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Article

James Patrick

(b Ansonia, CO, May 28, 1921). American jazz pianist. As a child performer he appeared in the original production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 1935. From 1939 to 1943 he led the house band at Monroe’s Uptown House in New York, where he was in the forefront of the modernist movement that crystallized in the bop idiom. Though his work was seldom recorded, his harmonically advanced, flowing, and lightly percussive style mark him as an important forerunner of such early modern pianists as Bud Powell, George Wallington, Al Haig, and Duke Jordan. Repelled by the influence of narcotics in jazz, from 1946 he turned increasingly to other musical opportunities. In 1968 he settled in Buffalo, New York, where he performed, lectured at SUNY, and co-directed a state prison music program. He received an honorary doctorate from Buffalo State College in 1999.

L. Feather: Inside Be-bop (New York, 1949/...

Article

Ryan Raul Bañagale

(b Newton, MA, Dec 13, 1903; d Stone Ridge, NY, May 1, 1988). American music critic and discographer. After a brief stint at Harvard University (1922), Darrell studied composition at the New England Conservatory (1923–6). With Axel B. Johnson, he co-founded the Boston-based Phonograph Monthly Review (1926–32), the first American periodical dedicated to recordings. Therein, at times under the pseudonym “Rufus,” Darrell wrote some of the earliest serious treatments of recorded jazz. In a 1932 article titled “Black Beauty,” Darrell published the first in-depth analysis of Duke Ellington’s music, of which he was an early and dedicated proponent. He viewed recordings as a way for the public to educate themselves about all genres of music but advocated in particular for contemporary American composers. In 1936 Darrell compiled The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music, a landmark discography in terms of both style and inclusiveness; he provided incisive introductions for each composer and placed popular and classical music side by side. Over the course of his long career, Darrell wrote for ...

Article

Mike Heffley

[Charles Edward]

(b Shenandoah, IA, Aug 6, 1937; d Los Angeles, CA, July 11, 2014). American double bass player, bandleader, and composer. His signature style as a jazz bass player—improvising harmonies to melodic lines by ear—is rooted in his role as Cowboy Charlie in his family’s country-music band. He sang with the group professionally between the ages of two and 15, when a bout of polio damaged his vocal cords. An avid fan of classical music and jazz, he learned the latter on his brother’s double bass by playing along with records. After high school and a stint as the house bass player for the TV show “Ozark Jubilee,” he was drawn to Los Angeles in 1956 by the then-rare jazz-inclusive music department at the Westlake College of Modern Music (chosen over a scholarship offer from Oberlin Conservatory) and by his hope of meeting his favorite pianist, Hampton Hawes. He soon became a regular on the jazz club scene, working with artists such as Hawes, Art Pepper, Paul Bley, and Dexter Gordon....

Article

T. Dennis Brown

(b Chicago, July 5, 1896; d Hollywood, CA, Dec 26, 1951). Drummer and percussionist. He began playing professionally at an early age in his father’s dance orchestra, toured with a regional tent show, and played in clubs and theaters in the Chicago area. In World War I he joined Sousa’s US Navy band and after the war he returned to Chicago and studied timpani with Joseph Zettleman of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He recorded frequently with the commercial bands of Sam Lanin, Paul Whiteman, Vincent Lopez, Roger Wolfe Kahn, and Don Vorhees and with the dixieland musicians Red Nichols, Miff Mole, and Bix Beiderbecke as well as leading his own groups; he also played with symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. His last 20 years were spent in Hollywood as a music director and percussionist for Paramount and 20th Century-Fox.

Berton’s playing epitomized the northern drumming style heard on recordings made in the early 1920s by Ben Pollack and Frank Snyder. His recordings of ...

Article

Swing  

Howard Spring

(1) A way of playing music that results in a feeling of forward motion or momentum, often accompanied by a propensity to embody the music in some form of rhythmic movement.

When music swings, it is usually the result of a combination of characteristics related to musical pulse, how that pulse is divided, phrasing, and articulation. Each of these is open to variation on both the individual and the ensemble level. In other words there are different degrees and kinds of swing depending on the interplay of these characteristics and their interpretation.

