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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

[Myron ]

(b Youngstown, OH, Sept 23, 1905; d Cincinnati, Nov 26, 1958). American bandleader, singer, and drummer. He attended Wilberforce University, where he sang with Horace Henderson’s Collegians. He then moved to New York and played drums with Marion Hardy’s Alabam-ians, the Savoy Bearcats, and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (all 1932) and sang with Luis Russell. In 1934 he formed his own big band, which included Shad Collins, Russell Procope, and Happy Caldwell; among the titles he recorded are The Darktown Strutters’ Ball and The Sheik of Araby (1934, Decca 194). His groups of the 1930s and 1940s involved Charlie Shavers and Carl Warwick (both 1935), Art Trappier (mid-1930s), Nelson Williams, Little Benny Harris, Henderson Chambers, and Charlie Fowlkes (all 1939), Chambers, Bobby Plater, and Shadow Wilson (all 1940), and John Anderson and Gil Fuller (both early 1940s). Bradshaw continued to lead big bands into the 1950s, toured Japan in ...

Article

[William Steven ]

(b New Orleans, Aug 30, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 9, 1964). American bandleader and singer. He began his career as a soft-shoe dancer in 1926 and toured extensively as a dancer and singer until 1933. From 1934 to 1938 and again from 1945 to 1948 he led his own big band, which at times in the mid-1930s included Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson (both of whom contributed arrangements), Ben Webster, Cozy Cole, Edgar Battle, Taft Jordan, and Glyn Paque. The band’s compelling swing may be heard on A Viper’s Moan and Bryant’s sentimental style of singing on his own composition It’s over because we’re through (both 1935, Vic. 24858). Bryant later worked as master of ceremonies for radio broadcasts from the Apollo Theatre in New York, and as a disc jockey, an actor, and a radio announcer; he may be seen in two episodes of the television series “Showtime at the Apollo” (...

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

Howard Rye

[Pindar, Blanche Calloway ]

(b Baltimore, 1902; d Baltimore, Dec 16, 1978). American singer and bandleader, sister of Cab Calloway. She left Morgan State College to perform in local revues in Baltimore. In the mid-1920s she worked as a soloist at the Ciro Club, New York, then toured extensively in revues. In 1925 she recorded as a blues singer accompanied by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones. Calloway held residencies in Chicago, and in 1931 she performed with Andy Kirk at the Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia and recorded as the leader of Kirk’s band. She then formed her own orchestra, which included such sidemen as Puddinghead Battle, Vic Dickenson, Clyde Hart, and Ben Webster; it recorded in 1931 and again in 1934–5 and continued to tour until 1938, when bankruptcy (filed under her married name, Blanche Calloway Pindar) forced Calloway to disband. She formed a new band, which toured from January to ...

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

John Chilton

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[George Robert ]

(b Spokane, WA, Aug 25, 1913; d La Jolla, CA, March 9, 1993). American singer and bandleader, brother of Bing Crosby. After performing with the bands led by Anson Weeks and the Dorsey Brothers (1934–5) he was appointed leader of a cooperative band made up of former members of Ben Pollack’s band and newcomers recruited in New York, which made its début in June 1935. The Bob Crosby Orchestra’s unique brand of big-band dixieland jazz achieved international popularity during the late 1930s, as it toured, held lengthy engagements at the Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago (from 1938), and broadcast on the “Camel Caravan” show (1939–40). An unpredictable vibrato marred much of Crosby’s singing, but his rhythmic phrasing did much to compensate. His star soloists Eddie Miller, Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Irving Fazola, Matty Matlock, Nappy Lamare, Ray Bauduc, and Bob Haggart also played in Crosby’s widely acclaimed small group the ...

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

Jack Litchfield

revised by Mark Miller

[Jimmy, James Douglas ]

(b Sudbury, Canada, Nov 26, 1908; d Sudbury, May 2, 1978). Canadian cornetist, singer, and bandleader. He formed the Melody Five in Sudbury around 1925 and then sang (and later played cornet) in Toronto with the hotel orchestra of the violinist Luigi Romanelli (1929–35). From 1937 to 1942 he led his own dance band, which made weekly broadcasts on NBC from Toronto’s Club Esquire in 1937 and toured Britain under Ray Noble in 1938. Davidson formed a new orchestra in 1944, and made the Palace Pier its base in Toronto through the early 1960s. Its performances there usually included several numbers played by a dixieland jazz group drawn from the orchestra. This smaller group, modeled on Bob Crosby’s Bob Cats, also functioned independently and continued in existence after the demise of the orchestra; it played on CBC radio from the 1940s to the 1960s and made a number of recordings (...

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

Gerhard Conrad

(b Prague, March 4, 1917; d Prague, May 2, 1994). Czech singer and bandleader. He was a member of the Gramoklub Orchestra under Jan Šíma in the 1930s and sang with Karel Vlach’s orchestra in 1937. He formed a septet in 1946 that performed on Radio Praha and made recordings; he also led a trio (...

Article

Alyn Shipton

[Fritz ]

(b New Orleans, Aug 25, 1918; d New Orleans, Sept 29, 1990). American drummer, singer, and bandleader. He was the son of Louis Kohlman, whose tavern in Algiers, Louisiana, was a well-known jazz venue. His first music lessons were on clarinet from Fess Manetta, but thereafter he settled on drums and received tuition from Louis Cottrell, Sr. He began his career playing with the bands of A. J. Piron, Joseph Robichaux, Papa Celestin, and Sam Morgan. In the mid-1930s he moved to Chicago, where he joined a quartet at the Michigan Hotel which included Albert Ammons and with which Stuff Smith played occasionally; he also worked with Lee Collins and Earl Hines. He spent a period in Detroit before returning to New Orleans in 1941. From 1944 Kohlman led his own band for an engagement at the Mardi Gras Lounge, run by the clarinetist Sid Davilla on Bourbon Street. His album ...