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Noge, Yoko  

Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In 1984 she moved to the United States to pursue a jazz and blues career in Chicago. Initially a singer, she studied piano with boogie, blues, and jazz pianist Erwin Helfer. In the early 1990s Noge established the Jazz Me Blues Band, which has played regularly in Chicago since its formation. In addition to Noge on piano and vocals, the ensemble has included Noge’s husband, Clark Dean, on soprano saxophone, saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, trombonist Bill McFarland, and bassist Tatsu Aoki. In addition to playing more conventional jazz and blues, Noge has made a name for herself through the unique compositions she has written for the group, which meld Japanese folk music styles with Chicago blues. Active in the broader Asian American community, she cofounded the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in ...


Pepper, Jim  

John-Carlos Perea

[James Gilbert ]

(b Salem, OR, June 18, 1941; d Portland, OR, Feb 10, 1992). American tenor and soprano saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and composer. Of Native American (Creek and Kaw) heritage, he was raised in Oregon and Oklahoma. Early musical influences included tap dance, big band jazz, Southern Plains powwow music and dance, and peyote music. Pepper moved to New York in 1964 and joined the Free Spirits (1966), an early fusion jazz ensemble featuring Larry Coryell and Bob Moses. After forming the group Everything is Everything (1967) with former members of Free Spirits Chris Hills and Columbus Baker, Pepper recorded “Witchi Tai To,” a composition fusing a peyote song with jazz, rock, and country influences. Released on Everything is Everything featuring Chris Hills (Vanguard Apostolic, 1969), “Witchi Tai To” peaked at number 69 on the Billboard pop charts. By 2011 it had been covered by at least 90 artists ranging from Brewer & Shipley, Jan Garbarek, and Oregon to the Paul Winter Consort and Joy Harjo. Pepper released four albums as a leader: ...


Waller, Fats  

J. R. Taylor

(b New York, NY, 21 May 1904; d nr Kansas City, MO, 15 Dec 1943). American jazz pianist, organist, composer, and singer.

When he died at age 39, on a cross-country train, he was a major international star. Although one of the finest jazz pianists to come out of the late 1910s and 1920s, he was and has continued to be better known as an irresistibly charismatic performer, sporting a bowler hat and cigar, mugging and cracking jokes as he performed seemingly effortless feats of virtuosity at the keyboard. His songs, particularly “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Honeysuckle Rose” (both 1929), remained standards into the 2010s. He won deep respect and affection from his musical contemporaries: Louis Armstrong claimed to have cried all night when he heard the news of Waller’s death, and the pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines nearly always included a medley of Waller tunes, which he called “A Tribute to a Great Guy,” in his live performances....