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Abadie, Claude  

Michel Laplace

(b Paris, Jan 16, 1920; d Suresnes, Hautes de Seine, France, March 29, 2020). French clarinetist and bandleader. In 1941 he put together a jazz band which by 1943 had been joined by Boris Vian and was considered the first revival band in France. At its peak, in the years 1944–6, Abadie introduced such musicians as Claude Luter, Jef Gilson, and, from 1945, the Fol brothers, who may be heard on Tin Roof Blues (1946, Swing 212) and I’ve found a new baby (1946, Pathé 1013 [EP]). The band was strongly influenced by the Chicagoans and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1949 Abadie assembled a new band with such young players as Benny Vasseur and Jean-Claude Fohrenbach. He then retired from music (1952–63), but from 1965 led a modern-jazz nonet or tentet, which included the tenor saxophonist Paul Vernon (playing in a style influenced by Lester Young), with a repertory consisting of compositions by Ahmad Jamal, John Lewis, John Coltrane, and others. Abadie continued to lead this group for the remainder of his life, to age 100, directing and playing clarinet solos; they perform compositions of Thelonious Monk in the video ...


Actis Dato, Carlo  

Stefano Zenni

(b Turin, Italy, March 21, 1952). Italian tenor and baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and leader. He first played jazz in the Turin area in the early 1970s. In 1974 he was a founding member, with the guitarist Claudio Lodati, the double bass player Enrico Fazio, and the drummer Fiorenzo Sordini, of the quartet Art Studio, for which all four members provide compositions and arrangements; the group plays throughout Europe in a style mixing free improvisation techniques, extended forms, and contrapuntal work. In 1984 Actis Dato formed his own quartet, consisting of the saxophonist Piero Ponzo, Fazio, and Sordini; it toured internationally through the 1990s, from the USA to Africa to Japan. He was also a member of the Democratic Orchestra (1982–5), Mitteleuropa Orchestra (1982–90), Pino Minafra’s quintet (1984–9) and Sud Ensemble (from 1994), and the Italian Instabile Orchestra (from 1990). In ...


Alpert, Herb  

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...


Appleton, Joe  

John Cowley and Howard Rye

(b Porus, Jamaica, June 2, 1903; d 2000). Jamaican tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He was a bandsman with the West India Regiment at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and later returned to Great Britain and played in dance bands there and in Europe until the early 1930s. He led his own band in London in 1931–2 and in November 1932 relocated to the Netherlands with the pianist and singer Lily Jemmott, Welsh born of mixed African American and Bajun parentage, whose stage name was “Spadie Lee.” They remained in Europe until 1935. From 1936 he played in London with West Indian jazz musicians, including Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz (1936), and in 1937 he led his own band. In the 1940s he worked mainly with Cyril Blake and also with Jiver Hutchinson (1944–5). Appleton’s clarinet playing may be heard on Muscat Ramble...


Ashley, John  

Brian W. Pritchard

Member of Ashley family

(b ?London, ?1734; d London, March 14, 1805). English bassoonist and conductor. He was first bassoon at Covent Garden Theatre, and became more widely known after his success as assistant conductor to Joah Bates at the 1784 Commemoration of Handel in Westminster Abbey. Charles Burney (An Account of the Musical Performances … in Commemoration of Handel; London, 1785) records that the ‘unwearied zeal and diligence’ of ‘Mr John Ashly of the Guards … were constantly employed with such intelligence and success, as greatly facilitated the advancement of the plan’. According to Burney he was also the ‘Mr Ashley’ who played the then novel double bassoon at these celebrations. Ashley’s four sons (see below) also took part in the commemoration and later in 1784 the whole family first appeared in the provinces at the Hereford meeting of the Three Choirs; they took part in subsequent Handel commemorations and from ...


Ayler, Albert  

Barry Kernfeld

(b Cleveland, OH, 13 July 1936; d ?New York, NY, between 5 and 25 Nov 1970). American jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader.

He began on alto saxophone and was playing professionally in rhythm-and-blues bands by his mid-teens. While serving in army concert bands, he switched to tenor saxophone. He occasionally played in Paris clubs while stationed in France from 1959 to 1961. After his discharge, he remained in Europe, leading a bop trio for eight months in Sweden and playing with Cecil Taylor in Copenhagen (1962–3). In 1963 he moved to New York, and the following year he formed a quartet with Don Cherry, Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray.

