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Article

Abrams, Muhal Richard  

Harald Kisiedu

[Abrams, Richard Louis]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians...

Article

Adamis, Mihalis  

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

Aitken, Robert  

Bruce Mather

(Morris)

(b Kentville, NS, Aug 28, 1939). Canadian flautist, conductor and composer. He studied with Nicholas Fiore (in Toronto) and Marcel Moyse; later with Rampal and Gazzelloni. He was principal flautist of the Vancouver SO (1958–9) and of the Toronto SO (1965–70). In 1971 he was a prizewinner of the Concours International de Flûte de Paris. In 1964 he formed the Lyric Arts Trio with his wife, the pianist Marion Ross, and the soprano Mary Morrison. He is musical director of New Music Concerts (Toronto) and Music Today (Shaw Festival, Ontario), as well as a soloist whose engagements take him to Europe, North America, Japan and Iceland. In 1977 he was one of 12 instrumentalists invited by Boulez to give a solo recital at IRCAM in Paris. Some 50 works have been wrtten for him by composers including Carter, Crumb, R. Murray Schafer and Takemitsu. Technically adept, he has a pure, intense tone and a finished sense of phrasing. In ...

Article

Alpert, Herb  

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...

Article

Amigo, Cristian  

Robert Paul Kolt

(b Santiago, Chile, Jan 2, 1963). American composer, guitarist, ethnomusicologist, educator, and producer of Chilean birth. He immigrated to the United States as a child and studied guitar with Joseph Torello, Vincent Bredice, Lou Mowad, and George Aguiar. Amigo enrolled at Florida State University (1980) where he studied classical guitar with Bruce Holzman and William Carter and was active as a performer of popular music. In 1986, he moved to Los Angeles, earning a degree in political science from California State University, Northridge (BA 1995) and degrees in ethnomusicology (MA 1988, PhD 2003) from the University of Calfornia, Los Angeles. He studied in Los Angeles with Kenny Burrell, Gary Pratt, Harihar Rao, and wadada leo Smith. Amigo also performed with African, Arabic, funk, hard rock, free jazz, jazz, and reggae groups, and worked as a session guitarist for Hans Zimmer, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Les Hooper, among others....

Article

Armstrong, Karan  

Elizabeth Forbes

revised by Joseph E. Morgan

(b Havre, MT, Dec 14, 1941). American soprano and director. As a child she studied piano and clarinet; later she received the BA from Concordia College in Minnesota and studied singing privately with a number of teachers including Lotte Lehmann in Santa Barbara. She sang Elvira (in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri) for her debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1966, and a year later she sang for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera as the Dew Fairy in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. She appeared at Santa Fe (1968) and the Caramoor Festival (1974), and was a member of the New York City Opera from 1975 to 1978. Her European career has included a very successful Salome at Strasbourg (1976), a role she repeated in Munich, Vienna, and elsewhere. She made her debut at Bayreuth as Elsa (in Wagner’s ...

Article

Arpino, Gerald  

Susan Au

[Gennaro, Peter]

(b Staten Island, NY, Jan 14, 1923; d Chicago, Oct 29, 2008). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet company director. He began to study dance after meeting Robert Joffrey while on military service in Seattle, and continued this study in New York at the School of American Ballet and with the modern dancers May O’Donnell and Gertrude Shurr. He became a founding member of the faculty of Joffrey’s school, the American Dance Center, and of Joffrey’s first dance group, which later became the Joffrey Ballet. He also performed on Broadway and with New York City Opera. After retiring as a performer in 1964, he focused on the choreographic work he had begun in 1961 with the ballet Ropes, to music by Charles Ives. As chief choreographer of the Joffrey Ballet, he created ballets that celebrated the company’s youthful verve and vitality, frequently utilizing scores by American contemporary composers. Among his most popular ballets were ...

Article

Atkins, Chet  

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Badu, Erykah  

Jonas Westover

[Wright, Erica Abi ]

(b Dallas, TX, Feb 26, 1971). American singer, songwriter, and producer. She was singing for audiences by the age of four and cultivated her skills at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She briefly attended Grambling State University, but left to develop her music career and soon landed a contract with Universal Records. She became an immediate sensation; her first recording, Baduizm (Universal, 1997), reached number two on the Billboard charts, while its top single “On and On” received widespread attention and airplay. Her dark, breathy vocal style, reminiscent of jazz and soul singing, earned her two Grammy awards and four nominations. She went on to release a live album, Erykah Badu Live (Universal, 1997), and to work on a number of side projects with other artists, notably providing the hook for the Roots’ song “You got me.” After a brief respite she returned with ...

Article

Barber, Lesley  

Jeannie Gayle Pool

(b Guelph, ON, 23 June 1968). Canadian film and television composer, orchestrator, conductor, pianist, and producer. Barber began composing at the age of ten and was an award winner in Canada’s SOCAN National Competition for Young Composers. She studied music at the University of Western Ontario (BM 1985) and composition at the University of Toronto (MA 1988), where she worked with the composers Gustav Ciamaga and Lothar Klein. She has composed music for various CBC radio dramas, made her film début with her score for Patricia Rozema’s award-winning film When Night is Falling (1995), and has written scores for Miramax, New Line, Focus Features, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, and Home Box Office.

