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JAZZ HISTORY

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ALAN HARRIS

on 13 January 2018

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Transcript of JAZZ HISTORY

JAZZ HISTORY
He was known as King Bolden (see Jazz royalty), and his band was a top draw in New Orleans (the city of his birth) from about 1900 until 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophrenia (then called dementia praecox). He left no known surviving recordings, but he was known for his very loud sound and constant improvisation.
While there is substantial first-hand oral history about Buddy olden, facts about his life continue to be lost amidst colorful myth. Stories about his being a barber by trade or that he published a scandal sheet called The Cricket have been repeated in print despite being debunked decades earlier. Reputedly, his father was a teamster.
Bolden suffered an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis in 1907 at the age of 30. With the full diagnosis of dementia praecox, he was admitted to the Louisiana State Insane Asylum at Jackson, a mental institution, where he spent the rest of his life.
Bolden was buried in an unmarked grave in Holt Cemetery, a pauper's graveyard in New Orleans. In 1998 a monument to Bolden was erected in Holt Cemetery, but his exact gravesite remains unknown.
Joseph Nathan Oliver, better known as Joe "King" Oliver (December 19, 1881 – April 10, 1938), was a jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly recognized for his playing style and his pioneering use of mutes in jazz. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played today including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues" and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today."[3]
Charles Joseph "Buddy" Bolden (September 6, 1877 – November 4, 1931) was an African-American cornetist and is regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of rag-time music, which later came to be known as jazz.
Many early jazz musicians credited Bolden and the members of his band with being the originators of what came to be known as "jazz", though the term was not in common musical use until after the era of Bolden's prominence. At least one writer has labeled him the father of jazz.[3] He is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues to it; Bolden's band was said to be the first to have brass instruments play the blues. He was also said to have taken ideas from gospel music heard in uptown African-American Baptist churches.
Instead of imitating other cornetists, Bolden played music he heard "by ear" and adapted it to his horn. In doing so, he created an exciting and novel fusion of ragtime, black sacred music, marching-band music, and rural blues. He rearranged the typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues; string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Bolden's cornet. Bolden was known for his powerful, loud, "wide open" playing style.[1] Joe "King" Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson, and other early New Orleans jazz musicians were directly inspired by his playing.
No known recordings of Bolden have survived. His trombonist Willy Cornish asserted that Bolden's band had made at least one phonograph cylinder in the late 1890s. Three other old-time New Orleans musicians, George Baquet, Alphonse Picou and Bob Lyons also remembered a recording session ("Turkey in the Straw", according to Baquet) in the early 1900s. The researcher Tim Brooks believes that these cylinders, if they existed, may have been privately recorded for local music dealers and were never distributed in bulk.
"Funky"
One of the most famous Bolden numbers is a song called "Funky Butt" (known later as "Buddy Bolden's Blues"), which represents one of the earliest references to the concept of "funk" in popular music, now a musical subgenre. Bolden's "Funky Butt" was, as Danny Barker once put it, a reference to the olfactory effect of an auditorium packed full of sweaty people "dancing close together and belly rubbing."[2] Other musicians closer to Bolden's generation explained that the famous tune originated as a reference to flatulence.
I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.
The "Funky Butt" song was one of many in the Bolden repertory with rude or off-color lyrics popular in some of the rougher places where he played, and Bolden's trombonist Willy Cornish claimed authorship. It became so well known as a rude song that even whistling the melody on a public street was considered offensive. The melody was incorporated into the early published ragtime number "St. Louis Tickle."
Joseph Nathan Oliver was born in Aben, Louisiana, near Donaldsonville in Ascension Parish, and moved to New Orleans in his youth. From 1908 to 1917 Oliver played cornet in New Orleans brass bands and dance bands, and also in the city's red-light district (which came to be known as "Storyville.") A band he co-led with trombonist Kid Ory was considered to be New Orleans' hottest and best in the late-1910s. Oliver achieved great popularity in New Orleans across economic and racial lines, and was in demand for music jobs from rough working-class black dance halls to white society debutante parties.
According to an interview at Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive with Oliver's widow Estella, a fight broke out at a dance where Oliver was playing, and the police arrested him, his band, and the fighters. This, coupled with the closure of "The District" (aka Storyville) caused Oliver to leave the Jim Crow South. He, his wife and their daughter Ruby left New Orleans for Chicago in early 1918.
Oliver found musical work in Chicago with colleagues from New Orleans such as clarinetist Lawrence Duhé, bassist Bill Johnson, trombonist Roy Palmer and drummer Paul Barbarin. He became leader of Duhé's band, playing at a number of Chicago clubs. In the summer of 1921 he took a group to the west coast, playing engagements in San Francisco and Oakland.
In 1922 Oliver and his band returned to Chicago, where they began performing as King Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band at the Royal Gardens cabaret (later renamed the Lincoln Gardens). In addition to Oliver on cornet, the personnel included his protégé Louis Armstrong on second cornet, Baby Dodds on drums, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lil Hardin (later Armstrong's wife), on piano, Honoré Dutrey on trombone, and William Manuel Johnson on bass. Recordings made by this group in 1923 for Gennett, Okeh, Paramount and Columbia Records demonstrated the serious artistry of the New Orleans style of collective improvisation or Dixieland, and brought it to the attention of a much wider audience.
In the mid-1920s Oliver, following the popular trend of the time, enlarged his band to nine musicians (as King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators), and began performing more written arrangements with jazz solos. In 1927 the band went to New York, but Oliver disbanded the group to do freelance jobs. He reformed the band in 1928, continuing with modest success until the continuing downturn of the economy made it more and more difficult to find bookings. This, coupled with his diminishing ability to play as a result of suffering from pyorrhea, caused him to discontinue musical work by 1937.
In the later 1920s, Oliver, struggling with difficulties in playing trumpet with his gum disease, began employing other trumpeters to handle the solo work, including his nephew Dave Nelson, Louis Metcalf and the young, up-and-coming New Orleans trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen. Eventually he could no longer play and just fronted the band.
Oliver's business acumen was often less than his musical ability. A succession of managers stole money from him, and he tried to negotiate more money for his band than the Savoy Ballroom was willing to pay - losing the job. He lost the chance of an important engagement at New York City's famous Cotton Club when he held out for more money; young Duke Ellington took the job and subsequently catapulted to fame.[4]
Death
The gravesite of Joe "King" Oliver in Woodlawn Cemetery
The Great Depression brought hardship to Oliver. He lost his life savings to a collapsed bank in Chicago, and he struggled to keep his band together through a series of hand-to-mouth gigs until the group broke up and Oliver was stranded in Savannah, Georgia, where he worked as a janitor at Wimberly's Recreation Hall (526-528 West Broad Street); "...he died there [Savannah] of arteriosclerosis, too broke to afford treatment."[5] Oliver died in poverty at a rooming house (508 Montgomery Street), on April 10, 1938.[6] He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery[7] in the Bronx, NY, where he would be joined by other jazz giants such as Coleman Hawkins, Lionel Hampton, W. C. Handy, Milt Jackson, Max Roach, and Miles Davis, among others, all of whom owe a great debt to "Papa Joe".
Louis Armstrong[1] (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971),[2] nicknamed Satchmo[3] or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly-recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics).
Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over", whose skin-color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.
Louis Armstrong
Armstrong often stated that he was born on July 4, 1900,[4] a date that has been noted in many biographies. Although he died in 1971, it was not until the mid-1980s that his true birth date of August 4, 1901 was discovered by researcher Tad Jones through the examination of baptismal records.[5] Armstrong was born into a very poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana, the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty, in a rough neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, known as “Back of the Town”, as his father, William Armstrong (1881–1922), abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and took up with another woman. His mother, Mary "Mayann" Albert (1886–1927), then left Louis and his younger sister Beatrice Armstrong Collins (1903–1987) in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times, his Uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother and her relatives, and saw his father only in parades.
He attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he likely had early exposure to music. He brought in some money as a paperboy and also by finding discarded food and selling it to restaurants, but it was not enough to keep his mother from prostitution. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille. For extra money he also hauled coal to Storyville, the famed red-light district, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala's where Joe "King" Oliver performed and other famous musicians would drop in to jam.
After dropping out of the Fisk School at age eleven, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. But he also started to get into trouble. Cornet player Bunk Johnson said he taught Armstrong (then 11) to play by ear at Dago Tony's Tonk in New Orleans,[6] although in his later years Armstrong gave the credit to Oliver. Armstrong hardly looked back at his youth as the worst of times but instead drew inspiration from it, “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans... It has given me something to live for.”[7]
He also worked for a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys, who had a junk hauling business and gave him odd jobs. They took him in and treated him as almost a family member, knowing he lived without a father, and would feed and nurture him.[8] He later wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys titled, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907. In it he describes his discovery that this family was also subject to discrimination by "other white folks' nationalities who felt that they were better than the Jewish race... I was only seven years old but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for."[citation needed] Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: "how to live—real life and determination."[9] The influence of Karnofsky is remembered in New Orleans by the Karnofsky Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to accepting donated musical instruments to "put them into the hands of an eager child who could not otherwise take part in a wonderful learning experience."[10]
Armstrong developed his cornet playing seriously in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency, most notably for a long term after firing his stepfather's pistol into the air at a New Year's Eve celebration, as police records confirm. Professor Peter Davis (who frequently appeared at the Home at the request of its administrator, Captain Joseph Jones)[11] instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader. The Home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen-year-old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career.[12] At fourteen he was released from the Home, living again with his father and new stepmother and then back with his mother and also back to the streets and their temptations. Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponce’s where Black Benny became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night.
He played in the city's frequent brass band parades and listened to older musicians every chance he got, learning from Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, and above all, Joe "King" Oliver, who acted as a mentor and father figure to the young musician. Later, he played in the brass bands and riverboats of New Orleans, and began traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable, which toured on a steamboat up and down the Mississippi River. He described his time with Marable as, "going to the University," since it gave him a much wider experience working with written arrangements.
In 1919, Joe Oliver decided to go north and resigned his position in Kid Ory's band; Armstrong replaced him. He also became second trumpet for the Tuxedo Brass Band, a society band.[13]



