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Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...

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Stephen Montague

revised by Kelly Hiser

(Arthur )

(b Kankakee, IL, March 22, 1942; d San Rafael, CA, Sept 25, 1996). American composer, trombonist, conductor, and double bassist. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trombone with Robert Gray and composition with Kenneth Gaburo, herbert Brün , and salvatore Martirano (BM in performance 1965). He studied jazz improvisation with lee Konitz and electronic music with richard b. Hervig at the University of Iowa (1970–71). He was a member of the Harry Partch Ensemble (1961–2) and the Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players (1963–6) and was an associate artist at the University of Iowa Center for New Music and New Performing Arts (1969–74). From 1974 to 1984 English lived in Europe, where he performed widely as a soloist and with jazz and new music ensembles, at festivals, and on radio. He collaborated with his wife Candace Natvig, a singer and violinist; in ...

Article

Russ Musto

(b Joplin, MO, July 24, 1939). American alto and tenor saxophonist and composer. One of the most inventive bebop alto saxophonists in the tradition of Charlie Parker, he possesses a fluid melodic style that reflects the initial influence of Johnny Hodges. At age nine he moved to Detroit and at 13 started playing saxophone. He began studies with barry Harris when he was 18 and landed his first professional gigs with the pianist a year later in a band that also featured Lonnie Hillyer. McPherson arrived in New York in 1959 and the following year joined Charles Mingus, with whom he played for the next decade and a half. He made his first album as a leader, Bebop Revisited!, for Prestige in 1964 and recorded frequently for that label for the next five years. During the 1970s he made three records each for the Mainstream and Xanadu labels, the dates for the latter offering some of the purest bebop of its time. He relocated to San Diego in ...

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Charles Garrett

Article

Jeffery S. McMillan

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 10, 1938; d New York, NY, Feb 19, 1972). American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. One of the charismatic individualists to emerge in the late 1950s, he began playing vibraphone at 12, but soon thereafter turned to trumpet. He studied music at Jules E Mastbaum Vocational Technical High School and privately with the trumpeter Tony Marchione, but learned jazz by playing in Philadelphia rehearsal bands, sitting in with visiting professionals, and leading his own combo from age 15. After graduation in 1956, Morgan played a week with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and made his first recordings as a leader for Blue Note. He was a featured soloist on “A Night in Tunisia” with Gillespie until the band dissolved in January 1958. After a short period of freelancing, he joined a revamped edition of the Jazz Messengers and stayed until ...

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Michael Baumgartner

(b Oakland, CA, Feb 19, 1955). American jazz saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, and leader. He grew up in Berkeley, where he received his first musical training, in stride and ragtime piano. At the age of nine he began playing alto saxophone and at the age of 11 tenor saxophone. From the age of 12 through his later teens he led several R&B bands. He continued his formal training at Pomona College in Los Angeles, where stanley Crouch and Margaret Kohn were among his teachers. After his graduation in 1975 Murray moved to New York where he began playing the loft circuit with such experimental musicians as Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, and Julius Hemphill. His first steady engagement came with the Ted Daniels’ Energy Band; its members were Hamiett Bluiett, Lester Bowie, and Frank Lowe. After his first European tour in 1976, Murray established the renowned World saxophone quartet ...

Article

John-Carlos Perea

[James Gilbert ]

(b Salem, OR, June 18, 1941; d Portland, OR, Feb 10, 1992). American tenor and soprano saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and composer. Of Native American (Creek and Kaw) heritage, he was raised in Oregon and Oklahoma. Early musical influences included tap dance, big band jazz, Southern Plains powwow music and dance, and peyote music. Pepper moved to New York in 1964 and joined the Free Spirits (1966), an early fusion jazz ensemble featuring Larry Coryell and Bob Moses. After forming the group Everything is Everything (1967) with former members of Free Spirits Chris Hills and Columbus Baker, Pepper recorded “Witchi Tai To,” a composition fusing a peyote song with jazz, rock, and country influences. Released on Everything is Everything featuring Chris Hills (Vanguard Apostolic, 1969), “Witchi Tai To” peaked at number 69 on the Billboard pop charts. By 2011 it had been covered by at least 90 artists ranging from Brewer & Shipley, Jan Garbarek, and Oregon to the Paul Winter Consort and Joy Harjo. Pepper released four albums as a leader: ...