Although jazz musicians value an even tempo through a strict synchronization of the musical pulse, in practice the pulse can be articulated and placed differently on a micro-rhythmic level by different players in the same band at the same time. Some musicians typically play on the front end of the beat creating an edgy sense of time; others articulate notes on the back end of the beat resulting in a laid-back sense of time; still others play in the center of the beat, or “in the pocket.” These micro-rhythmic variations can occur within a single performance....

Article

Lewis Porter

(William )

(b Hamlet, NC, Sept 23, 1926; d Huntington, NY, July 17, 1967). American tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, husband of Alice Coltrane and father of Oran and Ravi Coltrane. His parents, Alice Blair and John Robert Coltrane, were both amateur musicians. He was an only child and grew up in High Point, North Carolina, within an extended family including, among others, his first cousin Mary and her parents. Around the fall of 1939, he received his first instrumental experience playing alto horn, then clarinet, in a community band. When he joined the high school band the next year, he took up alto saxophone. His father, uncle, and mother’s parents all died between 1938 and late 1940, and after his high school graduation in June 1943, he joined his devastated family in Philadelphia, where they had moved, and found a factory job. Around 1944, Coltrane began taking saxophone lessons and theory classes. Johnny Hodges was his idol until ...

Article

Brian Peerless

(Edric Barron) [Barnhardt; Barron, Ed]

(b Gold Hill, NC, July 11, 1905; d Newark, NJ, May 20, 1986). American trombonist and singer. Brought up in Harrisburg and Steeltown, Pennsylvania, he first played professionally in 1923 before moving to New York in 1928; two years later, on the advice of a psychic, he changed the spelling of his surname from Barnhardt to Bernhardt. He toured with King Oliver (March–November 1931), who first encouraged him to sing, and played with the Alabamians (led by the clarinetist and saxophonist Marion Hardy, November 1931 – September 1932), the baritone saxophonist Billy Fowler (September 1932 – April 1933), the guitarist and banjoist Vernon Andrade (January 1934 – February 1937), Edgar Hayes (February 1937–1942), with whom he toured Europe (1938), and Horace Henderson (1941). After touring with Fats Waller (briefly in 1942), Jay McShann (September 1942 – July 1943...

Article

Bop  

Scott DeVeaux

One of the main styles of jazz, generally considered to be the foundation for modern jazz. It was developed in the early to mid-1940s by musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell. By the mid-1950s, it was used more generally to describe the musical language underlying various substyles, such as ...

Article

Keith Waters

(b Philadelphia, PA, Dec 11, 1938). American pianist and composer. He began studying piano at the age of 13 and studied harmony and theory at the Granoff School of Music. Growing up in Philadelphia, Tyner began participating in jam sessions from around the age of 15, and he absorbed much from bop pianists, in particular Bud Powell’s eighth-note bop phrasing and Thelonious Monk’s rhythmic and percussive pianism. His earliest recording was made with the Benny Golson–Art Farmer Jazztet, which he joined in ...

Article

Mark Tucker

revised by Barry Kernfeld

In jazz the act of fixing in notated form music that is entirely or partly improvised, or for which no written score exists; also the resulting notated version itself. The term is also applied to the traditional practice of memorizing and reproducing a recorded improvisation without necessarily notating it. It should not be confused with Transcription, the process of copying sound from one source to another, or Transcription, a type of sound recording. This article deals with the principles, purposes, techniques, and history of transcription and discusses its value as a means of disseminating jazz and as a tool for studying it. For a discussion of the ways in which transcribers have adapted the symbols of standard Western notation to jazz see Notation (jazz) §4.

As with other forms of music transmitted by oral tradition, there was little need initially for jazz to be notated. Much of it was improvised or relied on certain musical conventions – melodic patterns, chord progressions, rhythmic devices – known to and shared by players and learned through imitation. Although musicians might glean similar principles of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic transformation from published compositions (e.g., theme and variations, arrangements of popular songs), they could absorb the distinctive sounds of jazz and the specific techniques of jazz improvisation only through listening to the music....