On March 19, 1918, Louis married Daisy Parker from Gretna, Louisiana. They adopted a 3-year-old boy, Clarence Armstrong, whose mother, Louis' cousin Flora, died soon after giving birth. Clarence Armstrong was mentally disabled (the result of a head injury at an early age) and Louis would spend the rest of his life taking care of him.[14] Louis' marriage to Parker failed quickly and they separated. She died shortly after the divorce.
Through all his riverboat experience Armstrong’s musicianship began to mature and expand. At twenty, he could read music and he started to be featured in extended trumpet solos, one of the first jazzmen to do this, injecting his own personality and style into his solo turns. He had learned how to create a unique sound and also started using singing and patter in his performances.[15] In 1922, Armstrong joined the exodus to Chicago, where he had been invited by his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to join his Creole Jazz Band and where he could make a sufficient income so that he no longer needed to supplement his music with day labor jobs. It was a boom time in Chicago and though race relations were poor, the “Windy City” was teeming with jobs for black people, who were making good wages in factories and had plenty to spend on entertainment.
Oliver's band was the best and most influential hot jazz band in Chicago in the early 1920s, at a time when Chicago was the center of the jazz universe. Armstrong lived like a king in Chicago, in his own apartment with his own private bath (his first). Excited as he was to be in Chicago, he began his career-long pastime of writing nostalgic letters to friends in New Orleans. As Armstrong’s reputation grew, he was challenged to “cutting contests” by hornmen trying to displace the new phenom, who could blow two hundred high C’s in a row.[16] Armstrong made his first recordings on the Gennett and Okeh labels (jazz records were starting to boom across the country), including taking some solos and breaks, while playing second cornet in Oliver's band in 1923. At this time, he met Hoagy Carmichael (with whom he would collaborate later) who was introduced by friend Bix Beiderbecke, who now had his own Chicago band
Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis' second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. Armstrong took the advice of his wife and left Oliver's band. For a year Armstrong played in Fletcher Henderson's band in New York on many recordings. After playing in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago, playing in large orchestras; there he created his most important early recordings.[17] Lil had her husband play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skill and improve his solo play and she prodded him into wearing more stylish attire to make him look sharp and to better offset his growing girth. Lil’s influence eventually undermined Armstrong’s relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional moneys that Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members. Armstrong and Oliver parted amicably in 1924. Shortly afterward, Armstrong received an invitation to go to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, the top African-American band of the day. Armstrong switched to the trumpet to blend in better with the other musicians in his section. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period.
Armstrong quickly adapted to the more tightly controlled style of Henderson, playing trumpet and even experimenting with the trombone and the other members quickly took up Armstrong’s emotional, expressive pulse. Soon his act included singing and telling tales of New Orleans characters, especially preachers.[18] The Henderson Orchestra was playing in the best venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom, featuring the classy arrangements of Don Redman. Duke Ellington’s orchestra would go to Roseland to catch Armstrong’s performances and young hornmen around town tried in vain to outplay him, splitting their lips in their attempts.
During this time, Armstrong made many recordings on the side, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams; these included small jazz band sides with the Williams Blue Five (some of the best pairing Armstrong with one of Armstrong's few rivals in fiery technique and ideas, Sidney Bechet) and a series of accompaniments with blues singers, including Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Alberta Hunter.
Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 due mostly to the urging of his wife, who wanted to pump up Armstrong’s career and income. He was content in New York but later would concede that she was right and that the Henderson Orchestra was limiting his artistic growth. In publicity, much to his chagrin, she billed him as “the World’s Greatest Trumpet Player”. At first, he was actually a member of the Lil Hardin Armstrong Band and working for his wife.[19] He began recording under his own name for Okeh with his famous Hot Five and Hot Seven groups, producing hits such as "Potato Head Blues", "Muggles", (a reference to marijuana, for which Armstrong had a lifelong fondness), and "West End Blues", the music of which set the standard and the agenda for jazz for many years to come.
The group included Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo), wife Lil on piano, and usually no drummer. Armstrong’s bandleading style was easygoing, as St. Cyr noted, "One felt so relaxed working with him, and he was very broad-minded . . . always did his best to feature each individual."[20] His recordings soon after with pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines (most famously their 1928 Weatherbird duet) and Armstrong's trumpet introduction to "West End Blues" remain some of the most famous and influential improvisations in jazz history. Armstrong was now free to develop his personal style as he wished, which included a heavy dose of effervescent jive, such as "whip that thing, Miss Lil" and "Mr. Johnny Dodds, Aw, do that clarinet, boy!"[21]
Armstrong also played with Erskine Tate’s Little Symphony, actually a quintet, which played mostly at the Vendome Theatre. They furnished music for silent movies and live shows, including jazz versions of classical music, such as "Madame Butterfly," which gave Armstrong experience with longer forms of music and with hosting before a large audience. He began to scat sing (improvised vocal jazz using non-sensical words) and was among the first to record it, on "Heebie Jeebies" in 1926. The recording was so popular that the group became the most famous jazz band in the United States, even though they had not performed live to any great extent. Young musicians across the country, black or white, were turned on by Armstrong’s new type of jazz.[22]
After separating from Lil, Armstrong started to play at the Sunset Café for Al Capone's associate Joe Glaser in the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra, with Earl Hines on piano, which was soon renamed Louis Armstrong and his Stompers,[23] though Hines was the music director and Glaser managed the orchestra. Hines and Armstrong became fast friends as well as successful collaborators.[24]
Armstrong returned to New York, in 1929, where he played in the pit orchestra of the successful musical Hot Chocolate, an all-black revue written by Andy Razaf and pianist/composer Fats Waller. He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'", his version of the song becoming his biggest selling record to date.[25]
Armstrong started to work at Connie's Inn in Harlem, chief rival to the Cotton Club, a venue for elaborately staged floor shows,[26] and a front for gangster Dutch Schultz. Armstrong also had considerable success with vocal recordings, including versions of famous songs composed by his old friend Hoagy Carmichael. His 1930s recordings took full advantage of the new RCA ribbon microphone, introduced in 1931, which imparted a characteristic warmth to vocals and immediately became an intrinsic part of the 'crooning' sound of artists like Bing Crosby. Armstrong's famous interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" became one of the most successful versions of this song ever recorded, showcasing Armstrong's unique vocal sound and style and his innovative approach to singing songs that had already become standards.
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan[1][4] April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.
Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday "changed the art of American pop vocals forever."[5] She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably "God Bless the Child", "Don't Explain", "Fine and Mellow", and "Lady Sings the Blues". She also became famous for singing "Easy Living", "Good Morning Heartache", and "Strange Fruit", a protest song which became one of her standards and was made famous with her 1939 recording. Music critic Robert Christgau called her "uncoverable, possibly the greatest singer of the century".[6]
Early life and education
Billie Holiday was born as Eleanora Fagan, on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Julia "Sadie" Fagan. Her father, Clarence Holiday, a musician, did not marry or live with her mother. Fagan had moved to Philadelphia at the age of nineteen,[7] after being rejected from her parents' home in Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore for becoming pregnant. With no support from her parents, Holiday's mother arranged for the young Holiday to stay with her older married half sister, Eva Miller, who lived in Baltimore. Holiday, who was of African American ancestry, was also said to have had Irish ancestors through her mother's possible mixed heritage.
Billie Holiday had a difficult childhood. Her mother often took what were then known as "transportation jobs", serving on passenger railroads. Holiday was left to be raised largely by Eva Miller's mother-in-law, Martha Miller, and suffered from her mother's absences and leaving her in others' care for much of the first ten years of her life.[8] (Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, first published in 1956, was sketchy about details of her early life, but much was confirmed by Stuart Nicholson in his 1995 biography of the singer.)
Some historians have disputed Holiday's paternity, as a copy of her birth certificate in the Baltimore archives lists the father as "Frank DeViese". Other historians consider this an anomaly, probably inserted by a hospital or government worker.[9] Frank DeViese lived in Philadelphia and Sadie Harris may have known him through her work.
Sadie Harris, then known as Sadie Fagan, married Philip Gough, but the marriage was over in two years. Holiday was left with Martha Miller again while her mother took more transportation jobs.[10] Holiday frequently skipped school and her truancy resulted in her being brought before the juvenile court on January 5, 1925 when she was not yet 10. She was sent to The House of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic reform school. She was baptized there on March 19, 1925 and after nine months in care, was "paroled" on October 3, 1925 to her mother, who had opened a restaurant called the East Side Grill, where she and Holiday worked long hours. By the age of 11, the girl had dropped out of school.[11]
Rape and prostitution
Holiday's mother returned to their home on December 24, 1926, to discover a neighbor, Wilbur Rich, raping her. Rich was arrested. Officials placed the girl at the House of the Good Shepherd in protective custody as a state witness in the rape case. Holiday was released in February 1927, nearly twelve. She found a job running errands in a brothel. During this time, Holiday first heard the records of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. By the end of 1928, Holiday's mother decided to try her luck in Harlem, New York and left Holiday again with Martha Miller.
By early 1929, Holiday joined her mother in Harlem. Their landlady was a sharply dressed woman named Florence Williams, who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Holiday's mother became a prostitute and, within a matter of days of arriving in New York, Holiday, who had not yet turned fourteen, also became a prostitute at $5 a client. On May 2, 1929, the house was raided, and Holiday and her mother were sent to prison. After spending some time in a workhouse, her mother was released in July, followed by Holiday in October, at the age of 14.

