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Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy

(Noah )

(b Berkeley, CA, Aug 21, 1960). American bandleader, tenor saxophonist, composer, percussionist, and pianist. He played percussion and piano from an early age, took up drums while in elementary school, and began piano lessons when he was nine. In 1975 he formed his own improvisation group, the Berkeley Arts Company, and in 1977 he founded the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, which initially consisted of 16 reed and brass players and himself on drums; the following year he added other instruments to form a rhythm section. Having moved to New York state (c1979) he played percussion and drums in Karl Berger’s Woodstock Workshop Orchestra, and he toured and recorded with the group in Europe with Don Cherry as guest soloist (1979). Under Warren Smith (ii) he performed in the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble, and he played keyboards in Carla Bley’s Burning Sensations and worked briefly with Eddie Jefferson. In ...

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John Cowley and Howard Rye

(b Jamaica, c1900; d after 1954). Jamaican tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He moved to Great Britain around 1924 and performed in dance bands there and in Europe until the early 1930s. He played in London with West Indian jazz musicians, including Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz (...

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(b Memphis, TN, Feb 3, 1898; d Chicago, IL, Aug 27, 1971). American jazz pianist, singer, bandleader, and composer. She studied keyboard privately from an early age and had hopes of becoming a concert pianist. While she was enrolled at Fisk University, her mother and stepfather moved to Chicago, where in 1917 she took a job as a sheet music demonstrator, which led to her joining the Original Creole Jazz Band as its pianist. It was her first job playing jazz and she decided not to return to Fisk. She subsequently worked with several bands, including King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with which she performed in San Francisco in 1921 and made her recording debut in 1923. By this time the band included louis Armstrong, whom she married in 1924. Armstrong’s place in jazz history was assured by her participation on Oliver’s Gennett recordings and Louis’ Hot Five sessions for Okeh. She played an important role in Louis’ move into a brighter spotlight before their separation in ...

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David F. Garcia

[Desiderio Alberto]

(b Santiago de Cuba, March 2, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Dec 2, 1986).American entertainer, bandleader, and television producer of Cuban birth. Arnaz left Santiago for the United States when his father, the mayor, was exiled upon the fall of the Machado government in 1933. Arnaz began his career as a singer in Miami and joined the internationally famous Xavier Cugat orchestra in the late 1930s. He started his own band, which recorded with Columbia in 1941 and Victor from 1946 through 1951. While Arnaz was the leader and featured singer, the band also recorded with prominent American singers, including the Andrews Sisters and Jane Harvey. Arnaz also appeared in the Broadway and film versions of Too Many Girls in 1939 and 1940, respectively. He married the film actress Lucille Ball, and the couple eventually starred in and produced their classic television show, I Love Lucy (featuring Arnaz as a bandleader), from ...

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Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Hälsingborg, Sweden, Aug 7, 1920; d Stockholm, Feb 11, 1971). Swedish bandleader, arranger, and saxophonist. He led a big band in Malmö (1942–9), was a member of Thore Ehrling’s orchestra in Stockholm (1949–52), and worked as a studio musician. From 1956 to 1965 he was the leader of Radiobandet (the Swedish Radio Big Band), which achieved considerable success in the USA. First presented there as the Jazztone Mystery Band (an invention of the writer George T. Simon), it was mistaken by several critics and well-known musicians for one of the leading American big bands, and it received considerable further acclaim through albums released under Arnold’s own name. The ensemble played in a modernized swing style and included such prominent Swedish and Norwegian musicians as Arne Domnérus, Bengt Hallberg, Bjarne Nerem, Åke Persson, Carl-Henrik Norin, Egil Johansson, and Georg Riedel. Benny Bailey, living in Sweden at that time, was also an intermittent member, and he recorded as a soloist with the group, as did Nat Adderley and Coleman Hawkins as guests (all on ...

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Chadwick Jenkins

(Jeanne)

(b Detroit, MI, Aug 6, 1932; d Santa Monica, CA, April 13, 1986). American jazz harpist and bandleader, daughter of the jazz guitarist Wiley Thompson. She attended Cass Technical High School with Donald Byrd and Kenny Burrell, and took up piano, double bass, saxophone, and, eventually, harp. She then studied piano and music education at Wayne State University. Although she performed on piano in nightclubs, she had settled on harp as her primary instrument by 1952. She also formed a trio in which her husband, John Ashby, played drums. During the 1960s, Ashby presented her own radio show and, with her husband, formed the Ashby Players, an African-American theater group. Down Beat included her on its poll of best jazz performers in 1962, and by the late 1960s, she was in demand as a studio musician, in which capacity she recorded with Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, and Diana Ross, among others, and on movie soundtracks. Ashby’s most celebrated albums include ...

