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David Royko

(b Bowling Green, KY, Apr 13, 1952). American mandolinist, fiddler, vocalist, composer, and bluegrass/newgrass bandleader. Commonly referred to as the “Father of Newgrass Music,” Bush was deeply influenced by Jethro Burns and Bill Monroe. He began playing mandolin at age 11 and fiddle at 13, winning three junior fiddle championships at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest & Festival in Weiser, Idaho (1967–9). In 1969, Bush recorded Poor Richard’s Almanac (American Heritage) with banjoist Alan Munde and guitarist Wayne Stewart. In 1970, he joined Bluegrass Alliance and, from that band’s personnel, co-founded New Grass Revival in 1971, blending bluegrass instrumentation and techniques with rock, jazz, reggae, pop, and blues, and recording ten albums. In the early 1970s, Bush began an extensive studio career, playing on significant progressive bluegrass and Newgrass albums. A prolific solo artist since the mid-1980s, Bush recorded series of albums on the Rounder and Sugar Hill labels, most notably ...

Article

Ryan D.W. Bruce

(b Worcester, MA, June 15, 1922; d Queens, NY, Feb 11, 1999). American jazz pianist, composer, educator, and bandleader. He was technically proficient at playing rags, stomps, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop, and free jazz, but his performance career never conformed to any specific style or era. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Charles Mingus group (1962–5, 1970), with whom he recorded albums such as Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus (1963, Imp.). He studied classical music from the age of five or six until he was 20 and began playing jazz on the trumpet when he was 16. As a jazz pianist, his early influences included Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Earl Hines, and Count Basie. After working with various groups in the 1950s, including three years with Earl Bostic around 1950, Byard recorded frequently from 1957 to 1962 with leaders such as Herb Pomeroy, Maynard Ferguson, Don Ellis, and Eric Dolphy. At this time he also recorded his first albums as a leader, ...

Article

Charles Conrad

(b Oak Park, IL, May 3, 1954). American composer, conductor, educator, and author. Camphouse is one of the leading composers of works for wind band. He has served since 2006 on the faculty of George Mason University, where he conducts the Wind Symphony and teaches conducting and composition. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University, where his teachers included John Paynter (conducting), Adolph Herseth and Vincent Cichowicz (trumpet), and Alan Stout (composition).

He has composed more than 25 band works, including A Movement for Rosa; Whatsoever Things; Watchman, Tell of the Night; The Shining City; To Build a Fire; and Symphony from Ivy Green for soprano and wind orchestra. He conceived and edited the four-volume series Composers on Composing for Band. Camphouse is a member of the American Bandmasters Association and is a frequent guest conductor and clinician. He served as director of bands at Radford University (...

Article

Sorab Modi

[Carlone, Francis Nunzio ]

(b Providence, RI, March 25, 1903; d Mesa, AZ, March 7, 2001). American pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. At the age of seven he appeared as a piano soloist and in 1918 he led his first band. His graceful and relaxed piano improvisations established him with the public and earned him the nickname “the Golden Touch.” In 1933 he joined the band of Mal Hallett, which he left to join the Horace Heidt band in 1939. He formed his own big band in 1944 but abandoned it in the 1950s in favor of a smaller group. At the end of the decade Carle retired, but in 1972 he appeared briefly for a three-month tour with Freddy Martin in the show Big Band Cavalcade.

As a composer Carle has several hits to his credit, including “Sunrise Serenade,” “Carle Boogie,” “Lover’s Lullaby,” “Sunrise in Napoli,” and “Dreamy Lullaby” (co-written with Benny Benjamin and George Weiss). Carle’s arrangements were published in the collections ...

Article

Michael Fitzgerald

(b Detroit, MI, Jan 3, 1969). American jazz saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. He began playing at the age of 11 and soon displayed prodigious technique. He studied with Donald Washington and attended Blue Lake and Interlochen camps as a teenager. In 1990 he moved to New York, where he recorded with Lester Bowie, Frank Lowe, and Julius Hemphill. He formed his own quartet in 1993 with Craig Taborn, Jaribu Shahid, and Tani Tabbal and made his first recordings as a leader for DIW, issued by Columbia. He joined the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra the following year. Subsequently, Carter was signed by Atlantic and received considerable promotion. He appeared in the Robert Altman film Kansas City (1995).

Early in his career Carter won the endorsement of both Wynton Marsalis and Lester Bowie and attracted attention as a young artist who unsually, rather than focusing on 1950s and 60s models, was interested in the style and repertoire of both the avant garde and 1930s swing musicians such as Don Byas and John Hardee. Playing saxophones ranging from sopranino to bass as well as various clarinets, he frequently makes use of extended techniques such as multiphonics and the altissimo register. His seemingly effortless virtuosity has led to some criticism that he presents more flash than substance....

