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Rainer E. Lotz

[William ]

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

Article

Wim van Eyle

[Pieternella ]

(b The Hague, Sept 18, 1925). Dutch pianist and singer. She is self-taught as a musician. She sang with a Hawaiian vocal group, the Samoa Girls (1939–42), sang and played piano with the Dutch group the Miller Sextet (1944–9), and appeared in shows sponsored by the USO. From 1949 she led a trio and worked as a soloist, and between 1952 and 1967 she made several visits to the USA (approximately at yearly intervals) during which she performed in Hollywood and at Birdland in New York; she also took Eddie de Haas and Wallace Bishop for an engagement in the South in 1957, but racist conditions prevented Bishop from working – he returned to the Netherlands and Al Levitt took his place. Beck operated a club in Torremolinos, Spain, from 1965. In the 1980s she returned to the Netherlands, where she has worked mainly with her trio, with Koos Serierse, George van Deyl, or Henk Haverhoek on double bass, and Kees Kranenburg, Huub Janssen, or Roberto Haliffi on drums. She made a number of recordings, of which ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 26, 1942). Australian trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. In 1959 he participated in Sydney Jazz Club workshops. After playing in 1961 with the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, the following year he formed his Olympia Jazz Band in Sydney, which included the guitarist and banjoist Geoff Holden (who had introduced him to jazz), the clarinetist Peter Neubauer, and the double bass player Dick Edser, and which often played at the Brooklyn and Orient hotels. In 1966-7 he performed overseas, among other places in New Orleans and Europe, and recorded with Alton Purnell, Barry Martyn, and Capt. John Handy. Back in Sydney he returned to the Orient Hotel. He recorded Geoff Bull's Olympia Jazz Band (1969, Swaggie 1261) and continued to lead a number of versions of the Olympia Jazz Band. In 1974 he revisited New Orleans, and thereafter he traveled frequently between the two cities; he recorded in New Orleans with several veteran musicians and he organized Australian tours for Purnell and Sammy Price. Bull briefly ran a restaurant in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

[Francis James ]

(b Emmaville, Australia, Sept 10, 1904; d Sydney, 6 or April 7, 1979). Australian bandleader, trombonist, trumpeter, arranger, and singer. From 1922 he worked in Sydney and Melbourne in the bands, among others, of Bill James (1923), Frank Ellis (1924), Walter Beban (1925), Carol Laughner (1926–7), and Linn Smith (1927–8). In England he worked with Jack Hylton, Fred Elizalde, Al Collins, and Al Starita (all 1928–9). Following his return to Australia he played as a sideman and as a leader in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and during a residency at the Sydney Trocadero (1936–9) he established a reputation as a pre-eminent swing bandleader. He led an army band (1943–5), then played again at the Sydney Trocadero (1946–51, 1954–70), after which he gradually withdrew from musical activities. The finest dance-band and swing musicians in Australia passed through the ranks of Coughlan’s band....

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Auckland, Feb 17, 1920; d Aug 22, 2003). New Zealand composer, pianist and harpist. Her early training in piano and singing was followed by a BMus from the University of Auckland in 1939. She became a music specialist in schools, then from 1948 studied the harp, composition and piano accompaniment at the RCM, London, where she won the Tertis Prize for her Rhapsody for viola and orchestra in 1950. In 1953 she became pianist and musical director for Poul Gnatt’s newly formed New Zealand Ballet Company for whom she wrote Do-Wack-a-Do (1960), a piece evocative of the frenetic gaiety of the 1920s (she once commented that the syncopated rhythms of ragtime and jazz ‘have stayed with me all my life’). From an early romanticism she moved through more severe chromaticism towards atonality. She later came to describe herself as ‘a neo-romantic’. It was as a spirited original that she made her mark on New Zealand music....

Article

Adrian Jackson

(b Glasgow, March 24, 1954). Scottish singer and trumpeter. His family moved to Wollongong, New South Wales, in 1955, though he has never taken Australian citizenship and remains a Scottish national. He began playing trumpet and singing in soul or rhythm-and-blues bands around Sydney, Geelong, and Melbourne before gravitating towards jazz in the late 1970s. After becoming very popular in Melbourne, he was soon the featured performer at jazz festivals and clubs around Australia; he also made several tours of Europe. Jones's repertory combines jazz standards with blues or rhythm-and-blues songs, and increasingly emphasizes original songs. A subtly persuasive singer and an economical trumpeter, he always includes accomplished jazz players in his bands (among them Barney McAll, Dale Barlow, and Lloyd Swanton).

Article

John Shand

[Miklos Jozsef ]

(b Budapest, May 8, 1948; d Sydney, February 4, 2008). Hungarian and Australian composer, arranger, electric bass guitarist, and singer. He studied classical piano and violin. By the time he was in his early twenties he was a significant influence in Hungarian rock music, though his band Syrius, which toured Europe and then Australia in 1970–71, incorporated jazz concepts. In 1974 he returned to Australia and recorded his first jazz album. He took dual citizenship in 1979. While he worked mainly within the soul genre, Orszaczky regularly used jazz musicians in his bands, and thereby proved an enormous influence on the composing, arranging, producing and bandleading skills of a generation of Sydney-based musicians. Some of his bands, such as the Hungarian Rap Sadists and Industrial Accident, were more unclassifiable and experimental in nature. In the late 1990s his Orszaczky Budget Orchestra performed compositions by Albert Ayler and Eddie Harris alongside those of the soul singer James Brown and Orszaczky himself....