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Gary W. Kennedy

[Van Noorden, Philip Van Loon Guybo Schaap ]

(b New York, April 8, 1951). American disc jockey and record producer. His father, Walter Schaap, a scholar and a translator of French jazz texts, collaborated in 1937 with Hugues Panassié and Charles Delaunay in creating a bilingual jazz periodical, Le jazz hot. In 1970 Phil Schaap became an announcer for Columbia University’s radio station WKCR; later he also worked at the radio stations WBGO and WNYC and had a syndicated program, “Jazz Session.” This radio work is characterized by his encyclopedic and anecdotal knowledge of the material he plays; he is especially known for his daily WKCR program “Bird Flight,” on which he discusses and plays recordings by Charlie Parker. Schaap organized jazz performances at the West End Café in 1980. He has taught at the New School for Social Research and at Princeton University, and he has written liner notes for new and reissued recordings.

As a record producer Schaap has been involved in tape vault research, the restoration of archived materials, and the production and packaging of material to be reissued. In this capacity he strives for the best possible sound and incorporates such ancillary material as alternate and incomplete takes, or assorted studio chatter, within the chronological presentation of originally released material. Though this exhaustive approach generally reflects contemporaneous trends in jazz issues, and has been much praised, it has also engendered some criticism, particularly following Schaap’s reorganization of Duke Ellington’s classic Columbia LP ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, March 4, 1932). American record producer and photographer. He studied art at the High School of Music and Art and, in the late 1940s, tenor saxophone at the New York Conservatory of Modern Music. After working in the early 1950s as an artist he began his career as a record company owner and record producer for Signal, then worked for Prestige (initially serving as its art director before going on to produce sessions), Muse, Onyx, Cobblestone, Xanadu, and several other companies, including MPS, Columbia, and Mercury. In the mid-1960s he co-produced, with Ira Gitler, a series of jazz concerts at the Museum of Modern Art, and he hosted the radio series “Jazz Legends” and “The Scope of Jazz” on the Pacifica network. Schlitten has maintained a parallel career as a photographer: his jazz images have appeared on album covers and posters and in numerous periodicals, books, and films; he has also given exhibitions of his work....

Article

Howard Rye and Gary W. Kennedy

[Robert Abraham ]

(b New York, Feb 12, 1920; d Los Angeles, March 13, 1985). American record producer and record company owner. From the early 1940s he produced rhythm-and-blues and jazz recordings for Black & White, Continental, Manor, National (iii), and Savoy, among others. In September 1948 he formed the company and label Sittin’ in With, with which he continued until it was acquired by Mercury in October 1951; during the same period he worked for Castle (1948–50) and its subsidiary Jade (1949–50) and for a gospel music label, Spirituals (1949). From 1951 to 1952 he ran Jax, and in late 1952 he joined the staff at Mercury, where he initially produced blues and rhythm-and-blues recordings and later became head of artists and repertory for the popular music division. In 1954 he started the EmArcy label, and he oversaw the production of much of its jazz output before transferring to Mercury’s pop label Wing. During this association Shad produced recordings for the Harlem label (...

Article

Daniel Zager

(b New York, Sept 27, 1922; d New York, Dec 15, 1983). American writer and record producer. After attending Brooklyn College he worked as a national director of promotion for Mercury Records (1948–50), as a public-relations representative for BMI (1954–5), and as the director of international artists and repertory for Columbia Records (1956–66). He produced about 100 albums for Columbia, Philips, Vanguard, Epic, RCA, and other labels, including recordings by Miles Davis and Michel Legrand. With Nat Hentoff, he edited Hear me Talkin’ to ya (1955) and The Jazz Makers (1957). In addition to his work in jazz he compiled (and until 1979 continued to revise) an important work entitled Popular Music: an Annotated Index of American Popular Songs (New York, 1964–7).

(selective list)

ed. with N. Hentoff: Hear me Talkin’ to ya: the Story of Jazz by the Men who Made it...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Spokane, WA, Jan 6, 1944). American trumpeter, arranger, conductor, and record producer. He began playing piano at the age of four and took up trumpet when he was ten; in his early teens he organized a dixieland ensemble and later he formed a dance band. He studied music at Gonzaga University, Spokane (BA 1967), and trumpet performance at the Manhattan School of Music (MM 1970). After graduation he worked in show bands and with Gene Roland’s rehearsal big band, and from the late 1970s he was a member of Philly Joe Jones’s septet. In the 1980s he played with Jones’s Dameronia, for which he also wrote arrangements and served as music director. Following the drummer’s death in 1985 Sickler led the group, which recorded under his leadership in 1989. For a while each year between 1987 and 1991 he led a quartet for nightclub appearances in Paris. During the same period he toured Japan as a member of Art Blakey’s big band (...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Chicago, Aug 14, 1943). American radio and television presenter, pianist, singer, writer, and producer. He grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, took up piano at the age of seven, and as a teenager played in a local dance band and led a bop trio. While attending the University of Wisconsin he played in a rock-and-roll and blues-rock band with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs, both of whom later became successful pop musicians. From 1967 to 1970 Sidran worked towards a PhD in American studies at the University of Sussex, during which time he performed and recorded in London with Miller and various British rock groups; he later recorded with the Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, and Eric Clapton. In 1970 he became a producer for Capitol records in Los Angeles. He then taught communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1973 he resumed producing and performing. Later he produced a jazz series for the television show “Sound Stage” (...

