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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

Barry Kernfeld

(b Polleur, Belgium, 1950). Belgian vibraphonist and leader. Self-taught, he first played drums and piano, but in 1966 he heard Gary Burton perform in Comblain, and two years later he took up vibraphone. In the early 1970s, while working towards an undergraduate degree in musicology at the University of Liège, he played in dixieland and modern-jazz groups; he then moved to Italy to pursue graduate work in medieval music. He played jazz standards with Steve Houben in the group Merry-Go-Round (1975), which performed in the Netherlands, toured the USSR as an accompanist to the singer Jean Vallée, and from 1978 recorded albums of his compositions, incorporating elements of jazz, Belgian traditional songs, and bossa nova, with such guest soloists as Bill Frisell, Toots Thielemans, Houben, and Larry Schneider. In the late 1970s he began teaching in secondary schools, and he played in Félix Simtaine’s Act Big Band (from ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b New Castle, PA, March 20, 1914). American tenor saxophonist and clarinetist. His first important engagements were with Joe Haymes (1936–7) and Muggsy Spanier’s Ragtimers (November–December 1939), with which he may be heard on the pairing Lonesome Road/Mandy, Make up your Mind (1939, Bb 10766) respectively as a ballad soloist and in a rambunctious mood. Later he played with Woody Herman (early 1940), the band led by Will Bradley and Ray McKinley, and Bobby Hackett (autumn 1940), and worked with Spanier’s big band (April 1941 – spring 1942), Teddy Powell, the guitarist Alvino Rey, and the pianist Chico Marx (summer 1943). During the mid-1940s Caiazza made many V-discs with Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Hot Lips Page, and others, and he may be heard to advantage on Tea for Two by the clarinetist Bill Stegmeyer and his Hot Eight (...

Article

Eliot Gattegno

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 1956). American classical and jazz pianist and composer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Caine began playing piano at the age of seven. At age 12 he commenced studies with French jazz pianist Bernard Peiffer. He later studied composition with ...

Article

M. Rusty Jones

[Al Laurence Dimeola ]

(b Jersey City, NJ, July 22, 1954). American jazz fusion guitarist and composer. He is known especially for his technical virtuosity and for combining Latin, world, and jazz styles. His guitar influences include Larry Coryell, Tal(madge Holt) Farlow, and Kenny Burrell. He was also inspired by the tangos of Ástor Piazzolla, with whom he developed a close friendship. He enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1971, where he remained until 1974 when he was invited to join the fusion group Return to Forever with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White. The group released three recordings with Di Meola, including the Grammy award-winning No Mystery (1975), before disbanding in 1976. The group reunited for a tour in 2008. Di Meola’s career as a leader began with the production of Land of the Midnight Sun (1976). Recordings on which he is recognized as leader now number over 20 albums. He has collaborated with luminaries such as Jaco Pastorius, Jan Hammer, and Chick Corea. One of his most successful collaborations was his trio with guitarists John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. Their ...

Article

Epic  

Christopher Doll

Record company. It was established by CBS in 1953 as a subsidiary of Columbia Records. Although from the start its issues included jazz and pop, Epic for many years was known primarily for its recordings of George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra (including those made with a young Leon Fleisher as piano soloist). In the latter part of the 1950s, as rock and roll began to overtake the industry, the company struggled to find itself artistically and commercially, accumulating an odd assortment of American, Australian, and European performers representing a wide array of classical, jazz, and popular styles.

The label’s fortunes began to change in 1964 with its participation in the British Invasion. Epic distributed the American releases of the Dave Clark Five and the Yardbirds and later those of the Hollies and Donovan. The true turning point for the company was the signing in 1967 of Sly and the Family Stone, whose critical and financial success helped redefine the label as a youth-oriented powerhouse. The company expanded through the 1970s, achieving unimaginable heights in the 1980s with Michael Jackson’s mature solo work (...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet, founded 1999. Its line-up has remained constant since its foundation: David Pokorný and Vladimír Klánský on violins, Vladimír Kroupa on viola, and Vít Petrášek on cello. Although classical repertoire remains central to their professional lives, the Epoque Quartet is remarkable for the breadth and professionalism of its ‘crossover’ work. The quartet has performed with the leading artists of Czech popular music, arranged world music from various traditions (most recently with the clarinettist Irvin Venyš for their CD Irvin_Epoque), and given the premières of over 80 pieces, the style of which ranges from rock- and jazz-influenced music to contemporary art music, mostly by Czech composers including Jan Kučera, Petr Wajsar, Jan Dušek, Gabriela Vermelho, and others.