Ayler was never able to find a steady audience for his radical music—his group performed perhaps only three times in 1965—and although his albums were well received by the critics, he had trouble landing gigs. He made no effort to clarify his music for listeners, discouraging musical interpretations of his recordings and instead stressing their social and spiritual themes; the inconsistent and confusing titles to his pieces further obscured his work. Nevertheless, in studios, New York clubs (...


Badini, Gérard  

André Clergeat

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Mr. Swing]

(b Paris, April 16, 1931). French tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, pianist, composer, and leader. His father was a lyric singer, and he grew up in a musical family; he studied classical singing as a child and took up clarinet in 1950. After playing traditional jazz with Michel Attenoux (from 1952) and working with Bill Coleman, Peanuts Holland, Lil Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Jimmy Archey, he joined Claude Bolling’s trio (1955) and toured Europe, Africa, and the Middle East with Bolling and with Jazz aux Champs Elysées, led by Jack Diéval. From 1958 his principal instrument was the tenor saxophone, which he played for many years with Bolling and as a freelance in studios. He also worked with Roger Guérin and Geo Daly (both 1957), Alice Babs and Duke Ellington (1963), Jean-Claude Naude (1963–4), Cat Anderson (recording in 1965), Paul Gonsalves (...


Barber (Donald) Chris(topher)  

Alyn Shipton

(b Welwyn Garden City, England, April 17, 1930; d Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, March 2, 2021). English trombonist and bandleader. He began studying violin while evacuated to Royston, England, in 1943 during World War II, starting a sizeable collection of jazz and blues records at the same time. In 1946, in London, he took up the trombone. He formed his first amateur band in 1948. In 1951, while studying to become an actuary, he led this band, which included Dickie Hawdon, on its first issued recordings, modeled on King Oliver’s 1920s work. Barber’s early bands often included Alexis Korner, who shared his interest in the blues. In September 1951 he abandoned accountancy to study trombone and double bass at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

In 1952 he formed his first professional band, with Pat Halcox, Monty Sunshine, and Lonnie Donegan, to play jazz in the New Orleans revival style. Ken Colyer replaced Halcox and assumed titular leadership of the group. After touring to Denmark and recording there and in the UK, the band split from Colyer in ...


Bay, Francis  

Robert Pernet

[Bayetz, Frans]

(b Rijkevorsel, Belgium, Dec 27, 1914; d Bonheiden, Belgium, April 24, 2005). Belgian trombonist, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader. In 1936 in Germany he formed an association with the violinist Paul Godwin, which continued intermittently until World War II. He worked in Belgium at Lionel’s Club and played and recorded in the Netherlands with Dick Willebrandts (1943) and the Dutch group the Ramblers (1945–6). In the mid-1940s he was a founding member of the Skymasters, and in 1948 he formed a band with Boyd Bachmann, which worked in Switzerland, Sweden, and Belgium. His own big band, formed in Belgium in the 1950s, later became the dance orchestra of Belgian radio and television. Bay was said to have made numerous recordings as a leader (1958–61, 1971), many of them for the American market in connection with the Brussels World’s Fair of 1958, but a considerable number of these have proved to be from sessions led by Maxwell Davis for the American Crown label and reissued under Bay’s name on the Mecca label in Belgium; the precise details of this situation are still a matter for research, but certainly the album ...


Björksten, Hacke  

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

[Gunnar Olof]

(b Helsinki, Feb 17, 1934; d Stockholm, Dec 17, 2020). Swedish tenor saxophonist and bandleader of Finnish birth. He moved to Sweden in 1945 and gained recognition in the early 1950s in Gothenburg, where he worked with the drummer Kenneth Fagerlund (1951–4). From 1954 to 1959 he led groups which worked at Nalen in Stockholm; these often involved Åke Persson and performed arrangements by Jan Johansson and others. The recording On the Alamo (1955), which Björksten made as the leader of a quintet that included Persson, shows to advantage his fluent technique, large tone, and rhythmic spark. After several years of inactivity he recorded again as a leader (1972, 1979). Although he pursued a profession outside of music, he continued to perform and record as a leader, and in 1987 he made a trio album with Mel Lewis and Ulf Johansson as his sidemen. He resumed recording as a leader in ...