Barber has also composed music for the more than 20 theatre productions of Canadian plays, including Unidentified Human Remains and The True Nature of Love (Brad Fraser), Love and Anger (George F. Walker), ...

Article

Barone, (J.) Michael  

William F. Coscarelli

(b Kingston, PA, 1946). American radio personality and producer. Barone is a nationally recognized radio personality heard via Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)/American Public Media (APM) as host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated series, Pipedreams, a 120-minute weekly program devoted to organ music. He served a similar function for national broadcasts of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1983 to 2005. Barone joined MPR in 1968 following graduation from the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio with a BM degree in music history, with organ as principal applied instrument. From 1968 to 1992 he was network music director for MPR, and is currently senior executive producer. Pipedreams, in continuous production since 1982, is the longest-running and only nationally distributed weekly program devoted to the pipe organ in US radio history. Awards and honors include the American Guild of Organists President’s Award (1996), the Distinguished Service Award of the Organ Historical Society (...

Article

Barretto, Ray  

Jairo Moreno

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 29, 1929; d Hackensack, NJ, Feb 17, 2006). American conga player, bandleader, and producer of Puerto Rican descent. He began playing percussion informally during time in Germany as part of the US occupation army (1946–9). Returning to New York City in 1949, he participated in the lively jam-session scene in Harlem, playing bongos in sessions with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1957, he replaced Mongo Santamaría in Tito Puente’s band. By 1960, he became the house percussionist for various jazz labels (Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside), recording his first album as leader for Riverside in 1961. The Charanga La Moderna was his first full-fledged Latin dance band, beginning in 1962. In 1963, his song El Watusi became the first Latin tune to enter the Billboard Top 20. By 1990, his salsa career stagnant, he formed a small, jazz-influenced sextet, New World Spirit, recording a number of Grammy-nominated albums....

Article

Bartholomew, Dave  

Randolph Love

(b Edgard, LA, Dec 24, 1920; d New Orleans, June 23, 2019). American trumpeter, arranger, producer, songwriter, bandleader, and singer. He started his career as a trumpeter playing with established bands led by, among others, Papa Celestin, Joe Robichaux, and Claiborne Williams before joining Fats Pichon’s ensemble, considered one of the top groups in New Orleans, in 1939. During World War II he played in the 196th AGF (Army Ground Forces) Band, where he met Abraham Malone, who taught him how to write and arrange. After the war, he formed his own band in New Orleans, which made its début at the Dew Drop Inn and later performed at Sam Simoneaux’s club Graystone where many of the city’s top instrumental players, including the drummer Earl Palmer and the saxophonists Lee Allen and Red Tyler, were showcased.

Bartholomew is best known for his talents as an arranger and songwriter. In the 1950s and 60s he worked with many of the biggest stars of the day, including Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Shirley and Lee, and Joe Turner. By the 1970s he had associations with some of rock and roll’s most established talents, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones. His most productive association was with Fats Domino, whom he met through Lew Chudd, the owner of Imperial Records, where he worked as a house arranger, an A&R man, and an in-house bandleader. From ...

Article

Beck  

Rob Jovanovic

[Campbell, Bek David; Hansen, Beck]

(b Los Angeles, CA, July 8, 1970). American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He has recorded and performed songs in a wide range of genres including folk, country, bluegrass, grunge, indie, metal, rock, lounge, Latino, and noise. An obvious contributing factor to his eclectic tastes is his artistic and performer-laden family. His father David Campbell is a string player and arranger who has worked on string parts for some of his son’s more recent albums. His mother Bibbe Hansen worked with Andy Warhol at the artist’s studio the Factory in New York at an early age and was involved in the west coast punk scene during the 1980s. His grandfather Al Hansen was an artist and performer involved in the Fluxus movement. Beck grew up around rockers and in various ethnic neighborhoods which all contributed to his music education. After spending time at the end of the 1980s involved with New York’s anti-folk scene he returned west and began performing as often and wherever he could. These gigs involved him using a leaf-blower on stage, telling stories, setting fire to his acoustic guitar, and rocking out with a boom-box backing tape. His breakthrough came in ...

Article

Beck, Joe  

John Bass

[Joseph Arnold]

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 29, 1945; d Danbury, CT, July 22, 2008). American guitarist, composer, and producer. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York and played with a jazz trio in the club Chuck’s Compository. He also worked as a studio musician and jingle writer, which eventually led to collaborations with Gil Evans. Beck was among the first jazz guitarists to incorporate rock guitar techniques, including the use of a distorted tone, into his playing. He was also a key figure in the fusion movement of the 1970s, along with the Brecker Brothers and David Sanborn. In 1967 he participated in recording sessions with Miles Davis’s second quintet (alongside Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams). Although the music from this session was not immediately released, it influenced Davis’s later fusion of jazz and rock on such albums as Bitches Brew. From the 1970s through the 2000s, Beck recorded and performed with many notable jazz musicians, including Woody Herman, Larry Coryell, Kai Winding, Don Grolnick, Sanborn, Atilla Zoeller, Red Mitchell, and John Abercrombie. He also invented and performed on an instrument he called the alto guitar. Beck remained an in-demand session guitarist throughout his life, performing on albums by popular musicians including James Brown and Paul Simon. He also founded and ran the company Code Works, which specialized in creating jingles and songs for television and radio commercials....

