(b Mercatello, Italy, April 1, 1921; d nr Paris, 1980). French drummer and teacher. He studied music under the trumpeter and conductor Georges Prêtre and the bassoonist Maurice Allard and at the conservatory in Douai under Jack Diéval. He began to play at the Cambrai Hot Club, then as a professional in Lille with Benny Vasseur and the saxophonist Georges Grenu. In ...
(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...
(b Prague, 1934). Czech double bass player. He first studied violin and trombone (1945–52), then double bass and theory (1957). In the early to mid-1960s he recorded many albums in Prague with Zdenek Bartak’s big band, Karel Vlach (1962–3), Karel Velebný’s quartet and quintet (1962–5), Jan Konopasek (1963), and the pianist Milan Dvořák (1964); in 1965 he toured and recorded with the Reduta Quintet. In West Germany and France he played with Leo Wright and Booker Ervin. He moved in 1966 to the USA, where he worked as a producer, arranger, conductor, and performer; he played with Elvin Jones, Tony Scott, Howard McGhee, and Attila Zoller, and recorded with Sonny Stitt (1966), Chico Hamilton (c1967, c1974), and Ervin (1968). As a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
[William, Jr. ]
(b Philadelphia, March 27, 1927; d Middletown, CT, Sept 21, 1989). American tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, and teacher, brother of Kenny Barron. He first studied piano with his mother from the age of nine, but four years later changed to soprano saxophone and then to the tenor instrument. At the age of 17 he toured with the Carolina Cotton Pickers, after which he served as a musician in the army (1943–6), where his fellow bandsmen included Randy Weston and Ernie Henry. He then played tenor saxophone in Philadelphia with Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, and Philly Joe Jones; Dexter Gordon influenced his early style. In 1958 he moved to New York. There he performed and in 1959 recorded with Cecil Taylor, recorded with Jones in 1959–60, and co-led the group the Barron Brothers; he also formed a group with Ted Curson which in 1964 toured Europe, where it frequently broadcast on radio and television and recorded in Paris. He appeared with Taylor’s free-jazz group at the Newport Jazz Festival in ...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Philadelphia, June 9, 1943). American pianist, composer, leader, and teacher, brother of Bill Barron. He learned piano from the age of 12 and with the help of his brother secured an engagement when he was 15 with a rhythm-and-blues orchestra led by Mel Melvin; while in high school he also played double bass and tuba. Having worked with Philly Joe Jones (1959) and Jimmy Heath, and in Detroit with Yusef Lateef (1960), in 1961 he moved to New York and began appearing regularly at the Five Spot with James Moody, on whose recommendation he was engaged by Dizzy Gillespie; from 1962 to 1966 he toured Europe and North America with Gillespie. Barron then played briefly with Stanley Turrentine and was a member of several groups led by Freddie Hubbard (1967–9); by 1970 his compositions had been recorded by Gillespie, Hubbard, and Moody. He was again with Lateef from ...
Lesley A. Wright
( b Bayonne, France, June 7, 1828; d Asnières-sur-Seine, France, Aug 13, 1898). French composer, pianist, and teacher . After studying with Leborne, he won the Prix de Rome in 1854. The music section of the Académie praised his envoi, the French opera Don Carlos (1857), for its craftsmanship, fine orchestration, and strong sense of the stage, and in 1858 they awarded him the Prix Édouard Rodrigues for his oratorio Judith, over the only other competitor, Bizet. That year Barthe married mezzo-soprano Anna Banderali.
The Théâtre-Lyrique opened a competition in 1864 on Jules Adenis’s libretto La fiancée d’Abydos, for Prix de Rome winners whose work had not yet reached the stage. Barthe was the unanimous choice of the jury, above Émile Paladilhe and three others. Extensive changes were made during rehearsal and the première took place on 30 December 1865. Critics were largely positive, though they noted resemblances to Meyerbeer, Félicien David, Gounod, and others, and found the libretto somewhat tedious. After a respectable 21 performances (in Paris and Bayonne) the work disappeared from the repertory....