Bothwell, Johnny  

Barry Kernfeld

[John Alvin]

(b Ross, IN, May 23, 1917; d Lakeland, FL, Sept 12, 1995). American alto saxophonist and bandleader. His birth details have appeared as Gary, Indiana, in 1919, but on his handwritten 1940 draft registration card he gives his full name and Ross, Indiana, in 1917, which his Indiana birth certificate confirms. Death details are from the Social Security Death Index and newspaper obituaries. After playing in Chicago (1940) he moved to New York, where he recorded with Woody Herman (1943) and Sonny Dunham (1944–6), and was a soloist with Boyd Raeburn (1944–5) and Gene Krupa (1945). He then led his own big bands (1945–7) and also recorded with a small group (Dear Max/Chelsea Bridge, 1946, Sig. 15085). He led another small group in Chicago (1948), worked in New England, and again led a band in New York (...


Brecker, Randy  

Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...


Brötzmann, Peter  

Robert J. Iannapollo

revised by Simon Adams

(b Remscheid, Germany, March 6, 1941). German tenor and alto saxophonist, clarinetist, and leader. He attended the Art Academy of Wuppertal and taught himself to play saxophone; his art training has remained with him, as he still designs many of his own album sleeves and pamphlets. From 1959 he worked with local dixieland bands, in the early 1960s he was associated with the Fluxus movement in Germany, and by 1964 he was playing free jazz. In 1965 he formed a group with Peter Kowald and Sven-Åke Johansson, and the following year he toured Europe in a quintet led by Mike Mantler and Carla Bley and began an association with the Globe Unity Orchestra that lasted until 1981. He was a founder in 1969 of FMP, which sponsors performances and issues recordings of free jazz. Around the same year, with Fred van Hove and Han Bennink, he formed a trio that incorporated into its performances elements of European folk music, African rhythms, and an anarchic brand of theater, and which influenced strongly the shape and direction of free jazz in Europe; among those who performed with the trio as guest soloists were Don Cherry and Albert Mangelsdorff. Van Hove left the group around ...


Bryant, Rusty  

Howard Rye

[Royal Gordan]

(b Huntington, WV, Nov 25, 1929; d Columbus, OH, March 25, 1991). American tenor saxophonist and leader. His full name appears as Royal Gordon Bryant in Ohio and Veterans Affairs death indexes, and a family tree, but on his 1944 application for social security, in his own handwriting, his middle name is Gordan. His father, Herman Vinton Bryant (b Washington, DC, June 23, 1894; d Columbus, OH, May 20, 1971) was also a saxophonist and as a singer led the Famous Garland Jubilee Singers, who recorded in 1931. Rusty Bryant grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he first played trumpet and alto saxophone and began his professional career, at the Club Regal. From 1948 to 1949 he served in the navy and was stationed in Boston. He then returned to Columbus and worked briefly with Tiny Grimes. He re-enlisted in the navy from January to June 1952. At the Carolyn Club from mid-...


Papa Bue  

Barry Kernfeld

[Jensen, Arne Bue]

(b Copenhagen, May 8, 1930; d Copenhagen, Nov 2, 2011). Danish trombonist and bandleader. In the mid-1950s he performed and recorded with the Bonanza Jazz Band, Chris Barber, the pianist Adrian Bentzon, and the clarinetist Henrik Johansen. From 1956 he led the New Orleans Jazz Band, a septet based in Copenhagen, which in 1958 he renamed the Viking Jazz Band. The group remained in existence, with only infrequent changes of personnel, into the new century, making its last recordings in 2005; among those who recorded with it were George Lewis (i) (1959), the pianist Champion Jack Dupree (1962), Art Hodes (1970), and Wild Bill Davison (1970, 1974). Papa Bue appeared with the group at the Newport Jazz Festival New York in 1972 and later made a video, Papa Bue’s Viking Jazzband: the 40 Years Jubilee Concert (c1998 [filmed 1996]). His playing is well represented on his albums ...


Chamblee, Eddie  

Howard Rye

[Edward Leon]

(b Atlanta, Feb 24, 1920; d New York, May 1, 1999). American tenor saxophonist and leader. He was brought up in Chicago, played clarinet at school, and after studying law at Chicago State University led several army bands (1941–6). From 1946 until the mid-1950s he worked as a leader of a small group in Chicago, and during the same period he recorded with Sonny Thompson. While with Lionel Hampton (1955–7) Chamblee toured and recorded in Europe (1956). From 1957 he again worked as a leader of small groups, though he made a number of recordings with Dinah Washington (1957–8, 1963), to whom he was married for a short time. He returned to Europe with Milt Buckner (1976) and again with Hampton (1977, 1978) and recorded with both musicians; in 1976 he also made a number of recordings as a leader. Chamblee played briefly with Count Basie’s orchestra as an alto saxophonist in late ...