Article

Bee, Tom  

J. Bryan Burton

(b Gallup, NM, Nov 8, 1947). Native American (Dakota) producer, vocalist, songwriter, and record label owner. During the 1970s and 80s he was founder, manager, and featured artist with Xit , the first commercially successful Native American rock band. Although his albums and performances were highly successful in Europe and among young Native Americans, the political nature of Bee’s lyrics prevented the group from achieving star status among mainstream audiences in the United States. Songs from albums such as Plight of the Redman (1972) and Silent Warrior (1973) presented the Native viewpoint about social and political issues using a combination of traditional chant and languages and Western rock. This early work led to an artist, writer, and producer contract with Motown Record’s Rare Earth label for Bee, where he wrote for artists including the Jackson Five, Michael Jackson, and Smokey Robinson as well as XIT. In ...

Article

Beecroft, Norma  

Andra McCartney

(Marian )

(b Oshawa, ON, April 11, 1934). Canadian composer and radio producer. She studied composition with Weinzweig in Toronto, Foss and Copland at Tanglewood, and Maderna and Petrassi in Europe. Her early compositions tend towards neo-classicism, but, a pioneer in Canadian electro-acoustic music, she went on to compose post-serial, improvisational and collage works. Both her attention to timbre and her formal structures demonstrate the influence of Debussy and Xenakis.

Beecroft’s broadcasting career began in television (1954–9). She became a radio producer in 1963, originating numerous CBC-FM music series. In 1969 she began to produce freelance documentaries on Canadian composers and music technologies. Her programme The Computer in Music won the Major Armstrong Award for excellence in FM broadcasting (1976). From 1984 to 1987 she taught electronic music and composition at York University (Toronto), which awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters in 1996. She has served as the president of Canadian Music Associates and Ten Centuries Concerts, and co-founded, with Robert Aiken, the New Music Concerts. Her numerous composition prizes include two Lynch-Staunton Awards from the Canada Council....

Article

Benitez, “Jellybean”  

Luis-Manuel Garcia

[John]

(b South Bronx, New York, Nov 7, 1957). American producer, songwriter, label manager, and DJ of Puerto-Rican descent. Although Benitez emerged from the disco and freestyle scenes of the late 1970s as an active DJ, his work as a producer and remixer spans many popular styles and genres, including house, pop, rock, and R&B. Benitez is known as an important producer, remixer, and romantic partner of Madonna during the early 1980s. On Madonna’s eponymous début album (1983), he produced one track (“Holiday”) and provided several remixes (“Borderline,” “Burning Up,” “Lucky Star,” “Physical Attraction”). The success of these projects led to remixes for the likes of Pat Benatar, Hall and Oates, Michael Jackson, Sheena Easton, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie. He also produced Whitney Houston’s top-ten hit “Love Will Save the Day” from her sophomore album, Whitney (1987). He has released his own albums (...

Article

Benoit, David  

Jeffrey Holmes

(Bryan)

(b Bakersfield, CA, Aug 18, 1953). American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and producer. He studied piano and theory at El Camino College (1972), arranging and orchestration at Valley College (1973), and film scoring at UCLA (1981). His teachers included Abraham Fraser (piano), Donald Neligan, Heichiro Ohyama, Donald Ray, and Jan Robertson. In 1976 he became music director and conductor for the singer Lainie Kazan, followed by similar work for the singers Ann Margaret and Connie Stevens. From 1977 he has recorded his own smooth jazz albums; those from the 1980s, including This Side Up and Every Step of the Way (one of his many Grammy nominated recordings), helped to define the genre. He has been involved in a wide range of projects, including working for ten years as a composer for “Peanuts” TV specials, with the GRP All-Star Big Band, and with such musicians as Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, Kenny Rankin, and Faith Hill. He is also a film score composer and conductor; in the latter role he has worked with the Asia America Symphony Orchestra, which gave the first performance of his piano concerto ...

Article

Bley, Paul  

Ryan Bruce

(b Montreal, Canada, Nov 10, 1932; d Montreal, Jan 3, 2016). Canadian jazz pianist, composer, record producer, and bandleader. He was established by the age of 17, when Oscar Peterson recommended him as his replacement for the last year of an engagement at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal. After moving to New York to attend the Juilliard School (1950–54), he became part of the traditional and modern music scenes and recorded his first album as leader, with Charles Mingus and Art Blakey among his sidemen (Introducing Paul Bley, 1953, Debut). He also played with other notable musicians such as Ben Webster, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, and Charlie Parker during the 1950s. In 1957 he moved to Los Angeles where he performed at the Hillcrest Club. His quintet, which included Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Don Cherry, and Ornette Coleman, became Coleman’s quartet when Bley left for New York in ...