Article

Daniel Zager

(b New York, May 9, 1912; d New York, Feb 13, 2001). American writer and record producer. He played drums in his own band while attending Harvard University (BA 1934) and later for a brief period in Glenn Miller’s orchestra (1937), which he had helped to organize. After working as an associate editor of Metronome (1935–9) he served as its editor-in-chief (1939–55); during his period there he changed the magazine’s orientation away from articles on instrument making and publishing towards items on recording and the work of such big-band leaders as Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, and the Dorsey brothers. He wrote much of the material in Metronome himself (under pseudonyms) before engaging Barry Ulanov and others as staff writers. Later he supervised artists and repertory for the record company Jazztone and served as the program director of the Jazztone Society (...

Article

Daniel Zager

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Cambridge, MA, Oct 18, 1908; d Key West, FL, Dec 18, 1966). American writer. He learned to play drums before attending Harvard University as an undergraduate (BS 1931) and law student (1932–4), then studied medieval English literature at Yale University (PhD 1942); at graduate school he was a founder of the United Hot Clubs of America, a jazz appreciation society. While pursuing a career as a professor in English literature at several universities he served as a columnist on jazz for Variety and Saturday Review, contributed to Down Beat, Record Changer, Esquire, Harper’s, and Life, and edited articles on jazz for Musical America. In 1950 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to begin work on The Story of Jazz (1956), a historical survey that became widely used. He developed a course on jazz at New York University in 1950 and another at Hunter College, where he settled the following year. Stearns founded the ...

Article

Howard Rye and Alyn Shipton

[Calhoun, Charles E. [Chuck]]

(b Atchison, KS, Nov 16, 1901; d Altamonte Springs, FL, April 1, 1999). American bandleader, singer, pianist, arranger, and record producer. He was brought up in St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri, and began his professional career at the age of five as a singer and dancer in a traveling variety act with his parents, who gave him a formal musical education. Having played piano in a trio with the saxophonist Theodore Thyus, he formed his first band, the Blues Serenaders, in 1918, initially a quartet of piano, drums, violin and cello, though it later developed into a larger ensemble with woodwind and brass; Coleman Hawkins played cello and later C-melody saxophone with the band. Stone directed, played piano, and arranged music for the group, which performed a variety act in the St. Joseph area that involved dancing and conjuring tricks; with the help of the agent Frank Rock, he established an early network of venues for touring appearances, and in the early 1920s he pioneered jazz radio broadcasting in St. Joseph. He continued to lead the Blues Serenaders until ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Lynchburg, VA, May 13, 1929). American record producer. He played trumpet in school bands and read psychology at Duke University. In 1954 he became head of artists and repertory for Bethlehem; in 1956 he left to join ABC-Paramount, where in 1960 he founded the label Impulse! and produced albums by, among others, Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson, and Ray Charles. Late in 1961 Taylor joined Verve as its chief executive and principal producer; he initially suspended all its releases for a period of six months and dropped numerous older musicians who were associated with Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic, retaining only Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz (whose bossa-nova albums he produced), Oscar Peterson, and Johnny Hodges. Later he engaged Jimmy Smith, Cal Tjader, Wes Montgomery, and Bill Evans (ii) to record for the label; with such artists he issued a large number of albums that became best sellers and often blended jazz instrumentation with string sections and other light-orchestral accompaniments more commonly associated with popular music. In ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Robert ]

(b New York, July 27, 1922; d New York, Jan 30, 1996). American record producer. He learned clarinet as a teenager, played in a local dance band, and worked as a disc jockey. Between 1942 and January 1945 he and a friend produced the magazine Jazz; they also ran jam sessions at Kelly’s Stable. Thiele formed the Signature record label, which recorded in the 1940s, and from around 1953 he produced pop hits for Coral. After leaving Coral in the late 1950s he worked for Dot (1959–60), Hanover-Signature (1960–63), and Roulette (1963–4). From 1962 to 1971 he was a producer at Impulse! records, and in 1969 he formed the Flying Dutchman label, distributed by RCA. In the 1980s he set up Doctor Jazz, distributed by Columbia, but he changed the label’s name to Red Baron in the early 1990s after Sony purchased Columbia....

