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Gary W. Kennedy

(b Manhasset, NY, Aug 11, 1959). American tenor saxophonist, record producer, and leader. He grew up in Connecticut, where he played violin and piano between the ages of seven and 12. When he was 17 he took up alto saxophone, after dreaming he was playing with John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard, and during his late teens he performed with local rock bands. In ...

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Daniel Zager

(b New York, Dec 18, 1928; d Feb 23, 2019). American writer. After attending the University of Missouri (1946–50) and Columbia University (1950) he worked for Prestige Records (1950–55). With Leonard Feather he collaborated on The Encyclopedia of Jazz (1955), for which he was an assistant writer and editor, and The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties (1966), and he was an author with Feather of The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (1976) and the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (1999). Gitler wrote for such periodicals as Metronome, Jazz Magazine, Down Beat (of which he was an associate editor), and Jazz Times, produced film scripts on Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton for the US Information Service, and was a commentator for radio station WBAI, New York; he also taught at CUNY. Among his more notable writings is ...

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Howard Rye

(b Ohain, Belgium, May 21, 1898; d Brussels, June 27, 1984). Belgian writer. He first encountered syncopated music in 1918 as a civilian interpreter for a Canadian army unit. In 1919 he heard (Louis) Mitchell’s Jazz Kings in Brussels and thereafter sought out jazz wherever it was to be heard. In 1922–3 he led a band of Brussels University students called the Doctor’s Mysterious Six. In 1932 he published Aux frontières du jazz, dedicated to Louis Armstrong, and generally acknowledged as the first serious full-length book on jazz. He visited the USA in 1939 and the following year fled the Nazi occupation of Belgium, eventually reaching New York via Portugal. There he devoted himself to jazz, helping to organize the annual Esquire Jazz Concerts, and writing a number of books of enduring worth which make use of original interview material with New Orleans pioneers. After returning home in ...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b Svir, Lithuania, 1903; d New York, May 11, 1989). American club owner. In 1908 he moved with his family to Providence, Rhode Island; several years later they settled in Portland, Oregon. He attended Reed College, then Stanford University, and finally graduated from Reed. In 1926 he moved to New York to attend Columbia Law School, but shortly after arriving he abandoned his studies to pursue a career as a writer. He spent a short period in Portland in summer 1929, but by November 1929 he had returned to New York, where he continued to work as a freelance writer. From late 1932 for about a year he and his sister ran the Village Fair Coffee House on Sullivan Street, at which they held poetry readings. In February 1934 Gordon opened the first Village Vanguard, at 1 Charles Street; about a year later it moved to 178 7th Street. From around ...

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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.”...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b Reading, PA, Dec 18, 1932). American writer. He learned clarinet from the age of 12 and taught himself to play alto saxophone. After studying music theory at Florida State University (BA 1961) he played with the pianist John Benson Brooks (c1961–3), whose trio explored 12-tone composition and improvisation. From the early 1960s Heckman contributed to Down Beat, Metronome, and Jazz Review, and in the process he wrote a number of musical analyses of jazz performances (notably “Miles Davis Times Three,” DB, xxix/23 (1962), 16), which was an unusual practice at the time. Around the same period he played occasionally with Don Ellis, broadcast a jazz radio show on WBAI-FM in New York (1963–4), and performed in the October Revolution in Jazz (1964). From 1964 to 1972, with the tenor saxophonist Ed Summerlin, he co-led the ensemble Improvisational Jazz Workshop, in which Steve Kuhn, Ron Carter, Steve Swallow, Ed Shaugnessy, and Charli Persip were among their sidemen; the group recorded an eponymous album in ...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b July 30, 1950). Slovak double bass player and record producer. He studied formally at music school in Bratislava from the age of four. When he was 17 he emigrated to Germany and then studied double bass in Graz, Austria, and in Stuttgart, where he settled around 1971. Thereafter he worked professionally with, among others, Wild Bill Davison, Heinz Sauer, Joe Pass, Zbigniew Seifert, Lionel Hampton, Scott Hamilton, and Charly Antolini, and composed music for films. Around 1979 he took over Jazzpoint records. He formed the musicians’ cooperative IG Jazz Stuttgart, founded the festival Stuttgart Jazztage, and in the late 1970s was credited with discovering Bireli Lagrene, with whom he performed into the 1980s. Jankeje has led the small groups Mlada Musika and Heilbronner Swing All Stars, and he is a founding member of the group Happy Jazz Jokers. In the 1990s he worked with Benny Waters (recording in ...

