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Article

Aldebert, Louis  

Barry Kernfeld

(Joseph Alexander)

(b Ismâ’ ilîya, Egypt, June 8, 1931). American singer and pianist of French origin. His full name appears in his 1972 Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen. He studied music in Paris and played piano with Don Byas (1955) and Stephane Grappelli (1957). He was a singer with the Blue Stars (1955–6), toured and recorded with the Double Six (1959–65), and took part in a session with Jon Hendricks and others (1965). Aldebert was married to the singer Monique Dozo (b Monaco, May 5, 1931; d Los Angeles, Jan 26, 2018; later known as Monique Aldebert-Guérin), who had sung with Bernard Peiffer (1947) and performed in Paris clubs with Byas, Django Reinhardt, Bobby Jasper, the Double Six (with which she recorded in 1959 and 1964), and Bill Coleman (1966). After moving to the USA (...

Article

Allyn, David (Robert)  

Eric Thacker

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Allen, DavidDeLella, Albert David Robert]

(b Hartford, CT, July 19, 1919; d West Haven, CT, Nov 21, 2012). American singer. Details of his name, birth, and death are in the Connecticut Death Index, the 1920 census (incorrectly transcribed there as “Defella”), and a family tree. He sang on radio as Al DeLella in Connecticut in the late 1930s, then transferred to a New York City radio station to sing with the bandleader Buddy Rocco, who persuaded him to take the name David Allen. He performed and recorded with Jack Teagarden’s big band (1940–42); by this time he was using both forms of his new surname, Allen and Allyn. Drafted into the army in April 1942, he was discharged after being injured in March 1943. From 1944 he worked with Boyd Raeburn, sometimes singing complicated arrangements by George Handy; his style is well represented by I only have eyes for you, which he recorded with Raeburn in ...

Article

Antritter, Dieter  

Gerhard Conrad

(b Pforzheim, Germany, Oct 6, 1929; d Königsbach-Stein, Germany, Aug 5, 2015). German soprano, tenor, and bass saxophonist. After receiving three lessons on guitar from a member of the Reinhardt clan he played in dance bands until 1950. He then contacted Sidney Bechet in Paris and learned to play soprano saxophone. He played in Germany with the arranger and bandleader Ernst Simon and also with American soldiers. In 1952 he founded the Quartier Latin Jazz Band, which he led to at least 2009; among its recordings is Dieter Antritter’s Quartier Latin Jazz Band (1996, Jazzpoint 1046). It gave concerts with many visiting musicians, including Mezz Mezzrow, Michel Attenoux, Benny Waters, Nelson Williams, and Peanuts Hucko. Antritter visited Canada in 1989 and worked with local musicians. His playing was influenced by the creole New Orleans jazz musicians and by swing musicians. He also wrote many articles for various newspapers and magazines....

Article

Bell, Roger  

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Bennett, Betty (A.)  

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Previn, Betty B.;Lowe, Betty]

(b Lincoln, NE, Oct 23, 1921; d San Diego, April 7, 2020). American singer. In the Nebraska Birth Ledger she is Betty A. Bennett (i.e., not Elizabeth). She studied piano and singing, and continued with singing lessons while studying at Drake University. She sang with Georgie Auld in 1943, and after serving in the navy in 1945 she performed and recorded in the bands of Claude Thornhill and Alvino Rey (both 1946), and Charlie Ventura (1949, 1951); later she worked with Stan Kenton (1949), Woody Herman (1950), and Charlie Barnet (1952). In 1953 and 1955 she made recordings (including Nobody Else but Me, 1955, Atl. 1226) under the direction of André Previn, who was her husband at that time. She later sang “They Say It’s Spring” as a guest soloist on The Tubby Hayes Quintet, an episode of the BBC television show “Jazz 625” (...

Article

Blevins, Leo  

Thomas Owens

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(Webster, Jr.)

