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William Kirk Bares

Hybrid genre with origins in London’s acid house scene of the late 1980s. Originating with the English DJ and producer Gilles Peterson, the label denotes a craze, a marketing category, and a durable transatlantic jazz subculture with links to hip hop, rave and club music. Notable bands include the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Galliano, and Us3 in the UK and Digable Planets, Groove Collective, and Brooklyn Funk Essentials in the USA. During the music’s heyday in the 1990s, groups fused improvised live jazz with soul-jazz beats and elements of hip hop, including lyrics by established rappers like Guru and MC Solaar. The dance-oriented music tapped into the era’s fascination with jazz history, DJ culture, and retro kitsch. Jazz publications of the 1990s, including the UK-based Straight No Chaser (devoted entirely to acid jazz), debated whether acid jazz was innovative or derivative, genuinely or only superficially jazz. Its advocates touted its accessibility and potential to revive neglected jazz artists and grooves. Collaborations with veteran jazz musicians like Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ron Carter added credibility to the movement....

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Musical subculture of the late 1980s and 90s. Acid jazz is largely a fusion of black American musical styles such as funk, soul and hip-hop combined with a visual aesthetic which borrows extensively from both British popular culture of the 1960s and black American street style of the 70s. Fundamentally a form of street style, it combined music, fashion and recreational drug use to create an ‘attitude’ that owed much to the beatniks of the 1960s (hence ‘jazz’) and a nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, regarded as a time when musicianship was vital to good dance music as opposed to the more contemporary technological emphasis. The term covers a wide range of musical styles, from the electronic disco styling of bands such as Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies to the Santana-inspired funk rock of Mother Earth and the Mendez Report. The common denominator is usually the influence of funk, drawing on syncopated rhythmic interplay between the instruments and the use of chromatic chord sequences used widely in post-bop jazz but rarely in mainstream pop or dance music....

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Richard Beckett

English record company. It was established in London in 1988 by the DJs Eddie Piller and Gilles Peterson. Their original intention was that the label would represent an alternative to the nascent acid house scene, based more around live musicians than the technology so central to acid house. Their policy stated ‘no house music’ and championed obscure soul and funk artists of the 1960s and 70s. Peterson left in 1989 to set up Talkin’ Loud, a rival imprint backed by Polygram, leaving Piller and his assistant Dean Rudland to develop Acid Jazz as a small but fashionable independent label. In the early 1990s they signed bands such as Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai, who have since achieved considerable commercial success with major record labels. In the late 1990s the company diversified its musical base, with separate labels dedicated to drum ’n’ bass, reggae and pop. In 1994 it acquired the Bass Clef, a jazz club in Hoxton, East London. Renamed the Blue Note, by ...

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Stanley Sadie

Masque or serenata in one (later two) acts by George Frideric Handel to words by John Gay and others; Cannons, summer 1718 (revised version in three acts, incorporating Italian words by Nicola Giuvo, London, King’s Theatre, 10 June 1732).

During the period 1717–20 Handel spent much of his time at Cannons, the seat of James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon (later Duke of Chandos), at Edgware, a short distance north-west of London. As resident composer, he supplied his patron with church music, principally anthems, and two dramatic works, Esther (the first English oratorio) and Acis and Galatea, which has variously been described as a serenata, a masque, a pastoral or pastoral opera, a ‘little opera’ (in a letter while it was being written), an entertainment and even (incorrectly) an oratorio. Whether or not it was originally fully staged, given in some kind of stylized semi-dramatic form or simply performed as a concert work is uncertain; local tradition holds that it was given in the open air on the terraces overlooking the garden (the recent discovery of piping to supply an old fountain, suitable for the closing scene, might fancifully be invoked as support). It was performed on an unknown date, probably during the summer, in ...

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Lois Rosow

(‘Acis and Galatea’)

Pastorale-héroïque in a prologue and three acts by Jean-Baptiste Lully ( see Lully family (opera) §(1) ) to a libretto by Campistron, Jean Galbert de after Ovid ’s Metamorphoses; Anet, château (without machines), 6 September 1686, and Paris, Opéra, 17 September 1686.

This work was privately commissioned by the Duke of Vendôme for a celebration to honour the dauphin, it subsequently enjoyed public success. Lully turned to Galbert de Campistron because Quinault, his usual collaborator, had withdrawn from theatrical work. In keeping with the conventions of the pastorale-héroïque genre, the plot involves a love triangle that mixes gods and mortals: the sea-nymph Galatea (soprano), the mortal Acis (haute-contre) and the monster Poliphème [Polyphemus] (baritone). Acis is violently murdered by Polyphemus (in full view of the audience) but restored to life and transformed into a river by Neptune (baritone). The musical conventions are those of Lully’s mature tragédies en musique...