Early singing career
In Harlem she started singing in various night clubs. Holiday took her professional pseudonym from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and the musician Clarence Holiday, her probable father.[2] At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name "Halliday," the birth-surname of her father, but eventually changed it to "Holiday," his performing name. The young singer teamed up with a neighbor, tenor sax player Kenneth Hollan. From 1929 to 1931, they were a team, performing at clubs such as the Grey Dawn, Pod's and Jerry's, and the Brooklyn Elks' Club.[16][17] Benny Goodman recalled hearing Holiday in 1931 at The Bright Spot. As her reputation grew, Holiday played at many clubs, including Mexico's and The Alhambra Bar and Grill where Charles Linton, a vocalist who later worked with Chick Webb, first met her. It was also during this period that she connected with her father, who was playing with Fletcher Henderson's band.[18]
By the end of 1932 at the age of 17, Billie Holiday replaced the singer Monette Moore at a club called Covan's on West 132nd Street. The producer John Hammond, who loved Monette Moore's singing and had come to hear her, first heard Holiday in early 1933.[19] Hammond arranged for Holiday to make her recording debut, at age 18, in November 1933 with Benny Goodman, singing two songs: "Your Mother's Son-In-Law" and "Riffin' the Scotch," the latter being her first hit. "Son-in-Law" sold 300 copies,[20] but "Riffin' the Scotch," released on November 11, sold 5,000 copies. Hammond was quite impressed by Holiday's singing style. He said of her, "Her singing almost changed my music tastes and my musical life, because she was the first girl singer I'd come across who actually sang like an improvising jazz genius." Hammond compared Holiday favorably to Armstrong and said she had a good sense of lyric content at her young age.[21]
In 1935, Billie Holiday had a small role as a woman being abused by her lover in Duke Ellington's short Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life. In her scene, she sang the song "Saddest Tale."[

Duke Ellington


Birth name Edward Kennedy Ellington
Born April 29, 1899
Washington, D.C., USA
Died May 24, 1974 (aged 75)
New York City, New York, USA
Genres Orchestral jazz, swing, big band
Occupations Bandleader, pianist, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1914–1974
Website www.DukeEllington.com
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)[1] was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. His career spanned over 50 years, leading his orchestra from 1923 until death.
Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington himself embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a "liberating principle," and referred his music to the more general category of "American Music," rather than to a musical genre such as "jazz."[2] Born in Washington, D.C., he was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onwards, and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club. In the 1930s they toured in Europe.
Some of the musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are still, in their own right, considered to be among the best players in jazz, but it was Ellington who melded them into the best-known jazz orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained members for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm record format, Ellington often composed specifically for the style and skills of his individual musicians, such as "Jeep's Blues" for Hodges, and "Concerto for Cootie" for trumpeter Cootie Williams, which later became "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me" with Bob Russell's lyrics.
Often collaborating with others, Ellington originated over a thousand compositions and his extensive oeuvre is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his extant works having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan" and "Perdido" which brought Spanish tinge to big-band jazz.
After 1941, Ellington collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his "writing and arranging companion".[3] With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or 'suites', as well as further shorter pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island in July 1956, he enjoyed a major career revival and, with his orchestra, now embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era at some point, and appeared in several films. scoring several, and composed stage musicals.
Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big-band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999.[4]
Gunther Schuller wrote in 1989: "Ellington composed incessantly to the very last days of his life. Music was indeed his mistress; it was his total life and his commitment to it was incomparable and unalterable. In jazz he was a giant among giants. And in twentieth century music, he may yet one day be recognized as one of the half-dozen greatest masters of our time."[5]
Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington. Daisy and J.E. were both pianists. Daisy primarily played parlor songs and J.E. preferred operatic arias. They lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ida Place (now Ward Place), NW in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[6] His father, James Edward Ellington, was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on April 15, 1879, and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1886 with his parents.[7] Daisy Kennedy was born in Washington, D.C. on January 4, 1879, and was the daughter of a former American slave.[6][8] James Ellington made blueprints for the United States Navy.
Recordings with Teddy Wilson (1935–1938)
Holiday was signed to Brunswick Records by John Hammond to record current pop tunes with Teddy Wilson in the new "swing" style for the growing jukebox trade. They were given free rein to improvise the material. Holiday's improvisation of the melody line to fit the emotion was revolutionary. Their first collaboration included "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," and "Miss Brown to You (1935)." The record label did not favor the recording session, because producers wanted Holiday to sound more like Cleo Brown. After "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" garnered success, however, the company began considering Holiday an artist in her own right.[23] She began recording under her own name a year later (on the 35 cent Vocalion label), producing a series of extraordinary performances with groups comprising the swing era's finest musicians.[24]
With their arrangements, Wilson and Holiday took pedestrian pop tunes, such as "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" (#6 Pop) or "Yankee Doodle Never Went To Town", and turned them into jazz classics. Most of Holiday's recordings with Wilson or under her own name during the 1930s and early 1940s are regarded as important parts of the jazz vocal library. She was then in her early to late 20s.
Another frequent accompanist was the tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who had been a boarder at her mother's house in 1934 and with whom Holiday had a special rapport. He said,
Well, I think you can hear that on some of the old records, you know. Some time I'd sit down and listen to 'em myself, and it sound like two of the same voices, if you don't be careful, you know, or the same mind, or something like that.[25]
Young nicknamed her "Lady Day", and she, in turn, dubbed him "Prez".
Hammond spoke about the commercial impact of the Teddy Wilson-Billie Holiday sides from 1935 to 1938, calling them a great asset to Brunswick. The record label, according to Hammond, was broke and unable to record many jazz tunes. Because Wilson, Holiday, Lester Young, and other musicians came into the studio without any arrangements, which cost money, and improvised the material as they went along, the records they produced were very cheap. Holiday was never given any royalties for her work, instead being paid a flat fee, which saved the record label money. Some of the records produced were largely successful, such as the single "I Cried for You" which sold 15,000 copies. Hammond said of the record, "15,000 ... was a giant hit for Brunswick in those days. I mean a giant hit. Most records that made money sold around three to four thousand." [26]