(b Kansas City, MO, Jan 23, 1940). American artist and educator, co-founder in 1989 and artistic director of Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles. He holds a BA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati. Working in Los Angeles since 1976 he has built several instruments, based on the hurdy-gurdy principle, which he plays in solo performances and in duets with his wife, Gail Bates. The first was a drone instrument (1976), in which a bow operated by a pendulum moves across a string. The Fuser (1978) uses a similar idea: each note on its two 40-note keyboards operates a ‘finger’ at a different point along the length of one of two strings, which are bowed by treadle-operated, rosined wheels. The hollow tubing of the framework adds to the effect of two dome-shaped resonators, one at each end of the instrument. Two people play the Fuser, which measures about 3.5 × 1 × 1.25 metres. The Converter (prototype ...
Gaynor G. Jones
(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...
(b Heidelberg, Germany, March 30, 1935). German vibraphonist and teacher. He studied classical piano from the age of ten. As the house pianist for jam sessions at the Club 54 in Heidelberg, he learned to play bop in the company of such visiting American servicemen as Leo Wright, Cedar Walton, Lex Humphries, and Don Ellis; he also took up vibraphone and became interested in free jazz. Following studies in musicology and philosophy in Heidelberg and Berlin (PhD 1963) he joined Don Cherry’s free-jazz quintet, then based in Paris (1965); during this period he appeared in Appunti per un film sul jazz (Notes for a Film on Jazz) (1965). When Cherry’s group recorded in New York in September 1966 Berger remained in the USA, performing in schools for Young Audiences, Inc., with Horacee Arnold’s group (1967–71), periodically touring with his own bands, of which Carlos Ward, Dave Holland, and Ed Blackwell were members, and playing alongside Ward in a group led by David Izenzon. In autumn ...
(b Sydney, Feb 8, 1947). Australian singer. She first studied piano. From 1968 to 1971 she sang with a cooperative group, the Affair, touring Australia and England, after which she joined the Daly–Wilson Big Band and worked as a studio musician and in cabaret. In 1973–4 she toured North America, where she appeared on television and performed with her ensemble Compared to What. Following her return to Australia she presented her own radio program, “Kerrie Biddell and Friends,” for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. During the 1970s she recorded three albums as a leader. In 1982 she formed a duo with the pianist Julian Lee and joined the faculty of the New South Wales Conservatorium in Sydney to teach jazz. She remained active through the 1990s. Biddell possesses a powerful voice with an uncommonly wide range and is a gifted improviser; she may be heard to particular advantage on the track ...
(b New Orleans, LA, Oct 10, 1929; d Hartford, CT, Oct 7, 1992). American jazz drummer and educator. He grew up in a musical family in New Orleans. During the 1950s he was a member of the American Jazz Quintet, which included Ellis Marsalis, Alvin Battiste, Harold Battiste, and, for a time, Ornette Coleman. He also worked irregularly with Coleman between 1949 and 1956 in New Orleans and Los Angeles, toured with Ray Charles in 1957. In 1960 Blackwell moved to New York to become the drummer with Coleman’s quartet at the Five Spot club, a position previously held by Billy Higgins, and both Higgins and Blackwell performed as members of the double quartets on Coleman’s album Free Jazz: a Collective Improvisation (1960, Atl.). He became influential in the emerging free-jazz scene, performing and recording with, among others, Coleman (This is our Music, 1960, Atl., and ...
A. Dean Palmer
(b Moscow, June 9, 1944). Russian pianist, teacher, and composer. From 1962 to 1966 he led a trio at the Vserossiyskoye Gastrol’no-kontsertnoye Ob’yedinenie (All-Russian society for guest performances). He played with Aleksey Kozlov in the big band VIO-66 (the Vocal Instrumental Orchestra, directed by the composer Yuri Saulsky) and also in a quartet drawn from the band which recorded at a festival in Moscow in 1967. Thereafter he worked in a duo with German Luk’yanov (1969–70) and led various groups ranging in size from quartet to sextet (1969–91); these groups made several recordings, among them Pered zakhodom solntsa (1985, Mel. C60 21873003) and Live at the Village Gate (1988, Mobile Fidelity 861). Bril performed at festivals and concerts in Europe, Indonesia, Cuba, and the USA. From 1991 he led the group New Generation, which included his twin sons, the saxophonists Dmitry and Alexander (...