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Louise K. Stein

(‘Acis and Galatea’)

Zarzuela in two acts with music by Antonio de Literes to a libretto by José de Cañizares; Madrid, Alcázar palace or Coliseo del Buen Retiro, 19 December 1708.

A partly sung zarzuela on the story of Acis, Galatea and Polifemo [Polyphemus], it was composed for King Philip V’s birthday and performed by the combined companies of Joseph Garcés and Juan Bautista Chavarría. The characters also include Doris, Glauco [Glaucus], Tisbe [Thisbe], Telemo [Telemus], Momo [Momus] and Tíndaro [Tyndareus], as well as choruses. In the original cast only Polyphemus, Telemus and Tyndareus were played by men. After its first performance at court, the work entered the repertory of the public theatres in Madrid when the company of Garcés performed it in the Teatro del Príncipe for an extended run in January 1710. Subsequent revivals in 1713, 1714, 1721, 1725 and 1727 were largely successful, such that the work may represent Madrid’s most popular zarzuela of the first half of the 18th century. In style it exemplifies the hybrid nature of the early 18th century zarzuela in its absorption of foreign musical forms and procedures within Spanish musical-theatrical conventions. It is also typical of Literes’s theatrical scores in its restricted use of recitative and juxtaposition of set pieces in traditional Spanish style with expressly italianate arias....

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Jürg Stenzl

(b Bucharest, Oct 18, 1909; d Wabern, nr Berne, March 9, 1960). Swiss conductor . After studying at the Royal Academy in Bucharest and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, he became Kapellmeister at the Düsseldorf Opera House, and in 1932 chief Kapellmeister and opera director at the German Theatre in Brno. He was chief Kapellmeister at the Berne Municipal Theatre (...

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Ackley  

American family of composers of gospel music. Alfred H(enry) Ackley (b Spring Hill, PA, 21 Jan 1887; d Whittier, CA, 3 July 1960) composed and edited gospel hymns and choruses and was associated with Homer A. Rodeheaver. Alfred's brother, Bentley DeForest Ackley (b Sping Hill, PA, 27 Sept 1872...

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Laurence Libin

A term used for an instrument that does not incorporate pickups or microphones for the purpose of electronic amplification or manipulation. It is normally used only when it is necessary to distinguish between such an instrument and one of the same or a similar type that does incorporate pickups or microphones: for example ‘acoustic bass’ as opposed to ‘electric bass’ and ‘acoustic guitar’ as opposed to ‘electric guitar’. In most cases, therefore, an instrument is assumed to be acoustic unless its name explicitly states that it is electric or electronic....

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Alyn Shipton and Barry Kernfeld

An oversized four-string guitar tuned like the electric bass guitar. It has been used in an amplified variant by Dave Holland, unamplified by Alec Dankworth and Terry Gregory in Martin Taylor’s string band Spirit of Django, and both amplified and unamplified by its principal exponent, Jonas Hellborg. An earlier acoustic bass guitar, called the bassoguitar, was briefly marketed in jazz circles in the late 1930s in a failed attempt, many years before the appearance of the electric bass guitar, to provide bass players with an instrument that was somewhat more portable than the double bass; a photograph of Israel Crosby playing the instrument at a jam session was published in ...

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Val Wilmer

[Emanuel Nii-Moi ]

(b Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast [now Ghana], June 7, 1931; d London, Sept 15, 1993). Ghanaian conga and bongo player. He was educated at the Royal School in Accra and began playing drums as a child. Following a brief spell in the army he traveled to Britain in 1947, settled in Yorkshire, undertook factory work, and purchased his first pair of bongos. He then moved to London and entered the entertainment business as a fire-eater, dancer, and drummer. Thereafter he became a firm fixture in modern-jazz groups, playing with Ronnie Scott, Phil Seamen, Sammy Walker, and the trombonist Ken Wray, and following other African percussionists into Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists. In 1955 he joined Cab Kaye. Having changed permanently from bongos to conga drums, he played with Shake Keane and Tubby Hayes. For more than six years his propulsive beat was a key element in the success of the singer and organist Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Acquaye worked with the Nightimers, led by the American soul singer Herbie Goines, and the jazz-tinged rock bands of Graham Bond and Ginger Baker, as well as with the Animals and the Rolling Stones. The first African to have a visible presence in postwar British popular music, he rejoined Fame intermittently but devoted his time increasingly to community teaching. The percussion workshops Adzido and Dade Krama enabled him to return to the pure drumming and chants of his youth....