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Digby Fairweather

revised by Simon Adams

[William Michael Allingham ]

(b Blackpool, England, Dec 6, 1936). English bandleader. He began playing saxophone and clarinet in school, and after service in an RAF band he organized two jazz bands while studying at Oxford University (1955–62). In the early 1960s he performed in several clubs in London. In 1965 he formed the London Schools Jazz Orchestra, which was later known as the London Youth Jazz Orchestra and then the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO); it became a professional organization in 1974 and is the only full-time big band of its kind in Great Britain. Through its ranks have passed some of Britain’s finest young musicians, including Julian and Steve Argüelles, Guy Barker, Chris Biscoe, Paul Lytton, Dave O’Higgins, Gerard Presencer, and Jamie Talbot. It has toured with Shorty Rogers (1982, 1983), and John Dankworth (1986), made regular appearances at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London, and made a large number of recordings, among them ...

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Dave Gelly

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Altwerger, John ]

(b Toronto, May 19, 1919; d Palm Springs, CA, Jan 8, 1990). American tenor saxophonist and bandleader. His family moved to New York in 1919. He first played professionally on alto saxophone, but changed to the tenor instrument because of Coleman Hawkins’s influence. He led his own band at Nick’s, New York, and worked with Bunny Berigan (1937–8) and Artie Shaw (c December 1938 – November 1939). Following Shaw’s first retirement he led the latter’s band briefly, then played for a short time with Jan Savitt and was a member of Benny Goodman’s orchestra and sextet (November 1940 – c June 1941); during the same period he recorded in Benny Carter’s band, accompanying Billie Holiday (September–October 1940), and again under Carter’s leadership (October 1940). After a second period with Shaw (to January 1942) Auld resumed bandleading (February 1942...

Article

John L., Jr. Clark

[Calhoun, Cora]

(b Chattanooga, TN, Sept 19, 1887; d Chicago, IL, July 10, 1972). American jazz and blues pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, and music director. After studying at Roger Williams University (Nashville) and Knoxville College, she performed on the TOBA circuit and toured accompanying her second husband Buster Austin. In the early 1920s Austin moved to Chicago, where for almost 20 years she directed shows for touring stage performers as the music director and bandleader at the Monogram and Joyland theaters. From 1923 to 1926 she also led the house band at Paramount Records, accompanying blues singers and making instrumental recordings featuring such jazz musicians as Tommy Ladnier, Al Wynn, Johnny Dodds, and Jimmy O’Bryant. After working in a defense plant during World War II, Austin returned to music, working in dancing schools. Her final recording, in 1961 for Riverside Records, was a reunion with her friend Alberta Hunter and several musicians she had previously worked with in Chicago....

Article

Elijah Wald

[Ramón Covarrubias]

(b Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, Dec 8, 1945). Mexican accordionist, singer, and bandleader. Born in Monterrey and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Ramón Ayala has been the foremost figure in norteño music along the Gulf Coast and Texas border region since the 1970s. He first became famous in the 1960s as the accordionist and coleader of Los Relámpagos del Norte, with the singer-songwriter Cornelio Reyna; then formed his own band, Los Bravos del Norte, in 1971. In Mexico, Ayala is regarded as part of a great generation of border bandleaders, along with Carlos y José and Los Cadetes de Linares. North of the border, though, he has far outstripped his peers, and only California’s Los Tigres del Norte rival his ongoing popularity. Unlike the Tigres, who have consistently pushed norteño in new directions, Ayala is a traditionalist, and his success is due as much to his image as a hard-working, old-fashioned bearer of the classic tradition as to his intricate accordion passages and his keen eye for good material, from gunfighter corridos to romantically mournful ...