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b London, Oct 31, 1930). English writer. In 1950 he ran a jazz club near London in which a number of well-known British bop musicians performed, and from 1957 to 1960 he was the secretary of an informal group known as the Contemporary Jazz Society. To broaden the society’s activities he began to interview musicians, including Americans who were visiting England; some of these interviews were later published in Melody Maker (1959–60). In 1961–2 Tomkins was a freelance contributor to Jazz News, and in 1962 he began an association with Crescendo which continued into the 1980s; he was its editor and art editor from 1966 to 1967 and served as a freelance editor, contributor, and art director from 1970. Throughout this association he published each month three or four interviews with jazz musicians, which now represent a major archive of source material for the study of jazz. Later he was a reviewer for and contributor to the ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, April 10, 1918; d New York, April 30, 2000). American writer. His father was concert master for the conductor Arturo Toscanini. He was interested in jazz from a young age and attended Columbia University (AB 1939) to be closer to the jazz movement in Harlem; while a student he published articles on jazz in The Spectator. Following graduation he edited Swing: the Guide to Modern Music (c1939–40), Listen (1940–42), and the Review of Recorded Music (1945–6). As the editor of Metronome: Modern Music and its Makers (1943–55) he changed the focus of the journal from classical music and white swing groups to other aspects of jazz, notably bop and its African-American components; in 1950 he designed the Metronome Yearbook. In addition Ulanov organized all-star bop groups which broadcast on WOR (1947) and published biographies of Duke Ellington (...

Article

Thomas Owens

(b Jersey City, NJ, c1925; d Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Aug 25, 2016). Recording engineer. In the late 1940s he created a recording studio in the living room of his parents’ home in Hackensack, New Jersey, and began recording as a hobby. An optometrist by profession, he became the principal recording engineer for Blue Note in 1953, and the following year he began working for Prestige (to 1969) and Savoy as well. After abandoning optometry, in July 1959 he moved into a newly built home and studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. He also made numerous recordings for Cadet, CTI, Elektra Musician, Enja, GRP, Impulse!, Kudu, Milestone, Muse (ii), Reservoir, Riverside, and Verve.

Van Gelder’s skill at getting a proper mix of instruments directly onto the master tape (long before multiple-channel recording existed) was exemplary, and his clean, crisp, well-balanced drum-kit sounds were especially noteworthy. Perhaps his most distinctive aural signature was the tight, boxy sound of his small Steinway grand piano. Although his output slowed from the frenetic pace he set during the 1950s and 1960s, he continued to work, and in the late 1980s he changed to digital technology....

Article

Pekka Gronow

[Martti ]

(b Mäntyharju, Finland, Feb 15, 1945; d Yläne, Finland, Dec 4, 1999). Finnish drummer, percussionist, composer, leader, and record producer. He studied percussion at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (1965–7), and in the late 1960s played with Seppo Paakkunainen and others; he made the first of a number of recordings as a leader in 1969. In the early 1970s he performed with Jan Garbarek and toured Central Europe, and in 1974 he began working with Tomasz Stańko; later he recorded in a cooperative free-jazz trio with Gerd Dudek and Buschi Niebergall (1977) and as a sideman with Kenny Wheeler (1979). During the late 1970s Vesala founded his own record label, Leo (see Leo), on which he recorded as a leader and as a sideman with Stańko (1978), Juhani Aaltonen (1978, 1981), and Charlie Mariano (1980). From ...

Article

Ryan D.W. Bruce

[Randolph Edward ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 6, 1926). American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and club owner. Weston did not identify with his classical music lessons as a youth, choosing instead to explore a percussive piano style under the influence of Duke Ellington. Other early influences include Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole, Art Tatum, and Coleman Hawkins. Weston’s playing was transformed after attending a concert by Hawkins and Thelonious Monk in 1945: Monk became Weston’s mentor from 1947–9, and inspired his heavy attack and improvisatory rhythmic displacements. He was hired by Marshall Stearns in 1949 to provide demonstrations of different jazz styles for university lectures given throughout the United States; their work lasted eight summers and fostered Weston’s interest in African music.

Beginning with his debut in 1954, his early recordings acquired critical recognition and included band members such as Art Blakey, Cecil Payne, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Coleman Hawkins. Some of his compositions of the time, especially “Little Niles” and “Hi-Fly,” gained popularity and have been recorded by many others. Weston also worked with arranger ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Ming ]

(b ?San Francisco, 1957). American tenor saxophonist, violinist, record producer, and leader. He first played violin but took up alto saxophone after hearing recordings by Charlie Parker. From 1975 he attended Stanford University, where he initially studied chemistry; while there he met future collaborators in Jon Jang and Glenn Horiuchi and changed to the tenor instrument, on which he was influenced by the music of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. He then studied jazz at San Jose State University, and later he graduated from Stanford with a degree in economics (1985). From around 1983 Wong worked in Jang’s ensembles 4-in-One and the Pan-Asian Arkestra. He also held a lasting association with Horiuchi and worked in Fred Ho’s Afro-Asian Music Ensemble and Asian American Art Ensemble. In 1987 Wong and Jang established Asian improv, and in 1988 they formed Asian Improv Arts, a nonprofit arts organization in which Wong served as artistic director from ...