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J. Bradford Robinson

(b Fort Smith, AR, Aug 24, 1905; d Fort Smith, AR, Oct 14, 1959). American jazz bandleader and pianist. He performed in Arkansas and Oklahoma before taking over a small “territory” band in 1923, which shortly afterwards began a long tenure at the Adolphus Hotel, Dallas. The band’s performances, radio broadcasts, and tours made it the most successful and respected of the early Southwest jazz bands. Its recordings of 1928 show a polished ensemble style as advanced as those of Duke Ellington or Fletcher Henderson at that time, and include excellent improvised solos by the violinist Stuff Smith, the trombonist Leon “Snub” Mosley, and a trumpeter thought to be Peanuts Holland. The group played in New York around 1930 with notable success, but Trent refused further offers to work on the East Coast: he remained based in the Southwest and filled engagements on steamboat lines. The second of two recording sessions, in ...

Article

Simon Collier

[Pichuco; El Gordo]

(b Buenos Aires, July 11, 1914; d Buenos Aires, May 18, 1975). Argentine tango bandoneon player, bandleader and composer. Largely self-taught, he played full-time in tango bands from the age of 13, working in those of Juan Maglio, the Vardaro-Pugliese Sextet, Julio De Caro and Alfredo Gobbi among others. His own band made its début at the Marabú cabaret in Buenos Aires in July 1937. With Troilo’s bandoneon and the piano skills of Orlando Goñi, it was soon recognized as the leading band of its time; the first of its nearly 500 recordings date from 1938. Supremely popular in Buenos Aires, Troilo made relatively few trips abroad, which were always short. His best tango songs were written with the lyricist Homero Manzi, and include Barrio de tango and Sur, the prime tango classics of the 1940s. In 1953 he wrote music for a long-running musical comedy, El patio de la morocha...

Article

[Frank; Trombar, Frank; Tram]

(b Carbondale, IL, May 30, 1901; d Kansas City, MO, June 11, 1956). American jazz saxophonist and bandleader. He learned to play the C-melody saxophone by arpeggiating chords that his mother, a pianist, played on the piano, acquiring proficient knowledge of harmony in the process. He attended school in St. Louis and Carbondale and served in the US Navy during World War I. From 1919 to mid-1922 he played with or led various bands, developing a reputation for his unique tone. After moving to Chicago, in 1923 he joined the Benson Orchestra and in 1924 the Ray Miller Orchestra, where he befriended trombonist Miff Mole. While touring with Miller’s band, he first heard cornetist Bix Beiderbecke’s playing in New York in 1924. Greatly impressed, Trumbauer recorded with Beiderbecke on Gennett Records as the Sioux City Six and in 1925 invited him to join Trumbauer’s band in St. Louis. They developed a close personal and musical rapport and played in the same bands throughout the 1920s, including the Jean Goldkette Orchestra, which Trumbauer directed, the Adrian Rollini Orchestra, and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra....

Article

Ioannis Fulias

(b Athens, Dec 4, 1968). Greek musicologist, conductor, and guitarist. He studied guitar from his early childhood and in 1986 he received the diploma from the National Conservatory in Athens under the guidance of Dimitris Fampas. In the 1980s and 1990s he won awards in international music competitions, gave many concerts in Greece, Italy, France, England, and Russia, and also recorded four discs with works for solo guitar, violin and guitar, and guitar and orchestra. With a Russian state scholarship, from 1987 to 1993 he studied orchestra conducting in both the Moscow and the St. Petersburg State Conservatories, and then he collaborated as a conductor with many orchestras in Russia and in Greece, especially in opera and musical theatre productions.

From 1995 onwards, he has taught in the faculty of music studies at the University of Athens, where he also defended his doctoral dissertation on Mystification and Temporality in the Late Works of Wagner and Mahler...

Article

Walter Ojakäär

(Naumovich )

(b Zaporozh’ye, Ukraine, Dec 14, 1906; d Moscow, Feb 20, 1971). Russian bandleader, pianist, and composer. In 1926 he formed the orchestra AMA-Jazz (the jazz ensemble of the Assotsiyatsia Moskovskikh Avtorov [Association of Moscow Authors]), which became the first jazz band in the USSR to broadcast on radio (1928) and the first to make a recording (Hallelujah, 1929). While leading the band he studied piano at the Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1930; that same year AMA-Jazz disbanded. He led other bands from the mid-1930s, then the jazz orchestra of Vsesoyuznoe Radio (All-union radio) from 1939 to 1946, and made many recordings. Tsfasman was the first improvising virtuoso in soviet jazz. Among his compositions are jazz pieces, two piano concertos, film scores, music for the stage, and popular songs. The album Aleksandr Tsfasman: kompozitor, pianist, dirizher (Mel. 33M60 3658992) includes several previously unissued tracks recorded in the 1930s and 1940s....

