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Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, Dec 9, 1954). American record producer, composer, bandleader, and percussionist. He began playing percussion at the age of nine and as a teenager he performed with local Latin bands and with Carla Bley. After studying art at Cooper Union in New York and then independently in the western Sahara, India, Haiti, and Europe, he worked with Chico Freeman. In 1979 he founded the record company and label American Clavé, the first release of which was Jerry Gonzalez’s album Ya yo ma curé; other artists presented by the label include the Argentinian bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla. In 1984 Hanrahan formed the group Conjure, which performs his own compositions and uses lyrics based on the poetry of Ishmael Reed. From the mid-1980s into the 1990s he performed internationally in both small groups and large orchestras, collaborating with, among others, Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Don Pullen, D. D. Jackson, Kenny Kirkland, Billy Bang, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Steve Swallow, Anthony Cox, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Andy Gonzalez, Jack Bruce, Billy Hart, Ignacio Berroa, Little Jimmy Scott, the Latin percussionist Milton Cardona, the avant-rock guitarist Arto Lindsay, and the blues singer Taj Mahal. Hanrahan usually serves as a conductor, but he also plays guitar and sings. His eclectic style of music blends elements of rock, jazz, blues, and popular song over various rhythmic structures, which are often based on Latin music. He likens his role to that of a film director and has been called “the Jean-Luc Godard of music.”...

Article

Marisol Negrónh

[Kahn, Lawrence Ira ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 20, 1939). American salsa pianist, bandleader, and producer. He developed an interest in both jazz and Latin music as a teenager, while he attended the New York High School of Music and Art in Harlem. A multi-instrumentalist most widely recognized for his talent as a pianist, he has been known for combining traditional Cuban sounds with innovative arrangements. He debuted as bandleader in 1965 with Heavy Smoking, the second album released by the newly formed Fania Records. Affectionately nicknamed “El judío maravilloso” (the marvelous Jew) by fellow musicians, he became a member and producer of the original Fania All-Stars, an ensemble band that achieved international acclaim for its live concerts. In 1973 Harlow brought Latin music to Carnegie Hall with the opera Hommy (inspired by the Who’s rock opera Tommy), and in 1974 he released Salsa, considered one of his best recordings. In addition, ...

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Dave Laing

(b Pinner, June 30, 1939). English composer, bandleader and record producer. While writing arrangements for the band of the Coldstream Guards during his national service he composed the teenbeat ballad Look for a Star, recorded by Garry Mills in 1960. He became one of the busiest journeymen in British pop music during the 1960s showing a chameleon-like ability to adapt to the changing fashions. As recording manager for Pye Records throughout the decade, Hatch wrote and produced a beat group hit for The Searchers (Sugar and Spice), the dramatic ballad Joanna for Scott Walker, and a sequence of bright ballads for Petula Clark. Co-written with his wife, the singer Jackie Trent, these included Downtown, Don’t sleep in the subway and I know a place. Trent’s own recordings of Hatch-Trent songs included the more conventional ballad Where are you now (my love).

Hatch was also a highly successful composer of television theme tunes. He wrote the themes for the soap operas ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(George )

(b New York, Feb 13, 1908; d Los Angeles, April 24, 1971). American musical director, conductor and arranger. He began his career as a pianist, playing and arranging for jazz artists, in particular for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in the late 1920s. His arrangements of classic songs for Whiteman, such as Nobody's Sweetheart, are considered among the finest of their era, blending jazz instruments with those of the traditional orchestra. His later arrangement of Star Dust provided a hit in the early 1940s for clarinettist Artie Shaw. In 1940 he became musical director for Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios before moving to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953. He was involved in arranging scores for a number of films and musicals including The Harvey Girls (1945) and The Pirate (1948); the arrangements reflect the complexity achieved in his work for Whiteman, although film music had only recently incorporated jazz into its idioms. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his work on several notable musicals, including ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(b Haverstraw, NY, Aug 25, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 3, 1980). American musical director, orchestrator and conductor. His association with cinema music began as a young man with employment as a pianist and organist for a silent movie theatre in Mechanicsville, New York. He became a protégé of Leo Forbstein, the first musical director at Warner Brothers' studios, after helping with the scoring of the first sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927). He effectively served his apprenticeship with Warner Brothers, rising through the music department as a performer and orchestrator-arranger. During this period he orchestrated for Steiner on Daughters Courageous (1939). When Forbstein retired in 1947, Heindorf succeeded him, remaining as head of the department until 1959, although he continued to conduct and arrange scores. He was nominated for 18 Academy Awards between 1942 and 1968, and received three: for the musical direction on ...

