leonard Arner (oboe), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), Loren Glickman (bassoon), and Richard Goode (piano). In 2010, led by artistic directors cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, the society numbered around 35 members, joined by guest artists for its annual concert series, educational programs, and national and international tours. Many concerts are broadcast on radio and television, and in 2007 the society started its own recording label.
Following its premiere performance on 11 September 1969...
[John Henderson ]
(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).
Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...
Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976, by Bill Collings (b Aug 9, 1948; d Austin, TX, July 14, 2017), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.
In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....
Firm of music and book publishers. Concordia Publishing House was founded in St. Louis in 1869 by immigrant German Lutherans for the purpose of printing their hymnals and other church literature, and takes its name from the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580). Its catalog, which has included music since ...
Record label. Death Row Records was formed in 1991 by former football star Marion “Suge” Knight and rapper/producer Dre (Andre Romelle Young) in Los Angeles, California. The label’s first release was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, a groundbreaking album that paired explicit and often violent lyrics with commercial beats that were based on older soul, funk, and R&B songs. The musical style of The Chronic became known as “G-Funk” (Gangsta-funk), a style that dominated many of Death Row’s early albums as well as most West Coast gangsta rap throughout the 1990s.
Death Row achieved immense success within a few years, partly due to aggressive marketing to mainstream audiences, and partly due to a successful distribution deal with Interscope. Death Row Records became a target of the controversy within the gangsta rap industry due to the constant legal problems of Suge Knight and many of the artists signed to the label (for example Snoop Dogg, and later Tupac Shakur). As a consequence of public debates surrounding gangsta rap’s promotion of violence and drugs, Interscope’s parent company, Time-Warner, eventually dropped Interscope as a distributor in an effort to distance themselves from Death Row....
Brass band. Formed in 1977, they initially played traditional New Orleans brass band music at community parades and eventually created innovative arrangements and compositions heard by audiences around the globe. The horn players Gregory Davis, Roger Lewis, Charles Joseph, Efrem Townes, and Kevin Harris incorporated melodic ideas from bebop into the brass band tradition, while the rhythm section of Kirk Joseph, Benny Jones, and Jenell Marshall imported rhythms from funk and increased the tempos from their predecessors. The modern arrangements on the band’s debut album, My feet can’t fail me now (Conc., 1984), produced by the Newport Jazz Festival director George Wein, brought worldwide recognition to contemporary brass band music; two original songs, “Blackbird Special” and the title track soon became standards in the group’s hometown.
The Dirty Dozen helped initiate a brass band renaissance in New Orleans, and their innovative reformulations of traditional music instigated a spirit of experimentation among their successors. The Rebirth Brass Band, inheritors of the Dirty Dozen’s famed weekly show at the intimate Glass House bar, have incorporated elements of hip hop since the late 1990s, along with their contemporaries the Soul Rebels and Hot 8. Meanwhile, the Dirty Dozen has often changed personnel and experimented with instrumentation to update their sound, while maintaining a global presence as the most prominent New Orleans brass band....
Anne Beetem Acker
Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks.
Unlike other electronic player systems, the Disklavier is only installed in new Yamaha pianos and only at the factory. It cannot be installed in older Yamahas or other brands of pianos. Compared with other systems, the Disklavier’s recording capability is generally regarded to be of the highest quality and sophistication. Of the Disklavier models available in ...
Scottish record company. It was originally established in Austria in August 1990 by musician, painter, and record collector Johann Ferdinand “Johnny” Parth. As far back as the 1950s Parth had reissued vintage recordings, first on the Jazz Perspective and Hot Club de Vienne labels. In the mid-1960s, after consulting with Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records, Parth and his ex-wife Evelyn launched Roots Records with the goal of creating an Austrian counterpart to Arhoolie; the label, which produced limited-edition reissues (released in America on the Arhoolie label), folded in 1970.
In 1990, using Godrich and Dixon’s Blues and Gospel discography as a guide, Parth undertook the task of attempting to reissue every American blues, gospel, and spiritual recording made between the late 19th century and the early 1940s. He subsequently launched a similar endeavor for vintage American country music. Under Parth’s stewardship, Document produced nearly 900 albums with artists including Thomas A. Dorsey, Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others. As a result of his success, the Blues Foundation granted him their “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. In ...
