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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

Mark Gilbert

[John Symon Asher ]

(b Bishopbriggs, Scotland, May 14, 1943; d Suffolk, October 25, 2014). Scottish bass player, singer, and composer. Having studied for three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow he moved to London, where he played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated (late 1962 – early 1963) and then formed a group with Graham Bond, John McLaughlin, and the drummer Ginger Baker; this became known as the Graham Bond Organisation after McLaughlin left and Dick Heckstall-Smith joined. Bruce arrived in London as a jazz purist and had at first played double bass, but after using an electric bass guitar for a recording session with Ernest Ranglin in 1964 he transferred to that instrument and studied the mobile, melodic style of the Motown house bass player James Jamerson. The following year Bruce left Bond’s band because Baker felt that his bass playing was too busy and joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He is best known as the bass guitarist, singer, and principal composer with the highly successful blues and rock group Cream (...

Article

Mark Gilbert

(Crichton Mackinnon )

(b Derby, England, Sept 10, 1939; d London, May 30, 2008). English trombonist and singer. He was introduced to New Orleans jazz and skiffle at the age of 15 by a classmate, the clarinetist Chris Blount, with whom he played washboard. When he was 19 he emigrated to New Zealand, took up trombone, and worked with the Omega Jazz Band (1960–62). He then moved to Australia and performed with the Hot Sands Jazz Band (1962–4) and Geoff Bull’s Olympia Jazz Band (1964–5). In 1965 he returned to the UK via New Orleans, where he played at Preservation Hall. From autumn that year until the middle of the next he collaborated with Terry Lightfoot; he then joined Monty Sunshine before returning to Australia in December 1966. However, from summer 1969 he was a permanent resident in London. He worked with the pianist Ian Armit (late ...

Article

David Flanagan

(b Seattle, Feb 11, 1914; d Riverside, CA, June 21, 2002). American songwriter, arranger, pianist, and singer. His parents were vaudeville artists, and he learned piano from an early age. He played piano in Horace Heidt’s dance band in 1933, but for much of the 1930s worked in Hollywood as a nightclub singer and pianist and as a vocal coach for band singers. In the early 1940s he was composer and arranger for Tommy Dorsey and wrote a number of hit songs for the band which were performed by Frank Sinatra. During World War II he played briefly in Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Thereafter he worked principally as a nightclub entertainer, and issued some recordings under his own name, including Matt Dennis Plays and Sings (c1957, Kapp 1024). Dennis also arranged music for radio programs (1946–8), appeared in films and on television, and composed the song ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(Alexandre )

(b Paris, Jan 29, 1933; d Rayol-Canadel-sur-mer, July 22, 2004). French guitarist and singer. He received his first piano lessons at the age of five from his uncle Ray Ventura, and took up guitar in 1948. The following year he formed a quintet which included Mimi Perrin and Jean-Louis Viale. In 1952 he played with Bernard Peiffer and at the Ringside with Pierre Michelot and the pianist Art Simmons. After performing in a stage show in New York for five months, during which he had an opportunity to hear many leading jazz musicians in local clubs, he returned to Paris, where he worked with Henri Renaud, Jimmy Gourley, Guy Pedersen and Viale at the Tabou (1953), Barney Wilen, Bobby Jaspar, and René Urtreger at Club Saint-Germain, and Fats Sadi and Kenny Clarke at the Ringside, and recorded with the pianist Raymond Le Senechal (1953); around this time he also performed with Martial Solal. After becoming a successful pop singer he worked rarely as a jazz musician, except for occasional performances on guitar. In the mid-1950s he took part in several recording sessions in Paris as a guitarist with Lionel Hampton, Jaspar, and John Lewis, and with his own swing and bop bands. He also played guitar in a duo with Barney Kessel, in a trio with lesser-known guitarists, and on recordings he made as a leader with Slide Hampton in ...

Article

Scott Yanow

[Rosetta ]

(b Dyersburg, TN, Feb 15, 1910; d San Diego, CA, April 20, 2003). American trumpeter and singer. At an early age he learned mellophone (his father’s instrument) and trumpet (which his elder brother Wilbur played professionally), and he made his professional début at the age of 14 with a medicine show. In 1925 he moved to Chicago, and from around 1927 to spring 1930 he played with the bandleader and pianist Sammy Stewart. In 1931 he joined Earl Hines’s orchestra, where he was a valuable sideman; while he left Hines to work with Horace Henderson from August 1937 to August 1938, he was again with the group until September 1940. (Reports in the International Musician confirm these affiliations, but the dates given are not quite the same; Fuller is reported with Hines from April 1932 to August 1937 and again from March 1939 through August 1940, and with Henderson only from June to ...