Article

Bruce Boyd Raeburn

[Oscar Phillip]

(b Napoleonville, LA, Jan 1, 1884; d New Orleans, LA, Dec 15, 1954). American jazz trumpeter and bandleader. The son of an African American freedman, he migrated to New Orleans and founded the Tuxedo Band, which was named after a dance hall, in 1910. Five years later he joined a vaudeville troupe with Armand Piron, Jimmie Noone, and the trombonist William Ridgley, who became co-leader of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra (and brass band) with Celestin in 1917. The Tuxedo performed for white and black audiences, attracting society work, such as carnival balls and dances at the Southern Yacht Club, once the band started wearing tuxedos. The group recorded in 1925, but a booking dispute led to a split with Ridgley later that year, after which each leader claimed the name. In 1926 Celestin was instrumental in organizing a black local of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 496) to facilitate riverboat work, and he became its first president. From that year to ...

Article

Mark F. DeWitt

[Wilson Anthony]

(b Church Point, LA, Oct 23, 1930; d Austin, TX, May 5, 2001). American button accordionist, bandleader, songwriter, and singer of zydeco music. Son of a black Creole la-la accordionist, as a young man living near Lake Charles, Louisiana, Chavis played house dances and in clubs owned by his wife Leona’s family. Originally he played with just a washboard player or by himself using a single-row or triple-row button accordion, developing a metrical style of dropping or adding beats that did not disturb social dancing but made it difficult for other musicians to follow.

He recorded his first single, “Paper in My Shoe,” for Eddie Shuler’s Folk Star label in Lake Charles in 1954, and the bilingual rendition in French and English was a hit. In 1960 Chavis and Shuler parted ways in disagreement over business arrangements. Chavis stopped playing music and devoted himself to training race horses and maintaining a small farm known as Dog Hill....

Article

David Chevan

[Adolphus Anthony]

(b Nashville, TN, June 13, 1905; d Washington, DC, June 2, 1997). American jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. Although most famous for his trumpet playing, he also played both soprano and tenor saxophone during his early days in black vaudeville. Despite his parents’ wishes that he become a pharmacist (hence the nickname Doc), he began touring as an accompanist in blues bands. After moving to Chicago, he met the bandleader King Oliver and later on Louis Armstrong, for whom Cheatham occasionally substituted and who remained a musical influence on Cheatham for years. After a short period in Philadelphia in 1927, Cheatham moved to New York where he worked briefly with Chick Webb before joining Sam Wooding’s band for three years of touring in Europe. He subsequently found himself typecast as a first-trumpet player, thus preventing him from improvising as much as he wanted. Until the 1970s he performed primarily with large ensembles, including those of Cab Calloway, Teddy Wilson, Benny Carter, and Benny Goodman, as well as many Latin jazz bands during the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970s saw Cheatham critically re-evaluating his playing, and until his death in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Oklahoma City, OK, Nov 18, 1936; d Málaga, Spain, Oct 19, 1995). American jazz cornettist and bandleader. He is the father of the African American pop singer Neneh Cherry. He learned to play many different brass instruments and began working professionally, sometimes as a pianist rather than a brass player, in rhythm and blues groups and in a bop quartet, the Jazz Messiahs (1957), which incorporated Ornette Coleman’s compositions into its repertory. Cherry rose to prominence as a member of Coleman’s groups and played a pocket cornet (calling it a pocket trumpet) on the leader’s first seven albums, including The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959, Atl.) and Free Jazz (1960, Atl.). After leaving Coleman, Cherry worked with Sonny Rollins (1962–3), touring Europe. In 1963–4, with Archie Shepp and John Tchicai, he was a leader of the New York Contemporary Five, and in ...

Article

Mario Rey

[Wilfredo José Chirino]

(b Consolación del Sur, Cuba, April 5, 1947). Cuban-American vocalist, songwriter, and bandleader; immigrated to the United States in 1961. At the age of thirteen, Chirino was transported from Cuba to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan, the largest child exodus in the Americas. After studying percussion, piano and guitar, he began his career performing in various rock bands, subsequently becoming an instrumentalist for artists such as Celia Cruz before emerging as a solo performer. He has been married to renowned Cuban singer Lissette [Álvarez] since 1980.

A central figure in tropical and Latin pop, Chirino has collaborated with the most renowned exponents of salsa and was influential in the formation of the fusion style known as the “Miami Sound.” Chirino’s eclectic brand of danceable music combines Cuban popular traditions with Anglo rock, jazz, and Brazilian rhythms. The nostalgia of exile and socio-political issues related to the Cuban people resonate through much of his work, as exemplified by ...