(b Chicago, Nov 20, 1925; d Nov 20, 2006). American guitarist, electric bass guitarist, and singer. His middle name appears on his signed November 1943 draft registration card; his death date and the suffix “Jr.” are in Social Security indexes. He took up guitar as a child, and developed his blues-playing skills on the streets of Chicago alongside Wilbur Ware, Ike Day, and other young players. In the early 1940s he toured with T-Bone Walker. In 1947 he recorded with Dexter Gordon in Russell Jacquet’s band, both under Jacquet’s leadership and under the singer Numa Lee Davis in Los Angeles; later he recorded in Chicago with Gene Ammons (1948–50) and the septet of Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1955) and in New York with Red Prysock (1956–7). In 1966 Blevins moved to Los Angeles and then joined Louis Jordan. Thereafter he worked in the area as a freelance with blues and jazz bands, often appearing together with his brother, the organist Bobby Blevins....

Article

Brewer, Teresa  

Marty Hatch

[Theresa ]

(b Toledo, OH, May 7, 1931; d New Rochelle, NY, October 17, 2007). American singer. She sang in public and on broadcasts frequently from the age of two, and began recording in the late 1940s, performing popular songs in a vigorous, crisp style with a biting tone that owed more to country music than jazz or blues. Between 1950 and 1956 she had six gold records. At the same time she achieved great success singing in nightclubs (particularly in Las Vegas), in stage shows, and on television. In 1972, shortly after her marriage to the jazz record producer Bob Thiele, she began to include more jazz in her repertory, often working with swing musicians. Although her characteristic vocal timbre became somewhat smoother, especially in such ballads as It had to be you, she continued to sing as exuberantly as she did in the 1950s; she transferred many of her nuances from this period to her later work, as may be heard, for example, on ...

Article

Brown, Oscar, Jr.  

Barry Kernfeld

(b Chicago, Oct 10, 1926; d Chicago, May 29, 2005). American singer and songwriter. He wrote songs from childhood and appeared on a network radio soap opera while in high school. From 1943 to 1953 he attended five colleges and worked in a variety of jobs, having declined to follow his father, uncles, and cousins in becoming a lawyer; he entered the army in 1954 and became a professional singer and songwriter only after his discharge in 1956. Brown collaborated with Max Roach on the album We Insist!Freedom Now Suite (1960, Can. 9002) and the same year recorded his own first album, Sin and Soul (Col. CS8377). He acted as host for the television series “Jazz Scene USA” (1962), performed in London with Annie Ross in the revue Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma’am (1963), and worked in clubs in New York, Los Angeles, and London with Jonah Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. Thereafter he engaged in a socially and politically conscious approach to the arts in Chicago, bringing members of street gangs into the cast and production crews of his community presentations; he also restaged Jon Hendricks’s show ...

Article

Bruce, Jack  

Mark Gilbert

[John Symon Asher ]

(b Bishopbriggs, Scotland, May 14, 1943; d Suffolk, October 25, 2014). Scottish bass player, singer, and composer. Having studied for three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow he moved to London, where he played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated (late 1962 – early 1963) and then formed a group with Graham Bond, John McLaughlin, and the drummer Ginger Baker; this became known as the Graham Bond Organisation after McLaughlin left and Dick Heckstall-Smith joined. Bruce arrived in London as a jazz purist and had at first played double bass, but after using an electric bass guitar for a recording session with Ernest Ranglin in 1964 he transferred to that instrument and studied the mobile, melodic style of the Motown house bass player James Jamerson. The following year Bruce left Bond’s band because Baker felt that his bass playing was too busy and joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He is best known as the bass guitarist, singer, and principal composer with the highly successful blues and rock group Cream (...

Article

Burnap, Campbell  

Mark Gilbert

(Crichton Mackinnon )

(b Derby, England, Sept 10, 1939; d London, May 30, 2008). English trombonist and singer. He was introduced to New Orleans jazz and skiffle at the age of 15 by a classmate, the clarinetist Chris Blount, with whom he played washboard. When he was 19 he emigrated to New Zealand, took up trombone, and worked with the Omega Jazz Band (1960–62). He then moved to Australia and performed with the Hot Sands Jazz Band (1962–4) and Geoff Bull’s Olympia Jazz Band (1964–5). In 1965 he returned to the UK via New Orleans, where he played at Preservation Hall. From autumn that year until the middle of the next he collaborated with Terry Lightfoot; he then joined Monty Sunshine before returning to Australia in December 1966. However, from summer 1969 he was a permanent resident in London. He worked with the pianist Ian Armit (late ...

