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Edgardo Diaz Diaz

[Calderón, Gilberto Miguel ]

(b New York, NY, April 22, 1931; d New York, NY, Feb 15, 2009). American Bandleader and percussionist. As a member of the Nuyorican community, he became known as the father of Latin boogaloo for his pioneering blend of various Afro-Caribbean styles with R&B and soul, along with lyrics that alternated between English and Spanish. In 1954 he founded the José Calderón Sextet, which later became known as the Joe Cuba Sextet. This group featured timbale and vibraphone (reminiscent of Tito Puente’s mambo style), conga drums, piano, and bass, as well as the singer Cheo Feliciano. Their release of “To be with you” in 1962 predated the emergence of slow-paced Latin soul, whereas “El pito” (1965) heralded the Latin boogaloo era with its 1-2-3-4 clappings, cha-cha-cha-related rhythms, blues-related keyboard riffs, ostinato whistles evoking street noises together with the code switching between English and Spanish common among Nuyoricans. This musical framework was considerably enriched and developed in “Bang Bang” (...


Chadwick Jenkins

(b San Jose, CA, c1968). American jazz drummer and bandleader. She attended San Jose City College, where she performed with its big band. She studied with a variety of teachers including Victor Lewis, Keith Copeland, Adam Nussbaum, and Portinho. Cuenca has performed and led workshops with Clark Terry’s quintet and toured with the saxophonist Joe Henderson’s quartet, playing at several renowned jazz festivals. The list of noteworthy players with whom she has performed includes Charlie Haden, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker, Marian McPartland, Billy Taylor, Etta Jones, and Diana Reeves. She has also performed with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble under Jon Faddis. Cuenca has served as a leader on two albums that have received critical acclaim: The Crossing (1998, CDBY) and Exit 13 (2002, Etoile Records), the latter recorded with a trio that included the organist Kyle Koehler and the guitarist Dave Stryker. She has received two performance grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (...


Harry B. Soria Jr.

[Albert R. ]

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 1, 1879; d Honolulu, HI, Jan 23, 1933). Composer, arranger, publisher, pianist, and bandleader, active in Hawaii. Cunha’s compositions early in the 20th century spearheaded the development of the hapa haole song, featuring predominantly English lyrics with some references to Hawaii and the Hawaiian language, earning him the title of “Father of Hapa Haole Songs.” His innovation is credited with making Hawaii’s music accessible to a much wider audience, which rapidly grew to global proportions over the next few decades.

Cunha left Hawaii to attend Yale University, where he excelled in sports, the Yale Glee Club, and composed Yale’s “Boola, Boola.” Rather than practice law after graduation, he toured the mainland United States performing a new kind of Hawaiian song, combining the popular ragtime rhythm of American music with Hawaiian songs. Cunha returned to Hawaii and composed his first hapa haole song, “Waikiki Mermaid,” in ...


David Brackett

[Ousley, Curtis]

(b Fort Worth, TX, Feb 7, 1934; d New York, Aug 13, 1971). American tenor saxophonist and bandleader. As one of the most versatile studio saxophonists of the 1950s and 60s in New York, King Curtis appeared on countless recordings as a session musician, mostly for Atlantic Records. He worked with artists as diverse as the post-doo-wop Coasters (notably Yakety Yak) and the rockabilly singer Buddy Holly (Reminiscing, which he co-wrote). In addition, he recorded successfully under his own name (1962–70). These recordings capitalized on the popularity of soul jazz, using blues-derived harmonic progressions, open-ended vamps and syncopated riffs. In the late 1960s he became the musical director for Aretha Franklin and was working on John Lennon's album Imagine at the time of his death in 1971. King Curtis was inspired by such saxophonists as Louis Jordan, Illinois Jacquet, Earl Bostic and Gene Ammons. Although he was influenced by the rhythm and blues ‘honkin'’ style of the 1940s and 50s, his playing reveals a debt to jazz as well. With a searing edge to his sound resembling gospel vocal tones, his style frequently featured a staccato, stuttering technique, combined with melodic mobility and a variety of slurs, bends and use of the instrument's harmonic register....


Jairo Moreno

[Francisco Jesús Rivera Figueras ]

(b Havana, Cuba, June 4, 1948). American alto saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and bandleader, of Cuban birth. A child prodigy, D’Rivera was groomed by his father, Tito, a classical saxophonist who taught him soprano and alto saxophone. In 1954–7 he began performing, making stage, radio, and television appearances. From 1960, he studied clarinet and theory at the Alejandro García Caturla Conservatory in Havana. By 1961 he gained his first formal exposure to jazz improvisation and formed his earliest group, Chicos del Jazz. His first recording was as a soloist with Leonardo Timor, a bandleader who played arrangements by Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and Count Basie at the Cabaret Parisienne. Between 1965 and 1968, he served in the Cuban army. In 1967, he was among the original members of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna (OCMM), led by Armando Romeu, the musical director of the Tropicana Orchestra. He directed the OCMM for two years. In the late 1960s, he formed the Quinteto Cubano de Jazz, touring Eastern Europe. In ...


