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Brian Priestley

(John )

(b Camborne, England, April 17, 1920; d London, Oct 3, 1987). English writer. He became interested in jazz in the mid-1930s and established contact with record collectors such as Max Jones, Charles Fox, and Leonard Hibbs. In 1942 McCarthy and Jones founded the Jazz Sociological Society and became the editors of its journal, Jazz Music; from 1944 to 1946, to circumvent wartime rationing of paper, the journal was temporarily discontinued and instead a series of separate booklets entitled Jazz Music Books was issued. McCarthy then edited the short-lived Jazz Forum: Quarterly Review of Jazz and Literature (1946–7), and, with Dave Carey, compiled six volumes of a discography of jazz. From 1955 to 1972 he was editor of the influential periodical Jazz Monthly, which, in addition to its catholic coverage of jazz and blues, also included items on related topics such as the record industry; in March 1971...

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Bill Milkowski and Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, June 14, 1959). American electric bass guitarist and record producer. His father played organ in church and piano at home. Having played clarinet as a child, he took up electric bass guitar as a teenager and first played professionally at the age of 15 with the soul group Harlem River Drive. Later he performed with the flutist Bobbi Humphrey (1977) before touring with Lenny White. Thereafter he became active as a studio musician in New York, working with Bob James, Grover Washington, Jr., and the soul singers Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin, among others. In 1979 he played in the house band on the television show “Saturday Night Live” and recorded as a sideman with Urszula Dudziak, whose recording Roxanna preserves a spectacular example of Miller’s melodic solo playing after the manner of Jaco Pastorius.

Miller joined Miles Davis’s new band in 1980...

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Paula Morgan

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(Michael)

(b Munich, Oct 24, 1929). American writer. He grew up in Vienna, but left in 1938 and spent the next nine years as a refugee in Denmark and Sweden. After moving to the USA in 1947 he studied history at Brandeis University (1953–6). From 1958 to 1961 he was the New York correspondent for Jazz Journal. He then served as editor of Metronome (1961), Jazz (1962–3), and Down Beat (New York editor, 1964–6, editor 1966–73) magazines; during the 1960s he also produced jazz concerts in New York and for television. In the mid-1970s he held appointments as visiting lecturer in jazz at Brooklyn College and the Peabody Institute, and in 1976 he became director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, in which capacity he has worked as an editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies (from 1982 the Annual Review of Jazz Studies...

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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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Yozo Iwanami

(b Tokyo, March 3, 1942). Japanese bass player and record producer. He attended Nippon University in Tokyo and in 1964 moved to New York, where he studied double bass with Reggie Workman. In the mid-1970s he played both double bass and electric bass guitar in his own Rising Sun Band, which performed at many venues in New York, including The Kitchen, the Bottom Line, and the Village Gate; in ...

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Nugetre  

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(b Little Rock, AR, June 19, 1945; d Valhalla, NY, Nov 20, 1997). American writer. As a youth he played reed instruments with rock, country, and soul bands, and later performed as a member of an eclectic group called the Insect Trust, with which he recorded two albums. He was a co-founder of the Memphis Blues Festival in 1966, and the following year graduated from the University of Arkansas. In New York thereafter he became a widely published freelance writer on jazz, rock, and the avant garde. From 1975 he was a regular reviewer for the New York Times and in 1981 he was appointed to its staff of jazz and pop critics. Palmer wrote four books, the most important of which was a study of the Delta blues (Deep Blues, New York and London, 1981). He held teaching positions at Bowdoin College, Memphis State University, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Mississippi, where he worked after leaving the ...

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Gary W. Kennedy

[Parker, Bradley; Sparrow]

(b Chicago, Sept 9, 1954). Pianist, composer, and record producer. He opened his own recording studio in Chicago in 1977 and later formed the jazz label Southport Records, which recorded primarily Chicago-based musicians. That same year he began scoring music for film, theater, and ballet. He was an artist-in-residence for the city of Chicago in 1979–80. Parker-Sparrow has led the groups Sparrow, Sparrow AM/FM, and Sparrow Shortwave. In addition he has worked with his wife, the singer Joanie Pallato (from 1982), Von Freeman (from 1990), Hal Russell (1994), Tatsu Aoki (1990s), among others. He may be heard to advantage on his recording If It Wasn’t for Paul (1994, Southport 34).

