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Article

Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy

(Noah )

(b Berkeley, CA, Aug 21, 1960). American bandleader, tenor saxophonist, composer, percussionist, and pianist. He played percussion and piano from an early age, took up drums while in elementary school, and began piano lessons when he was nine. In 1975 he formed his own improvisation group, the Berkeley Arts Company, and in 1977 he founded the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, which initially consisted of 16 reed and brass players and himself on drums; the following year he added other instruments to form a rhythm section. Having moved to New York state (c1979) he played percussion and drums in Karl Berger’s Woodstock Workshop Orchestra, and he toured and recorded with the group in Europe with Don Cherry as guest soloist (1979). Under Warren Smith (ii) he performed in the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble, and he played keyboards in Carla Bley’s Burning Sensations and worked briefly with Eddie Jefferson. In ...

Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Hälsingborg, Sweden, Aug 7, 1920; d Stockholm, Feb 11, 1971). Swedish bandleader, arranger, and saxophonist. He led a big band in Malmö (1942–9), was a member of Thore Ehrling’s orchestra in Stockholm (1949–52), and worked as a studio musician. From 1956 to 1965 he was the leader of Radiobandet (the Swedish Radio Big Band), which achieved considerable success in the USA. First presented there as the Jazztone Mystery Band (an invention of the writer George T. Simon), it was mistaken by several critics and well-known musicians for one of the leading American big bands, and it received considerable further acclaim through albums released under Arnold’s own name. The ensemble played in a modernized swing style and included such prominent Swedish and Norwegian musicians as Arne Domnérus, Bengt Hallberg, Bjarne Nerem, Åke Persson, Carl-Henrik Norin, Egil Johansson, and Georg Riedel. Benny Bailey, living in Sweden at that time, was also an intermittent member, and he recorded as a soloist with the group, as did Nat Adderley and Coleman Hawkins as guests (all on ...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, May 15, 1902). Italian violinist, pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. In Genoa he studied violin and composition and played banjo for a brief period in an orchestra. He was the leader and an arranger for the group Blue Star (to 1931), of which Sid Phillips was a member, and the orchestra Cetra (from ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

(Emerson) [Gay]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...

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

Günther Huesmann

(b Düsseldorf, Germany, June 22, 1910; d Frankfurt am Main, Germany, May 21, 1979). German bandleader, trombonist, and arranger. He moved to Berlin in 1934, when he began to study trombone; he played with Heinz Wehner from 1934 and the Goldene Sieben from 1936, and in 1938 formed his own big band, with which he made numerous recordings (...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Bick, Herman ]

(b Reval [now Tallinn], Estonia, c1900; d ?Hollywood, CA). Estonian bandleader, pianist, and arranger. He toured Europe in the early 1920s as a concert pianist and conductor, then settled in Berlin as music director of the Vox company. Between 1928 and 1930 he recorded several titles as a novelty pianist and as leader of his own studio dance bands; these include ...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Bordeaux, France, Sept 28, 1945). French trumpeter, arranger, and bandleader. He studied trumpet at the conservatory in Bordeaux, but began on drums, which he played until 1984, most notably for a spell with the soprano saxophonist Marc Laferrière (1973–80). He was also an able harmonica player in the style of the bluesmen Jimmy Reed and Little Walter, and in 1973 recorded with François Guin’s group the Four Bones. As an organist he performed with Tiny Grimes. Biensan played trumpet with the clarinetist Christian Morin (1964–70), Guin (1971–3), Candy Johnson (1974), Jimmy Forrest, Bill Coleman, Benny Waters, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, and Doc Cheatham (variously in the years 1979–84), Daniel Huck (1981), the Ornicar Big Band (1982), Gérard Badini (from 1984) and François Laudet (from 1993). In 1986 he formed his own septet, Ellingtomania. His swinging style is well represented on the albums ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

Article

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

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[John Joseph, John Jazza]