Yoko Suzuki

(b Bronxville, NY, c1958). American jazz baritone saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. She started to play alto saxophone in the school band when she was around 12 years old. While in high school, she joined a local marching band and played in the pit band of another high school. She went to Berklee College of Music, studying the saxophone with Joe Viola and Billy Pierce. While at Berklee, she played alto and tenor saxophones and became immersed in the avant-garde jazz scene in Boston. Upon graduating in 1980, she moved to Cape Cod where she worked with an all-female rock band for two years. After three more years of touring the New England area with another rock band, she settled in New York in 1985 and purchased a baritone saxophone soon after. Her first job as a baritone saxophonist was with the Kit McClure Band in the late 1980s, and she also played in the ...


Max Harrison

[Tadley Ewing Peake]

(b Cleveland, Feb 21, 1917; d New York, March 8, 1965). American jazz composer, arranger, bandleader and pianist. After working with lesser-known groups he joined that of Harlan Leonard, for which he scored many arrangements, including Dameron Stomp and A la Bridges; he also wrote for Jimmie Lunceford, Coleman Hawkins (Half step down, please, 1947, Vic.) and Sarah Vaughan (If you could see me now, 1946, Musi.). In the late 1940s Dameron wrote arrangements for the big band of Dizzy Gillespie, who gave the première of his large-scale orchestral piece Soulphony at Carnegie Hall in 1948. Also in 1948 Dameron led his own group in New York, which included Fats Navarro; the following year he was at the Paris Jazz Fair with Miles Davis. After forming another group of his own with Clifford Brown in 1953, he became inactive on account of a problem with drugs, which led to his imprisonment in ...


Travis D. Stimeling

[Charles Edward ]

(b Wilmington, NC, Oct 28, 1936). American session guitarist and fiddler, record producer, and Southern rock bandleader. After taking up the guitar at the age of 15, he was working as a professional rock musician by his early 20s, touring North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC, with the Rockets and, after the band changed its name to the Jaguars, recording two sides for Epic Records in 1959 with the producer Bob Johnston. In 1962 Daniels and Johnston co-wrote “It hurts me,” which RCA Victor released as the B-side of Elvis Presley’s “Kissin’ Cousins” (RCA, 1964). Encouraged by Johnston, he moved to Nashville to become a session musician for CBS in 1967, in which capacity he recorded with Bob Dylan, Al Kooper, Leonard Cohen, and Flatt and Scruggs, among others. In 1969 he produced the Youngbloods’ album Elephant Mountain (RCA, 1969) and joined Leonard Cohen’s touring band. Daniels signed with Capitol Records in ...


Mina F. Miller

revised by Jonas Westover

(b New Haven, CT, Oct 17, 1945). American soprano and conductor. Following comprehensive studies in music (violin and piano) and dance, Wyner graduated in 1965 from Cornell University. Her principal singing teacher was Herta Glaz Redlich, with whom she studied privately (1969–75). Her debut at Carnegie Recital Hall (1972) was the result of her winning the Concert Guild Auditions. Since her orchestral debut with the Boston SO in February 1974, she has sung with nearly every major orchestra in the United States and Canada, as well as with the Israel PO and the London SO. Although she is best known for her interpretations of contemporary music, her repertory includes works from the 16th to 19th centuries. She made her operatic debut as Poppea in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with the New York City Opera in 1977 and her Metropolitan Opera debut as Woglinde in ...


Barry Kernfeld

[Prince of Darkness]

(b Alton, IL, May 25, 1926; d Santa Monica, CA, Sept 28, 1991). American jazz trumpeter and bandleader. An original, lyrical soloist and a demanding group leader, he was the most consistently innovatory musician in jazz from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s.

Davis grew up in East St Louis and took up the trumpet at the age of 13; two years later he was already playing professionally. He moved to New York in September 1944, ostensibly to enter the Institute of Musical Art but actually to locate his idol, Charlie Parker. He joined Parker in live appearances and recording sessions (1945–8), at the same time playing in other groups and touring in the big bands led by Benny Carter and Billy Eckstine. In 1948 he began to lead his own bop groups, and he participated in an experimental workshop centred on the arranger Gil Evans. Their collaborations with Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis and Johnny Carisi culminated in a series of nonet recordings for Capitol under Davis's name and later collected and reissued as ...