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Michael J. Budds

(b Kansas City, MO, May 12, 1928). American composer and pianist. He learnt the cello, drums and piano from an early age and developed a particular interest in jazz. He played as a night club pianist, and then served in the army, touring as a pianist (1950–52). He went on to study music at the Mannes College of Music, New York, the New School of Social Research, McGill University, Montreal and gained a scholarship to the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, California. His composition teachers included Milhaud, Martinů and Cowell. Bacharach became an accompanist for Vic Damone, subsequently working with such performers as Polly Bergen, Steve Lawrence, the Ames Brothers and Paula Stewart, to whom he was married from 1953 to 1958. From 1958 to 1961 he toured internationally with Marlene Dietrich. Bacharach began writing arrangements and composing songs in the mid-1950s, working at the Brill Building and collaborating with the lyricist Hal David (...

Article

Alyn Shipton

(b Leeds, Nov 11, 1913; d Clacton, May 6, 1993). English dance bandleader, saxophonist, pianist and singer. She was a child prodigy as a pianist, broadcasting on ‘Children’s Hour’ in 1922, and playing frequently in public. She took up the clarinet and saxophone in her teens, and in 1929 joined her first all-female band, led by Edna Croudson. After some years with Croudson, she came to London and in 1937 played in female orchestras directed by Teddy Joyce, becoming leader of his Girl Friends. In 1940, after leading small groups of her own, she formed a nine-piece band for the revue Meet the Girls, which had an entirely female cast. For the rest of her career Benson led an all-female band, variously called her Rhythm Girl Band, her Ladies’ Dance Orchestra and her Showband. She broadcast frequently during World War II and afterwards, and toured internationally for the Entertainments National Servicemen’s Association from the 1940s onwards. In the 1940s she mainly played in a jazz-influenced swing style, but later often added a string section to play dance music in the manner of Victor Sylvester or Mantovani....

Article

Karen Monson

[Rosenbaum, Borge]

(b Copenhagen, Jan 3, 1909; d Greenwich, CT, Dec 23, 2000). American pianist, musical humorist and conductor of Danish birth. After early training with his father, he gave a piano recital at the age of eight in Copenhagen, which won for him a scholarship to the conservatory; he later studied with Frederic Lamond and Egon Petri in Berlin. He performed in amateur musical revues in Copenhagen, but his satires of Hitler placed him in danger and he fled, first to Sweden and then to the USA, where he later became a citizen. In New York in 1940 he began regularly to appear on Bing Crosby’s ‘Kraft Music Hall’ radio series, which led to a radio show of his own. Starting in the autumn of 1953 he gave nearly 850 daily recitals under the title ‘Comedy in Music’ at the Golden Theater on Broadway. He toured in many parts of the world and appeared widely on radio and television and in films. His routines (which were partly improvised) were a mixture of verbal and musical humour, delivered at the piano; though his comic reputation was based on his continually forestalling and interrupting his own playing, he was an accomplished performer, as his elaborate musical jokes (such as the composite piano concerto consisting of well-known passages from the repertory skilfully run together) demonstrated....

Article

Lise Waxer

[Colón Román jr, William Anthony; ‘El malo’]

(b South Bronx, New York, April 28, 1950). American bandleader, composer, arranger, trombonist, popular singer, producer and actor. Dubbed ‘El malo’ (the ‘bad boy’) of salsa, he began playing the trumpet in 1963 with the teenage band the Dandees. Switching to trombone, he made his professional début at 17 with the album El malo (Fania, 1967). Both as a bandleader and a member of the Fania All-Stars, he quickly moved to the fore of the burgeoning New York salsa scene, cementing the raw, trombone-heavy ‘New York sound’ inspired by earlier artists such as Eddie Palmieri and Mon Rivera. Between 1967 and 1973 he made a series of important recordings with vocalist Hector Lavoe, which included the albums Asalto Navideño I and II (Fania, 1972 and 1973) with cuatro virtuoso Yomo Toro, where traditional Puerto Rican Christmas aguinaldos were fused with salsa. During his second period (...