(b Adelaide, Australia, Jan 5, 1926; d Sarasota, FL, October 28, 2010). Australian vibraphonist, drummer, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He was playing xylophone by the age of six and later studied piano and drums; he became interested in jazz while serving in an RAAF entertainment unit (1944–6). After the war he led groups in Adelaide and played in coffee lounges and at concerts in Melbourne (1947–8). Among his sidemen at this period was Errol Buddle; Brokensha’s playing is well represented by the recording Buddle’s Bebop Boogie (1948, Jazzart 3–4). Extensive touring established his reputation in Australia, and he worked in Sydney (1949–50), Brisbane (1950), where his group disbanded, and Adelaide (1951). With Bryce Rohde he traveled in 1953 to Canada, where he became a founding member of the Australian Jazz Quartet (December 1954, with Rohde, Buddle, and the reed player Dick Healey). Later expanded to a quintet and occasionally to a sextet, the group was extremely successful in the USA; among its albums were ...

Article

Tony Gould

(b Melbourne, Australia, Dec 29, 1933). Australian composer, tenor and soprano saxophonist, and bandleader. He was self-taught as a musician. He formed his first group, a quintet, in 1956, and this quickly became prominent in Australian experimental jazz. Later he led and composed for a number of ensembles, and he recorded numerous albums from 1958 onwards. He toured Europe both with his Australian Jazz Ensemble (1978) and with various groups that performed experimental and newly composed classical works (1980–86). In 1981 Brown established a course in jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts. Having played tenor and soprano saxophone, in the mid-1970s he began to concentrate on the soprano instrument. His activities in the 1980s and 1990s embraced commissions of new works, notably Spirit of the Light (1990), Winged Messenger (1994), and Temple Dreaming (1996), appearances in North America, performances as an unaccompanied soloist in South Africa, and new recordings. In ...

Article

Stan Britt

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Dumfries, Scotland, April 21, 1933; d London, Feb 25, 2009). English trumpeter, flugelhorn player, bandleader, composer, writer, and teacher, brother of Mike Carr. His mother played ukulele and banjo. Carr grew up in northeast England, where he took piano lessons from the age of 12 and taught himself trumpet from 1950. After studying at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne (1952–60, degree, English literature, diploma, education) he served in the army (1956–8), then played with his brother in a band, the Emcee Five (1960 – August 1962). He briefly joined Don Rendell in November 1962 and, after recovering from illness, formed a long-lived quintet with Rendell from 1963 to July 1969; during this period he also worked with Joe Harriott (recording in 1969), Don Byas, and John McLaughlin. In September 1969 he formed his own band, Nucleus, which rapidly became recognized internationally for its experiments with jazz-rock. As a result of its performance at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz and Arild Wideröe

(François )

(b Geneva, Feb 21, 1925; d Geneva, June 11, 1999). French pianist, bandleader, and arranger . Although he was born in Geneva, he was French and never took Swiss citizenship. He began playing professionally in 1943, when he became a member of Loys Choquart’s Dixie Dandies. In 1951 he joined a band led by the soprano saxophonist Claude Aubert and in 1961 he assumed its leadership. From 1962 to 1971 he led his own orchestras, for which he wrote arrangements modeled after small groups associated with Duke Ellington and featuring such soloists as the alto saxophonist Roger Zufferey and the tenor saxophonist Michel Pilet. Chaix led a trio from the 1970s consisting of the double bass player Alain Du Bois and the drummer Romano Cavicchiolo. For several years he also worked with such Swiss musicians as Oscar Klein, the Tremble Kids, and the Hot Mallets. He made recordings as an unaccompanied soloist (...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Toulouse, France, Oct 1, 1960). French clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied clarinet at the conservatory in Toulouse, then saxophone under Guy Lafitte (1980). He worked with Lulu White’s Jazz Band, the trumpeter Gérard Siffert’s Hot D’oc (1982), the trombonist Jean Osmont (1983), the trombonist Philippe Renault’s Middle Seven (1985), Lafitte (1990), Renault’ Nonet (1991), and Claude Tissendier’s Saxomania (1995). He also played bop with Big Band 31 (1986–8), Dee Dee Bridgewater (1989) and the Beré Quartet (1993). In 1983 he founded a trad-mainstream group called Banana Jazz, which appeared regularly at Aspen from 1994; from 1992 this original group, combining two reeds, a banjo, and a double bass, has featured Michel Pastre. Chéron’s playing is well represented by What a Dream! and Jubilee Stomp on ...

