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Gill, Elmer  

O Flückiger

(Lee)

(b Indianapolis, Feb 17, 1926; d Anghiari, Toscana, Italy, May 24, 2004). American pianist, vibraphonist, singer, and bandleader. After serving in France during the war he studied music at the conservatory in Dijon, at the University of Washington, and elsewhere. He led a jump band, the Question Marks, in Seattle through the late 1940s, then formed a trio modeled after that of Nat “King” Cole. From 1952 to mid-1953 he toured the USA and Canada with Lionel Hampton and later traveled in Alaska and California with his own groups. Having settled on the Canadian west coast, Gill hosted jazz projects involving such guest stars as Wes Montgomery. From the mid-1980s he toured internationally.

Article

Lehn, Erwin  

Barry Kernfeld

(b Grünstadt, Germany, June 8, 1919; d Stuttgart, Germany, March 20, 2010). German bandleader, arranger, and vibraphonist. He grew up in a musical family, played violin from the age of five and piano from the age of six, and took up clarinet about five years later; he studied clarinet and drums at the conservatory in Peine. His first professional engagement in big bands was as a saxophonist with Erhard Bauschke in Berlin in 1938–9, and he played piano and wrote arrangements for German radio bands from 1945. With Horst Kudritzki he led the Rundfunk Berlin Tanzorchester, with which he recorded in 1948. In the 1950s he began to play vibraphone, and from 1951 to 1991 he led the big band of Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR Big Band) in Stuttgart; he produced the jazz program “Treffpunkt Jazz” for the same station in 1955. Many famous guest artists performed with the SDR Big Band, and Wolfgang Dauner, Bill Holman, Manfred Schoof, Alex Schlippenbach, and Eberhard Weber are among those who wrote for it; bandmembers included Horst Jankowski (...

Article

Lyman, Arthur  

Jessica L. Wood

(b Kauia, Territory of Hawaii, Feb 2, 1932; d Ewa, HI, Feb 24, 2002). Hawaiian bandleader, vibraphonist, and arranger. Arthur Lyman’s musical career began on a toy marimba; he taught himself to play along with Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton recordings. At age 14, he joined a jazz combo called the Gadabouts and a few years later, he began playing the four-mallet vibes at a hotel bar in Honolulu. In 1955 he joined the ensemble of Martin Denny, a group famous among the Hawaii hotel circuit for its style of exoticist jazz, sometimes referred to as “Polynesian” music. To this group, Lyman contributed not only on the vibes, guitar and percussion, but also with vocalized imitations of birdcalls. In 1957, Lyman split from Denny’s group to form his own four-piece jazz band, joined by John Kramer (bass), Alan Soares (piano), and Harold Chang (percussion). The Arthur Lyman Group recorded a number of albums on the HiFi label between ...

Article

Osterwald, Hazy  

Rainer E. Lotz

[Osterwälder, Rolf]

(b Berne, Feb 18, 1922; d Lucerne, Switzerland, Feb 26, 2012). Swiss trumpeter, vibraphonist, and bandleader. He studied piano in Berne. At the age of 17 he wrote an arrangement of Rosetta for a recording by Fred Böhler, which was coupled with his own composition Fred’s Jump (1939, Col. ZZ1006). He performed as a trumpeter with Böhler (1941), Edmond Cohanier, Philippe Brun, and Teddy Stauffer’s Original Teddies. In 1944 he formed his own band, with which he made a large number of recordings (1946–78); among his soloists were Ernst Höllerhagen and Werner Dies. He also recorded as a sideman with the bandleader Bob Huber (1942), the Original Teddies under Eddie Brunner (1944), and Gil Cuppini (1949). Osterwald performed and recorded on vibraphone at the Paris Jazz Fair (1949) with various American musicians, including Sidney Bechet and Charlie Parker, and he toured Europe, Latin America, Israel, and the USA. His band’s recordings of modern jazz are well represented by ...

Article

Roland, Joe  

Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph Alfred]

(b New York, May 17, 1920; d Palm Beach County, FL, Oct 12, 2009). American vibraphonist and bandleader. He began his career as a clarinetist and leader and studied at the Institute of Musical Art (1937–9); he took up xylophone in 1940. After the war he bought a vibraphone and began playing the instrument as a freelance in New York. He also organized his own bop group, which recorded in 1949 and 1950, and in 1951 he played and recorded with Oscar Pettiford. From 1951 to 1953 Roland was a member of George Shearing’s quintet, with which he may be seen in five Snader telescriptions, including Conception and Move (both 1951). He then led a group with Howard McGhee and toured and recorded with Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five; his playing with this group is well represented by Sunny Side Up, from the album Artie Shaw and his Gramercy Five...

Article

Russell, Hal  

Simon Adams

[Luttenbacher, Harold Russell jr]

(b Detroit, Aug 28, 1924; d Chicago, Sept 5, 1992). American saxophonist, trumpeter, vibraphonist, drummer, and bandleader. His birth year had been published as 1926, but 1924 appears on his December 1942 draft registration card, which he signed “Harold Russell Luttenbacher Jr.” He began to play drums at the age of four and led a quartet while at high school; as a percussionist he received a scholarship to the University of Illinois, where he led a big band and learned trumpet. In the late 1940s he served as drummer in the big bands of Woody Herman, with whom he made his recording début, Boyd Raeburn, and Claude Thornhill. In 1950 he briefly played vibraphone with Miles Davis’s quintet, and for the remainder of the decade he was based in Chicago, where he accompanied visiting musicians, notably Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. In 1959 he played an early form of free jazz as the drummer in a trio led by saxophonist Joe Daley, with whom he recorded at the ...

Article

Venuto, Joe  

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph A.]

(b New York, June 20, 1929; d Nevada, Feb 14, 2019). American vibraphonist and leader. He received a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and after playing in clubs and dance bands in New York (late 1940s) he led his own quartet (1950–52). Venuto was a percussionist with the Sauter–Finegan Orchestra from 1953 to 1956 and continued to record with the band into the 1960s. After a brief association with Benny Goodman (1956) he worked as a percussionist in the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall (1956–8), performed and recorded with Johnny Richards (1958–9), and was active as a studio musician. He recorded on vibraphone with Jack Teagarden (1958), on marimba with Rex Stewart (1959), and on both instruments as a leader (1959). He is heard to advantage on Redhead (1959...