Article

Ed Bemis

(b East Durham, NY, April 28, 1926; d New York, Feb 7, 2009). American popular singer and pianist. She began her career as a member of the Blue Flames, a vocal group within Woody Herman’s orchestra, and the Blue Reys, a similar group in Alvino Rey’s band. In 1952 she went to Paris, where she performed with Annie Ross and also formed her own vocal group, the Blue Stars, whose jazz rendition of Lullaby of Birdland (sung in French) was a big hit in the USA. Two other vocal groups, the Double Six of Paris and the Swingle Singers, developed from the Blue Stars. Dearie returned to the USA in the late 1950s and subsequently appeared in night clubs in New York and Los Angeles, accompanying herself at the head of her own trios. From 1974 she made recordings for her own company, Daffodil Records, and in 1985...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(do Prado Pereira de Oliveira)

(b Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil, June 10, 1931; d Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 6, 2019). Brazilian popular singer, composer, and guitarist. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 18, singing mostly Romantic samba-canções in various groups and frequenting the nightclub Plaza in Copacobana and the Murray Recordshop in downtown Rio de Janeiro. His first solo recording came in 1952, but it was the July 1958 record containing Jobim’s Chega de Saudade and his own Bim-bom that called attention to his new singing style, unassuming but secure and very intimate. In April 1958 he had accompanied on the guitar the pop singer Elisete Cardoso singing Chega de Saudade, and revealed for the first time his distinctive guitar beat that came to be known as the violão gago (stammering guitar), a trademark of the bossa nova made up of previously unknown syncopated patterns on the samba beat. In November of the same year he recorded Jobim’s ...

Article

(b London, March 7, 1908; d Gosport, Aug 3, 1998). English jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader. He performed and recorded with the dance bands of Billy Cotton (1929–33), Roy Fox (1931–2), Ray Noble (1931, 1933–4) and Lew Stone (1932–5); Georgia on my mind (1932), recorded with Fox, is a good example of his playing and singing and became extremely popular. From 1932 he worked as a leader in a style heavily influenced by that of Louis Armstrong; his band, the Georgians (1934–9), included his brother Bruts Gonella (b 1911), who was also a trumpeter. During a visit to New York in 1939 Gonella recorded with John Kirby and performed at the Hickory House. After returning to London he led the New Georgians from 1940 to 1942, but worked less frequently in the late 1940s and early 50s. In ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

[Rhodes (née Guy), Helen M.]

(b Château Hardelot, nr Boulogne, c1858; d London, Jan 7, 1936). French composer, pianist and singing teacher. She was the daughter of an English sea captain and the singer Helen Guy. At the age of 15 she was taken to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury, and success came in her early 20s with the song Sans toi (words by Victor Hugo). Gounod and Massenet were among those who encouraged her in composition, and those who introduced her songs included Nellie Melba, Victor Maurel and Pol Plançon, as well as Emma Calvé, with whom she went to the USA in 1896 as accompanist. After marrying an Englishman she settled in London, where she continued to produce sentimental songs, about 300 in all, notable for their easy melody and typical dramatic climax. They include Three Green Bonnets (H.L. Harris; 1901), Because (E. Teschemacher; ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

(b London, Dec 21, 1905; d New York, Nov 3, 1958. American songwriter and pianist of English birth. He toured Europe in dance orchestras and composed music for shows in Paris, Copenhagen, Vienna, Berlin and London, before moving in 1929 to New York. There he became an accompanist for the vaudevillian Mack Gordon (b Warsaw, Poland, 21 June 1904; d New York, 1 March 1959), with whom he formed a songwriting partnership. They contributed items to several Broadway revues, notably the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, and then became a highly successful team in Hollywood, first for Paramount (1933–6) and then for 20th Century-Fox (1936–8). During this period they wrote songs for several popular films, including all those starring Shirley Temple, producing such standards as Did you ever see a dream walking? (1934), Paris in the Spring (1935), You hit the spot...

Article

Simon Collier

(b Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, June 8, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Jan 18, 1986). Argentine tango singer, guitarist and songwriter. He worked initially on the radio and in film, later joining the bands of Julio De Caro, Horacio Salgán (1944) and, most notably, Aníbal Troilo (1947), with which he recorded the classic version of Homero Manzi and Aníbal Troilo’s Sur. After 1950 he worked as a solo artist, with a guitar accompaniment or backed by a variety of tango groups. In 1965 he performed in Washington and New York, and later toured Latin America and Japan. His Buenos Aires nightclub El Viejo Almacén, established in 1969, was one of the recognized strongholds of the tango at a time when its popularity was in decline. In a field dominated by tenors and baritones, Rivero was the first successful bass tango singer. His instinctive grasp of the tango rhythm was complemented by a deliberate phrasing reminiscent of folk music, in which Rivero took a lifelong interest. He also became one of the leading experts on ...

