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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

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

Barrett Sisters, the  

Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

Article

Bronco  

Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

[Grupo Bronco, El Gigante de América]

Mexican grupera ensemble. Formed by José Guadalupe Esparza, Ramiro Delgado, Javier Villarreal, and José Luis Villarreal in 1979, this band came together at a time when the genre later known as onda grupera was still in development. Influenced by the sounds of cumbia ranchera music, and romantic ballad, the band became a decisive factor in the commercialization of the grupera phenomenon. Not only did Bronco consolidate cowboy clothing as a grupera staple but they also pioneered the use of elaborate staging, fireworks, and gigantic screens in grupera concerts. After seven years of activity Bronco reached international popularity with the hit “Que no quede huella” (1989), and in 1993 starred in Dos mujeres, un camino, a soap opera that became a commercial hit in Latin America. Clothing, concert entertainment, television, and motion pictures brought international recognition for the band in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Ultimately, these elements, accompanying Bronco’s enormous record and ticket sales, marked the mainstream emergence of onda grupera. After announcing their retirement in ...

Article

Cabrillo Music Festival  

Sara Velez

revised by Megan E. Hill

International festival of orchestral and chamber music, solo recitals, and staged works, established in 1963 in Aptos, California. It was founded by Lou Harrison, the bassoonist Robert Hughes, and Ted Toews, an instructor at Cabrillo College. Held for two weeks in August in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and at various other locations, such as the Mission San Juan Bautista, the festival is noted for its innovative programming and emphasis on the works of living composers: it has staged at least 120 world premieres and over 60 US premieres. The first music director, Gerhard Samuel, was succeeded by Richard Williams in 1969, Carlos Chávez in 1970, Dennis Russell Davies in 1974, John Adams in 1991, and Marin Alsop in 1992. The directors have stressed making the artists accessible to their audiences through workshops and “Meet the Composer” sessions, open rehearsals, and a composer-in-residence program, in which John Adams, William Bolcom, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Carlos Chávez, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Lou Harrison, Jennifer Higdon, Keith Jarrett, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Pauline Oliveros, Arvo Pärt, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, Virgil Thomson, and Joan Tower have participated. The festival orchestra consists of about 65 musicians from leading orchestras in the United States and Canada....

Article

Caribbean Jazz Project  

Gary W. Kennedy

revised by Barry Kernfeld

Group formed by the vibraphonist and marimba player Dave Samuels in summer 1993 for a concert at Central Park Zoo in New York; its other original members were the alto saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, the pianist Dario Eskenazi, the six-string electric bass guitarist Oscar Stagnaro, the drummer Mark Walker, the steel drums player Andy Narell, and the percussionist Luis Conte. After performing in Lexington, Kentucky (February 1994), the group recorded an eponymous album (1995, Heads Up 3033–2) and toured extensively; it continued to perform on a part-time basis to about 2013, when ill health forced Samuels’s retirement. In its initial recordings the group’s style of Latin-jazz fusion approached easy-listening music, but in concert performance and later albums a more substantial jazz component was present, and Narell emerged as its most engaging soloist and accompanist. The Caribbean Jazz Project won Grammy awards for its albums The Gathering...

Article

Cell Phone Orchestra  

Anne Beetem Acker

[Mobile]

Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....

Article

Center for Black Music Research  

Suzanne Flandreau

[CBMR]

The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) was founded in 1983 at Columbia College Chicago by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. Its mission has remained the same since its inception: to document, preserve, and promote the music of the African Diaspora. This mission is accomplished through publications, conferences and symposia, performances, research fellowships, and the Library and Archives, housing books and research collections.

The Center’s flagship publication, Black Music Research Journal (1980–), antedates Floyd’s move to Columbia College. The Center has also published Lenox Avenue (1995–1999), the scholarly journal for a grant-funded project which explored music’s role in the arts of the African Diaspora. Various newsletters, including Black Music Research Newsletter/CBMR Bulletin (1977–1990), and CBMR Digest (1990–) informed members about the Center’s activities. Kalinda! (1994–1997), Stop-Time (1998–2000), and Cariso! (2003–2006) were published for specific grant-funded projects. The Center’s publications also include a bibliographic and reference series consisting of five CBMR monographs, ...