Article

Frank Merkling

(b Frankfurt, Feb 18, 1902; d San Diego, ca, Sept 14, 1975). American conductor and administrator of German birth. He studied composition with Schoenberg in Vienna before gaining practical experience as a conductor in Germany and Switzerland and at the Vienna Volksoper. In 1938, just before the Anschluss, he left Austria for the USA, and became an American citizen in ...

Article

Yoko Suzuki

[Barbara Ann]

(b Marlin, TX, April 25, 1950). American jazz and rhythm-and-blues flutist, singer, bandleader, composer, and producer. She started to play flute in the Lincoln High School band in Dallas. Studying both classical and jazz flute, she continued her musical training at Texas Southern University and Southern Methodist University. In 1971 she moved to New York, where a relative, Eddie Preston, played trumpet with Duke Ellington. Because of this connection, she had the opportunity to play with Ellington’s band. She also competed in the Apollo Theater’s amateur night, winning first place for seven consecutive weeks. Blue Note Records signed Humphrey in 1971 and had recorded six of her albums by 1976, including Blacks and Blues (1973, BN). She performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1973 and 1977. She also appeared on “Another Star” from Stevie Wonder’s album Songs in the Key of Life (1975–1976, Tamia). After switching to Epic she recorded three more albums for that label: ...

Article

Digby Fairweather

revised by Alyn Shipton

(b Great Lever, nr Bolton, July 2, 1892; d London, Jan 29, 1965). English bandleader, pianist and impresario. He worked as the director of a touring pantomime company (1909), as a cinema organist in London (1913) and as a freelance musician in various clubs. After military service he was appointed relief pianist for the dance band of the Queen’s Hall Roof; later he became this group’s arranger and director. Hylton made a number of recordings for HMV (from 1921), of which the early example Wang-Wang Blues (1921) is representative. He performed at various venues, including the Grafton Galleries, Piccadilly Hotel (1922–3), before enlarging his band to full orchestra size for a highly successful residency at the Alhambra Theatre (1924). In 1925 he set up a booking agency. During the late 1920s his orchestra became the English equivalent of Paul Whiteman’s show band and achieved huge commercial success. Between ...

Article

Carrie Allen Tipton

(b Henry, TN, Sept 18, 1938). American gospel music television and radio host, singer, choir director, and media executive. He began singing publicly in the Methodist church as a child, although his first exposure to gospel music came in sanctified churches. His involvement with gospel music deepened in Nashville when he served as keyboard player, singer, and director for church and civic choirs while studying at Tennessee State University. In 1978 Jones recorded the first of many albums with his small ensemble, the New Life Singers, whose aesthetic leaned more toward contemporary Christian music than black gospel. Around this time he began hosting children’s and gospel music shows on Nashville television stations. In 1980 Black Entertainment Television began broadcasting one of these programs, Bobby Jones Gospel. The popular program has featured performances by Jones’s ensembles, established gospel stars, and up-and-coming gospel artists. Firmly within the gospel entrepreneurial tradition, Jones’s other enterprises include music festivals, workshops, radio shows, the gospel opera ...

Article

Ryan Kirk

[David ]

(b Hudsonville, MS, July 28, 1930; d Holly Springs, MS, Jan 17, 1998). American Bluesman, bandleader, and juke joint owner. He began playing guitar as a youth in northern Mississippi and developed a fiercely independent playing style marked by constant droning bass notes articulated by the thumb, leaving the other fingers free to play melodies in the middle and upper ranges. His music is characterized by its hypnotic and droning quality and seldom adheres to traditional harmonic frameworks. A lack of recognizable harmonic direction and the use of a limited melodic vocabulary give Kimbrough’s music a modal character, and the prominent use of syncopation and polyrhythm firmly root it in the African American tradition.