Article

Reg Cooper and Barry Kernfeld

(Joseph )

(b Chicago, Oct 10, 1921; d Montclair, NJ, August 2, 2002). American singer, pianist, and arranger, brother of Irene Kral. While working with a quartet in Chicago he met the singer Jackie (Jacqueline Ruth) Cain (b Milwaukee, 22 May 1928; d Montclair, N.J., 15 September 2014), with whom he formed a duo, Jackie and Roy. They joined Charlie Ventura in 1948; Kral, who was also Ventura’s pianist, contributed many excellent arrangements to the band, including Flamingo and Pennies from Heaven. After leaving Ventura the couple married in June 1949, formed a bop sextet, then in 1950 moved to Chicago, where they appeared in their own television show. Their musical collaboration was interrupted by the birth of two daughters (Anita O’Day temporarily took Cain’s place in the first instance) during the 1950s, but nonetheless they returned to Ventura for eight months in 1953 and worked as a duo in New York, Las Vegas (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b London, July 29, 1919; d London, Feb 9, 2009). English bandleader, guitarist, singer, and cornetist. He started on banjo before taking up guitar. In the mid-1930s he played in a band with George Shearing and Carlo Krahmer, and in 1938 he visited New York, where he performed with Bobby Hackett. In the same year he led a group for a recording session that included Hackett, Eddie Condon, Zutty Singleton, and other American musicians. During his service in the RAF (1939–44) he performed and recorded as a guitarist with Buddy Featherstonhaugh, and his playing from this period may be heard on Vic Lewis Jam Sessions, 1944–1945: the War Years (1944–5, Harl. 3008). While in the air force he also learned to play trombone, and he founded, with Jack Parnell, a dixieland band, the Jazzmen. Following his discharge in 1945 he continued the Jazzmen, initially with Parnell and then as sole leader, and he worked briefly with Stephane Grappelli. In ...

Article

revised by Raymond J. Gariglio and Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph Paul ]

(b Martins Ferry, OH, Jan 14, 1928; d New York, April 20, 2012). American clarinetist, soprano saxophonist, and singer. He played clarinet for three years in an air force band (1946–9), then enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music with the intent of pursuing a symphonic career. After completing his undergraduate degree he took up graduate work at Columbia University (BM, MM); during this period he studied with Sanford Gold, Lennie Tristano, Bill Russo, and notable classical clarinetists. He worked in New York with many prominent dixieland groups, among them those led by Jimmy McPartland, Yank Lawson, Max Kaminsky, Henry “Red” Allen, and Eddie Condon, and led the Gutbucket Six, including George Wettling. During the 1950s he also worked as a producer for RCA Victor, Atlantic, Bethlehem, and Esoteric Counterpoint, and he wrote liner notes for these companies, as well as for Decca, GNP, Riverside, and other labels. Following a tour with Bobby Hackett and Vic Dickenson, in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[Nevidosky, Gerard Joseph ]

(b Rochester, NY, April 6, 1943; d Buffalo, NY, Feb 13, 2009). American soprano and tenor saxophonist. While at the University of Buffalo he played tenor saxophone and flute and sang in a show band. He then went to New York, where he joined Chuck Mangione’s quartet (1968) and studied at the Eastman School of Music (BM 1970). He was the strongest soloist in Mangione’s group and was particularly adept at inventing clean, rapid, driving soprano saxophone melodies over Latin-jazz ostinatos. After leaving Mangione in 1976 Niewood formed the quartet Timepiece, consisting of Dave Samuels and the drummer Ron Davis, with Mike Richmond or Michel Donato on double bass or Rick Laird on electric bass guitar; its albums (c1976–7) were, however, poorly received. Niewood was also a member of Chuck Israels’s National Jazz Ensemble (c1976–8), and he played in the big bands led by the pianist David Matthews (...

Article

Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In 1984 she moved to the United States to pursue a jazz and blues career in Chicago. Initially a singer, she studied piano with boogie, blues, and jazz pianist Erwin Helfer. In the early 1990s Noge established the Jazz Me Blues Band, which has played regularly in Chicago since its formation. In addition to Noge on piano and vocals, the ensemble has included Noge’s husband, Clark Dean, on soprano saxophone, saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, trombonist Bill McFarland, and bassist Tatsu Aoki. In addition to playing more conventional jazz and blues, Noge has made a name for herself through the unique compositions she has written for the group, which meld Japanese folk music styles with Chicago blues. Active in the broader Asian American community, she cofounded the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in ...

Article

John Shand

[Miklos Jozsef ]

(b Budapest, May 8, 1948; d Sydney, February 4, 2008). Hungarian and Australian composer, arranger, electric bass guitarist, and singer. He studied classical piano and violin. By the time he was in his early twenties he was a significant influence in Hungarian rock music, though his band Syrius, which toured Europe and then Australia in 1970–71, incorporated jazz concepts. In 1974 he returned to Australia and recorded his first jazz album. He took dual citizenship in 1979. While he worked mainly within the soul genre, Orszaczky regularly used jazz musicians in his bands, and thereby proved an enormous influence on the composing, arranging, producing and bandleading skills of a generation of Sydney-based musicians. Some of his bands, such as the Hungarian Rap Sadists and Industrial Accident, were more unclassifiable and experimental in nature. In the late 1990s his Orszaczky Budget Orchestra performed compositions by Albert Ayler and Eddie Harris alongside those of the soul singer James Brown and Orszaczky himself....

