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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 (...

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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 ...

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Robert Pernet

(b Liège, Belgium, Feb 7, 1907; d Wavre, Belgium, Feb 10, 1987). Belgian pianist . After working in cinemas and music halls he performed in Switzerland (1928) and France (1929). In 1930 he toured Algeria and worked in Paris, and from 1931 to 1934 he was pianist, organist, and arranger at a nightclub in Liège. Colignon then played with Fud Candrix’s orchestra, often as a principal soloist (1935–40), and led his own group in Brussels. After World War II he was in Antwerp, and later he held residencies in Brussels (1947–53) and Charleroi. Thereafter he worked in Germany, mainly as an organist. He made recordings as an unaccompanied soloist (1937–8), as a leader (1939, 1941–2), and as a sideman with Candrix (1937–40), Kutte Widmann and the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Jack Lowens (both 1942), and René Compère (...

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

Jessica Bissett Perea

(Jane )

(b Newport News, VA, April 25, 1917; d Beverly Hills, CA, June 15, 1996). American jazz singer. Ella Jane Fitzgerald was raised in Yonkers, New York, and from an early age developed an affinity for performing, despite personal hardships including childhood poverty, not knowing her biological father, and her mother’s sudden death in 1932. Although her first love was dancing, her early vocal influences included popular musicians such as Connee Boswell of the Boswell Sisters, Leo Watson, and Louis Armstrong. In 1934 a 17-year-old Fitzgerald entered and won the Amateur Night competition at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, and from there began singing in various Harlem clubs such as the Savoy. In 1935 Fitzgerald met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. Webb was initially reluctant to hire the young singer; but by 1937 Fitzgerald’s voice was featured on over half of his band’s repertoire. In 1938 Fitzgerald recorded her first number-one hit with the band, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” a swinging nursery rhyme to which she also wrote the lyrics. After Webb’s untimely death in ...

Article

Lars Helgert

(b New York, NY, March 1, 1917; d Berkeley, CA, June 3, 1975). American jazz and rock critic. He studied at Columbia University (1934–8), where he was a jazz writer for the Columbia Spectator, and frequently attended performances at New York jazz clubs. In 1939 he co-founded Jazz Information, one of the earliest jazz magazines, and served as its editor until publication ceased in 1941. From 1942 until 1945 he was employed by the Office of War Information, spending time overseas. Gleason wrote for Down Beat from 1947 to 1961 (he also served as an associate editor) and for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1950 until his death. He founded another jazz periodical, Jazz: a Quarterly of American Music, which was published from 1958 to 1960. In 1967 he was a co-founder of Rolling Stone, to which he contributed for the next eight years. He also wrote for ...

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Charles Garrett

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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

Barry Kernfeld

Record company and label. The company was founded in New York in 1976 by Irv (Irving) Kratka. A subsidiary of the MMO (Music Minus One) Music Group, Inc., it owned three labels, two of which were devoted to jazz. These were Classic Jazz (which should not be confused with the Swedish label Classic Jazz Masters) and Inner City. Although the company was concerned largely with reissuing material first made available by other companies in the USA, Japan (East Wind), and Europe (principally Enja), it also put out new recordings in early swing and bop styles on Classic Jazz and material ranging in style from bop to free jazz and jazz-rock. The company later became enmeshed in a legal dispute which ended its activities. Inner City should not be confused with a pop music label of the same name which was established in the late 1980s. (M. Segell: “Once More, Jazz is Big Business,” ...

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 ...

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Charles Garrett

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Charles Garrett

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E. Ron Horton

[Herbert; Jeffrey, Herbert; Balentino, Umberto; the Bronze Buckaroo]

(b Detroit, MI, Sept 24, 1916). American jazz vocalist and actor. He began his professional singing career at 14 and then worked with such well-known jazz musicians as Erskine Tate, Earl Hines, and Blanche Calloway. In the late 1930s he made five films as America’s first black singing cowboy starting with Harlem on the Prairie (1937). He conceived the idea of making the movie himself in a conscious effort to create a character that could be a model for brown-skinned children. Jeffries, who identified his mother as Irish and his father as mixed-race Sicilian, was almost denied the role because his physical features were considered by some not to be African American enough, although he proudly identified himself as black in both professional and social terms. He successfully fought for the role, which earned him the nickname the Bronze Buckaroo, and his films appealed to a more widespread audience than expected. Jeffries worked with the Duke Ellington Orchestra from ...

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...