Their open-mindedness and long-standing interest in various musical fields allows them to perform stylistically in a way classically-trained ensembles often find problematic, particularly in terms of rhythm, feeling, and energy when performing jazz- and rock-influenced repertoire....

Article

Loren Kajikawa

(b Lake Forest, IL, 1957). American jazz violinist and composer. Known for his unconventional violin technique, Hwang participated in downtown New York’s free jazz scene in the late 1970s and early 80s and became increasingly associated with Asian American jazz in the 1980s and 90s. His more recent work emphasizes cross-cultural themes, especially as they relate to the Chinese experience in the United States.

Hwang spent his childhood in Waukegan and Highland Park, Illinois, before attending New York University. In New York he frequented “loft jazz” performances, which featured experimental players such as David Murray, Lester Bowie, Charles “Bobo” Shaw, and Frank Lowe. Hwang was mentored by alto saxophonist Will Connell Jr. who had come to New York after his tenure with Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in Los Angeles. Hwang and Connell Jr. teamed with bassist William Parker and percussionist Takeshi Zen Matsuura to form the quartet Commitment. Commitment achieved modest local success, toured Germany, and recorded a self-titled album in ...

Article

Mary Talusan

(b Anaheim, CA, Nov 15, 1970). American jazz percussionist and composer. Of Filipino heritage, Ibarra grew up in Houston, Texas. She received a music diploma from Mannes College and a BA from Goddard College. She studied drums with Buster Smith and Vernel Fournier and percussion with Milford Graves. She also played with William Parker and his big band, The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. In the 1990s, Ibarra became interested in Philippine musical traditions and took lessons on kulintang from master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. She joined the avant-garde free jazz quartet led by David S. Ware and became well known in the New York jazz scene. She collaborated on several albums with a number of respected musicians such as Assif Tsahar, Cooper-Moore, Charles Burnham, Chris Speed, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pauline Oliveros, notably on the album ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, July 16, 1964). Japanese double bass player. After first playing electric guitar he changed to electric bass guitar as a member of a high school band; he became interested in jazz through the influence of Jaco Pastorius. While studying composition at Osaka College of Music he performed jazz in local clubs. Following his graduation he moved to Tokyo and joined Motohiko Hino’s group, though he also performed and recorded with Masahiko Sato, Masami Nakagawa, Yosuke Yamashita, Terumasa Hino, and others. In January 1991 he settled in New York, where he accompanied such musicians as Abraham Burton, Hank Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Don Friedman, Carmen Lundy, Eddie Daniels, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, Louis Hayes, and Michael Carvin, and recorded as a member of the cooperative Japanese quintet Inside Out (1992), a Japanese and American hard-bop group, the Jazz Networks, led by Roy Hargrove (1995...

Article

Richard Wang

revised by Brad Linde

[Jones, Frederick Russell ]

(b Pittsburgh, PA, July 2, 1930). American jazz pianist and composer. He studied with the singer mary cardwell Dawson and the pianist james Miller in Pittsburgh where he began playing professionally at the age of 11. After attending Westinghouse High School, he left in the late 1940s to join the George Hudson Orchestra. In 1951 he formed his first trio, the Three Strings, and after an extended engagement at the Blue Note club in Chicago, he appeared at the Embers in New York, where he attracted the critical support of John Hammond. He changed his name on his conversion to Islam in the early 1950s. In 1958, with the bass player Israel Crosby and the drummer Vernel Fournier, Jamal recorded his most popular and influential album, Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing, which included influential versions of “But not for me” and “Poinciana.” Miles Davis admired the album’s lean style, use of space, and simple embellishments, all of which characterized Davis’s own bands and recordings in the 1950s. Jamal’s trio disbanded in ...