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Lise Waxer

(b Santa Clara, Feb 11, 1893; d Havana, Jan 20, 1943). Cuban pianist and bandleader. As the leader of the Havana Casino Orchestra he is best known for having launched the El manicero (‘Peanut Vendor’) craze in the United States after his band performed this number at New York’s Palace Theater on 26 April 1930. Written by Moises Simon, the song became an instant hit, and within a year popular jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington had recorded versions of the tune. Expanding upon the traditional Cuban conjunto (sextet or septet), Azpiazú’s band was a 14-piece dance orchestra with trumpets, saxophones, trombone, tuba, piano, bass and Cuban percussion. Although Latin bands already existed in New York, his was the first group to be successful with the non-Latino public, helping to catalyze the rhumba dance craze that lasted throughout the decade. The Havana Casino Orchestra recorded popular versions of other tunes such as ...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b Stevensville, MT, March 20, 1916; d San Francisco, Oct 26, 1989). American pianist and bandleader. As a teenager he went with his family to Santa Clara, California, and in 1938 he moved to San Francisco, where he immediately began working professionally. He played traditional jazz with Turk Murphy (1942) and, after a brief period of army service, Lu Watters (1943) and performed and recorded with Bunk Johnson (1943–4). He led his own bands (1944–9), performed and recorded with Bob Scobey and Murphy again (December 1947, 1949–50), rejoined Watters (1949), and later worked with Marty Marsala (1954). Bales recorded as a leader in 1949, 1950, and 1957, and in 1958 and 1959 led bands at the first two Monterey jazz festivals, accompanying Lizzie Miles in the latter year. As an unaccompanied soloist he made recordings in ...

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Noël Goodwin

(Havell )

(b London, July 2, 1922; d Beaconsfield, February 24, 2007). English conductor . After studies at the RAM, in 1947 he joined the New London Opera Company at the Cambridge Theatre as a répétiteur; he made his début there that year conducting Carl Ebert’s production of Rigoletto. He went to Glyndebourne as a répétiteur in 1950, returning (1953–8) as chorus master and associate conductor, working closely with Vittorio Gui on the Italian repertory. During that period he was also principal conductor at the Wexford Festival. In 1959 he became a resident conductor at Covent Garden, where he remained until 1965, giving over 200 performances of 16 operas. He toured with the English Opera Group to the USSR and Portugal, conducting Albert Herring and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From 1963 to 1967 he was music director of the WNO. He first conducted the Sadler’s Wells Opera in 1957...

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Ken Rattenbury

[Kenneth Daniel ]

(b Ilford, England, May 22, 1930). English trumpeter and bandleader. He took up trumpet at the age of 14 and first worked professionally when he was 17. In the early 1950s he played dixieland with several bands, notably those of Charlie Galbraith and the drummer Eric Delaney, and in 1953 he joined a group led by Sid Phillips, with whom he played a stylized brand of dixieland characterized by elaborate arrangements. Ball recorded as a leader from 1957, and after leaving Phillips’s group he worked briefly as a freelance and was a member of Terry Lightfoot’s ensemble. In November 1958 he formed the Jazzmen, with which he made several recordings that achieved great popularity (Samantha, 1961; Midnight in Moscow, 1961; So do I, 1962) and many tours, including one of the USSR (1985); the band remained busy in the 1990s. Ball’s full, muscular tone and strong sense of melody display the influence not only of Armstrong but also of Bunny Berigan and Bix Beiderbecke; in his performances he reveals a warm, extroverted personality....

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(b Palestine, TX, Jan 21, 1902; d Fort Worth, May 2, 1984). American singer and bandleader. He led his own band in Dallas (c1925) and toured Texas, then briefly led the Wolverines. In 1928 he worked as a banjoist in New York, but from 1929 he specialized as a singer. He made a large number of recordings as a leader (1929–31, 1934), as well as with such musicians as the Dorsey Brothers (1928–9), Irving Mills, the Goofus Five, and Ben Pollack (all 1929), the California Ramblers, Joe Venuti, and Frankie Trumbauer (all 1929–30), the violinist Ben Selvin (1929–31), Duke Ellington (1930, notably Nine Little Miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee, Vic. 22586), and Red Nichols and Benny Goodman (both 1931). During the early 1930s his band held many residencies in New York, and Ballew also led an all-star group which included Bunny Berigan and Glenn Miller. Later he appeared in many films....