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Erik Kjellberg

(b Stockholm, Oct 15, 1913; d Stockholm, Jan 10, 1984). Swedish double bass player and record and radio producer. He attended the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm and first worked as a sideman in big bands led by Arne Hülphers (1934–8) and Thore Ehrling (1938–46). From 1936 he led the Swing Swingers, a studio band, and he also performed as the leader of small groups, with which he made recordings (including Busters idé, 1941, Scala 395). After World War II Jederby led a bop group. Later he produced radio programs and LP reissues of 78 r.p.m. recordings, and from 1977 he was a member of a commission on Swedish jazz history.

Oral history material in SSsv.

J. Bruér: “Thore Jederby berättar” [Thore Jederby tells], Svensk jazzhistoria, 2 (Caprice 2010, 1982) [liner notes] L. Collin: “Thore Jederby: en jazzklassiker,” Orkester journalen, 51/10 (1983), 15...

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Gary W. Kennedy

(b Trenton, NJ, Feb 1, 1902; d New York, Sept 29, 1988). American club owner. His birth date appears in the social security death index under the surname Josephsen (probably a typo). He initially worked in areas other than music, but early in 1938 he borrowed $6000 to purchase a basement club in Sheridan Square, which opened in late December 1938 or early January 1939 as Café Society (see Nightclubs and other venues). Josephson’s intention was to present little-known white and African-American entertainers to a racially mixed audience in honest, attractive surroundings. John Hammond, a good friend of Josephson’s, served as a one of the club’s talent scouts. Its first house band was built around Frankie Newton, and later performers included Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis. On 8 October 1940 the club became known as Café Society Downtown when Josephson opened a second venue, Café Society Uptown; he moved his well-known artists to the new location and began using the older club as a proving ground for new musicians....

Article

Yozo Iwanami and Barry Kernfeld

(b Tokyo, Feb 25, 1947). Japanese guitarist and record producer. He gained a BS degree in physics at Nippon University in Tokyo and first played professionally with the tenor saxophonist Seiichi Nakamura in the 1960s; he also worked with the tenor saxophonist Jiro Inagaki and with Takeshi Inomata. After forming a group with Shigeharu Mukai and the alto saxophonist Hidefumi Toki, in 1973 he moved to New York, where he played with Joe Lee Wilson (1973), Gil Evans (1973–5), Chico Hamilton (for a tour of the USA, c1975>), and Elvin Jones (1976–7), with whom he toured the Americas and Europe and appeared in the documentary film Different Drummer (1979). In 1977–8 he toured Europe with JoAnne Brackeen and worked as a leader. Active from 1979 through the 1980s in computerized music and in the development and utilization of guitar synthesizers, in New York he formed the record company and label Satellites (...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, March 2, 1923; d El Cerrito, CA, March 1, 2015). Record producer. After graduating from Columbia University (BA English 1943) and serving in the army he worked for a publishing company; from 1948 he wrote for Record Changer, published by his former classmate Bill Grauer. In 1952 he and Grauer initiated for RCA Victor’s X label a series of 10-inch albums of reissues of important recordings by such artists as Johnny Dodds, Jelly Roll Morton, Bennie Moten, and King Oliver. In the following year they founded the record company and label Riverside, which at first offered a similar series of reissues but soon made many important new recordings in bop and related styles, including seminal albums by Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans (ii); Keepnews acted as producer for most of these sessions himself. Following a period during which he undertook freelance work he ran the company and record label ...

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Nevil Skrimshire and Barry Kernfeld

[Geserick, William Max ]

(b London, March 11, 1914; d London, April 20, 1976). English drummer and record producer. Born blind, he was self-taught and began playing while he was a teenager; he turned professional when in 1937 he joined Claude Bampton’s band of all-blind musicians as the percussionist for a variety tour. After forming the Lewis–Krahmer Chicagoans with Vic Lewis, in 1939 he recorded in a duo and in a trio with George Shearing, and the following year he played for several short engagements at London nightclubs. He then became a member of the Claepigeons, led by the trumpeter Johnny Claes, with which he recorded for Columbia (1941–2). Between 1943 and 1945 Krahmer led various ensembles at nightclubs, using such sidemen as Bertie King and Gerry Moore; he also recorded with his Nuthouse Club Band for Parlophone (1945). From 1943 to 1950 he led the house band for Sunday afternoon performances at the Feldman Club. In ...

