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Leonard Bernardo

(Andrejevich )

(b Novosibirsk, Russian SFSR [now Russia], March 16, 1947). Russian drummer, writer, broadcaster, and educator. He began playing jazz in 1962, and after graduating from the state medical institute in Novosibirsk in 1971 he pursued a dual career as a jazz musician and an obstetrician. In 1975 he established Tvorcheskoye Dhazovoye Ob’yedinenie (Creative Jazz Unity), the first association of musicians and jazz promoters east of the Urals. He performed with Vladimir Tolkachev in the Musical Improvising Trio (1975–9), with Igor Dmitriev in various groups (including, from 1977, Zolotoye Gody Dhaza (Golden Jazz Years), with Vytautas Labutis in the quartet SibLitMash (Siberian-Lithuanian Jazz Machine, 1980s), and with Vagif Sadykhov in another quartet (1998), while also working as a freelance with Vladimir Chekasin, Anatoly Vapirov, Igor Butman, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, and former members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, among others. In 1990 he began to broadcast on radio, and in ...

Article

[Dionysus Lardner ]

(b Dublin, Dec 26, 1820 or 1822; d New York, Sept 18, 1890). Irish dramatist . Known primarily as an actor, he played regularly in New York and London from the 1850s, excelling in his depictions of Irish heroes. Though nearly all his dramatic works were adaptations, they were often brilliantly constructed. His most successful pieces were London Assurance (1841, produced under the pseudonym Lee Morton); The Colleen Bawn, or The Brides of Garryowen (1860, after G. Griffin: The Collegians, or The Colleen Bawn), later adapted by Boucicault and John Oxenford as the libretto for Benedict’s opera The Lily of Killarney (1862); and Arrah-na-Pogue (1865). With B. N. Webster Boucicault adapted an opéra comique by Ambroise Thomas, Le panier fleuri, for London, as The Fox and the Goose, or The Widow’s Husband (1844, Adelphi Theatre).

DNB (J. Knight) J. W. Cole...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Minneapolis, Jan 22, 1952). American percussionist, clarinetist, pianist, and critic. His father was an orchestral percussionist. Having been exposed to jazz at an early age, he took up drums when he was nine and studied informally with his father. Later he learned piano (1966–7) until he tired of reading music, though he resumed playing the instrument from 1969, took up clarinet in 1972, and doubled on bass clarinet from 1989 to 1992 and alto clarinet from 1992. Around the age of 17 he played in a rock band, but because he wished to explore freer types of music he formed the experimental group Blue Freedom; it was later known as Blue Freedom New Art Transformation and from 1973 as the Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble (MFFJE), which from 1975 functioned primarily as a duo with the guitarist Steve Gnitka; the two men toured Europe in ...

Article

Robert Gannon

(Richard Jeremy )

(b Weymouth, England, April 7, 1921; d Weymouth, May 9, 1991). English writer. From 1965 he was the host in Britain of a weekly radio program, “Jazz Scene” (better known by its later title, “Jazz Today”); he also hosted “Jazz in Britain.” The two shows eventually merged, and continued on BBC Radio 3 until 1988. Fox became the jazz critic of the New Statesman and also contributed occasionally to The Guardian, the Sunday Times, and The Gramophone. In the USA he is best known for The Essential Jazz Records, i: Ragtime to Swing (1984), a guide to 250 jazz recordings written with Max Harrison and Eric Thacker. He also wrote a brief, insightful book on Fats Waller (1960).

(selective list)

Fats Waller (New York, 1960); repr. in Kings of Jazz, ed. S. Green (South Brunswick, NJ, and New York, 1978) with P. Gammond and ...

Article

Caroline Polk O’Meara

[Jones, Alexander Roger Wallace ]

(b New York, NY, 1967). American musician and writer. Frere-Jones has performed with his band Ui since the early 1990s, when he also began writing about music for publications including the Village Voice, New York Times, and Spin. Since 2004 he has been the pop music critic at The New Yorker. His columns often cover popular musicians, but he has also been an early champion of many lesser-known groups from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Sleigh Bells. His experience as a professional musician shines in his authorial voice; he writes accessibly and in depth about musical content. Frere-Jones’s controversial 2007 New Yorker article, “A Paler Shade of White,” produced a large amount of support and criticism in the press. The wide-ranging article began with him mourning the absence of African American music traditions in indie rock (centering on the group Arcade Fire) before addressing the question of musical miscegenation, which he claims is sadly absent in most current rock music. Frere-Jones’s clever quips are frequently quoted in the work of other writers, making him something of a critic’s critic....

Article

George J. Grella

(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA 1976), where he played jazz piano, sang, composed chamber music, and organized free-jazz ensembles. He moved to New York and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, producing work for Paul Bley’s label Improvising Artists and for composer La Monte Young, while making music on the side. Garland followed the twin paths of piano improvisation and composition for chamber ensembles in the minimalist style and later joined Nigel Rollings’s band Ad Hoc Rock; with Rollings he sang and played drums, guitar, and keyboards and appeared at The Kitchen, Carnegie Hall, and in the Noise Fest at White Columns (1981). In ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Reading, PA, Dec 18, 1932). American writer. He learned clarinet from the age of 12 and taught himself to play alto saxophone. After studying music theory at Florida State University (BA 1961) he played with the pianist John Benson Brooks (c1961–3), whose trio explored 12-tone composition and improvisation. From the early 1960s Heckman contributed to Down Beat, Metronome, and Jazz Review, and in the process he wrote a number of musical analyses of jazz performances (notably “Miles Davis Times Three,” DB, xxix/23 (1962), 16), which was an unusual practice at the time. Around the same period he played occasionally with Don Ellis, broadcast a jazz radio show on WBAI-FM in New York (1963–4), and performed in the October Revolution in Jazz (1964). From 1964 to 1972, with the tenor saxophonist Ed Summerlin, he co-led the ensemble Improvisational Jazz Workshop, in which Steve Kuhn, Ron Carter, Steve Swallow, Ed Shaugnessy, and Charli Persip were among their sidemen; the group recorded an eponymous album in ...

Article

(well )

(b London, Feb 28, 1917; d Chichester, England, Aug 1, 1993). English writer. He taught himself to play saxophone and clarinet and worked in dance bands from 1930. After abandoning his career as a performer in 1935, in the late 1930s he formed the High Wycombe Rhythm Club and the Challenge Jazz Club. He was the jazz editor of Challenge in 1941–2 and worked as a commentator for the BBC’s program “Radio Rhythm Club” from 1942 to 1943; he continued to work occasionally in radio during the following decades. In 1942 he was a founder, with Albert McCarthy, of the journal Jazz Music (which he edited in 1944 and again from 1946 to the early 1950s) and from 1944 to 1946 he was the editor of a series of pamphlets entitled Jazz Music Books. Jones had a long association with Melody Maker, first as an editor with Rex Harris of “Collector’s Corner” (from ...

Article

Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...