Choquart, Loys  

Rainer E. Lotz

(b Geneva, Oct 11, 1920; d Puplinge, Switzerland, Dec 10, 1989). Swiss clarinetist, saxophonist, and bandleader. He organized his own Jam Band at the age of 17 and in 1939 he made the first of more than 2000 half-hour broadcasts on Geneva radio. He made his first recording, with the New Rhythm Kings, in 1942, playing alto saxophone on Arrêt facultatif (Parl. B35544). In 1943 he formed the Dixie Dandies, which included Henri Chaix and, occasionally, Wallace Bishop. By 1945 he was considered the best Swiss saxophone and clarinet soloist; his clarinet playing may be heard on Mississippi Moan (1951, Col. DZ1008). After 1953 he performed mainly in the swing style, making a number of recordings with vibraphone and rhythm section for Philips, but he also worked with a dixieland ensemble called Creole Jazz; its recordings of 1952 (among them Dippermouth Blues, Col. ESDF1055 [EP]) were awarded the Prix Jazz Hot in ...


Clemencic, René  

J.M. Thomson

(b Vienna, Feb 27, 1928; d Vienna, March 8, 2022). Austrian recorder player, conductor, teacher, and composer. He studied the recorder with Hans Ulrich Staeps, Johannes Collette, and Linda Höffer von Winterfeld, and keyboard instruments with Eta Harich-Schneider. He took the doctorate in philosophy at Vienna University in 1956. He cultivated a lyrical style of playing and was much attracted by improvisatory techniques in both early and contemporary music. His instrument collection included a tenor trombone by Georg Neuschel of Nuremberg (1557), one of the oldest surviving specimens.

In 1958 he founded Musica Antiqua, known as the Ensemble Musica Antiqua from 1959. This group performed music of the Middle Ages to the Baroque on authentic instruments. In 1968 Clemencic founded a group known, from 1969, as the Clemencic Consort, an ensemble for the performance of medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and avant-garde music. Based in Vienna, it is notable for its exploration and staging of little-known 17th-century operas (such as Antonio Draghi’s ...


Coleman, (Randolph Denard) Ornette  

Gunther Schuller

revised by Aaron West

(b Fort Worth, TX, 9 March 1930). American jazz alto saxophonist, bandleader, and composer.

He is one of the most controversial and influential figures in jazz history.

He began playing alto saxophone at the age of 14 and developed a style influenced predominantly by Charlie Parker and rhythm-and-blues bands. During a visit in 1945 to New York, Coleman was first exposed to bebop. His early professional work came with a variety of rhythm-and-blues, carnival, and minstrel bands from the Southwest. In 1949 Coleman left Fort Worth with the traveling show Silas Green from New Orleans and then worked with the blues singer Clarence Samuel. By 1950 he had returned to Fort Worth, after which he went to the West Coast with Pee Wee Crayton’s rhythm-and-blues band. When he tried to introduce his more personal and innovative ideas, he was typically met with hostility, both from audiences and from musicians. Once he reached Los Angeles, where he worked as an elevator operator, he studied harmony and theory textbooks and gradually evolved a radically new concept and style....


Collie, (John) Max(well)  

Derek Coller

(b Melbourne, Australia, Feb 21, 1931; d Jan 6, 2017). Australian trombonist and bandleader. Originally a brass-band musician, from 1948 he led his own semiprofessional jazz bands, the Jazz Bandits (1948–50) and the Jazz Kings (1950–62). He began playing professionally in 1962 as a member of the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, which visited England in 1963. Collie remained in England and joined the London City Stompers (1963); when he became leader in 1966 the group was renamed the Rhythm Aces. It has performed at festivals and concerts and in theaters throughout the world. During one of its three American tours (1973–5) it won the World Championship of Jazz in Indianapolis (August 1975). In 1984 Collie began touring with a show called “New Orleans Mardi Gras,” in which Ken Colyer and Cy Laurie appeared; from 1986, in addition, he presented “The High Society Show” with many of the same musicians. He made a large number of recordings as a leader (from ...