Article

Michel Laplace

[Jeannine ]

(b Paris, Feb 2, 1926; d Paris, Nov 16, 2010). French pianist, singer, and arranger. She began her career as the leader of a trio and in 1956 recorded as a pianist and singer. Around the same year she joined the Blue Stars, of which she remained a member until 1958; she also recorded with the pianist Christian Chevallier (1959). She is best known for having led the Double Six (1959–66), with which she made recordings (including Dizzy Gillespie et les Double Six, 1963, Phi. 200106); she also appeared in Martin Ritt’s film Paris Blues (1961). From 1968 she lived in the USA. Perrin’s style was strongly influenced by the work of King Pleasure and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.

Feather '60s J. Tronchot: “Ce chant qui jouent, cette musique que chantent les Double Six … cette bande de copains terribles,” Jh, no.171 (1961), 16...

Article

Yoko Suzuki

[Elvira; Meeks, Elvira; Goldberg, Elvira; Avelino, Elvira]

(b Los Angeles, CA, Sept 20, 1928). American jazz alto and soprano saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. Her father Alton Redd was a jazz drummer from New Orleans. Redd started to sing in church at about age 5 and played alto saxophone at about 12, studying with her great-aunt Alma Hightower, a noted music educator in Los Angeles. In about 1948 she formed a band with her first husband, trumpeter Nathaniel Meeks, and began performing professionally as a saxophonist and singer. She had her first son when she was in her late 20s and her second son a few years later. Between 1957 and 1961 she performed less often and taught at public schools. During the 1960s she performed at the renowned club Ronnie Scott’s for ten weeks and toured with Earl Hines and Count Basie. Leonard Feather produced her two albums, Bird Call (1962) and Lady Soul...

Article

Thomas Owens

(Amanda )

(b Los Angeles, Sept 11, 1955; d Burbank, CA, Oct 30, 2009). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, and singer, daughter of Jimmie Rowles. Her middle name, Amanda, is taken from California birth records. She studied piano for three years as a child and played percussion instruments in grammar school. When she was about 12 her father showed her how to play the chromatic scale on his old trumpet. She later studied improvisation with Charlie Shoemake. In 1973 she appeared with her father at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and two years later she performed in a women’s big band led by Clark Terry at the Wichita Jazz Festival. During the 1980s she established herself in the Los Angeles jazz community as a founding member of Ann Patterson’s big band, Maiden Voyage, as co-leader (with the trombonist Betty O’Hara) of the Jazz Birds quintet, in the instrumental quartet of the Jazz Tap Ensemble, and in various freelance engagements with her father, as well as with Diana Krall, Red Holloway, and others. In the 1990s she toured with the Swinging Ladies and the Jack Van Poll Trio. Rowles played bop and sang in a lyrical, understated, but always swinging manner; her lyricism on the flugelhorn was particularly effective....

Article

Chip Henderson

[Masawwir, Damu Mustafa Abdul ]

(b St. Matthews, SC, Feb 2, 1942). American electric guitarist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist. Ulmer grew up in a musical family. By the age of four he began to learn the guitar from his father. From the ages of seven to thirteen he played guitar and sang with his father’s gospel group, the Southern Sons. Ulmer moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1959 and began to immerse himself in the city’s rhythm and blues scene. From 1959 to 1964 Ulmer performed with the Del Vikings, the Savoys, and Jewel Brenner’s Swing Kings. In 1964 he moved to Columbus, Ohio. From 1964 to 1967 he studied jazz and performed with organist Hank Marr. Ulmer relocated to Detroit, Michigan, in 1967 and began his tenure with soul-jazz organist “Big” John Patton. During his time in Detroit (1967–71) Ulmer became interested in contemporary rock styles, including the music and tonal innovations of guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Soon after Ulmer moved to New York City in ...

Article

Howard Rye and Barry Kernfeld

(b Chicago, Jan 7, 1936; d Thailand, February 12, 2007). American bass player and singer. He learned double bass at high school and later studied at the Chicago Conservatory. After working with King Kolax (1951) and with various blues singers, including Joe Turner (ii), T-Bone Walker, and Joe Williams (mid-1950s), from 1956 he played cello and double bass in Ramsey Lewis’s trio, which made many recordings for Argo. Young also recorded as a sideman with Lorez Alexandria (1957) and James Moody (Hey! It’s Moody, 1959, Argo 666) and as a leader (1961). In 1966 he and Redd Holt (Lewis’s drummer) left Lewis and formed the soul band Young–Holt Unlimited, with which Young played both double bass and electric bass guitar. In 1990 Young–Holt Unlimited was a trio with the pianist Jeremy Monteiro. Young and Holt also appeared together in April 1984...