Working for Count Basie and Artie Shaw (1937–1938)[edit]
In late 1937, Holiday had a brief stint as a big band vocalist with Count Basie.[27] The traveling conditions of the band were often poor and included one-nighters in clubs, moving from city to city with little stability. Holiday chose the songs she sang and had a hand in the arrangements, choosing to portray her then developing persona of a woman unlucky in love. Her tunes included "I Must Have That Man", "Travelin' All Alone", "I Can't Get Started", and "Summertime", a hit for Holiday in 1936, originating in the opera Porgy and Bess a few years earlier. Count Basie had gotten used to Holiday's heavy involvement in the band. He said, "When she rehearsed with the band, it was really just a matter of getting her tunes like she wanted them, because she knew how she wanted to sound and you couldn't tell her what to do." [28]
Holiday found herself in direct competition with popular singer Ella Fitzgerald, with whom Holiday would later become friends.[29] Fitzgerald was the vocalist for the Chick Webb Band, who were in competition with Count Basie. On January 16, 1938, the same day that Benny Goodman performed his legendary Carnegie Hall jazz concert, the Count Basie and Chick Webb bands had a battle at the Savoy Ballroom. Chick Webb and Fitzgerald were declared winners by Metronome magazine. Down Beat magazine declared Holiday and Basie the winners. A straw poll of the audience saw Fitzgerald win by a three-to-one margin.
Some of the tunes Holiday performed with Basie were recorded. "I Can't Get Started", "They Can't Take That Away from Me," and "Swing It Brother Swing," are all commercially available.[30] Although Holiday was unable to record in the studio with Count Basie, she did include many of his musicians in her recording dates with Teddy Wilson.
By February of that year, Holiday was no longer singing for Basie. The reason given for her firing varies from person to person. Jimmy Rushing, Basie's male vocalist, called her unprofessional. According to All Music Guide, Holiday was officially fired for being "temperamental and unreliable". Holiday complained of low pay and working conditions and may have refused to sing the tunes requested of her or change her style.[31]

Holiday was hired by Artie Shaw a month after being fired from the Count Basie Band. This association placed her among the first black women to work with a white orchestra, an unusual arrangement for the times. In situations where there was a lot of racial tension, Shaw was known to stick up for his vocalist. Holiday describes one incident in her autobiography where she could not sit on the bandstand with other vocalists because she was black. Shaw said to her, "I want you on the band stand like Helen Forrest, Tony Pastor and everyone else." [32] When touring the American South, Holiday would sometimes be heckled by members of the audience. In Louisville, Kentucky a man called her a "nigger wench" and requested she sing another song. Holiday lost her temper and needed to be escorted off the stage.[33]
By March 1938, Shaw and Holiday had managed to be broadcast on Radio WABC. Because of their success, they were given an extra time slot to broadcast in April, which increased their exposure. The New York Amsterdam News reported an improvement in Holiday's performance ability while reviewing the broadcasts. Metronome reported that the addition of Holiday to Shaw's band put it in the "top brackets". Holiday could not sing as often during Artie Shaw's shows as she could Basie's. The songs were more instrumental with fewer vocals. Shaw was also pressured to hire a white singer, Nita Bradley, with whom Holiday did not get along but had to share a bandstand. In May 1938, Shaw won band battles against Tommy Dorsey and Red Norvo with the audience favoring Holiday. Although Shaw admired Holiday's singing in his band, saying she had a "remarkable ear" and an "remarkable sense of time", her time in the band was nearing an end.[34]
In November 1938 Holiday was asked to use the service elevator at the Lincoln Hotel, instead of the passage elevator, because white patrons of the hotels complained. This may have been the last straw for her. She left the band shortly after. Holiday spoke about the incident weeks later, saying "I was never allowed to visit the bar or the dining room as did other members of the band ... [and] I was made to leave and enter through the kitchen."

Ella Fitzgerald


Fitzgerald in November 1946

Birth name Ella Jane Fitzgerald
Born April 25, 1917
Newport News, Virginia
Died June 15, 1996 (aged 79)
Beverly Hills, California
Genres Swing, Bebop, traditional pop, vocal jazz
Occupations Vocalist
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1934–1993
Labels Capitol, Decca, Pablo, Reprise, Verve
Website Official website
Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song", "Queen of Jazz", and "Lady Ella", was an American jazz vocalist[1] with a vocal range spanning three octaves (D♭3 to D♭6).[2] She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
Fitzgerald was a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook.[3] Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she sold 40 million copies of her 70-plus albums, won 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.
Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia, the daughter of Temperance "Tempie" and William Fitzgerald.[4] The pair separated soon after her birth, and Ella and her mother went to Yonkers, New York, where they eventually moved in with Tempie's longtime boyfriend, Joseph Da Silva. Ella Fitzgerald's half-sister, Frances Da Silva, was born in 1923. She and her family were Methodists and were active in the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church, and she regularly attended worship services, Bible study, and Sunday school.[5][6]
In her youth, Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell, later saying, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her."[7]
In 1932, her mother died from a heart attack.[4] Following this trauma, Fitzgerald's grades dropped dramatically, and she frequently skipped school. Abused by her stepfather, she ran away to her aunt[8] and, at one point, worked as a lookout at a bordello and also with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner.[9] When the authorities caught up with her, she was first placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale, Bronx.[10] However, when the orphanage proved too crowded, she was moved to the New York Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, a state reformatory. Eventually she escaped and for a time was homeless.[8]
She made her singing debut at 17 on November 21, 1934, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. She pulled in a weekly audience at the Apollo and won the opportunity to compete in one of the earliest of its famous "Amateur Nights". She had originally intended to go on stage and dance, but, intimidated by the Edwards Sisters, a local dance duo, she opted to sing instead in the style of Connee Boswell. She sang Boswell's "Judy" and "The Object of My Affection," a song recorded by the Boswell Sisters, and won the first prize of US$25.00.[11]
In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House. She met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb there. Webb had already hired singer Charlie Linton to work with the band and was, The New York Times later wrote, "reluctant to sign her....because she was gawky and unkempt, a diamond in the rough."[7] Webb offered her the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University.
She began singing regularly with Webb's Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs with them, including "Love and Kisses" and "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)". But it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim.
Chick Webb died on June 16, 1939, and his band was renamed "Ella and her Famous Orchestra" with Ella taking on the role of nominal bandleader. Fitzgerald recorded nearly 150 songs with the orchestra before it broke up in 1942, "the majority of them novelties and disposable pop fluff".[7]

In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band to begin a solo career. Now signed to the Decca label, she had several popular hits while recording with such artists as Bill Kenny & The Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and The Delta Rhythm Boys.
With Decca's Milt Gabler as her manager, she began working regularly for the jazz impresario Norman Granz and appeared regularly in his Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concerts. Fitzgerald's relationship with Granz was further cemented when he became her manager, although it would be nearly a decade before he could record her on one of his many record labels.
With the demise of the Swing era and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop led to new developments in Fitzgerald's vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. It was in this period that Fitzgerald started including scat singing as a major part of her performance repertoire. While singing with Gillespie, Fitzgerald recalled, "I just tried to do [with my voice] what I heard the horns in the band doing."[11]
Her 1945 scat recording of "Flying Home" arranged by Vic Schoen would later be described by The New York Times as "one of the most influential vocal jazz records of the decade....Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness."[7] Her bebop recording of "Oh, Lady Be Good!" (1947) was similarly popular and increased her reputation as one of the leading jazz vocalists.
Fitzgerald was still performing at Granz's JATP concerts by 1955. She left Decca and Granz, now her manager, created Verve Records around her. Fitzgerald later described the period as strategically crucial, saying, "I had gotten to the point where I was only singing be-bop. I thought be-bop was 'it', and that all I had to do was go some place and sing bop. But it finally got to the point where I had no place to sing. I realized then that there was more to music than bop. Norman ... felt that I should do other things, so he produced The Cole Porter Songbook with me. It was a turning point in my life."[7]
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, released in 1956, was the first of eight Songbook sets Fitzgerald would record for Verve at irregular intervals from 1956 to 1964. The composers and lyricists spotlighted on each set, taken together, represent the greatest part of the cultural canon known as the Great American Songbook. Her song selections ranged from standards to rarities and represented an attempt by Fitzgerald to cross over into a non-jazz audience. The sets are the most well-known items in her discography.