Article

Mark C. Gridley

revised by Charles Garrett

(b Chicago, IL, March 11, 1932; d New York, NY, Feb 24, 2007). American jazz violinist, composer, and bandleader. He was influenced by the violinists Jascha Heifetz, Eddie South, and Bruce Hayden, as well as the saxophonists Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane. From 1965 to 1969 he played in Chicago with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Creative Construction Company, becoming the leading violinist in the free jazz style. He then helped to organize the Revolutionary Ensemble (1971) and led his own trio (1977–9) and quintet (1982–3). In addition to collaborating with such musicians as Cecil Taylor, Joseph Jarman, and Myra Melford, he also contributed to the new music scene by serving on the board of directors of the Composer’s Forum. In his later career, he turned to creating theatrical productions, including the operas Mother of Three Sons...

Article

Richard H. Perry

(Lewis )

(b Montgomery, AL, Aug 7, 1941). American jazz tuba player, baritone saxophonist, and bandleader. Largely self-taught, he first learned baritone saxophone, then tuba. In 1963 he moved to New York, where he quickly established himself as a leading jazz tuba player and performed with Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, and, notably, Gil Evans. He played with Evans’s orchestra from 1966 until the leader’s death in 1988. He also worked with Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Chet Baker, and McCoy Tyner and spent several years with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk orchestra. From 1975 to 1980 he was a member of the house band for “Saturday Night Live,” serving as bandleader from 1979 to 1980.

Although Johnson has been recognized for his work on baritone saxophone, he is best known for his tuba playing and for his work with tuba ensembles. In 1968 he formed the first jazz tuba ensemble, Substructure. Although this group never recorded, Johnson subsequently formed Gravity, an ensemble with six tubas, in the 1970s; it released ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Muskogee, OK, Oct 17, 1923; d San Diego, CA, May 6, 2004). American jazz guitarist. He played with Chico Marx (1943) and performed in the short film Jammin’ the Blues (1944) before attracting attention in several big bands, including Artie Shaw’s (1945). Later he became a freelance studio guitarist in Los Angeles, although he interrupted this work for a lengthy tour with Oscar Peterson’s trio (1952–3), various recordings for the Verve and Contemporary labels, and club engagements with his own combos (early 1960s). In 1969, following a successful European tour, he shifted his focus away from studio work. From the early 1970s until he suffered a stroke in 1992 he performed in clubs and concerts, often with the jazz guitarists Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis in the group Great Guitars. He also led workshops, made jazz recordings, and toured internationally. Although Kessel possessed the smooth tone and immaculate technique required of a studio musician, he improvised swinging, infectious jazz melodies. He published instruction manuals, including ...

Article

Russ Musto

[Stephen Lewis ]

(b New York, NY, March 24, 1938). American jazz pianist and composer. A pianist with a distinctive voice, he started classical piano lessons at five and at 17 began studies with Madame Chaloff in Boston, where he led a trio and accompanied such visiting greats as Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker, and Vic Dickenson. After graduating from Harvard University in 1959, he returned to New York where he worked with Kenny Dorham, John Coltrane (in the saxophonist’s first quartet), Stan Getz (alongside the bass player Scott LaFaro, who influenced his playing significantly), and Charles Lloyd. He then worked in Art Farmer’s quartet with Steve Swallow and Pete La Roca, appearing on the trumpeter’s album Sing Me Softly of the Blues (1965, Atlantic). The rhythm section also recorded together on La Roca’s album Basra (1965, BN, with the saxophonist Joe Henderson) and on Kuhn’s first trio date as a leader, ...

