1-20 of 93 results  for:

  • Instrumentalist x
Clear all

Article

John Curry

(bNew York, Jan 30, 1927; dNew York, Oct 2, 1993). Double bass and ‘ūd player. His early influences included the music played and sung by his father, who was Sudanese, and the Middle Eastern and East European music he heard growing up in Brooklyn’s multiracial community. He began learning violin at the age of seven and later studied double bass, piano, and tuba and attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York. At this time he played Greek, Syrian, and Gypsy music professionally at weddings and other occasions. After playing double bass with Art Blakey (1945–8), Don Byas (1946), Sam “the Man” Taylor (1954), and Randy Weston (1954–7) he worked with Thelonious Monk (1957–8), with whom he recorded in performance at the Five Spot in New York and appeared on television in the CBS series “The Seven Lively Arts,” as well as on “The Sound of Jazz” (both ...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Stanley )

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962 he joined the Coon Carnival stage show. He then spent seven years in Swaziland, where he played bop with the pianists Roy Peterson and Howard Belling and accompanied Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In 1975 he traveled to England and worked in variety and dance bands before joining Dudu Pukwana’s group Zila. In 1981 he founded the trio District Six with Mervyn Afrika and the guitarist Russell Herman, both of whom grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town; with Abrahams as its leader, the trio expanded to a sextet (including Jim Dvorak from 1983 to 1993 and Claude Deppa at some point thereafter) and became an important focus for musicians who played both jazz and African rhythms. Abrahams also worked with Ronnie Scott, John Taylor, Johnny Dyani, and the Brotherhood of Breath. In ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Emanuel Nii-Moi ]

(b Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast [now Ghana], June 7, 1931; d London, Sept 15, 1993). Ghanaian conga and bongo player. He was educated at the Royal School in Accra and began playing drums as a child. Following a brief spell in the army he traveled to Britain in 1947, settled in Yorkshire, undertook factory work, and purchased his first pair of bongos. He then moved to London and entered the entertainment business as a fire-eater, dancer, and drummer. Thereafter he became a firm fixture in modern-jazz groups, playing with Ronnie Scott, Phil Seamen, Sammy Walker, and the trombonist Ken Wray, and following other African percussionists into Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists. In 1955 he joined Cab Kaye. Having changed permanently from bongos to conga drums, he played with Shake Keane and Tubby Hayes. For more than six years his propulsive beat was a key element in the success of the singer and organist Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Acquaye worked with the Nightimers, led by the American soul singer Herbie Goines, and the jazz-tinged rock bands of Graham Bond and Ginger Baker, as well as with the Animals and the Rolling Stones. The first African to have a visible presence in postwar British popular music, he rejoined Fame intermittently but devoted his time increasingly to community teaching. The percussion workshops Adzido and Dade Krama enabled him to return to the pure drumming and chants of his youth....

Article

Val Wilmer

(Peter )

(b Cape Town, Oct 18, 1950). South African pianist, composer, and arranger. He grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town with the guitarist Russell Herman, studied music at the University of Cape Town, and played in various groups with Herman, including Oswietie, with which they toured South Africa and Angola. After joining Sipho Gumede in the funk-jazz group Spirits Rejoice he traveled along Africa’s west coast as far as Gabon, then in 1979 he settled in London. There he worked with Julian Bahula’s Jazz Africa and with Dudu Pukwana, and in 1981 he founded the trio (later, sextet) District Six with Herman and Brian Abrahams, the latter serving as the group’s leader. In 1984 Afrika performed in the USA as a member of Hugh Masekela’s group, and in 1986 he recorded with Pukwana. He led his own quartets and quintets and accompanied the singer Carmel, and during the same period he collaborated with Masekela, Courtney Pine, and the reed player David Jean-Baptiste and performed frequently as an unaccompanied soloist. In ...

Article

(bIsmâ’ ilîya, Egypt, June 8, 1931). Frenchsinger and pianist. He studied music in Paris and played piano with Don Byas (1955) and Stephane Grappelli (1957). He was a singer with the Blue Stars (1955–6), toured and recorded with the Double Six (1959–65), and took part in a session with Jon Hendricks and others (1965). Aldebert was married to the singer Monique Dozo (b Monaco, 5 May 1931; later known as Monique Aldebert-Guérin), who had sung with Bernard Peiffer (1947) and performed in Paris clubs with Byas, Django Reinhardt, Bobby Jasper, the Double Six (with which she recorded in 1959 and 1964), and Bill Coleman (1966). After moving to the USA (1967) the couple settled first in Las Vegas, where they appeared in revues, and then in Los Angeles (...