Ella Fitzgerald in 1968. Photo courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate.
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book was the only Songbook on which the composer she interpreted played with her. Duke Ellington and his longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn both appeared on exactly half the set's 38 tracks and wrote two new pieces of music for the album: "The E and D Blues" and a four-movement musical portrait of Fitzgerald (the only Songbook track on which Fitzgerald does not sing). The Songbook series ended up becoming the singer's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and probably her most significant offering to American culture. The New York Times wrote in 1996, "These albums were among the first pop records to devote such serious attention to individual songwriters, and they were instrumental in establishing the pop album as a vehicle for serious musical exploration."[7]
A few days after Fitzgerald's death, New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote that in the Songbook series Fitzgerald "performed a cultural transaction as extraordinary as Elvis's contemporaneous integration of white and African American soul. Here was a black woman popularizing urban songs often written by immigrant Jews to a national audience of predominantly white Christians."[9] Frank Sinatra was moved out of respect for Fitzgerald to block Capitol Records from re-releasing his own recordings in a similar, single composer vein.
Fitzgerald also recorded albums exclusively devoted to the songs of Porter and Gershwin in 1972 and 1983; the albums being, respectively, Ella Loves Cole and Nice Work If You Can Get It. A later collection devoted to a single composer was released during her time with Pablo Records, Ella Abraça Jobim, featuring the songs of Antônio Carlos Jobim.

While recording the Songbooks and the occasional studio album, Fitzgerald toured 40 to 45 weeks per year in the United States and internationally, under the tutelage of Norman Granz. Granz helped solidify her position as one of the leading live jazz performers.[7]
On March 15, 1955[12] Ella Fitzgerald opened her initial engagement at the Mocambo nightclub in Hollywood,[13] after Marilyn Monroe lobbied the owner for the booking.[14] The booking was instrumental in Fitzgerald's career. The incident was turned into a play by Bonnie Greer in 2005. It has been widely reported that Fitzgerald was the first Black performer to play the Mocambo, following Monroe's intervention, but this is not true. African-American singers Herb Jefferies,[15] Eartha Kitt,[16] and Joyce Bryan[17] all played the Mocambo in 1952 and 1953, according to stories published at the time in Jet Magazine and Billboard.
There are several live albums on Verve that are highly regarded by critics. Ella at the Opera House shows a typical JATP set from Fitzgerald. Ella in Rome and Twelve Nights in Hollywood display her vocal jazz canon. Ella in Berlin is still one of her best selling albums; it includes a Grammy-winning performance of "Mack the Knife" in which she forgets the lyrics, but improvises magnificently to compensate.
Verve Records was sold to MGM in 1963 for $3 million and in 1967 MGM failed to renew Fitzgerald's contract. Over the next five years she flitted between Atlantic, Capitol and Reprise. Her material at this time represented a departure from her typical jazz repertoire. For Capitol she recorded Brighten the Corner, an album of hymns, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas, an album of traditional Christmas carols, Misty Blue, a country and western-influenced album, and 30 by Ella, a series of six medleys that fulfilled her obligations for the label. During this period, she had her last US chart single with a cover of Smokey Robinson's "Get Ready", previously a hit for The Temptations, and some months later a top-five hit for Rare Earth.
The surprise success of the 1972 album Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72 led Granz to found Pablo Records, his first record label since the sale of Verve. Fitzgerald recorded some 20 albums for the label. Ella in London recorded live in 1974 with pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Keter Betts and drummer Bobby Durham, was considered by many to be some of her best work. The following year she again performed with Joe Pass on German television station NDR in Hamburg. Her years with Pablo Records also documented the decline in her voice. "She frequently used shorter, stabbing phrases, and her voice was harder, with a wider vibrato", one biographer wrote.[4] Plagued by health problems, Fitzgerald made her last recording in 1991 and her last public performances in 1993.[18]

In 1985 Fitzgerald was hospitalized briefly for respiratory problems,[19] in 1986 for congestive heart failure[20] and in 1990 for exhaustion.[21] In 1993 she had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee due to the effects of diabetes. Her eyesight was affected as well.
She was hospitalized again in 1996 in Niagara Falls, New York, where she was diagnosed with heart failure, and her health continued to decline. Later, tired of being in the hospital, she wished to spend her last days at home. Confined to a wheelchair, she spent her final days in her backyard of her Beverly Hills mansion on Whittier, with her son Ray and 12 year old granddaughter Alice. "I just want to smell the air, listen to the birds and hear Alice laugh," she reportedly said.
On her last day, she was wheeled outside one last time, and sat there for about an hour. She was taken back in, she looked up with a soft smile on her face and said, "I’m ready to go now." She died in her home on June 15, 1996 at the age of 79. A few hours after her death, the Playboy Jazz Festival was launched at the Hollywood Bowl. In tribute, the marquee read: Ella We Will Miss You. Her funeral was private, and she was buried at Inglewood Cemetery in Los Angeles.

James P. Johnson (born James Price Johnson, also known as Jimmy Johnson; February 1, 1894 – November 17, 1955) was an American pianist and composer. A pioneer of the stride style of jazz piano, he was one of the most important pianists who bridged the ragtime and jazz eras, and, with Jelly Roll Morton, one of the two most important catalysts in the evolution of ragtime piano into jazz. As such, he was a model for Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and Fats Waller.
Johnson composed many hit tunes including the theme song of the Roaring Twenties, "Charleston" and "If I Could be With You One Hour Tonight" and remained the acknowledged king of New York jazz pianists through most of the 1930s. Johnson's artistry, his significance in the subsequent development of jazz piano, and his large contribution to American musical theatre, are often overlooked, and as such, he has been referred to by Reed College musicologist David Schiff, as "The Invisible Pianist".
Johnson was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States. The proximity to New York meant that the full cosmopolitan spectrum of the city's musical experience, from bars, to cabarets, to the symphony, were at the young Johnson's disposal. Johnson’s father, William H. Johnson, was a store helper and mechanic while his mother, Josephine Harrison was a maid. Harrison was apart of the choir at the Methodist Church and was also a self-taught pianist. Johnson later attributed the popular African-American songs and dances at home and around the city as early influences on his musical taste. In 1908, Johnson’s family moved to the San Juan Hill (near where Lincoln Center stands today) section of New York City and subsequently moved again to uptown in 1911. With perfect pitch and excellent recall he was soon able to pick out on the piano tunes that he had heard.
Johnson grew up listening to the ragtime of Scott Joplin and always retained links to the ragtime era, playing and recording Joplin's "Maple Leaf", as well as the more modern (according to Johnson) and demanding, "Euphonic Sounds", both several times in the 1940s. Johnson, who got his first job as a pianist in 1912, decided not to return to school to continue to pursue his music career. From 1913 to 1916 Johnson spent time studying the European piano tradition with Bruto Giannini. Over the next four to five years Johnson continued to progress his ragtime piano skills by studying other pianists and composing his own rags.
In 1914, while performing in Newark, New Jersey with singer Lillie Mae Wright, who became his wife three years later, Johnson met Willie Smith. Smith and Johnson shared many of the same ideas regarding entertainers and their stage appearance. These beliefs and their complementary personalities led the two to become best friends. Starting in 1918, Johnson and Wright began touring together in the Smart Set Revue before settling back in New York in 1919.
Before 1920 Johnson had gained a reputation as a pianist on the East coast on a par with Eubie Blake and Luckey Roberts and made dozens of player piano roll recordings initially documenting his own ragtime compositions before recording for Aeolian, Perfection (the label of the Standard Music Roll Co., Orange, NJ), Artempo (label of Bennett & White, Inc., Newark, NJ), Rythmodik, and QRS during the period from 1917 to 1927. During this period he met George Gershwin, who was also a young piano-roll artist at Aeolian.
Johnson was a pioneer in the stride playing of the jazz piano. “Stride piano has often been described as an orchestral style and indeed, in contrast to boogie-woogie blues piano playing, it requires a fabulous conceptual independence, the left hand differentiating bass and mid-range lines while the right supplies melodic issues.”[1] Johnson honed his craft, playing night after night, catering to the egos and idiosyncracies of the many singers he encountered, which necessitated being able to play a song in any key. He developed into a sensitive and facile accompanist, the favorite accompanist of Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith. Ethel Waters wrote in her autobiography that working with musicians such as, and most especially, Johnson "...made you want to sing until your tonsils fell out".
As his piano style continued to evolve, his 1921 phonograph recordings of his own compositions, "Harlem Strut", "Keep Off the Grass", and "Carolina Shout", were, along with Jelly Roll Morton's Gennett recordings of 1923, among the first jazz piano solos to be put onto record. Johnson seemed to be at his finest when he attacked the piano as if it were a drum set.[1] These technically challenging compositions would be learned by his contemporaries, and would serve as test pieces in solo competitions, in which the New York pianists would demonstrate their mastery of the keyboard, as well as the swing, harmonies, and improvisational skills which would further distinguish the great masters of the era.
The majority of his phonograph recordings of the 1920s and early 1930s were done for Black Swan (founded by Johnson's friend W.C. Handy, where William Grant Still served in an A&R capacity) and Columbia. In 1922, Johnson branched out and became the musical director for the revue Plantation Days. This revue took him to England for our months in 1923. During the summer of 1923 Johnson, along with the help of lyricist Cecil Mack, wrote the revue Runnin’ Wild. This revue stayed on tour for more than five years as well as showing on Broadway.