Article

Steven Strunk

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Benny, Benjamin Michel ]

(b New York, April 23, 1919; d San Francisco, Feb 11, 1975). American trumpeter and composer. He was a self-taught musician. In the mid-1930s he played with Thelonious Monk and later he took part in early bop jam sessions with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker (it is said that he convinced Gillespie of Parker’s ability by playing one of the latter’s improvisations). Through Gillespie Harris obtained work with Tiny Bradshaw (1939) and Earl Hines (1941, 1943). He also played at Kelly’s Stables with Pete Brown (mid-1941), in Boston with Benny Carter (October 1941), with Don Redman (during a brief departure from Hines’s band, 1943), with Herbie Fields, on 52nd Street and on tour with Coleman Hawkins (with Monk as a fellow sideman, 1944), with Boyd Raeburn (1944–5), at the Spotlite with Budd Johnson and Oscar Pettiford (late ...

Article

James M. Doran

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph ]

(b New York, Nov 7, 1916; d Santa Barbara, CA, Nov 3, 2004). American pianist and trumpeter. His father, a barber, had been a cellist in Russia. He studied piano from the age of ten, doubled on trumpet from the age of 13, and began playing professionally in New York at the Roseland Ballroom, Brooklyn, with Frank LaMarr in 1932. In the mid-1930s he worked at the Famous Door (1935), recorded with Billie Holiday (1936) and as a member of Bunny Berigan’s band (1935–6), and played in a band co-led by Eddie Condon and Joe Marsala (summer 1936). Later he worked separately with Condon (December 1936–1937) and Marsala, with whom he recorded in April 1937 and performed from December 1937 to April 1938. He then rejoined Berigan and toured with the group to Chicago, where in August 1939 the trumpeter disbanded. That September Bushkin joined Muggsy Spanier’s Ragtimers, but in October he transferred to Marsala’s group before returning to New York. There he spent the remainder of the year as intermission pianist at Kelly’s Stable and again as a member of Spanier’s band, playing at Nick’s and taking part in a series of classic recordings. From ...

Article

Forms  

Thomas Owens

Form is the constructive organizing element in music, governing the presentation, development, and interrelationship of ideas. The concept comprehends not only the basic structure of a work but also the techniques and procedures used to develop ideas within the structure. This article discusses the structures and procedures used in jazz and traces their application in different styles. For discussion of related aspects of jazz see Arrangement, Harmony, and Improvisation.

The principal forms in jazz are variation forms, in particular fixed-harmony variations. The commonest structure consists of a theme (that is, a harmonized melody, or in some cases (see §(i)(b) below) simply a series of harmonies, having its own internal formal design), followed without pause by a succession of improvised variations based on the harmonies of the theme, and then by a repetition of the theme itself. In many instances the chord progression is the single most significant formal element, and the one that defines and distinguishes the piece. Each statement of the theme and each variation on it is called a “chorus.” The performance of a piece may begin with an introduction (or “intro”) of a few bars, and end with a “tag” or “coda.”...

Article

Steven Strunk

The combining of notes simultaneously to produce chords and the placing of chords in succession, whether or not to produce tonally functional progressions; the word is used also of the system of structural principles governing chords and progressions. For a discussion of harmony as the basis of formal organization see Forms.

As interest in jazz has grown in institutions of higher learning, the discussion of jazz harmony has relied increasingly on the terms and concepts evolved by theorists to deal with Western classical music. This trend has had the beneficial effect of unifying what had been a rather disparate usage, but it has brought with it certain problems. Because jazz differs in many ways from Western classical music, terms and concepts developed for the latter are not always applicable to jazz. Not all terms are neutrally descriptive, and the assumptions underlying some terms (such as “consonance” and “dissonance”) need to be reconsidered in view of the realities of certain styles of jazz....

Article

Johnny Simmen, Howard Rye and Barry Kernfeld

[William Osborne ]

(b Philadelphia, July 14, 1914; d Youngstown, OH, Feb 23, 1966). American pianist. He took up piano at the age of eight. After playing with local bands he performed with Tiny Bradshaw and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (autumn 1936 – early 1938), which during this period came to be known as Lucky Millinder’s orchestra. From 1938 to 1942 he worked as a pianist and arranger with John Kirby’s sextet; the group recorded with such musicians as Red Norvo and Midge Williams (1938), Buster Bailey (1938, 1940), Mildred Bailey (1938–42), and Maxine Sullivan (1940–42). After military service (1942–5) Kyle briefly rejoined Kirby and then worked intermittently with Sy Oliver (1946–52), whose orchestra often accompanied Louis Armstrong; he also led small groups (1947–8) and played in the band for the musical Guys and Dolls for two years. In autumn ...