Article

Daniel Avorgbedor

(b Adiemmra, Ghana, March 31, 1945). Ghanaian popular guitarist, singer and master of guitar-band. Highlife and concert parties. He formed the African Brothers International Dance Band in 1963, a band that produced important musicians such as the late Eddie Donkor. Ampadu acquired rudimentary guitar skills with the help of P.K. Yamoah and worked briefly at the Ministry of Agriculture in his home district area. He performed briefly with the T.O. Jazz band led by T.O. Ampoma in 1962, but it was not until 1966 that he landed his first major recording contract with Philips West Africa Limited in Accra with the song, Agyanka Dabere. His most popular highlife single release was Ebi Tie Ye (1967), a song that illustrates his skills as musician, storyteller, moralist, satirist and social commentator. As a master of the concert party genre and a musician rooted in Akan verbal lore, the songs of Ampadu address a wide range of personal, political and social issues in very humorous and satirical ways. His music has won several national awards, including the ...

Article

Jacques Aboucaya

(b Oran, Algeria, Oct 25, 1961). French pianist and composer. After taking lessons in classical piano he went to the USA to study at the Berklee College of Music (1981–3) and then at the Manhattan School of Music (MM composition). He appeared in the BMI Jazz Composition Workshop under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer (1984) and wrote for Mel Lewis’s orchestra. Based in New York from 1985, he worked in clubs with such musicians as Joshua Redman, Bobby Watson, Ernie Watts, and Sonny Fortune and toured Brazil with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet. In 1987 he formed a quartet with the saxophonist Tim Ries for a tour of Europe, and then in 1990 recorded his first album as a leader, with Gary Peacock and Bill Stewart as his sidemen. He composed for a Belgian chamber orchestra and for the Orchestre National de Jazz in Paris. Amsallem has continued to play with Ries, and in the course of working in both the USA and Europe he recorded with the saxophonist in a trio with Leon Parker (...

Article

Watson Forbes

(b King William’s Town, South Africa, March 4, 1916; d Ipswich, Sept 7, 1978). British viola player of Russian-Lithuanian parentage. He studied the violin with Achille Rivarde at the RCM, London, and played in the major London orchestras until the war, after which he changed to the viola. He became principal viola with the Goldsbrough Orchestra (later the English Chamber Orchestra) in 1949 and with the London Mozart Players from 1952 to 1964. In the English Opera Group orchestra he played in the early performances of Britten’s church parables. However, it was chiefly in chamber music that he achieved distinction; he was a founder-member of Musica da Camera (1946), the Melos Ensemble (1950) and the Pro Arte Piano Quartet (1965). He had a particularly polished technique and an easy manner of integration, qualities very evident when he played as extra viola with the Amadeus String Quartet in quintets, blending with those players to produce performances of outstanding merit. He married the pianist Nicola Grunberg, with whom he formed a duo ensemble. He was professor of the viola and chamber music at the RCM from ...

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Charles de Ledesma

(b Johannesburg, March 13, 1938). South African percussionist. He was a popular drummer in Philip Tabane’s band Malombo, one of the foremost groups playing kwela (a style of urban popular music in South Africa). In 1973 he moved to London and formed the group Jabula, which played an amalgam of African music and rock; in 1977 this joined forces with a band led by Dudu Pukwana to form Jabula/Spear, which recorded the album Thunder in our Hearts (1977, Car. 2009). Later Bahula worked to promote African music in London, though he also played occasionally with the group Jazz Afrika and with a new group under the name Jabula. In the late 1980s he worked with Dick Heckstall-Smith in the band Electric Dream.

R. Cotterrell, ed.: Jazz Now: the Jazz Centre Society Guide (London, 1976) C. de Ledesma: “Afro Jazz: Evolution and Revolution,” The Wire, no.12 (1985), 26, esp. 38...