In the depression era, Johnson's career slowed down somewhat. As the swing era began to gain popularity within the African-American communities, Johnson had a hard time adapting and his music would ultimately become unpopular. The cushion of a modest but steady income from his composer's royalties allowed him to devote significant time to the furtherance of his education, as well as the realization of his desire to compose "serious" orchestral music. Johnson began to write for musical revues and composed many forgotten orchestral music pieces. Although by this time he was an established composer, with a significant body of work, as well as a member or ASCAP, he was nonetheless unable to secure the financial support that he sought from either the Rosenwald Foundation, or a Guggenheim Fellowship, both of which he received endorsement for from the Columbia Records executive, and long time admirer, John Hammond. The Johnson archives include the letterhead of an organization called "Friends of James P. Johnson", ostensibly founded at the time (presumably in the late 1930s) in order to promote his then-idling career. Names on the letter-head include Paul Robeson, Fats Waller, Walter White (President of the NAACP), the actress Mercedes Gilbert and Bessye Bearden, the mother of artist Romare Bearden. In the late 1930s Johnson slowly started to re-emerge with the revival of interest in traditional jazz and began to record, with his own and other groups, at first for the HRS label. Johnson's appearances at the Spirituals to Swing concerts at Carnegie Hall in 1938 and 1939 were organized by John Hammond, for whom he recorded a substantial series of solo and band sides in 1939.
Johnson suffered a stroke (likely a transient ischemic attack) in August 1940. When Johnson returned to action, in 1942, he began a heavy schedule of performing, composing, and recording, leading several small live and groups, now often with racially integrated bands led by musicians such as Eddie Condon, Yank Lawson, Sidney de Paris, Sidney Bechet, Rod Cless, and Edmond Hall. In 1944, Jonhson and Willie Smith participated in stride piano contests in Greenwich Village from August to December. He recorded for jazz labels including Asch, Black and White, Blue Note, Commodore, Circle, and Decca. In 1945, Johnson performed with Louis Armstrong and heard his works at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. He was a regular guest star and featured soloist on Rudi Blesh's This is Jazz broadcasts, as well as at Eddie Condon's Town Hall concerts and studied with Maury Deutsch, who could also count Django Reinhardt and Charlie Parker among his pupils.
In the late 1940s, Johnson had a variety of jobs, including jam sessions at Stuyvesant Casino and Central Plaza, as well as becoming a regular on Rudi Blesh's radio show. Johnson permanently retired from performing after suffering a severe, paralyzing stroke in 1951. Johnson survived financially on his songwriting royalties while he was paralyzed. He died four years later in Jamaica, New York and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth, Queens. Perfunctory obituaries appeared in even The New York Times. The pithiest and most angry remembrance of Johnson was written by John Hammond and appeared in Down Beat under the title "Talents of James P. Johnson Went Unappreciated".
Composer
Johnson composed many hit tunes in his work for the musical theatre, including "Charleston" (which debuted in his Broadway show Runnin' Wild in 1923,[1] although by some accounts Johnson had written it years earlier, and which became one of the most popular songs of the "Roaring Twenties"), "If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)", "You've Got to Be Modernistic", "Don't Cry, Baby", "Keep off the Grass", "Old Fashioned Love", "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid", "Carolina Shout", and "Snowy Morning Blues". He wrote waltzes, ballet, symphonic pieces and light opera; many of these extended works exist in manuscript form in various stages of completeness in the collection of Johnson's papers housed at the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. Johnson's success as a popular composer qualified him as a member of ASCAP in 1926.
1928 saw the premier of Johnson's rhapsody Yamekraw, named after a black community in Savannah, Georgia. William Grant Still was orchestrator and Fats Waller the pianist as Johnson was contractually obliged to conduct his and Waller's hit Broadway show Keep Shufflin. Harlem Symphony, composed during the 1930s, was performed at Carnegie Hall in 1945 with Johnson at the piano and Joseph Cherniavsky as conductor. He collaborated with Langston Hughes on the one-act opera, De Organizer. A fuller list of Johnson's film scores appears below.
Pianist
Along with Fats Waller and Willie 'The Lion' Smith ('The Big Three'), and Luckey Roberts, Johnson embodies the Harlem Stride piano style, an evolution of East Coast ragtime infused with elements of the blues. His "Carolina Shout" was a standard test piece and rite of passage for every contemporary pianist: Duke Ellington learned it note for note from the 1921 QRS Johnson piano roll. Johnson taught Fats Waller and got him his first piano roll and recording assignments.
Harlem Stride is distinguished from ragtime by several essential characteristics: ragtime introduced sustained syncopation into piano music, but stride pianists built a more freely swinging rhythm into their performances, with a certain degree of anticipation of the left (bass) hand by the right (melody) hand, a form of tension and release in the patterns played by the right hand, interpolated within the beat generated by the left. Stride more frequently incorporates elements of the blues, as well as harmonies more complex than usually found in the works of classic ragtime composers. Lastly, while ragtime was for the most part a composed music, based on European light classics such as marches, pianists such as Waller and Johnson introduced their own rhythmic, harmonic and melodic figures into their performances and, occasionally, spontaneous improvisation. As the second generation stride pianist Dick Wellstood noted, in liner notes for the stride pianist Donald Lambert, most of the stride pianists of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s were not particularly good improvisers. Rather, they would play their own, very well worked out, and often rehearsed variations on popular songs of the day, with very little change from one performance to another. It was in this respect that Johnson distinguished himself from his colleagues, in that (in his own words), he "could think of a trick a minute". Comparison of many of Johnson's recordings of a given tune over the years demonstrates variation from one performance to another, characterised by respect for the melody, and reliance upon a worked out set of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic devices, such as repeated chords, serial thirds (hence his admiration for Bach), and interpolated scales, on which the improvisations were based. This same set of variations might then appear in the performance of another tune.
Legacy
James P. Johnson may be thought of as the last major pianist of the classic ragtime era, and, the first major jazz pianist, and, therefore, as an indispensable bridge between ragtime and jazz. Johnson's musical legacy is also present in the body of work of his pupil, the more famous Fats Waller as well as scores of other pianists who were influenced by him, such as Art Tatum, Donald Lambert, Louis Mazetier, Pat Flowers, Cliff Jackson, Hank Duncan, Claude Hopkins, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Don Ewell, Johnny Guarnieri, Dick Hyman, Dick Wellstood, Ralph Sutton, Joe Turner, Neville Dickie, Mike Lipskin, and Butch Thompson.
Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist.

Tatum is widely acknowledged as a virtuoso and one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and was a major influence on later generations of jazz pianists. He was hailed for the technical proficiency of his performances, which set a new standard for jazz piano virtuosity. Critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries."
Count Basie

Birth name William James Basie
Born August 21, 1904
Red Bank, New Jersey, United States
Died April 26, 1984 (aged 79)
Hollywood, Florida, United States
Genres Jazz, Swing, big band, piano blues
Occupations Musician, bandleader, composer
Instruments Piano, organ
Years active 1924–1984
William James "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984[1]) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16 he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924 he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded; he toured with groups to the major jazz cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1929 he joined Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City, and played with them until Moten's death in 1935.