Article

David Wild

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Theodore ]

(b Philadelphia, June 3, 1935; d Montclair, NJ, November 4, 2012). American trumpeter. His birthdate appeared incorrectly as 3 July in the first edition of this dictionary; Donaldson’s interview (1998) confirms 3 June. He studied music in high school and with the Heath brothers, who were his neighbors, and was influenced at an early age by the music of the trumpeters Clifford Brown and Johnny Splawn. In the summer of 1953 he worked with Charlie Ventura, and with the encouragement of Miles Davis moved in 1956 to New York, where he performed with Red Garland and at Birdland with Vera Auer. After playing free jazz with Cecil Taylor in 1959 he was a member for two years of Charles Mingus’s group with, among others, Eric Dolphy. He left the group in 1962 to work as a freelance and to lead a quartet with Bill Barron, with which, on account of the lack of performing opportunities in the USA, he moved to Europe; the group, whose sidemen were Herb Bushler and Dick Berk, recorded ...

Article

Mike Hazeldine

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Nikoliev [now Nikolayev], Ukraine, 14 Nov ? 1904; d Harvey, IL, March 4, 1993). American pianist, broadcaster, and writer. He told Balliett (1981): “I’m not completely correct on when I was born. It was … somewhere between 1904 and 1906. We left hurriedly, and we had no papers.” His family moved to New York when he was six months old and to Chicago when he was six years old. Having taken piano lessons at Hull House from 1916 to 1920, he began his career playing as an unaccompanied soloist for 18 months at the Rainbow Gardens Café. He was introduced to recorded jazz while working at a resort at Delavan Lake in Wisconsin in 1927. After returning to Chicago he joined Wingy Manone, with whom he made his first recording (December 1928); he continued to work mainly in Chicago in the 1930s, then in ...

Article

Mark Tucker, Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy

Family of musicians.

Mark Tucker, revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, Nov 22, 1925). Composer, conductor, and writer, father of (2) Ed Schuller and (3) George Schuller. The son of a violinist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, he studied theory, flute, and french horn privately and played horn professionally with the American Ballet Theatre (1943), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1943–5), and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1945–59); he began his career in jazz by recording as a french horn player with Miles Davis (1949–50).

In 1955 Schuller founded with John Lewis the Modern Jazz Society, which gave its first concert in Town Hall, New York, that same year and later became known as the Jazz and Classical Music Society. While lecturing at Brandeis University in 1957 he coined the term “third stream” to describe music that combined elements of Western art music and jazz; during the following decades he became an enthusiastic advocate of this style and wrote many works according to its principles, among them ...

Article

Jeff Potter

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, April 6, 1929; d New York, Feb 6, 1995). American drummer. He began on drums at a fairly late age (c1948). Having played in a church in Harlem with Sonny Rollins and Jackie McLean and worked with Howard McGhee, he performed and recorded with Oscar Pettiford (1950–51), Coleman Hawkins (late 1950–1952, 1955), Buddy DeFranco (1952), Bud Powell (1953–5, intermittently to the mid-1960s), Art Farmer (1954–5, recording in 1955), George Wallington (1954–6), and Miles Davis (in the studio with Davis’s quintet, 1955 and 1956; in performance with it, 1957; and in the studio with Gil Evans’s orchestra and Davis, 1957). In New York he led the group Taylor’s Wailers at The Pad, a club in Greenwich Village, until 1956; he also made several trips to Europe, the first of which was with Donald Byrd and Bobby Jaspar (...

Article

Chris Sheridan

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[Joseph Benjamin ]

(b Colwyn, nr Philadelphia, Feb 22, 1922). American trumpeter. The son of a bandleader, he played cornet initially and studied music in Philadelphia, where Red Rodney and Buddy DeFranco were among his classmates. After working with Les Hite (from 1941) and Lionel Hampton he served for three years in the Marine Corps, first in special weapons and then as a bandmaster. He then re-joined Hampton (1946) and played with Jimmie Lunceford (continuing with the band for a period after the leader’s death in mid-1947), Lucky Millinder, Erskine Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie (c1948), Sam Donahue, Herbie Fields, and Noble Sissle (1951). While playing in pit orchestras on Broadway (to 1957) Wilder worked for six months with Count Basie (December 1953 – May 1954) and took part in a recording session led by Ernie Wilkins. In 1956 he recorded as a soloist on ...