J. Hevrdejs: “New Nightclub Entices Singer Out of Studio,” Chicago Tribune (13 Oct 1989) H. Hart: “Hanging Out: Getting Needled is all Part of the Job for this Chicago Jazz Composer,” Chicago Tribune...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b St. Louis, Dec 16, 1947). Clarinetist and educator. As a child he sang in his church choir. His father was a saxophonist, and at around the age of 11 Parran took up the tenor instrument; later he studied saxophone and clarinet at Washington University and Webster College. In the late 1960s he was a founding member of the Black Artists Group and worked in the Human Arts Ensemble. In 1971, after gaining a masters degree in music, he moved to New York, where he joined the big bands of Frank Foster and the arranger James Jabbo Ware and worked extensively as a freelance studio musician; during the same period he received some tuition from George Coleman. Back in St. Louis he recorded two albums with the Human Arts Ensemble (1972–3). Following studies in Africa, Parran settled again in St. Louis (1974) and joined the faculty of Southern Illinois University (located across the river from St. Louis, in Edwardsville, Illinois); he sang in and directed the university’s gospel choir, collaborated with local poets and comedians, formed a trio with the electronic music composer Thomas Hamilton and the classical percussionist Rich O’Donnell, and founded, with the trumpeter Floyd LeFlore, the group Third Circuit ’n’ Spirit, which merged bop, funk, electronic music, and free jazz. In the late 1970s he recorded as a leader (...

Article

Adam Cegielski and Barry Kernfeld

(b Rybnik, Poland, Jan 27, 1957). Polish flutist and record producer. While he led the groups Pick Up and D-Box (1985–7) and recorded as a member of Kazimierz Jonkisz’s sextet (1986), as a performer he is best known as the leader of and principal composer for the large ensemble Young Power; its members have included, among many others, Bernard Maseli, Grzegorz Nagórski, Janusz Skowron, Piotr Wojtasik, the trombonist Bronisław Duży, and the electric bass guitarist Marcin Pospieszalski. In 1992 he founded the record company and label Power Bros., which has issued albums by such musicians as Joe Lovano, Billy Harper, Buster Williams, Billy Hart, and David Friesen, as well as a multimedia edition of the music of Krzysztof Komeda.

Article

Howard Rye

[Vernon Haven ]

(b Oakland, CA, Aug 3, 1916; d Los Angeles, March 25, 1993). American trumpeter and record producer. He began playing violin in 1923 and changed to cornet in 1925. Between 1931 and 1939 he worked with bands in the San Francisco Bay area; in 1938–9 he was with Saunders King. Porter moved in 1940 to Los Angeles, where he performed with Cee Pee Johnson and Slim Gaillard, among others. In 1942–3 he served in the 10th Cavalry Band at Camp Lockett near San Diego, and following his discharge in May 1943 he played with Benny Carter and Fats Waller. During 1944 he worked with Noble Sissle, Fletcher Henderson, with whom he made a tour of the Southwest in the spring, Lionel Hampton, with whom he played trombone from around June until October (during which time he took part in a recording session), and, from November, Horace Henderson, with whose band he recorded accompanying the singer Lena Horne. While a member of Fletcher Henderson’s band (...

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(b Pittsburgh, Jan 29, 1915; d Paterson, NJ, March 18, 1995). Writer and record producer. He attended Princeton University (BA 1936), then worked as an editor for the publisher Harcourt, Brace (1936–9) and as a writer for the US Department of Agriculture (1941–2) and the Voice of America (from 1942); at the same time, with Charles Edward Smith, he edited the anthology Jazzmen (1939), an influential early study of jazz that includes a moving account by Ramsey of King Oliver’s career. In 1953 and 1955 he made visits to the South sponsored by Guggenheim fellowships, during which he made field recordings of musical performances and interviews; he later used these recordings to produce a series of commercial discs issued by Folkways, Music from the South (1954), and a television documentary of the same name (1957). For Folkways he also produced a series of recordings entitled ...

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Alex Harris Stein

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 29, 1915; d Paterson, NJ, March 18, 1995). American writer on jazz, record producer, and folklorist. He coedited one of the first scholarly books on jazz with Charles Edward Smith, Jazzmen: the Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men who Created It (New York, 1939). Supported in part by Guggenheim Fellowships (1953, 1955), Ramsey conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the American South, photographing African American life and recording interviews and music. The results of his travels are detailed in his books Been Here and Gone (New Brunswick, NJ, 1960) and Where the Music Started (New Brunswick, NJ, 1970). Many of his field recordings were released by Folkways Records as Music of the South (1954). He produced a historical anthology of recordings for Folkways titled Jazz (1950–53). Later, grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (...