That year Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many notable musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie's theme songs were "One O'Clock Jump", developed in 1935 in the early days of his band, and "April in Paris".
Fats Waller

Birth name Thomas Wright Waller
Born May 21, 1904
Origin New York, New York, United States
Died December 15, 1943 (aged 39)
Genres Dixieland, jazz, swing, stride, ragtime
Occupations Pianist, singer, organist
Instruments Piano, vocals, organ
Years active 1918–1943
Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an American influential jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano, and whose best-known compositions, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame posthumously, in 1984 and 1999.[1]
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. (December 18, 1897 – December 29, 1952) was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black musical arrangers and his influence was vast. He was often known as Smack Henderson (apparently due to his college baseball hitting skills).[1] Fletcher is ranked along with Duke Ellington as one of the most influential arrangers and band leaders in jazz history, and helped bridge the gap between the jazz and swing era.
Overcoming opposition from his clergyman father, Waller became a professional pianist at 15, working in cabarets and theaters.[citation needed] In 1918 he won a talent contest playing Johnson's "Carolina Shout", a song he learned from watching a player piano play it.

Waller ultimately became one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. He was also a prolific songwriter and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Squeeze Me". Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller "the black Horowitz".Waller is believed to have composed many novelty tunes in the 1920s and 1930s and sold them for relatively small sums,[3] the attributions of which, on becoming widely known, went only to a later composer and lyricist.[citation needed]

Standards alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller include "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby". Biographer Barry Singer conjectured that this jazz classic was written by Waller and lyricist Andy Razaf, and provides a description of the sale given by Waller to the NY Post in 1929—for $500, to a white songwriter, ultimately for use in a financially successful show (consistent with Jimmy McHugh's contributions first to Harry Delmar’s Revels, 1927, and then to Blackbirds, 1928). He further supports the conjecture, noting that early handwritten manuscripts in the Dana Library Institute of Jazz Studies of “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around” (Jimmy McHugh ©1935) are in Waller's hand; anecdotally, there is an account that when near death from cancer in the early 1970s, Razaf whispered the favorite of all his lyrics as being the chorus of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Jazz historian P.S. Machlin comments that the Singer conjecture has "considerable [historical] justification". Waller's son Maurice wrote in his 1977 biography of his father that Waller had once complained on hearing the song, and came from upstairs to admonish him never to play it in his hearing because he'd had to sell it when he needed money.[citation needed] Maurice Waller's biography similarly notes his father's objections to hearing "On the Sunny Side of the Street" playing on the radio. Waller recorded "I Can't Give You…" in 1938, playing the tune but making fun of the lyrics; the recording was with Adelaide Hall who had introduced the song to the world at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in 1928.

The anonymous sleeve notes on the 1960 RCA Victor album Handful of Keys state that Waller copyrighted over 400 new songs, many of which co-written with his closest collaborator Andy Razaf. Razaf described his partner as "the soul of melody... a man who made the piano sing... both big in body and in mind... known for his generosity... a bubbling bundle of joy".[citation needed] Gene Sedric, a clarinetist who played with Waller on some of his 1930s recordings, is quoted in these same sleeve notes recalling Waller's recording technique with considerable admiration: "Fats was the most relaxed man I ever saw in a studio, and so he made everybody else relaxed. After a balance had been taken, we'd just need one take to make a side, unless it was a kind of difficult number."


You Got Everything A Sweet Mama Needs But Me

You Got Everything A Sweet Mama Needs But Me, sung by Sara Martin with piano accompaniment by Fats Waller in 1922.
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'tain't Nobody's Bus'ness If I Do

'tain't Nobody's Bus'ness If I Do, sung by Sara Martin with piano accompaniment by Fats Waller in 1922.
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Waller played with many performers, from Nat Shilkret (on Victor 21298-A) and Gene Austin, to Erskine Tate, Fletcher Henderson, McKinney's Cotton Pickers and Adelaide Hall, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm".

His playing once put him at risk of injury. Waller was kidnapped in Chicago leaving a performance in 1926. Four men bundled him into a car and took him to the Hawthorne Inn, owned by Al Capone. Waller was ordered inside the building, and found a party in full swing. Gun to his back, he was pushed towards a piano, and told to play. A terrified Waller realized he was the "surprise guest" at Capone's birthday party, and took comfort that the gangsters did not intend to kill him. It is rumored that Waller stayed at the Hawthorne Inn for three days and left very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash from Capone and other party-goers as tips.
Sidney Bechet

Background information
Born May 14, 1897
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died May 14, 1959 (aged 62)
Garches, France
Genres Jazz
Dixieland
Occupations Clarinetist
Saxophonist
Composer
Instruments Clarinet
Soprano saxophone
Cornet
Drums
Tenor Saxophone
Piano
Bass
Years active 1908–1957
Associated acts Louis Armstrong
Tommy Ladnier
Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer.

He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months[3] and later playing duets with Armstrong), and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet's playing.

Bechet's erratic temperament hampered his career, however, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.





Bechet was born in New Orleans in 1897 to a middle-class Creole of color family. Sidney's older brother Leonard Victor Bechet (1877–1952) was a full-time dentist and a part-time trombonist and bandleader. Sidney Bechet quickly learned to play several musical instruments kept around the house, mostly by teaching himself; he soon decided to specialize in clarinet. At the age of six, Sidney started playing along with his brother's band at a family birthday party, debuting his talents to acclaim. Later in his youth, Bechet studied with such renowned Creole clarinetists as Lorenzo Tio, "Big Eye" Louis Nelson Delisle, and George Baquet.
Soon after, Bechet began to play in many New Orleans ensembles, improvising with what was "acceptable" for jazz at that time (obbligatos, with scales and arpeggios, and "variating" the melody). These ensembles included parade work with Freddie Keppard's celebrated Brass Band, the Olympia Orchestra, and John Robichaux's "genteel" dance orchestra. In 1911-1912, Bechet performed with Bunk Johnson in the Eagle Band of New Orleans, and in 1913-1914, with King Oliver in the Olympia Band.
Although Bechet spent his childhood and adolescence in New Orleans, from 1914 to 1917 he was touring and traveling, going as far north as Chicago, and frequently teaming up with Freddie Keppard, another notable Creole musician. In the spring of 1919, Bechet traveled to New York, where he joined Will Marion Cook's Syncopated Orchestra. Soon after, the orchestra journeyed to Europe where, almost immediately upon arrival, they performed at the Royal Philharmonic Hall in London. The group was warmly received, and Bechet was especially popular, attracting attention near and far.
While in London, Bechet discovered the straight soprano saxophone, and quickly developed a style quite unlike his warm, reedy clarinet tone. His saxophone sound could be described as "emotional", "reckless", and "large". He would often use a very broad vibrato, similar to what was common for some New Orleans clarinetists at the time.
After being convicted of assaulting a woman, Bechet was imprisoned in London from September 13 to 26, 1922. He was deported back to the United States, leaving Southampton on November 3 and arriving in New York on November 13, 1922.
On July 30, 1923, he began recording; it is some of his earliest surviving studio work. The session was led by Clarence Williams, a pianist and songwriter, better known at that time for his music publishing and record producing. Bechet recorded "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Man Blues". "Wild Cat Blues" is in a multi-thematic ragtime tradition, with four themes, at sixteen bars each, and "Kansas City Man Blues" is a genuine 12-bar blues. Bechet interpreted and played each uniquely, and with outstanding creativity and innovation for the time.
On September 15, 1925, Bechet and other members of the Revue Nègre, including Josephine Baker, sailed to Europe, arriving at Cherbourg, France, on September 22. The revue opened at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées,[5] Paris, on October 2. Bechet toured Europe with various bands, reaching as far as Russia in mid-1926. In 1928, he led his own small band at the famous Bricktop's Club in Montmartre, Paris.

Bechet was jailed[6] for 11 months in Paris when a woman passer-by was wounded during a shoot-out.[7] The most common version of the story, as related in Ken Burns's jazz documentary, reports that the initial shoot-out started when another musician/producer told Bechet that he was playing the wrong chord. Bechet challenged the man to a duel and said "Sidney Bechet never plays the wrong chord" [6] Other sources assert that Bechet was essentially ambushed by a rival musician.[citation needed]

After his release, Bechet was deported to New York. Having arrived right after the stock-market crash of 1929, Bechet joined Noble Sissle’s orchestra. They returned to Europe to tour in Berlin, Germany and Russia.
In 1932, Bechet returned to New York City to lead a band with trumpeter Tommy Ladnier. The band, consisting of six members, performed at the Savoy Ballroom. He went on to play with Lorenzo Tio, and also got to know Roy Eldridge, another trumpeter.[8]

Over time Bechet had increasing difficulty finding musical gigs; he eventually started a tailor shop with Ladnier. During this time, they were visited by various musicians, and played in the back of their shop. Throughout the 1940s, Bechet played in several bands, but his financial situation did not change until the end of that decade.[8]

By the end of the 1940s, Bechet tired of struggling to make music in the United States. His contract with Jazz Limited, a Chicago-based record label, was limiting the events where he could perform, for instance excluding the 1948 Festival of Europe in Nice. He believed that the jazz scene in the US had little left to offer him and that was getting stale.[8]

Bechet relocated to France in 1950 after performing as a soloist at the Paris Jazz Fair. His performance at the fair resulted in a surge in his popularity in France. After that, Bechet had little problem finding well-paid work in France. In 1951, Bechet married Elisabeth Ziegler in Antibes, France.

