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Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, Dec 9, 1954). American record producer, composer, bandleader, and percussionist. He began playing percussion at the age of nine and as a teenager he performed with local Latin bands and with Carla Bley. After studying art at Cooper Union in New York and then independently in the western Sahara, India, Haiti, and Europe, he worked with Chico Freeman. In 1979 he founded the record company and label American Clavé, the first release of which was Jerry Gonzalez’s album Ya yo ma curé; other artists presented by the label include the Argentinian bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla. In 1984 Hanrahan formed the group Conjure, which performs his own compositions and uses lyrics based on the poetry of Ishmael Reed. From the mid-1980s into the 1990s he performed internationally in both small groups and large orchestras, collaborating with, among others, Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Don Pullen, D. D. Jackson, Kenny Kirkland, Billy Bang, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Steve Swallow, Anthony Cox, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Andy Gonzalez, Jack Bruce, Billy Hart, Ignacio Berroa, Little Jimmy Scott, the Latin percussionist Milton Cardona, the avant-rock guitarist Arto Lindsay, and the blues singer Taj Mahal. Hanrahan usually serves as a conductor, but he also plays guitar and sings. His eclectic style of music blends elements of rock, jazz, blues, and popular song over various rhythmic structures, which are often based on Latin music. He likens his role to that of a film director and has been called “the Jean-Luc Godard of music.”...

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

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

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 ...