Article

Niall O’Loughlin

(Emmanuel)

(b Melbourne, March 5, 1931). British horn player and conductor of Australian birth. He began his career at 15 with the Melbourne and Sydney symphony orchestras, and studied at the Sydney Conservatorium. In 1950 he left for Britain, where after various positions he joined the LSO as principal horn (1955) and chairman (1959). Relinquishing both posts in 1968, he then played mainly chamber and solo music, showing particular interest in contemporary works. He formed the Tuckwell Wind Quintet in 1968 and has played with the London Sinfonietta. His repertory includes the major horn concertos (which he has recorded), Britten’s Serenade, and many works composed for him, among them Thea Musgrave’s Concerto and Music for Horn and Piano, Iain Hamilton’s Sonata notturna and Voyage (both recorded), Karl Kohn’s Variations and Don Banks’s Horn Concerto. He has also developed a conducting career, as director of the Tasmanian SO, ...

Article

Kimmo Korhonen

(Juhani)

(b Kuusamo, NE Finland, Oct 11, 1958). Finnish composer, pianist and conductor. At the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki he studied the piano with Tapani Valsta (diploma 1982), conducting with Jorma Panula (diploma 1987) and composition with Englund, Hämeenniemi, Heininen and Magnus Lindberg. He completed his piano and conducting studies with Christopher Rouse and Joseph Schwantner at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, gaining his master’s degree in 1990, and at the West Berlin Hochschule der Künste with Szalonek. He has also attended composition courses directed by Lutosławski, Crumb, Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber.

He began his composing career adhering to neo-classical ideals and wrote his Piano Concerto (1981), among other works, for himself to play. In the mid-1980s, in the wake of a stylistic crisis, he developed a more modernist idiom. His music acquired faster-moving textures, rich in both melody and harmony; tone colour played an important role, and he became interested in a sound world of ‘noise’, that is, sounds without definite pitch. Despite the great detail of his works, they have a unity that is broad and clearly defined. He is largely an instrumental composer: among the more important pieces of his modernist phase are the rousingly brisk and virtuoso ...

Article

Howard Rye

[Fat Man]

(b early 20th century; d Oct 27, 1964). American tuba and double bass player and bandleader. He played with Doc Cheatham (1926), then recorded with Richard M. Jones’s Jazz Wizards (1927), and his imaginative tuba playing may be heard to advantage on Boar Hog Blues (1927, Vic. 21203). After touring with Jelly Roll Morton he moved to New York as a member of Marion Hardy’s Alabamians (1929). By 1933 he was leading his own band, which, under the name Turner’s Arcadians, was resident at the Arcadia Ballroom in 1934. Between November 1934 and around May 1935 this group was used by Fletcher Henderson for various engagements, and from 1935 to 1938 some of its members, including Turner himself, formed the nucleus of Fats Waller’s touring band. Turner also recorded with Waller’s Rhythm and with Emmett Mathews; You came to my rescue...

Article

Susan Fast

(Wister )

(b Clarksdale, MI, Nov 5, 1931; d San Marcos, CA, Dec 12, 2007). American songwriter, guitarist, pianist, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. He began playing piano as a boy in Clarksdale, forming the Kings of Rhythm while still in school. His musical education consisted of listening to music and playing with blues musicians such as B.B. King. Turner is often credited with writing and recording the first rock and roll record (according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), “Rocket 88,” although the track was released under the name of Jackie Brenston (a member of Turner’s band who sang and played sax on the record). Recorded in 1951 at Sam Phillips’s Sun Studios in Memphis, this uptempo R&B song provided a template for the rock and roll emerging later in the decade. The modified 12-bar blues form, boogie woogie bass line, percussive piano, guitar distortion, and rowdy sax solo became standard features of songs by Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others....

Article

Samuel Cottell

(Tommy )

(b Budapest, April 11, 1928; d Sydney, April 4, 2013). Australian pianist, music arranger, composer, music director, and conductor of Hungarian Jewish origin. At a young age Tycho appeared as soloist performing concertos on live radio broadcasts with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. He subsequently enrolled at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying the piano with Egon Petri and harmony with Leon Werner, but formal studies were interrupted due to internment in a forced labor camp. After the war he became the Shah of Iran’s personal pianist.

Tycho emigrated to Australia in 1951, where he began work at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation playing the piano in a series of radio broadcasts entitled A Handful of Keys, and formed his own light music ensemble, The Thomas Tycho Players. In 1956 Tycho commenced television work at ATN7 as a pianist and arranger, and by 1958 was appointed the television station’s music director, a post he held until ...