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Val Wilmer

(Clarke, Sr.)

(b New Orleans, Nov 18, 1930; d New Orleans, Dec 4, 1972). American cornetist and record producer. He grew up in a musical family, was playing with Paul Barbarin at the age of 15, and while still in high school organized his own band with Fats Domino on piano. Following army service he formed a duo with his brother, the saxophonist David Lastie, and they toured California, Canada, and Mexico with Joe Turner (ii). In 1961, when the alto saxophonist Harold Battiste formed the A.F.O, Lastie became a board member; both men then moved to Los Angles, where they ran Hal-Mel Productions, published music, and worked with the singer Sam Cooke. In New York Lastie recorded with Lou Donaldson, managed, arranged for, and played with Willie Bobo, and continued in record production. An early advocate of Ornette Coleman, with whom he had played in the band led by the blues singer Clarence Samuels, he was a pivotal figure in the mutually self-nourishing circles of New Orleans jazz and rhythm-and-blues. His fat sound and volatile attack, even when muted, are well represented on ...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b Batavia, Dutch East Indies [now Jakarta], Feb 23, 1919; d New York, 26 or July 27, 1990). Record producer of Javanese birth and Dutch parentage. He was educated in the Netherlands, where he first became acquainted with jazz, and he pursued this interest on returning to Batavia and after he moved to the USA in 1939. He worked as a record producer in New York and Chicago, then produced jazz recordings for the Keynote company (1943–6). In 1949 he recorded Al Haig for his own label, HL. After producing a few sessions for the label Seeco, including one by Wardell Gray, he briefly revived Keynote (1955), and thereafter worked as the principal expert on jazz at Sam Goody’s record store in New York (1956–73). In 1972 he founded a new company and label, Famous Door (see Famous Door). Obituaries give his death date as both 26 and 27 July....

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(b Berlin, April 21, 1908; d nr San Diego, Feb 2, 1987). American record producer. He first became interested in jazz at the age of 16 after hearing Sam Wooding’s band in Berlin. In 1938 he emigrated to the USA where, inspired by John Hammond’s “Spirituals to Swing” concert in New York on 23 December, he founded the Blue Note record company and label on 6 January 1939 (see Blue Note). Lion operated the company (jointly from October 1939 with Francis Wolff) until it was sold to Liberty in 1966; he then continued to work for the label for a further year before retiring owing to ill-health. He was guest of honor at EMI’s relaunch of the Blue Note label at Town Hall in New York in February 1985, and visited Japan for a Blue Note festival in August 1986.

M. Hennessey: “Blue Note,” JJI, 38/6 (1985), 10...

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(b Branford, CT, Aug 30, 1896; d Newark, NJ, March 16, 1974). American record producer. His place of birth is taken from his social security application. In 1920 he established the United Radio Company in Newark, New Jersey, first selling electronic parts, then, from the late 1920s, records, and in ...

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Paul Rinzler and Barry Kernfeld

[Michael T., Jr. ]

(b New York, July 4, 1938). American vibraphonist, keyboard player, leader, arranger, composer, and producer. His birthday has been incorrectly published as 24 July; Mainieri himself confirmed Independence Day. He took up vibraphone at the age of ten and, while studying classical percussion, first played professionally at the age of 14, touring with Paul Whiteman. By this time he had mastered a four-mallet technique on the instrument. From 1956 to 1962 he was the vibraphonist in Buddy Rich’s band. Later he worked as a session musician with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, and Wes Montgomery, recording with the last in 1967–8. He also recorded with Kenny Burrell and Sonny Stitt (both 1966) and played with Jeremy Steig (c1967). In the late 1960s and early 1970s he led two groups: White Elephant (a rehearsal band for studio musicians that included Mike and Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, and Steve Gadd) and L’Image....