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Stephen Ruppenthal

(John )

(b Oakland, CA, Sept 19, 1952). American guitarist, synthesizer player, and producer. He studied economics at Harvard University (BA 1976) and began performing in improvisational contexts in 1974. In 1979 he became involved in experimental rock and has since performed extensively in the United States and abroad. He has worked with, among others, Derek Bailey, David Lindley, Fred Frith, Herbie Hancock, Jerry Garcia, Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Michael Stipe, Diamanda Galás, John Zorn, Richard Thompson, and John Oswald; he has also played with the Rova Saxophone Quartet and many free-music groups in the San Francisco Bay area, where he has been based. In both solo and ensemble performance he characteristically aims for some type of fusion of rock, jazz, non-Western, and avant-garde classical styles and focuses on “language elements of attack, articulation, pitch bend trajectory, and velocity.” His use of elastic rhythms, non-tempered scales, and widely varied timbres shows the influence of Southeast Asian and Indian musics and the blues. His extended solo improvisations (such as “The Shadow Line” on the album ...

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Jeff E. Winner

(b Brooklyn, NY, Sept 10, 1908; d North Hills, CA, Feb 9, 1994). American composer, electronic music pioneer, electronic instrument inventor, and pianist. After attending Brooklyn Technical High School, he studied theory, composition, and piano at the Juilliard School of Music. Following his graduation in 1931, he became a pianist for the CBS Radio orchestra. In 1934, at age 25, he wrote his first hit, later recorded by Louis Armstrong.

In 1936 he assembled a six-piece “Quintette” from his CBS colleagues, including Bunny Berigan, and Johnny Williams, father of movie score composer John Williams. Following successful live radio performances, they began recording on 20 February 1937. Scott’s compositions for this band represent his attempts to rejuvenate Swing music with minimal improvisation and busy, tight arrangements. He dubbed the style “descriptive jazz,” and the Quintette was popular until he disbanded it in 1939. Though Scott didn’t score cartoons, these compositions are familiar to millions because they were adapted into classic Warner Bros. ...