Article

Cain, Jackie  

Article

Cheatham [née Evans], Jeannie  

Howard Rye

[Jean]

(b Akron, OH, Aug 14, 1927). American pianist and singer. Her birth date appears in Eagle and LeBlanc (2013); in her autobiography, Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On: My Life in Music (Austin, TX, 2006), Cheatham confirmed that she was born in the summer of 1927, after having previously withheld her year of birth from the public domain. As a child she accompanied her mother’s youth gospel choir and played for shows at the Cosmopolitan Club, Akron. After attending Akron University she toured with a group led by the saxophonist Jimmy Colvin, which was mostly based in Canada but was for a time the house band at the Flamingo Club in Columbus, Ohio. In the late 1950s in Buffalo she married Jimmy Cheatham, and in the early 1960s she moved with him to New York. From 1971 to 1977 the couple were both visiting professors at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where they also hosted a weekly jam session at the Church Key. In ...

Article

Davis, Kay  

Eddie Lambert

[Wimp, Kathryn Elizabeth ]

(b Evanston, IL, Dec 5, 1920; d Apopka, FL, January 27, 2012). American singer. She studied singing and piano at Northwestern University (1938–43), then taught and gave recitals for several years. Her singing with Duke Ellington (from the autumn of 1944), which was usually in the soprano range and wordless, inspired some of Ellington’s most original works in the late 1940s; she also sang ballads occasionally as a contralto. After touring Britain with Ellington, Ray Nance, and a British rhythm section (June–July 1948) she appeared with his orchestra in the film shorts Symphony in Swing (1949) and Salute to Duke Ellington (1950). In July 1950 she married and ceased working full-time in music.

(all as sideman with D. Ellington)

FeatherE...

Article

De Vito, Maria Pia  

Stefano Zenni

(b Naples, Aug 17, 1960). Italian singer and composer. She studied lyrical and contemporary singing and in 1976 began her career in groups performing ethnic music. From 1980 she worked in jazz; later she sang with Kenny Wheeler (1990–95), Eliot Zigmund (1991–3), Rita Marcotulli (from 1994), John Taylor (from 1996), and Ralph Towner (from 1997). From 1994 to 1997 De Vito led the Nauplìa projects, mixing Neapolitan and Mediterranean music with jazz, and in 1996 she began working with the British composer Colin Towns. In 1998 she formed Phoné, a group with Gianluigi Trovesi and Taylor, and another trio with Taylor and Towner, seen in concert in the video Ralph Towner: Subway (2001). She also played in Triboh with Marcotulli and Arto Tuncboyaçiyan and collaborated with the video-maker and sculptress Marisa Albanese.

De Vito continues to tour and record in the new century. She recorded with the pianist Huw Warren both as a duo (...

Article

Dennis, Matt(hew Loveland)  

David Flanagan

(b Seattle, Feb 11, 1914; d Riverside, CA, June 21, 2002). American songwriter, arranger, pianist, and singer. His parents were vaudeville artists, and he learned piano from an early age. He played piano in Horace Heidt’s dance band in 1933, but for much of the 1930s worked in Hollywood as a nightclub singer and pianist and as a vocal coach for band singers. In the early 1940s he was composer and arranger for Tommy Dorsey and wrote a number of hit songs for the band which were performed by Frank Sinatra. During World War II he played briefly in Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Thereafter he worked principally as a nightclub entertainer, and issued some recordings under his own name, including Matt Dennis Plays and Sings (c1957, Kapp 1024). Dennis also arranged music for radio programs (1946–8), appeared in films and on television, and composed the song ...

Article

Distel, Sacha  

Barry Kernfeld

(Alexandre )

(b Paris, Jan 29, 1933; d Rayol-Canadel-sur-mer, July 22, 2004). French guitarist and singer. He received his first piano lessons at the age of five from his uncle Ray Ventura, and took up guitar in 1948. The following year he formed a quintet which included Mimi Perrin and Jean-Louis Viale. In 1952 he played with Bernard Peiffer and at the Ringside with Pierre Michelot and the pianist Art Simmons. After performing in a stage show in New York for five months, during which he had an opportunity to hear many leading jazz musicians in local clubs, he returned to Paris, where he worked with Henri Renaud, Jimmy Gourley, Guy Pedersen and Viale at the Tabou (1953), Barney Wilen, Bobby Jaspar, and René Urtreger at Club Saint-Germain, and Fats Sadi and Kenny Clarke at the Ringside, and recorded with the pianist Raymond Le Senechal (1953); around this time he also performed with Martial Solal. After becoming a successful pop singer he worked rarely as a jazz musician, except for occasional performances on guitar. In the mid-1950s he took part in several recording sessions in Paris as a guitarist with Lionel Hampton, Jaspar, and John Lewis, and with his own swing and bop bands. He also played guitar in a duo with Barney Kessel, in a trio with lesser-known guitarists, and on recordings he made as a leader with Slide Hampton in ...