Kimbrough recorded only sporadically throughout the majority of his career. In 1992, Fat Possum Records released his debut album All Night Long and around the same time he opened his juke joint “Junior’s Place” in Chulahoma, Mississippi, where he would play regularly with his band the Soul Blue Boys. Following the success of ...

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Article

Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...

Article

Dan Sharp

[Santos ]

(b Niterói, Brazil, Feb 11, 1941). Brazilian pianist, bandleader, arranger, producer and composer, active in the United States. Formally trained in classical music, Mendes turned to jazz, participating in the bossa nova nightclub scene in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mendes and his group, the Sexteto Bossa Rio, performed at the pivotal Bossa Nova festival at Carnegie Hall, which contributed significantly to the popularity of bossa nova beyond Brazil.

In 1962, Mendes and the Sexteto Bossa Rio rode the wave of US interest in the genre, recording Do the Bossa Nova with Herbie Mann and Cannonball’s Bossa Nova with Cannonball Adderley. He moved to the United States soon after, adapting bossa nova to the American and international pop, light jazz, and easy listening markets. Mendes arranged, produced, and performed covers of pop hits by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell, as well as Brazilian songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jorge Ben, and others. The signature sound of his group was light and upbeat with two female vocalists singing in unison and a bouncy samba-derived rhythm. His groups were named “Brasil” followed by the year they were launched: ’65, ’66, ’77, ’88, ’99, and ...

Article

Albin Zak

(William )

(b Rochester, NY, July 4, 1911; d New York, NY, July 31, 2010). American record producer, conductor, recording artist, and oboist. Miller attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and played oboe in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra before moving to New York in the mid-1930s. He was a first-call soloist for such conductors as Fritz Reiner and Leopold Stokowski and a member of the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. As a studio musician he recorded in a variety of idioms, including a featured spot on the Charlie Parker with Strings LP, before moving into the role of pop record producer at Mercury Records.

Miller was a pivotal figure in postwar American pop music. Early in his production career, in 1949, he produced a set of Frankie Laine discs, three of which reached number one on the Billboard charts within six months. Each of the records—“That Lucky Old Sun,” “Mule Train,” and “Cry of the Wild Goose”—was a resourceful studio concoction. Mixing styles without regard for idiomatic conventions, inventing one-off ensembles for the song at hand, and employing sound effects and electronic enhancements such as added reverb, these three recordings epitomize Miller’s novel conception of record making. He developed these ideas and techniques in the course of the 1950s, during which his productions for the likes of Johnnie Ray, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Guy Mitchell, and Johnny Mathis were perennial public favorites, regularly posting sales in the millions....

Article

Howard Rye

(b Kansas City, MO, July 7, 1888; d San Francisco, June 25, 1957). American drummer, bandleader, and nightclub owner. In the 1910s he toured with the Tennessee Ten and led his own band in Chicago. Having moved to California, he operated a record store in Oakland around 1921 before going on tour with Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds. His presence has been suggested on recordings by Smith made in May 1922, but has not been securely established. Back in California he formed his own band, known from time to time as the Kansas City Blue Blowers or the Dixieland Blue Blowers. In November 1924 the group began a long residency at Solomon’s Dance Pavilion DeLuxe in Los Angeles, during which private recordings were made that have fortuitously survived; in 1927 it moved to the Bronx Palm Gardens and in October it began a series of recordings for Columbia. This band, in which Jake Porter, Les Hite, and Henry Starr were sidemen, was also the house band at the Lincoln Theater. In ...

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Bruce Carr

(Heinrich Anton Magnus)

(b Hamburg, June 13, 1843; d New York, Dec 4, 1897). American conductor, impresario and composer of German birth. He went to New York in 1854, and studied the violin and piano; at the age of 16 he became leader of the Stadt Theater orchestra in New York. After a season in Milwaukee (1864–5) he returned to New York as chorus master at the Stadt Theater, where Karl Anschütz was trying to establish a German opera. In 1867 he took over as director for four seasons, during the last of which he brought a troupe from Europe to perform several German works, including Lohengrin in its first American production (3 April 1871). In 1872, with Carl Rosa and the tenor Theodor Wachtel, he presented a season of Italian opera at the Academy of Music, and from 1872 to 1874 he was manager of the Germania Theatre. Wachtel returned to the Academy in ...