Article

Thomas Owens

(b Venice, CA, Aug 20, 1952). American double bass player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Jeff Clayton. His mother was a pianist and organist who directed a church choir. He began classical lessons on double bass at the age of 16 and soon afterwards enrolled in a jazz bass class taught by Ray Brown at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1971 he served as the bass player on the television show “The Mancini Generation,” but he left to study music at Indiana University, where he met Jeff Hamilton. Both young players worked during the summer of 1973 in the New Tommy Dorsey Band under Murray McEachern. Following graduation Clayton played with Monty Alexander (1975–7, again with Hamilton) and toured with Count Basie (August 1977 – October 1979). With his brother Jeff and Hamilton, he then formed a small ensemble, the Clayton Brothers. From ...

Article

Wayne Schneider

(b New York, Aug 17, 1909; d Tucson, AZ, May 2, 1985). American arranger, composer, bandleader, and trumpeter. He played with or wrote arrangements for Ferde Grofé (1932), Isham Jones and Claude Hopkins (both 1933), the Dorsey brothers (1934), Jimmy Dorsey (1935–6), Glen Gray (1936–7), and Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and Bunny Berigan (all 1937). He then led his own band (1937–41, 1948–50), and remained active in the music publishing and recording industries until he retired; he appears as a bandleader in the short film Listen to Larry (1940). More important as an arranger and composer than an instrumentalist or bandleader, Clinton became famous in the late 1930s for “swinging the classics,” adding texts and light syncopation to tuneful pieces of art music, much as Paul Whiteman had done the previous decade. Among his best-known arrangements of this nature were ...

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

Jacques Aboucaya

(b La Garenne-Colombes, France, April 14, 1955). French pianist, arranger, conductor, and author. After undertaking advanced studies in economic science and cinematography he founded the Big Band Lumière in 1979, which first recorded in 1981. In the early 1980s he made two short films and became involved in several artistic revues as a critic. At the beginning of 1987 he collaborated with Gil Evans, whom he brought into his orchestra for a tour of Europe and a series of recordings (1988–9); he also published Las Vegas Tango: une vie de Gil Evans (Paris, 1989). He composed for the ministry of culture (1986) and l’Union Européenne de Radio (1991) and directed the Orchestre National de Jazz (1993–7), with which he recorded four albums, made numerous tours, and presented his composition Gli amici italiani, this last for combined jazz and symphonic orchestras. He also wrote string arrangements for a recording by Abbey Lincoln in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[David Frederick ]

(b Freeling, nr Gawler, Australia, Oct 25, 1914; d Adelaide, South Australia, March 24, 2003). Australian composer, bandleader, pianist, arranger, and trombonist. He was first exposed to jazz through recordings, notably those of Duke Ellington. In 1945 he took over the leadership of the Southern Jazz Group, a dixieland band in Adelaide, and in 1946 appeared with it at the first Australian Jazz Convention; the band recorded several times between then and 1950, and Dallwitz remained its leader for its intermittent performances from 1951 to 1961. He then withdrew from jazz, but continued to play (on cello and bassoon) and compose in symphonic, chamber, and light-music contexts. His return to jazz performance and composition was marked by a recording in 1972. From that time he led several concert bands, including the Hot Six, a big band, and a ragtime ensemble – the last reflecting a change in his interests; these different groups provided opportunities for the presentation of his prolific compositional output, which often focused on Australian history. His finest album, ...