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Jonas Westover

[Joseph A. ]

(b March 18, 1884, Philadelphia, PA; d Upper Darby, PA, June 9, 1950). American composer and pianist. Burke studied the piano as a child, and also played the violin in his high school orchestra. After attending the University of Pennsylvania, he became connected with local music publishers, eventually moving to New York in the mid-1910s. He is best known for his work during the 1920s and 30s. Burke wrote music during the height of the Tin Pan Alley era, teaming with several different lyricists, with his breakout song being “Yearning” (1925), with words by Benny Davis. Working alongside Al Dubin, however, brought Burke his greatest fame; the two wrote “Tip Toe through the Tulips” and “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine,” both of which were featured in the film Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929). “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes,” also with Dubin, was turned into a smash hit by Rudy Vallee in ...

Article

Ian Whitcomb

[Bush, Louis Ferdinand; Carr, Joe ‘Fingers’]

(b Louisville, KY, July 18, 1910; d Camarillo, CA, Sept 19, 1979). American ragtime pianist, composer and recording executive. At the age of 16 he left home to tour as a pianist with the Clyde McCoy band, a popular dance orchestra of the 1930s. He later served as a pianist and arranger with a series of big bands, notably those of George Olsen, Ray Noble, Vincent Lopez and Henry Busse. In 1941 he settled in Los Angeles and, after a period as accompanist to Lena Horne, was employed by the newly formed West Coast record label Capitol. When Euday L. Bowman’s Twelfth Street Rag (recorded in 1948 by Pee Wee Hunt) sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, Busch was placed in charge of Capitol's artists and repertory department and invited to capitalize on the success of the recording. He then adopted his pseudonym, Joe ‘Fingers’ Carr, and agreed to be marketed on record covers as a typical black bar-room pianist with gartered sleeves, cigar and derby hat; despite this promotional gimmickry, he played fine ragtime piano. He also wrote a long series of sturdy hit rags. His 36 singles and 14 albums during the 1950s created a congenial setting for the ragtime revival and inspired many young musicians who later developed the second revival in the late 1960s. Under the name Lou Busch he also enjoyed success in Britain with his recording ...

Article

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

Eliot Gattegno

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 1956). American classical and jazz pianist and composer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Caine began playing piano at the age of seven. At age 12 he commenced studies with French jazz pianist Bernard Peiffer. He later studied composition with ...

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

Jonas Westover

(Angela)

(b Huntington, NY, March 27, 1970). American singer, composer, producer, and actress. She is one of the top-selling artists of all time, a star in R&B and pop who sold, according to some estimates, more than 200 million albums during the 1990s and 2000s. She learned to sing as a child from her mother, an opera singer and vocal coach. While in high school she sang backing vocals for other artists and developed her own compositional style. She moved to New York in the mid-1980s and became a backing singer for Brenda K. Starr. The record company executive Tommy Mottola sought out Carey after hearing her voice on a demo tape. He immediately offered her a recording contract, resulting in her first album, Mariah Carey (1990); the two eventually married. Carey wrote or co-wrote a significant portion of the music on her first album and insisted on maintaining a degree of control over its production. Both of these elements have become her standard practice, and she is one of the few major pop artists to compose much of her own material. ...

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

Lars Helgert

[Mr. 335]

(b Torrance, CA, March 2, 1948). American guitarist and composer. He studied guitar with Slim Edwards and graduated from Harbor College in 1968. His professional career began with the Wes Montgomery-influenced album With a Little Help from my Friends (MCA, 1968). He spent most of the 1970s as a session guitarist; his musical versatility led to his taking part in more than 3000 recording sessions, including those for such albums as Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam (ABC, 1976), Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall (Epic, 1979), and Billy Joel’s Piano Man (Columbia, 1973). He was also a member of the jazz-funk group the Crusaders during this era. Since 1977, Carlton has pursued a solo career, which includes the albums Larry Carlton (WB, 1978), Friends (WB, 1983, with BB King, Joe Sample, and Michael Brecker), Discovery (MCA, 1987, with Michael McDonald); Larry and Lee (GRP, ...

Article

Patricia Willard

(Howell )

(b Boston, MA, April 1, 1910; d New York, NY, Oct 8, 1974). American baritone and alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and composer. He studied piano from the age of seven, then switched to clarinet at 14 when he was a member of the Knights of Pythias boys’ band. At 15 he took up alto saxophone and began playing professionally in Boston clubs with Bobby Sawyer, Walter Johnson, and the banjoist Henry Sapro, who took him to New York in 1927. Duke Ellington invited him to substitute temporarily for an absent Otto Hardwick in his band, which became his home base for life. During their first weeks at the Cotton Club in December 1927, Carney recorded on alto saxophone with Ellington, then made the baritone saxophone his primary instrument and strove for the deep tone of the bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini; the tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was his other acknowledged influence. Carney continued to double on alto until adopting bass clarinet as one of his regular instruments in ...