Article

Oliver Brockway

(b Algiers, April 1, 1924; d Paris, Sept 30, 2006). French horn player. He studied with his father in Algeria and with Jean Devémy at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1948 he joined the Orchestre National, and in 1951 won first prize in the international competition in Geneva. He was principal horn for the Concerts Lamoureux and in 1969 became principal of the Orchestre de Paris. Barboteu was the leading French player of his generation, setting a new standard of technical accomplishment and steering the country’s school of horn playing away from the continuous vibrato that had dogged it for decades. In this he was influenced by his teacher Devémy, who saw a minimal vibrato as a permissable result of the temperament and sensitivity of the player, but did not deliberately teach it, in contrast to the school headed by Lucien Thévet. Barboteu himself was appointed to the Conservatoire as successor to Devémy in ...

Article

Kevin Whitehead

(b Durban, South Africa, June 29, 1948). South African tenor and alto saxophonist and bandleader. He played guitar from the age of 12, took up clarinet when he was 17, and changed to tenor saxophone a year later. Playing either the tenor or the alto instrument he worked in pop and blues bands in Cape Town and Durban and in jazz groups with the drummer Dick Xhosa and Pat Matshikiza, among others. He left South Africa in 1973 and spent one year in London and another in Ann Arbor, Michigan, working with theater troupes. One such troupe took him in 1975 to Amsterdam, where he settled. In the late 1970s he worked with Theo Loevendie, Burton Greene, Tristan Honsinger, Ernst Reijseger, and Misha Mengelberg's ICP Orchestra. Bergin moved to Tuscany in 1980 and worked for a year with Honsinger, who remains a frequent collaborator in the Netherlands, where the two men perform in various combinations (sometimes including dancers), fluidly mixing verbal and musical improvisation. In the 1980s Bergin also recorded with Harry Miller, the tenor saxophonist J. C. Tans, and Barry Altschul. He has frequently run workshops and jam sessions in Amsterdam, and, along with Miller, he has helped infuse jazz there with a South African strain – tuneful and harmonically straightforward. In ...

Article

Gerhard Kubik

[Mwenda wa Bayeke ]

(b Bunkeya, 1930; d nr Lubumbashi, Sept 22, 1991). Congolese composer and guitarist. He began to play guitar at the age of 16 in Jadotville (now Likasa) in the Belgian Congo, and within a few years, by the 1950s, he had developed a highly individual style, the Katanga guitar style which he maintained, throughout his nearly 40-year career. He was discovered by South African musicologist Hugh Tracey on a field-trip to the Congo and was first recorded in Jadotville in 1952. That same year he received the first prize of the newly established Osborn Awards for the ‘best African music of the year’ for his composition Masanga njia. He began a full-time professional career, and by the late 1950s he was one of the most acclaimed composers of guitar-songs in Central Africa. From 1952 to 1962 Bosco recorded approximately 156 pieces for the Gallotone Company of South Africa. In ...

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Naples, 1873; d Bogotà, Aug 28, 1935). Italian impresario and cellist . He joined the orchestra of an Italian opera company touring the Balkans in 1890, and also performed in Egypt, but decided to try his hand as an impresario in 1895, giving performances in Alexandria (Alhambra Theatre) during August and September and in Cairo (Ezbekieh Gardens) for the next two months. The company was joined in Cairo by the young and not yet famous Enrico Caruso, who sang in five operas. Bracale was again impresario in Cairo, but at the much more important Khedivial theatre from 1908 to 1912; here he continued his practice of hiring outstanding young singers (Amelita Galli-Curci, Hipolito Lazaro) before they became famous. Salomea Krusceniski, Eugenia Burzio, Carmen Melis, Antonio Magini-Coletti and Eugenio Giraldoni also sang for him during these years. In 1912 he put on Aida at the Pyramids.

Bracale’s Latin-American activities began in ...

Article

Christopher Fifield

revised by R. Allen Lott

(b Dresden, Germany, Jan 8, 1830; d Cairo, Egypt, Feb 12, 1894). German conductor, pianist, and composer. He studied piano with Friedrich Wieck, Max Eberwein, and Louis Plaidy before briefly pursuing a law degree to appease his parents. Under Wagner’s influence he began an operatic conducting career, then in 1851 began studying piano with Liszt, becoming one of his most important pupils. After teaching in Berlin (1855–64) and undertaking concert tours as a pianist, Bülow was appointed Hofkapellmeister in Munich, where he gave the premieres of Tristan und Isolde (1865) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868). In 1869 Bülow resigned from Munich, unable to cope when his wife—Liszt’s daughter Cosima, whom he had married in 1857—left him for Wagner. He began to undertake concert tours from 1872, making the first of several visits to England in 1873 and the United States in ...