Article

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center  

James Chute

Chamber music society. Resident in New York at Alice Tully Hall, the society is a constituent of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. It was conceived by William Schuman, the president of Lincoln Center, who appointed the pianist charles Wadsworth as the society’s first artistic director (1969–89). Among the musicians Wadsworth assembled to perform for the opening season (1969–70) were Charles Treger (violin), Walter Trampler (viola), Leslie Parnas (cello), Paula Robison (flute), Leonard Arner (oboe), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), Loren Glickman (bassoon), and Richard Goode (piano). In 2010, led by artistic directors cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, the society numbered around 35 members, joined by guest artists for its annual concert series, educational programs, and national and international tours. Many concerts are broadcast on radio and television, and in 2007 the society started its own recording label.

Following its premiere performance on 11 September 1969...

Article

Clement, Cowboy Jack  

Roben Jones

[John Henderson ]

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).

Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...

Article

Clinch Mountain Boys, the  

Charles Garrett

Article

Collings Guitars  

Richard Johnston

Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976, by Bill Collings (b Aug 9, 1948; d Austin, TX, July 14, 2017), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.

In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....

Article

Concordia  

Frances Barulich

Firm of music and book publishers. Concordia Publishing House was founded in St. Louis in 1869 by immigrant German Lutherans for the purpose of printing their hymnals and other church literature, and takes its name from the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580). Its catalog, which has included music since ...

Article

De La Soul  

Justin Williams

American rap group. Formed in 1987 in Long Island, New York, De La Soul rose to prominence in 1989 with their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, which helped carve out an alternative niche in rap music. Part of the Native Tongues collective, along with other New York-based groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul’s three members were Plug One (Kelvin “Posdnuos” Mercer; b 1969), Plug Two (David “Trugoy the Dove” Jolicoeur; b 1968; d 2023), and Plug Three (Vincent “Maseo” Mason; b 1970).

The three members met at the predominantly middle-class Amityville High School in Long Island. Maseo then met Paul “Prince Paul” Houston, a slightly older DJ in Amityville who had helped found Stetsasonic; Houston produced De La Soul’s first three albums. The first, Three Feet High and Rising, marks an important turning point in hip hop. The group’s entire approach differed drastically from other rap styles of the time: the floral imagery and bright colors on the album’s cover and De La Soul’s self-proclaimed goal to promote a “D.A.I.S.Y. (Da Inner Sound, Y’all) Age” departed from the street conscious “reality rap” of contemporary groups such as N.W.A. The album sampled a wide variety of sounds, from French lessons to music by Steely Dan and Hall and Oates. Advancements in digital sampling technology, and the skill of producer Houston, allowed the group to create sonic collages similar in approach to those of the Bomb Squad’s productions. The album also included a number of humorous skits, rarely heard on previous rap albums....

Article

Death Row  

Alyssa Woods

Record label. Death Row Records was formed in 1991 by former football star Marion “Suge” Knight and rapper/producer Dre (Andre Romelle Young) in Los Angeles, California. The label’s first release was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, a groundbreaking album that paired explicit and often violent lyrics with commercial beats that were based on older soul, funk, and R&B songs. The musical style of The Chronic became known as “G-Funk” (Gangsta-funk), a style that dominated many of Death Row’s early albums as well as most West Coast gangsta rap throughout the 1990s.

Death Row achieved immense success within a few years, partly due to aggressive marketing to mainstream audiences, and partly due to a successful distribution deal with Interscope. Death Row Records became a target of the controversy within the gangsta rap industry due to the constant legal problems of Suge Knight and many of the artists signed to the label (for example Snoop Dogg, and later Tupac Shakur). As a consequence of public debates surrounding gangsta rap’s promotion of violence and drugs, Interscope’s parent company, Time-Warner, eventually dropped Interscope as a distributor in an effort to distance themselves from Death Row....

Article

Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the  

Matt Sakakeeny

Brass band. Formed in 1977, they initially played traditional New Orleans brass band music at community parades and eventually created innovative arrangements and compositions heard by audiences around the globe. The horn players Gregory Davis, Roger Lewis, Charles Joseph, Efrem Townes, and Kevin Harris incorporated melodic ideas from bebop into the brass band tradition, while the rhythm section of Kirk Joseph, Benny Jones, and Jenell Marshall imported rhythms from funk and increased the tempos from their predecessors. The modern arrangements on the band’s debut album, My feet can’t fail me now (Conc., 1984), produced by the Newport Jazz Festival director George Wein, brought worldwide recognition to contemporary brass band music; two original songs, “Blackbird Special” and the title track soon became standards in the group’s hometown.