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Eddy Determeyer

[Melvin James ]

(b Battle Creek, MI, Dec 17, 1910; d New York, NY, May 28, 1988). American arranger, composer, producer, bandleader, trumpeter, and singer. Growing up as an African American musician in Zanesville, Ohio, Oliver was self taught as a trumpeter and arranger. After playing in territory bands in and around Zanesville and Columbus, he became a member of Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra in 1933. His charts for the Lunceford band were distinguished by contrasts, crescendos, and unexpected melodic variations, thereby setting new standards in big band swing and close-harmony singing. His use of two-beat rhythms also set his arrangements apart.

In 1939 Oliver was hired by the trombonist Tommy Dorsey and turned his band into one of the hardest swinging and most sophisticated ensembles of the early 1940s. In 1946 he started his own big band. During the late 1940s and 1950s he mainly did studio work, as a music director for the labels Decca, Bethlehem, and Jubilee. He continued to lead big bands and smaller ensembles, recycling his old Lunceford and Dorsey successes and performing new arrangements. Along with Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, Oliver must be rated one of the top arrangers of the swing era and infused almost every chart with vigor and surprise....

Article

David F. Garcia

(b Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, March 25, 1935). American flutist, bandleader, and producer of Dominican origin. Pacheco’s early exposure to Cuban radio fostered a lifelong passion for Cuban dance music. The family moved to New York in 1946, where he began to play Cuban music professionally with Gilberto Valdés’s charanga (dance ensemble). With Valdés’s encouragement, Pacheco learned the traditional five-keyed Cuban wooden flute. In 1959 he joined Charlie Palmieri’s charanga La Orquesta Duboney and then formed his own charanga the following year. Their first LP, Pacheco y su charanga (1960), sold over 100,000 copies, an unprecedented amount for a Latin band. In 1965 he abandoned the charanga format for the trumpet-based conjunto ensemble, reinterpreting the music of La Sonora Matancera, Arsenio Rodríguez, Félix Chappottín, and Cheo Marquetti. That same year he and Italian American lawyer Jerry Masucci started Fania Records, which would become the most successful salsa record company in the 1970s. As Fania’s musical director, Pacheco played a formative role in the international popularization of Willie Colón, Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez, Celia Cruz, and others. In his heyday Pacheco was a charismatic bandleader and musician in tune with the roots of Cuban popular music. But it was his acumen for the commercial music industry that accounts for his importance in the history of Latin popular music....

Article

H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Joanna R. Smolko

(b Chicago, IL, March 16, 1892; d Chicago, IL, Oct 23, 1984). American Labor leader. He played trumpet and at the age of 14 organized a dance band. He was soon attracted to union activity, and in 1914 he was elected president of the American Musicians Union (AMU) in Chicago. After being defeated for reelection three years later, he resigned from the AMU and joined the American federation of musicians (AFM). He became president of the Chicago local in 1922, was named to the parent union’s executive board in 1932, and in 1940 was elected national president, a post he held until he retired in 1958 (although he retained the presidency of the Chicago local for another four years).

Petrillo was an aggressive, shrewd, and powerful fighter for the musicians in the AFM. He built the Chicago local into a disciplined force in municipal politics and worked to expand the membership at the national level (by ...

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Lise Waxer

(b New York City, Feb 28, 1938; d New York City, June 6, 1993). American vibraphone player, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader and producer. He trained at the Juilliard School of Music and launched his career in 1957, recording with Joe Loco. In 1960 he contributed to Johnny Pacheco’s first charanga album, El güiro de macorina and launched his own band in 1963, recording Introducing Louie Ramírez. Through the 1960s he performed with Joe Cuba and was a member of the Alegre All-Stars and, with the vocalist Pete Bonet, led the house band at New York City’s Corso Club in the late 1960s. Through the 70s and 80s he was a staff producer for Fania Records and its subsidiary labels Vaya, Inca, Cotique and Tico, and was also acting president of Alegre Records. As a producer, arranger and composer, he influenced the growing sophistication of New York salsa during this time, evident on his own tunes ...