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ACT  

Gary W. Kennedy

Record label. Its parent company, ACT Music + Vision, was established in 1988 by Siegfried Loch, a former executive at WEA (the European division of Warner Brothers), and Annette Humpe, with the label ACT specializing in pop music. It failed shortly after its inception but was resurrected by Loch around 1992 as a label focusing on jazz. By early 2000 it had issued more than 80 recordings. Initially these were drawn from sessions which Loch had recorded for Liberty, Philips, and WEA, including both reissued material and previously unreleased material by the same artists. Loch then went on to make new recordings by such younger musicians as Nils Landgren and Nguyên Lê. The ACT catalogue also contains previously unreleased blues recordings from European festivals produced by Loch (notably the American Folk Blues festivals in Germany, 1963–5) and recordings of flamenco music.

B. Milkowski: “Label Watch: Loch and Lode: Act Records,” ...

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Jack Westrup

Music specially written for the celebration of the Act at the University of Oxford in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Act, held originally in July, was a traditional function at which candidates for degrees gave public evidence of their fitness. In 1669 it was held for the first time in the newly opened Sheldonian Theatre (having previously been held at the university church of St Mary) and was incorporated in the ceremony of the Encaenia (the dedication of the building). Composers who contributed music for the Act, which flourished particularly in the period 1699–1710, included Locke and Blow. The Act ceased to be held after 1733, but the Encaenia continued as a ceremony for the commemoration of founders and benfactors and for the conferment of honorary degrees. The 1733 Act was celebrated with music composed and performed by Handel, and in 1791 Haydn's Symphony no.92 (the ‘Oxford’) was performed at the Sheldonian Theatre when he was awarded the honorary DMus. The only music performed now is an organ recital before the ceremony....

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Curtis Price

Instrumental (rarely vocal) music performed before and during the intervals of late 17th- and early 18th-century English plays and semi-operas. A full suite of act music comprises nine pieces: two pieces each of ‘first music’ and ‘second music’, played to entertain the audience waiting for the play to begin; an overture, usually in the French style, sounded after the prologue was spoken and just before the curtain was raised; and four ‘act tunes’ played immediately at the end of each act of a five-act play or semi-opera (except the last).

The earliest known suites of act music were composed by Matthew Locke in the 1660s for various unidentified productions of the Duke’s Company, London; the earliest surviving suite for an identifiable play is John Banister’s for The Indian Queen (1664). The first set to be published was Locke’s for the 1674 ‘operatic’ production of Dryden and Davenant’s The Tempest...

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M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

(Fr.). A French 18th-century stage work in one act, akin to the opéra-ballet and performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Opéra). Like the opéra-ballet, an acte de ballet includes airs, duets, choruses (particularly choeurs dansés) and sometimes other vocal music as well as instrumental dances. Being in a single act, it had a continuous, though slight, dramatic action: the plot was often designed to provide maximum opportunity for colourful scenic displays. Under the title ‘Fragments’, an evening’s performance at the Opéra might be made up of several actes de ballet by different authors or one with other short works; popular entrées from opéras-ballets were taken out of their original context and given as actes de ballet.

The earliest example is Zélindor, roi des silphes by François Rebel and François Francoeur (1745), termed a ‘divertissement’. As a designation in scores and librettos, acte de ballet is most frequently found in the works of Rameau: ...

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Actéon  

John S. Powell

(‘Actaeon’)

Pastorale in six scenes by Marc-Antoine Charpentier ; Paris, Hotel de Guise, 1683–5.

Actaeon (haute-contre) and a chorus of hunters are tracking game while Diane [Diana] (soprano) and her companions are bathing in a nearby spring. Actaeon takes leave of his party to find a quiet glade to sleep. Encountering the bathers, he attempts to hide but is immediately discovered. To prevent him from boasting of what he has seen, Diana transforms him into a stag. The hunters come looking for Actaeon to invite him to join their hunt, but Junon [Juno] (mezzo-soprano) appears and announces the death of Actaeon, who has been torn to pieces by his own hounds. A miniature tragédie lyrique, Actéon approaches other works by Charpentier, such as David et Jonathas and Médée, in its psychological dimensions. Charpentier’s music, through affective choices of key, orchestral colour and vocal style, faithfully reflects the rapid succession of moods within the drama’s short span. Especially moving is the poignant instrumental plaint that accompanies Actaeon’s transformation into a stag....