Article

Robert Pernet

[Alfons ]

(b Tongeren, Belgium, July 17, 1908; d Brussels, April 11, 1974). Belgian tenor saxophonist and violinist. He began his career in the mid-1920s playing in an orchestra led by his brother Jeff Candrix in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Morocco, and Italy. While working in Belgian nightclubs he met Gus Deloof and the trombonist Jules Testaert. In 1929 he formed the Carolina Stomp Chasers, which performed in Paris and Italy, and in 1931 he played and recorded in Germany with Bernard Etté and worked in France with Robert De Kers, in Spain, and in Belgium with Jean Omer and the Hot Melodians, led by Chas Remue. He then resumed his association with Deloof, and the two men composed jazz numbers together. In the mid-1930s Candrix played all over Belgium and formed an orchestra which became the basis of his big band (1937). He recorded prolifically as a leader from ...

Article

André Clergeat

(b Philippeville, Algeria, Jan 6, 1951). French double bass player and leader. His parents were of Italian origin. He took up violin at around the age of six, before the family moved to Strasbourg, and he studied violin and double bass until 1973 at the conservatories in Strasbourg and Paris. Having played in the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, directed by Pierre Boulez (1973–7), he turned to jazz, joining Jacques Thollot’s quintet and beginning what became a longstanding collaboration with the pianist François Couturier – first in a duo and later in a quintet. He also played with Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Aldo Romano, and Jean-Louis Chautemps and was a member of John McLaughlin’s quintet (1981–2), the Vienna Art Orchestra (1982–3), and François Jeanneau’s Pandemonium. In 1990 he formed, with Couturier, the group Passagio. After having taught double bass at the conservatory in Lyon, he became, in ...

Article

(b Cluj-Napoca, Romania, June 26, 1940). Romanian pianist . He studied piano at the National Conservatory in Bucharest. At the age of 18 he formed a quintet, with which he toured Austria and Switzerland, and in 1969 he traveled to South Africa as the leader of a trio with Charly Antolini and J.A. Rettenbacher. In the 1970s he worked as a studio musician for radio stations in Germany and toured successfully in Japan. Cicero’s recordings as an unaccompanied soloist and a leader include rather innocuous albums of his improvisations on themes by classical composers (1965–7, 1970, 1983, 1986–7); examples of these and of his own jazz compositions may be heard on My Lyrics: Eugen Cicero in Tokyo (1977, Denon YX7510ND). He also recorded in more conventional jazz styles as a sideman with Leo Wright (1972), as the leader with Toots Thielemans of a quintet (...

Article

(b Cape Town, Feb 2, 1944; d Cape Town, March 11, 1998). South African tenor saxophonist. Self-taught, he played penny whistle as a child and changed to alto saxophone at the age of 18. He first performed with the trio of Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) at a variety concert in 1959, and during the 1970s he made several recordings with the pianist, including the popular Mannenburg (which is his nickname) and Blues for a Hip King. In the 1980s he played at several benefit concerts for the emerging mass democratic movement and collaborated with the electric bass guitarist Paul Abrahams and Robbie Jansen to form Sabenza. This group issued its first album in 1987 and toured Europe the following year. In the 1990s Coetzee performed throughout South Africa with Sabenza and made two further recordings with Ibrahim.

Article

Robert Pernet

(b Liège, Belgium, Feb 7, 1907; d Wavre, Belgium, Feb 10, 1987). Belgian pianist . After working in cinemas and music halls he performed in Switzerland (1928) and France (1929). In 1930 he toured Algeria and worked in Paris, and from 1931 to 1934 he was pianist, organist, and arranger at a nightclub in Liège. Colignon then played with Fud Candrix’s orchestra, often as a principal soloist (1935–40), and led his own group in Brussels. After World War II he was in Antwerp, and later he held residencies in Brussels (1947–53) and Charleroi. Thereafter he worked in Germany, mainly as an organist. He made recordings as an unaccompanied soloist (1937–8), as a leader (1939, 1941–2), and as a sideman with Candrix (1937–40), Kutte Widmann and the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Jack Lowens (both 1942), and René Compère (...