J. Kent Williams
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Detroit, Sept 3, 1938; d Detroit, Nov 15, 2005). American drummer, percussionist, and jazz educator. His mother sang in church. Brooks cites Elvin Jones as his first important influence. He first worked with Yusef Lateef, then joined Horace Silver’s quintet, of which he was a member from 1959 to 1964; during the same period he recorded with his fellow sidemen Junior Cook (1960) and Blue Mitchell (1961, 1963), as well as with Sonny Red (1960), Buddy Tate and Stanley Turrentine (both 1961), and Shirley Scott (1961–3). Later he performed with Wes Montgomery, Lateef (1967–70), Pharoah Sanders, James Moody (1970–72), Sonny Stitt (recording in 1972–3), Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon, Randy Weston, Milt Jackson, Charles Mingus (mid-1972–1973, beginning with a tour of Europe), and Abdullah Ibrahim (including recordings, 1973, 1976, 1977), and recorded with Chet Baker (...
Gary W. Kennedy
(b Hernando, MS, March 28, 1954). American pianist and composer. He grew up in Memphis in a musical family and played drums, baritone horn, and trumpet, on which he won several awards in his youth, before taking up piano. At Memphis State University (1972–5) he focused on piano and was encouraged to explore jazz by his classmate James Williams. He then worked locally before replacing Williams in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1981). While with Blakey he toured internationally and appeared in the video Jazz at the Smithsonian:Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (1982). In 1982 rheumatoid arthritis forced Brown to leave the group. From 1983 to 1985 he was a member of the faculty at the Berklee College of Music, and in 1988 he began teaching jazz history and leading student ensembles at the University of Tennessee. Although his activities have been limited by arthritis, he has occasionally worked with Freddie Hubbard, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and the ...
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Framingham, MA, Dec 21, 1920; d New York, Dec 13, 1983). American teacher, bandleader, and trombonist. He taught himself to play various instruments at an early age. After gaining a BS degree in music from New York University (1949) he directed high-school bands in the New York area (1949–57) while pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University (MA music, 1953). His dance band from Farmingdale, the Dalers, played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957 to unprecedented acclaim, winning Brown international fame and an appointment to the Newport Festival board. He then toured Europe with George Wein to select members for the International Youth Band, which performed at the Brussels World’s Fair and at Newport in 1958. In New York he organized the Newport Youth Band, which played at Newport and other festivals (1959–60). Many members of Brown’s groups, such as Dusko Goykovic, Albert Mangelsdorff, George Gruntz, Gábor Szabó, Gil Cuppini, Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Owens, Mike Abene, and Ronnie Cuber, became well-known jazz artists. After the dissolution of the Newport Festival Corporation (...
(b Berdychiv [Yiddish: Berdichev], Ukraine, April 20, 1881; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1955). American composer born in present-day Ukraine. Bucharoff, who was born Simon Buchhalter, was the son of a Jewish cantor, and his brother, Isadore Buchhalter, also enjoyed a successful career as a pianist and educator in the Chicago area. Bucharoff’s personal papers indicate he was singing in choirs at the age of four or five, and that his family immigrated to the United States when he was 11, settling in New York. There, he studied piano with Paolo Gallico and Leopold Kramer. He later traveled to Europe and studied composition with Stephen Stocker and Robert Fuchs, and piano with Emil Sauer and Julius Epstein at the Vienna Conservatory. Bucharoff joined the faculty of the Wichita (Kansas) College of Music in 1907, and quickly became a respected artist in the area.
Bucharoff relocated to Chicago in the early to mid-1910s. Thereafter, his career focussed more closely on composition than piano performance. He secured the patronage of future Vice President of the United States Charles G. Dawes, and obtained a hearing of his first opera, ...
(b Perth Amboy, NJ, March 5, 1924; d Freeport, NY, April 5, 2009). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, pianist, and teacher. He studied trumpet from the age of nine, and was influenced by Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge as well as by Dizzy Gillespie, whom he heard at Minton’s Playhouse in New York when he was 16. After playing with Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans (1941–3) he led an air force band that included James Moody (1943–5). From 1946 to 1949 he was a member of Gillespie’s big band and was at times asked to reproduce Gillespie’s solos (as, for example, on the recording of the second part of One Bass Hit, 1946); while with Gillespie he appeared in the film Jivin’ in Bebop (1947), and he also recorded under Moody’s leadership (1948). He played with Duke Ellington (1950–52) and Moody (...