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Article

Coker, Jerry  

Dave Gelly

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b South Bend, IN, Nov 28, 1932). American tenor saxophonist, composer, and teacher. On his birth certificate, Jerry Coker is his full given name. He joined Woody Herman’s orchestra in late 1953, interrupting his music studies at Indiana University, and toured with the group until summer 1954; his solo on I Love Paris (1953, Mars 1002) attracted considerable critical acclaim. He recorded in Paris for the Vogue label (1954) and in San Francisco as a leader and with Mel Lewis (both 1956), then worked as a freelance on the West Coast, playing for a brief period with Stan Kenton. His work with college bands led to his becoming a prominent teacher of jazz, and in 1960 he was appointed to the first of several university posts. Coker has written a number of books about jazz and is one of the most highly regarded writers within the field of jazz education; he has also composed for student bands. In the mid-1980s he recorded two new albums as a leader, ...

Article

LaBarbera family  

Steven Strunk and Barry Kernfeld

Family of musicians. Their surname appears as both LaBarbera and La Barbera in the literature (and sometimes in the brothers’ own hands), but their birth certificates give LaBarbera.

LaBarbera, Pat [Pascel Emmanuel] (b Warsaw, NY, April 7, 1944)

LaBarbera, John (Phillip) (b Warsaw, NY, Nov 10, 1945...

Article

LaBarbera, Pat  

Steven Strunk and Barry Kernfeld

[Pascel Emmanuel]

Member of LaBarbera family

(b Warsaw, NY, April 7, 1944). American tenor saxophonist and educator. His home town, Mt. Morris, had no hospital, hence he was actually born in the nearby town of Warsaw. He was first taught by his father, the clarinetist Joseph LaBarbera, then attended Potsdam (New York) State Teachers College and the Berklee School of Music (1964–7). While playing with Buddy Rich’s band (1967–74) he gained a reputation as a fine soloist; his style is derived principally from that of John Coltrane (as exemplified by the latter’s recording of Giant Steps), to which he adds his own rhythmic looseness and lyricism. In 1974 he settled in Toronto, where he undertook various engagements and worked for television; the following year he joined Elvin Jones, with whom he performed and recorded extensively until 1985 and again from 1990, after Jones returned from Japan; he appears with the group in the film documentary ...

Article

Longnon, Guy  

Howard Rye

(b Paris, July 16, 1924; d Marseille, France, Feb 4, 2014). American trumpeter and educator, uncle of Jean-Loup Longnon. In June 1947 he was a member of Boris Vian’s band at the Tabou in Paris, but by October 1950 he had joined Claude Luter’s band at the Vieux Colombier, initially playing valve trombone. He recorded on trumpet with Don Byas in the Saratoga Jazz Hounds early in 1951. Longnon remained with Luter until summer 1953, working much of the time with Sidney Bechet (including tours of France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Algeria) but also on occasion also with Mezz Mezzrow. In summer 1953 he was a member with Big Chief Russell Moore of a band led by the drummer Moustache Galipedes which performed at the Palm Beach in Cannes and recorded. He was with Michel Attenoux’s band accompanying Bechet on a tour of France and Belgium from January to ...

Article

McGhee, Andy  

Barry Kernfeld

[Andrew]

(b Wilmington, NC, Nov 3, 1927; d Marietta, GA, Oct 12, 2017). American tenor saxophonist. He moved to Boston in 1945 to enroll in the diploma program at the New England Conservatory. After graduating in 1949 he worked briefly with Roy Eldridge. Drafted in 1950, he served as an instructor in an army band in New Jersey and then, in his second year, as a soldier in the Korean War. Following his discharge in 1952 he took Sam Rivers’s place with the rhythm-and-blues saxophonist Paul “Fat Man” Robinson, whose band was based at the Knickerbocker Cafe in Boston and toured extensively; he remained with Robinson for five years. Between 1957 and 1963 he played for Lionel Hampton, with whom he toured the USA, Europe, and the Far East; among the recordings he made with Hampton is The Many Sides of Lionel Hampton (c1960, Glad Hamp 1001...

Article

Panayi, Andy  

Gary W. Kennedy

revised by Simon Adams

(b London, Jan 18, 1964). English saxophonist, flutist, and educator. His father, a Greek Cypriot, was a professional musician. He learned to play flute and baritone and alto saxophones before settling on the tenor instrument, and studied at Trinity College of Music. Having toured with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he played in various jazz groups, in theater orchestras, and with the pop group the Blow Monkeys. In the 1990s he worked with Alec Dankworth’s quartet, the Dankworth Generation band, Tommy Smith, and Stan Tracey. In 1994 he formed a quartet which has remained active in the new century, with Mark Nightingale, the double bass player Simon Woolf, and various drummers; in this setting he has played baritone sax in a deliberate evocation of Gerry Mulligan’s renowned quartet. He has also led a nonet and has regularly played with, among others, Alan Barnes, the pianist Terry Seabrook, and the trumpeter Steve Waterman. A professor of jazz flute at the Royal College of Music (from ...

Article

Pomeroy, (Irving) Herb(ert, III)  

Barry Kernfeld

(b Gloucester, MA, April 15, 1930; d Gloucester, Aug 11, 2007). Bandleader, trumpeter, and teacher. After studying at the Schillinger House of Music (1950–52) and playing in Boston with Charlie Parker (for one week in June 1953) and Charlie Mariano (later that same year) he toured as a trumpeter with Lionel Hampton (December 1953 – April 1954) and Stan Kenton (September 1954). He then returned to Boston and worked with Serge Chaloff (1954–5). In 1955 he began teaching at Schillinger, which the previous year had taken a new name, the Berklee School of Music. While establishing himself as the cornerstone of this school’s growing jazz program he led a 16-piece swing and bop ensemble that performed regularly at The Stables (1956–60); among its sidemen were Joe Gordon, Jaki Byard (who was then playing tenor saxophone), Boots Mussulli, and later, Mariano and Bill Berry. He was also the leader of another band (...

Article

Vernon, Charles  

Martin McCain

(b Asheville, NC, Feb 15, 1948). American bass trombonist. Vernon studied with Bill Hill and Gail Williams at Brevard College and Georgia State University. Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony also served as mentors. Vernon’s orchestral career began in 1971 as bass trombonist with the Baltimore Symphony. A one-year appointment with the San Francisco Symphony in 1980 was followed by a five-season position with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1986, Vernon succeeded his mentor, Edward Kleinhammer, in the Chicago Symphony. He has taught on the faculty of DePaul University and has also served in similar positions at Brevard Music Center, Catholic University, Northwestern University, and the Curtis Institute. Many of Vernon’s students have been appointed to major orchestras including Blair Bollinger with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Vernon has premiered numerous works including Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s and Frank Siekmann’s Concertos for bass trombone and most recently Christian Lindberg’s ...

Article

Yellin, Pete(r Michael)  

Gary Kennedy

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, July 18, 1939; d Berkeley, CA, April 13, 2016). American alto saxophonist and educator. His year of birth has been published widely as 1941, but 1939 appears in the New York Birth Index and in his questionnaire for this dictionary. His father, a staff pianist with NBC, played classical violin, and during his childhood Yellin unwillingly took lessons on this instrument for several years. Around 1957, while attending Denver University on a basketball scholarship, he heard a recording by Art Pepper and decided to pursue a career as a saxophonist. After returning to New York he studied music with his father, and shortly afterwards he had private clarinet lessons and attended the Juilliard School, where he learned saxophone; he also received private tuition on the instrument from John La Porta. In the 1960s he worked in the big bands of Lionel Hampton (1961–5) and Buddy Rich, with whom he recorded (...