Article

Ken Rattenbury

revised by Alyn Shipton

(b London, Jan 12, 1900; d London, Feb 1, 1971). English bandleader, clarinettist, singer and composer. From 1919 he organized dance bands with his brother Syd, including Syd Roy’s Lyricals; they performed in London at Oddenino’s, Rector’s, the Hammersmith Palais and the Café de Paris, and at Rector’s in Paris. In 1928 the brothers toured South Africa and Australia (1929), then returned to England to play in variety theatres before touring Germany. In 1931 Harry formed his own band and, after touring (1933), held residencies at the Café Anglais and the Mayfair Hotel in London. He continued to tour extensively in theatres until 1939 and throughout World War II but after 1945 never regained his former status in London’s clubland. Roy was essentially a show-band leader, an energetic front man, a light, sometimes comic, singer, and a clarinettist in the style of Ted Lewis. Although hardly a jazz musician himself he employed as sidemen a number of players who later became prominent in jazz. His signature tune, ...

Article

Samuel S. Brylawski

[Robert] (Waltrip)

(b Danville, IL, Sept 15, 1926; d New York, March 21, 2005). American popular singer and pianist. He taught himself to play piano as a child, and was sometimes referred to as ‘the miniature Fats Waller’. He began recording in 1954 but the turning-point in his career came in 1968, when the recording of a highly successful joint concert with Mabel Mercer in Town Hall, New York, was well received; in the same year he began what was to become a longstanding engagement at the Café Carlyle in New York. In the early 1970s he recorded a series of albums, each one with music by a different composer; most notable was one devoted to songs by Cole Porter, which contributed to a resurgence of interest in the composer and did much to broaden Short’s following. He continued his association with Mercer; they gave their third concert together at Carnegie Hall in ...

Article

Deane L. Root

(Austin )

(b Perth Amboy, NJ, May 21, 1890; d New York, March 22, 1965). American songwriter and pianist . He studied at the Virgil School of Music, New York, and in 1911–13 toured the USA as a concert pianist. In 1915 he was in London as a staff pianist and composer for the music publisher Francis, Day & Hunter, and returned to the USA the following year in the same position for Remick. From 1913 to 1930 he wrote songs for revues and musical comedies, including The Passing Show of 1916, Irene (1919, with the songs ‘Castle of Dreams’, based on Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’, and ‘Alice Blue Gown’), The Broadway Whirl (1921), Up She Goes (1922), Kid Boots (1923), and four editions of Ziegfeld’s Follies (1916–24, including the spelling song ‘M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i’, 1916). Rio Rita (1927, with ‘Ranger’s Song’) was one of the first musicals to be adapted to film (...

Article

Deane L. Root

[Hubert Prior]

(b Island Pond, VT, July 28, 1901; d North Hollywood, CA, July 3, 1986). American bandleader, singer, saxophonist, actor and publisher. From 1918 he learnt the saxophone and played in a theatre orchestra in Portland, Maine, then attended the University of Maine (1921) and Yale University (to 1927). In 1928 he formed his own band, the Connecticut Yankees; he made his début as a singer in George White’s Scandals (1931), and appeared in Broadway musicals, television and over 20 films, mostly as a musician or comic actor. During the 1930s and 1940s, with his salutation ‘Heigh-ho, everybody!’, he was one of the most successful American bandleaders and singers, among the first crooners to inspire mass hysteria in his audience. With his thin, nasal voice and using a megaphone – later a microphone – he popularized the Maine Stein Song, the Yale Whiffenpoof Song, his own ...

Article

Deane L. Root

(b Joplin, MO, Jan 23, 1887; d New York, March 17, 1952). American songwriter, singer and pianist. He was influenced by the black ragtime pianists in his hometown of Joplin and began composing while in his teens, publishing several early rags including Noodles (1906) and The Smiler (1907). He earned the nickname ‘The Joplin Kid’ from his birthplace. He then studied the piano at the Chicago Musical College, and subsequently became a song plugger and saloon pianist in Chicago and Milwaukee. After moving to New York he performed in vaudeville with his wife, Dolly Connolly, for about 15 years. Through promoting his own songs on the stage and visiting retail agents on his tours around the country, Wenrich earned a reputation as the ideal Tin Pan Alley songwriter. He wrote four shows for New York between 1914 and 1930, but is best known for his pre-war popular songs, such as ...