Article

Charles Fox and Digby Fairweather

(b Welwyn Garden City, April 17, 1930). English jazz trombonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied the trombone and the double bass at the GSM in London, and formed his first traditional jazz band in 1949. In 1953 he helped to organize a band that was led by Ken Colyer, at that time the most ardent British propagandist for traditional New Orleans music. The following year Barber took over the band; Colyer was replaced by Pat Halcox, and the ensemble soon became one of the most popular and technically accomplished groups of its kind. From the mid-1950s Barber helped foster British interest in blues by bringing over such American musicians as Muddy Waters, the harmonica player Sonny Terry and the guitarist and singer Brownie McGhee. He made several tours of the USA beginning in 1959, and also recorded two albums with his American Jazz Band, which included Sidney De Paris, Edmond Hall and Hank Duncan. Barber expanded his interests, recording classic rags (scored for his band) long before the popular rediscovery of Scott Joplin, and working with musicians from other areas of jazz (notably the Jamaican saxophonists Bertie King and Joe Harriott). Renewed interest in traditional jazz in the early 1960s brought wide success to Barber and his group, which included as its singer his wife, Ottilie Patterson. After rhythm-and-blues achieved general popularity in the early 1960s he re-formed his group as Chris Barber’s Jazz and Blues Band, and, while retaining his roots in New Orleans jazz, engaged rock and blues musicians guitarist John Slaughter and the drummer Pete York. During the 1970s the band toured frequently in Europe. In ...

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Chadwick Jenkins

(b Lisle, IL, Nov 8, 1955). American singer, pianist, composer, and bandleader. Her father played with the Glenn Miller band and her mother was a professional blues singer. After studying psychology and classical piano at the University of Iowa, Barber returned to Chicago and began playing five nights a week at the Gold Star Sardine Bar, where she attracted varying critical attention for her husky voice and the inclusion of pop songs, including “Black Magic Woman” and “A Taste of Honey,” in her repertoire. She recorded her first album, Split (Floyd), in 1989 and her second album, A Distortion of Love (Antilles) in 1991. She subsequently moved to the independent label Premonition, which was bought by Blue Note in 1998. In 2003 Barber became the first songwriter to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Under its aegis she composed a song cycle based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She is the subject of a documentary, ...

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Michel Laplace

(b Cannes, France, March 30, 1944). French trombonist and conductor. He studied piano (1957–60), flute (1965–70), and conducting (1970–76), but was self-taught as a trombonist. From 1963 to 1967 he played with the Haricots Rouges, led by the clarinetist Gérard Tarquin, and from 1968 with the High Society Jazz Band, which performed in New Orleans in 1972 and in Chicago in 1987. He was then a member of the Watergate Seven Plus One (1974–91), which appeared in Sacramento (1980–81, 1983), and he co-founded the group Paris Washboard, which toured California (1993–5) and recorded Paris Washboard: Live in Gaveau (1993, Vibrato Musique 0930-2). Barda also played with the percussionist Henri Guédon, Gérard Badini, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Milt Buckner (all in 1974), the group Charquet & Co. (1976), and Claude Luter (...

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Michel Laplace

(b Loda, nr Lantosque, France, March 1, 1917; d Monaco, July 13, 1995). French trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. He was largely self-taught as a musician. He went to Paris in January 1940 and played with the bandleader and saxophonist Raymond Legrand (1940), Fred Adison’s band, the pianist Raymond Wraskoff (1940–41), Hubert Rostaing (1940–41), Alix Combelle’s group the Jazz de Paris (1940–41), Maceo Jefferson, and André Ekyan (1941). In 1943–5 he performed and recorded as the leader of a successful group consisting of a trumpet, five saxophones, and a rhythm section; Dizzy Gillespie was a guest soloist with the band in 1948. Barelli recorded in jam sessions with Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet (1949), and Django Reinhardt (1952), and from 1966 worked as a bandleader in Monte Carlo. Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Harry James, and Gillespie, Barelli was the most technically proficient French trumpeter; his performance on ...

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Howard Rye

(b Vicksburg, MS, July 8, 1905; d Natchez, MS, April 23, 1940). American bandleader, clarinetist, and saxophonist. After studying music in Chicago he formed his own quartet (1926). Later he led the Royal Creolians, which held many engagements in the Chicago area (to 1930) and was also resident at the Savoy Ballroom, New York (1929). In 1928–9 he made several recordings with the band, among them Buffalo Rhythm (1929, Bruns. 7072) and If you’re thinking of me (1929, Bruns. 4480). It toured the South and Midwest (1930s), where it became very popular, and by 1938 it comprised 16 musicians. In 1939 Barnes re-formed the band for a residency at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago. While on tour in 1940 he, eight of his sidemen, and the singer Juanita Avery were killed in a fire at the Rhythm Club, Natchez. The tragedy has been the subject of several blues recordings, including ...