Joe C. Clark
Record company founded by Houston-based African American entrepreneur Don Robey in 1949. It focused primarily on rhythm-and-blues and gospel music. Robey’s initial label, Peacock Records, was created to record bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. The label also recorded Big Mama Thornton’s rendition of “Hound Dog,” which was later covered and made famous by Elvis Presley. Gospel artists including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Bells of Joy joined the label and provided much of its success during the early 1950s.
In 1952 Peacock acquired the Memphis-based rhythm-and-blues label Duke from WDIA DJ David James Mattis. Its roster included Rosco Gordon, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Johnny Ace. Robey later formed additional subsidiary labels: Sure Shot; Song Bird, which featured gospel music; Back Beat, formed in 1957 to meet the growing teen market; and Peacock’s Progressive Jazz label.
In 1973 Robey retired and sold the Duke/Peacock label, affiliated labels, and publishing companies to ABC-Dunhill Records. Its catalog consisted of nearly 2700 songs and approximately ...
An annual festival of contemporary music, multimedia art, experimental film, installation, sound art, and related areas, which takes place in Prague each May. It was started in 2011 by Dan Senn, an American composer and the organizer and co-founder of Roulette Intermedium.
The first four editions took place in the post-industrial Trafačka Aréna; in 2014, the festival moved to the much more cosmopolitan Paralelní Polis. The festival aims to disrupt the usual division of artists into cliques, and to provoke interaction between artists from different backgrounds. The organizers’ outsider position allows them to do so non-institutionally, without an established position on the scene, but still employing collaborations with various other institutions: the Center for Audiovisual Studies at FAMU (the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague), the Agosto Foundation, the 4+4 Days in Motion Festival, and others.
The programming is a mixture of Czech and international performers. International guests have included Jaap Blonk, Phill Niblock and Katherine Liberovskaya, Bob Ostertag, Yves Degoyan, and Joanna Hoffman. Over the years, the festival has gradually mapped several art scenes in the Czech Republic: contemporary composed music (Lucie Vítková, Michal Rataj, David Danel, and the Fama Quartet); sound art (Marek Hlaváč and Michal Cáb); contemporary art (Michal Cimala and Martin Janíček); and experimental video (Martin Blažíček and Michal Kindernay). In addition, the festival organizes open calls for fixed-media and live works from aspiring artists....
Costa Rican trio founded in 1990. It was formed by Edín Solís (b Zarcero, Alajuela, Costa Rica, 22 Nov 1963, guitar), Ricardo Ramírez (b San José, Costa Rica, 11 Nov 1967, violin), and Carlos “Tapado” Vargas (b San José, Costa Rica, 22 Jan 1971, percussion).
Editus is an eclectic group based in San José, Costa Rica. Its style and sound moves from classical music to new age, from jazz to Costa Rican and Latin American folk styles, and from popular to electronic music. Editus’ musical projects, including recordings, DVDs, and tours, typically seek to increase public awareness about environmental and other causes, and to promote social activism. This commitment is clearly expressed from their first recording, Ilusiones (1994), and its single/video, “Tokú,” to their most recent, Editus 360 DVD (2008).
The quality and versatility of the group has proved attractive not only to music schools but also to critics, filmmakers, and other musicians who have invited Editus to collaborate in new artistic and musical projects. One of their most successful partnerships has been with Rubén Blades. Together, Blades and Editus produced the recordings ...
revised by Megan E. Hill
Chamber music ensemble founded in 1971 at the Berkshire Music Center. In 2011 its members were the trumpeters Rolf Smedvig and Marc Brian Reese, horn player Michelle Perry, trombonist Mark Hetzler, and tubist Kenneth Amis. Earlier members included trumpeters Charles A. Lewis Jr. and Timothy Morrison, horn player David Ohanian, trombonists Lawrence Isaacson and Scott A. Hartman, and tubist J. Samuel Pilafian. In the early 1970s the quintet performed mainly in the New England area; in 1976 it made its formal New York debut at Carnegie Hall and went on its first European tour; soon afterwards it became the first brass ensemble to receive the Naumburg Award. The quintet took part in a concert for Jimmy Carter’s presidential inauguration in 1977. In subsequent years, the group began touring regularly in Europe and East Asia. It was in residence at Boston University from 1976 until 1989, and it led the Empire Brass Seminar at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. It also founded the Empire Brass Quintet Symposium for brass students at the Berkshire Music Center in ...