Article

(b El Reno, OK, Sept 25, 1923; d Orlando, FL, Dec 26, 2011). American jazz reed player and composer. Rivers’s parents were gospel musicians, and his grandfather was a music scholar. He grew up in Chicago and Little Rock, Arkansas, studying piano, reeds, and trombone. After attending Jarvis Christian College and serving in the Navy, he enrolled in the Boston Conservatory (1947–53). In Boston, Rivers played with Herb Pomeroy, Quincy Jones, Charlie Mariano, and Joe Gordon. From 1955–7 he toured with R&B bands in Florida and with Billie Holiday before returning to Boston in 1958, where he played with Hal Galper and Tony Williams.

Rivers moved to New York in 1964 and worked briefly with Miles Davis (Miles in Tokyo, 1964) before signing with Blue Note and releasing Fuchsia Swing Song (1964), Contours (1965), and A New Conception (1966...

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William Kirk Bares

(Hopkins )

(b Sharon, CT, Nov 17, 1935). American trombonist, ethnomusicologist, and composer. A well regarded jazz soloist, he is perhaps best known as a musical collaborator with ecumenical tastes. Strongly influenced by New Orleans jazz at a young age and seasoned by work in traditional jazz bands as a student at Yale, he transitioned easily to the collective free improvisation scenes of 1960s and 70s New York. Early partners included Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Enrico Rava, Carla Bley, John Tchicai, and Milford Graves; he worked with the last two in the New York Art Quartet. The open spirit of his early work is preserved on Archie Shepp’s Four for Trane (1964, Imp.), to which he contributed adventurous arrangements, and his own eclectic Blown Bone (1976, Phillips), which features several of the above artists.

Rudd’s subsequent collaborations have extended his longtime interest in non-Western music. He has carried out research for Alan Lomax’s cantometrics project (from early 1980s) and taught ethnomusicology at Bard College (...

Article

John Chilton

[Charles James ]

(b New York, NY, Aug 3, 1917; d New York, NY, July 8, 1971). American jazz trumpeter and arranger. At the age of 19 he made a sensational impact on the New York jazz scene with his playing in the John Kirby Sextet (1937–44), for which he also provided many ingenious arrangements. For the next 11 years Shavers often worked in a big band led by Tommy Dorsey, where he was featured in spectacular arrangements that displayed both his jazz talents and his bravura approach; he also occasionally sang. He played in a wide variety of studio bands, but spent the last years of his life playing mainly in small groups, continuing to display an astonishing versatility. He was also a gifted pianist and banjo player.

Shavers was originally influenced by Roy Eldridge, but he soon developed a bold individualism that radiated confidence and good humor. He was a well schooled musician who displayed remarkable technical fluency and was able to harness this skill in his agile improvisations, which were particularly noteworthy for their wide dynamic range. He was one of the first jazz trumpeters to improvise long lines in the altissimo register with complete control; these high-note excursions did not diminish his flexibility or the warmth of his low notes. He wrote several deft jazz compositions, notably the enduring “Undecided,” popularized by Benny Goodman....

Article

Mark Berresford

(Coleman )

(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...

Article

Noal Cohen

[Thompson, Jr., Eli ]

(b Columbia, SC, June 16, 1923; d Seattle, WA, July 30, 2005). American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, and arranger. Thompson developed an original tenor saxophone style that transcended eras and genres by layering the rhythmic and harmonic innovations of bebop upon the more traditional models of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Don Byas. Thompson was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he received his first musical training. By the age of 20, he was playing with Lionel Hampton’s orchestra and soon after that the bands of Billy Eckstine, Boyd Raeburn, and Count Basie. Throughout his three-decade career, Thompson worked and recorded with key jazz innovators such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk. A prolific yet under-appreciated composer, he left a legacy of more than 150 pieces, many of which are unusual and challenging. As a leader, he favored an octet ensemble that was often called “Lucky Thompson and His Lucky Seven.” His bravura performance of the ballad “Just One More Chance” (RCA Victor, ...

Article

Michael Baumgartner

(b Chicago, IL, Feb 15, 1944). American alto saxophonist, composer, and leader. At the age of nine he started taking piano lessons and picked up first the tenor, later the alto, saxophone when he entered high school, playing in polka, mariachi, and blues bands as well as in college ensembles. He continued his formal musical training at Wilson Junior College, where he met Anthony Braxton, Jack DeJohnette, Joseph Jarman, and Muhal Richard Abrams. After he briefly played in Abrams’s Experimental Band, he continued his affiliation with an Evangelist camp orchestra, playing saxophone in gospel services. During his army service in Vietnam (...