The Dirty Dozen helped initiate a brass band renaissance in New Orleans, and their innovative reformulations of traditional music instigated a spirit of experimentation among their successors. The Rebirth Brass Band, inheritors of the Dirty Dozen’s famed weekly show at the intimate Glass House bar, have incorporated elements of hip hop since the late 1990s, along with their contemporaries the Soul Rebels and Hot 8. Meanwhile, the Dirty Dozen has often changed personnel and experimented with instrumentation to update their sound, while maintaining a global presence as the most prominent New Orleans brass band....

Article

Discography in the United States: General considerations  

David Hall, Gary-Gabriel Gisondi, and Jim Farrington

Although there are no standards for discographies, the key elements given for each recording in nearly all discographical listings are the name of the record label, issue number, and program contents; the physical characteristics of the recording itself, such as type, size, the number of channels, playback speed, and type of groove, are also considered important features of true discographies. The complex catalogs that have come to be known as “systematic discographies” include such further details as master numbers (or matrix numbers for the earlier galvano-processed discs); take indicators (or transfer numbers for discs processed from tape sources); the date and location of, and the key participants in the recording session; the date and place of publication, and publisher of the various issues and reissues (with label names and numbers). Before the development of long-playing (LP) recordings, a unique matrix number was etched, embossed, or stamped onto the surfaces of most discs, near or under the label. However, early cylinders often bear no markings, making identification difficult if the recording has been separated from its container. Since it was a common practice for several versions of a performance to be made (in case of mishap, or with many cylinder recordings because producing multiple copies from the same master was difficult), each of the versions (or “takes”) was customarily assigned an additional number or letter, which was placed immediately after the matrix number. The convention of matrix and take numbers was abandoned with tape mastering, in which a fully edited master tape could be developed from all the material recorded during the sessions; successive modifications of a given master tape may be identified on the finished disc by the transfer numbers. (...

Article

Discography in the United States: Jazz discographies  

Edward Berger and Jim Farrington

Accurate information about recorded performances is essential in jazz, where recordings rather than scores or sheet music are the principal sources for study. Take numbers are particularly important to the study of jazz, since two versions of the same piece, recorded only minutes apart, may differ significantly. With the advent of the LP tape mastering in the late 1940s (and subsequent elimination of unique disc masters), the discographically convenient use of matrix and take designations was lost; an LP may contain many unrelated performances of diverse origins (even within the same track), the identification of which poses particular problems for the discographer. These difficulties are often compounded by insufficient or misleading information supplied by record manufacturers.

The first extensive discographical works were devoted to jazz. The term “discography” itself was introduced in the 1930s as growing numbers of jazz enthusiasts sought to establish accurate information about personnel and recording dates. Early researchers also had to contend with the pseudonymous issuing of numerous recordings by well-known jazz bands. The field of jazz discography has been dominated from the start by Europeans. Two pioneering discographical works were published in ...

Article

Disklavier  

Anne Beetem Acker

Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks.

Unlike other electronic player systems, the Disklavier is only installed in new Yamaha pianos and only at the factory. It cannot be installed in older Yamahas or other brands of pianos. Compared with other systems, the Disklavier’s recording capability is generally regarded to be of the highest quality and sophistication. Of the Disklavier models available in ...

Article

Document  

Thane Tierney

Scottish record company. It was originally established in Austria in August 1990 by musician, painter, and record collector Johann Ferdinand “Johnny” Parth. As far back as the 1950s Parth had reissued vintage recordings, first on the Jazz Perspective and Hot Club de Vienne labels. In the mid-1960s, after consulting with Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records, Parth and his ex-wife Evelyn launched Roots Records with the goal of creating an Austrian counterpart to Arhoolie; the label, which produced limited-edition reissues (released in America on the Arhoolie label), folded in 1970.

In 1990, using Godrich and Dixon’s Blues and Gospel discography as a guide, Parth undertook the task of attempting to reissue every American blues, gospel, and spiritual recording made between the late 19th century and the early 1940s. He subsequently launched a similar endeavor for vintage American country music. Under Parth’s stewardship, Document produced nearly 900 albums with artists including Thomas A. Dorsey, Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others. As a result of his success, the Blues Foundation granted him their “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. In ...