Article

Michael Conklin

(Emmanuel )

(b Chicago, IL, May 27, 1935). American pianist and composer. His earliest exposure to jazz was as a child listening with his father to recordings of Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Meade “Lux” Lewis. At 15 he joined a jazz band that included fellow church musicians, the bass player Eldee Young and the drummer Redd Holt. He went on to study music at Chicago Musical College and De Paul University. In 1956 he reunited with Young and Redd to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio; their first album was entitled Ramsey Lewis and the Gentleman of Swing. The band reached its apex with The In Crowd (1965, Argo), an album which sold a million copies and earned the trio a Grammy Award for best jazz recording by a small group in 1965; Lewis has since been awarded two other Grammy Awards. Throughout his career, his work has showcased an eclectic fusion of gospel, jazz and Western European elements. He later began composing large-scale works, including the music for the ballet ...

Article

Nicholas Higgins

(b Trieste, Italy, May 4, 1971). saxophonist of Italian birth. Of South Asian descent, he grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and started playing alto saxophone at age 11. He studied briefly at North Texas State University and received his BM from the Berklee College of Music; he later earned a master’s degree in jazz composition from DePaul University in Chicago. After moving to New York in 1997, Mahanthappa played a crucial role in the pianist Vijay Iyer’s quartet in the 1990s and early 2000s and produced four unique projects with his own quartet. One of these, Mother Tongue (2005), used tonal transcriptions of phrases from Indian languages as melodic source material for his compositions; another, Codebook (2006), applied cryptographic methods to musical composition.

Mahanthappa’s subsequent music has featured other alto saxophonists. His project with Bunky Green (2010) featured the pianist Jason Moran, the bass player François Moutin, and the drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette. The Dakshina Ensemble, his project with the South Indian musician Kadri Gopalnath, combined jazz and South Indian classical-music ensembles. A two-saxophone project, Dual Identity, featured the alto saxophonist Steve Lehman as well as Reid, the bass player Matt Brewer, and the guitarist Liberty Ellman....

Article

Daniel John Carroll

(b Philadelphia, PA, May 31, 1972). American jazz bass player. He began studying electric bass at the age of nine and then attended the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia. In 1989 he moved to New York to study with the bass player Homer Mensch at the Juilliard School. He soon joined the band of the alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and left school after one year to tour with the trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He subsequently performed with the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and has also worked with Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock. His albums include Gettin’ to it (1994, Verve), Number Two Express (1995, Verve), Sci Fi (2000), and Vertical Vision (2003). In addition McBride has served as an administrator for the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy Summer Sessions, the National Jazz Museum, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. His work as a composer has been rewarded with a commission by the National Endowment for the Arts to compose a work about the Civil Rights Movement entitled ...

Article

Richard Crawford

[David J. ]

(b Woonsocket, RI, May 30, 1930; d State College, PA, Oct 18, 2008). American jazz pianist. He took piano lessons as a child, but learned to play jazz chiefly from listening to the radio and recordings. At the age of 12 he began to play with pickup groups at weddings and other events, and at 15 joined the musicians’ union. By 1947 he was performing in and around Boston with a group led by the saxophonist Boots Mussulli. He joined Charlie Ventura’s band (1949), then played with Woody Herman (1950–51) before serving two years in the US Army. He worked again in Ventura’s band for 18 months from 1953, but thereafter worked mostly with smaller groups, playing with Gene Krupa, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, and Bobby Hackett, among others. In 1967 he moved from New York to South Yarmouth on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and from around ...

Article

Russ Musto

(b Joplin, MO, July 24, 1939). American alto and tenor saxophonist and composer. One of the most inventive bebop alto saxophonists in the tradition of Charlie Parker, he possesses a fluid melodic style that reflects the initial influence of Johnny Hodges. At age nine he moved to Detroit and at 13 started playing saxophone. He began studies with barry Harris when he was 18 and landed his first professional gigs with the pianist a year later in a band that also featured Lonnie Hillyer. McPherson arrived in New York in 1959 and the following year joined Charles Mingus, with whom he played for the next decade and a half. He made his first album as a leader, Bebop Revisited!, for Prestige in 1964 and recorded frequently for that label for the next five years. During the 1970s he made three records each for the Mainstream and Xanadu labels, the dates for the latter offering some of the purest bebop of its time. He relocated to San Diego in ...