Article

Donaldson, Lou(is Andrew)  

Lawrence Koch

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Badin, NC, Nov 1, 1926). American alto saxophonist and singer. His full name appears on his signed November 1942 draft registration card. His mother taught piano and all of his siblings were musicians. Donaldson, however, began studying clarinet only at the age of 15, and he continued to receive tuition when he joined the navy. After taking up alto saxophone he performed in a navy band with Willie Smith, Clark Terry, and Ernie Wilkins (1945). He first recorded with Milt Jackson and Thelonious Monk (both 1952) and as the leader of several small groups; among his sidemen were Blue Mitchell, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey (all 1952), and Clifford Brown and Philly Joe Jones (1953). In 1954 he and Brown joined Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He continued to lead small groups, mainly in the eastern USA, though he performed in Stockholm in ...

Article

Few, Bobby  

André Clergeat

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Robert Lee, jr]

(b Cleveland, Oct 21, 1935; d Levallois-Perret, France, Jan 6, 2021). American pianist, composer, and singer. He grew up in a family of musicians and learned piano and organ from a young age; later he studied harmony and composition at the Cleveland Institute and took up vibraphone. Having begun his career in dance bands, he appeared in Dick Shelton’s quintet (1954) and then formed his own group, the Metronomes, with his cousin Bob Cunningham. Around 1967 a friend from Cleveland, Albert Ayler, persuaded him to move to New York, where he formed a short-lived trio with Wilbur Ware and Leroy Williams. In 1968 he became piano accompanist and music director for the singer Brook Benton, recorded with Booker Ervin, and joined a free-jazz workshop run by Bill Dixon. He recorded with Ayler in August 1969, during the saxophonist’s rhythm-and-blues period; he also played with Frank Foster and Roland Kirk before emigrating in autumn ...

Article

Fosset, Marc  

André Clergeat

(b Paris, May 17, 1949; d France, Oct 31, 2020). French guitarist and singer. He was largely self-taught, though he had guitar lessons until he was ten; he played the instrument left-handed. His first work was in restaurants such as La Veranda, frequented by the antique dealers of the Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris. Following some studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with the intention of becoming a decorator, he made his professional music début in 1971 with a regular engagement at Les Trois Mailletz. In 1973 he played briefly in the group Magma. Before satisfying his military obligations he formed a trio which played at the Bilboquet and at the Caveau de la Montagne. In January 1977, with Patrice Caratini, he established a duo which had lasting success: the two men made three albums and numerous appearances at festivals and concerts, accompanied Stephane Grappelli, and collaborated with Martial Solal, Maurice Vander, the percussionist Michel Delaporte, and the accordionist Marcel Azzola. At the beginning of the 1980s Fosset became an accompanist to Grappelli, with whom he remained until the violinist’s death in ...

Article

Frishberg, Dave  

Steve Larson

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[David Lee]

(b St. Paul, MN, March 23, 1933; d Portland, OR, Nov 17, 2021). American pianist, singer, and songwriter. He began classical lessons on piano at about the age of nine, but later taught himself to play in blues, boogie-woogie, swing, and bop styles. Uninterested in the classical orientation required of a music major, he studied journalism at the University of Minnesota. After graduating in 1955 he served in the air force, and on his discharge in 1957 he moved to New York, where he worked as an unaccompanied soloist at the Duplex. He toured with Kai Winding and Carmen McRae (1958–9), then worked as an intermission pianist at Eddie Condon’s, with Sol Yaged at the Metropole, and at other lesser known clubs. In 1960–61 he toured with Gene Krupa, and after returning to New York he played with Wild Bill Davison, Peanuts Hucko, Bud Freeman (recording in ...