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Gary W. Kennedy

[Theodore Samuel ]

(b New York, Nov 23, 1918; d Teaneck, NJ, Sept 29, 1984). American record producer. He grew up in Harlem, where his father ran a candy store. In the early 1940s Reig organized Sunday-afternoon jam sessions at the mid-town club Kelly’s Stable. His first work as a record producer was for Continental in January 1945, and shortly afterwards he began working for Savoy, most notably on Charlie Parker’s sessions as a leader. Around 1949 he became Paul Williams’s manager, and later that year he was dismissed by Savoy; however, he was re-engaged, and he remained with the label through 1952. Around 1950, with Ralph Watkins, Monte Kay, and Symphony Sid, Reig founded the record company and label Royal Roost. From around 1957 he worked as a promoter for rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues artists and as a record producer for Roulette, where he began a decade-long association with Count Basie. Reig worked for Verve from ...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, Jan 4, 1918). Record company executive. He studied chemical engineering at CUNY and began collecting records around 1938, while working during vacations in a record shop. Later he formed several dozen record labels (the most important of which were Alto (ii), Ozone, and Session (iii)), through which he issued about 400 albums; among these were acetate dubs of previously issued recordings and transcriptions of broadcast performances from the period 1936–61. The recordings feature leading swing and bop musicians from the 1940s and early 1950s (such as Charlie Christian, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, and Lester Young) and broadcasts from Birdland by Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk; a recording of a broadcast by Davis’s jazz-rock group was issued on Session.

B. Minor: “Sub Rosa Stuff,” Jazz Digest, 2 (1973), 263 B. Esposito: “Yes, Virginia, There is a Boris Rose,” ...

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Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Robert (D.) ]

(b New York, c1945). American writer. He studied clarinet and drums and played drums in workshops with Jaki Byard (1968–71) and Cedar Walton (1972). In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote for American and European periodicals, including Down Beat, Jazz Journal, and Jazz Forum, and in 1975 he began publishing the monthly magazine Cadence, which in the following years printed many wide-ranging interviews with jazz and blues musicians and reviews of recordings. Later he formed Cadence Jazz Records (1980), which by the late 1990s had issued more than 100 recordings; North Country Record Distribution (1983), which distributes the jazz and blues recordings of more than 900 small independent labels; Cadence Jazz Books (1992), which publishes reference books, histories, and discographies; and CIMP (1996), for which he had produced about 100 recordings by the turn of the century. He donated his extensive indexed collection of books and journals, covering jazz and blues literature in the English language, to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library (...

Article

Mike Hazeldine

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[William; Wagner, Russell William]

(b Canton, MO, Feb 26, 1905; d New Orleans, Aug 9, 1992). American jazz historian, record producer, violinist, and composer. He played violin from the age of ten, and later studied music in Chicago (1924). After private violin tuition in New York (1927) he attended Columbia University Teachers College (1929), where he took up composition; around 1930 he dropped his surname, Wagner, to avoid comparisons with a rather more famous composer in the field. While touring with a theatrical group, the Red Gate Shadow Players, which staged classical Chinese puppet plays (1934–40), he began collecting early jazz records, reselling many through the Hot Record Exchange that he ran from 1935 with the painter Steve Smith. He contributed articles to the magazine Jazz hot and wrote three chapters of Jazzmen: the Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men who Created it...

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(b Los Angeles, March 18, 1909; d Palm Springs, CA, Jan 31, 2000). American record producer and writer. He owned a record shop and in 1946 founded the record company Dial. In 1946–7 he served as Charlie Parker’s personal manager, and he was also active as a lecturer on jazz. Russell contributed articles to Down Beat, Jazz hot, Orkester journalen, and Jazz Review, and his books include Jazz Style in Kansas City and the Southwest (Berkeley, CA, Los Angeles, and London, 1971, rev. 2/1973/R1997) and Bird Lives: the High Life and Hard Times of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker (New York, 1973/R1994). During the 1960s and 1970s he taught courses on Afro-American music at the University of California and Palomar College. Russell’s collection was purchased in January 1981 by the University of Texas and is held at Austin (see Libraries and archives, §2, , ...