In 1953, he signed a recording contract with French Vogue, which lasted for the rest of his life.[8] He recorded many hit tunes, including "Les Oignons", "Promenade aux Champ Elysees," and the international hit "Petite Fleur". He also composed a classical ballet score in the late Romantic style of Tchaikovsky, called La Nuit est sorcière (The Night Is a Witch). Existentialists in France called him "le dieu".[citation needed]

Bechet died in Paris from lung cancer on May 14, 1959 on his sixty-second birthday. Shortly before his death, he dictated his poetic autobiography, Treat It Gentle.
Freddie Keppard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Freddie Keppard
Birth name Freddie Keppard
Also known as King Keppard
Fred Keppard
Born February 27, 1889
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died July 15, 1933 (aged 44)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupations Cornettist
Instruments Cornet
Associated acts Buddy Bolden
Joe "King" Oliver
Jimmie Noone
Freddie Keppard (sometimes rendered as Freddy Keppard) (February 27, 1889 – July 15, 1933) was an early jazz cornetist who once held the title of "King" in the New Orleans jazz scene. This title was previously held by Buddy Bolden and succeeded by Joe Oliver.


Early life and career in New Orleans
Keppard (pronounced in the French fashion, with relatively even accentuation and a silent d, as opposed to the somewhat harsher English manner which rhymes with “leopard”[1]) was born in the Creole of Color community of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana. Born in 1889, Freddie Keppard was Buddy Bolden’s junior by thirteen years and Louis Armstrong’s senior by eleven years. Keppard’s father, Louis Keppard (Sr.), had been a New Orleans man and had worked as a cook in the Vieux Café until his early death. His mother, Emily Peterson Keppard, was from St. James parish. His older brother Louis Keppard was his elder by one year and also became a professional musician later in life. The first tune they learned to play together was called “Just Because She Made Them Goo-Goo Eyes.”[2] Freddie Keppard was raised on Villere Street in New Orleans in a home environment filled with music. His mother first started him on the violin, while his brother Louis first played guitar. When he was still a young boy, he and Louis, who by then had become an aspiring guitarist, would disguise their age from police by putting on long pants before going to Basin Street to shine shoes for a nickel a shine, hoping to get in on the music scene and get advice or even tutelage from their favorite musicians in the District while shoe-shining.[1][3] As such, Keppard did not receive any formal musical training and may have been a non-reader who, instead of reading arrangements, most likely learned all of his parts by ear and used his powerful and imaginative abilities to improvise parts that were even better.[4]


Freddie played violin, mandolin, and accordion before switching to cornet. By the time he was ten years old, Freddie had already learned to play mandolin and was performing in a duo with Louis around their neighborhood. He did not begin playing cornet until he was sixteen.[3] This is most likely because, according to Louis Keppard, one strategy available to aspiring string players in those days was to switch to brass instruments in order to get more job opportunities with brass bands in parades. The Keppards’ mother apparently “didn’t think much of this music” until she saw them in their band uniforms, at which point Louis recalled that she became very proud.[2]

As Freddie and Louis grew older, both brothers became band leaders in their own right and became part of the competitive New Orleans jazz scene. Freddie Keppard organized the Olympia Orchestra around 1905. This band featured Alphonse Picou on clarinet. As a Creole band, the Olympia Orchestra would have been expected to play a wide repertoire for a variety of gigs, and therefore could play “legitimate” enough to get society jobs, yet “hot” enough to get jobs at the uptown jazz halls a few years later.[3] Louis Keppard led the Magnolia Orchestra, which became the regular band at Huntz’s and Nagel’s cabaret on Iberville in the District. The Magnolia Orchestra included Joe Oliver on cornet, who would later succeed Keppard’s title as "King" by winning a "cutting contest" against him.[2]

After playing with the Olympia Orchestra, Freddie Keppard joined Frankie Dusen's Eagle Band, taking the place recently vacated by Buddy Bolden. Soon after Bolden was off the music scene, Keppard was proclaimed "King Keppard" as the city's top horn player (see: jazz royalty). This was mostly because he kept Buddy's style, which was popular but had not been recorded. Indeed, many contemporaries have testified that Keppard's playing style was the closest to Bolden's that can be found in the history of jazz recordings and can be considered a more musical and sophisticated extension of Bolden's style: rugged and forceful, clipped and more staccato, and rhythmically closer to ragtime than later New Orleans jazz.[3]
Jelly Roll Morton said of Freddie Keppard that he “had the best ear, the best tone, and the most marvelous execution I ever heard.”[3] Buster Bailey, a clarinetist who played with both Joe Oliver and Louis Armstrong, recalled that Keppard “could play as soft and as loud, as sweet and as rough, as you would want.” Alberta Hunter, a blues singer and another artist who had been largely forgotten until she made her comeback in her eighties, also wondered why Freddie Keppard was often overlooked or unmentioned in many accounts of the histories of jazz. “You know,” she reportedly said, “he doesn’t get the credit he should get.”[2]

Some of the commentary on Keppard’s playing, however, is admittedly quite contradictory. Of those who spoke of Keppard as a “freak player,” most referred to him in this way because of his ability to utilize a variety of mutes and playing techniques, such as flutter-tonguing and half-valving. Others, however, insist that Keppard was a “much straighter player” than Joe Oliver. Additionally, while qualified listeners like Jelly Roll Morton were full of praise for Keppard's playing style, others like the younger Louis Armstrong is said to have described Keppard's playing as "fancy" (in an unflattering sense of the word).[1]

Keppard made all his known recordings in Chicago from 1923 to 1927. The only recordings he is certainly on are three sides under his own name ("Freddie Keppard's Jazz Cardinals"), two with Erskine Tate's Vendome Orchestra, and a dozen with Doc Cook's Orchestra. These feature Keppard on second cornet. Second cornet was the logical and quite demanding seat for the premier cornetist in a two-cornet band, as evidenced by Louis Armstrong's role (one example of many) in similar sized bands and orchestras around the same period. His "Stockyard Strut" is an improvisation on the chords of "Tiger Rag". Keppard contributed to the Doc Cook recordings, where he plays the 'walking-talking' style of Stomp Cornet that pre-dates jazz by about a half generation. It follows ragtime by the same margin. Keppard may have appeared on a few other recordings; many more are often dubiously attributed to him. Keppard was widely imitated both in New Orleans and Chicago, including contemporaneous and highly regarded players such as Louis Panico and Frank Guarante. Other recordings Keppard made include songs titled "Salty Dog," "Adam's Apple," "Stomp Time Blues," and "Messing Around."[9]

Several musicians with clear memories of Buddy Bolden said that Freddie Keppard sounded the most like Bolden of anyone who recorded. This is how many jazz historians propose that Keppard got his fame but also how he lost it. Keppard did not have a sound of his own and he came up in between Buddy, Oliver, and Armstrong. Keppard was extremely talented but was not unique.[10] Others, like Lawrence Gushee, insist that Keppard did have a unique approach to playing the cornet, which simply became overshadowed by Louis Armstrong's powerful influence. Gushee describes Keppard as "frequently on top of the beat or [anticipating] it," making his "phrasing excitable, even tense." Whereas "Armstrong seems to favor extended four or eight-measure structure, Keppard [built] his units out of shorter modules" underscored by vibrato. Gushee also argues that Keppard used a much more "rapid vibrato, more like an ornament, that could be used anyplace in a phrase."[1]
Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. His father, Arthur Tatum, Sr., was a guitarist and an elder at Grace Presbyterian Church, where his mother, Mildred Hoskins, played piano.[4] He had two siblings, Karl and Arlene.[5] From infancy he suffered from cataracts (of disputed cause) which left him blind in one eye and with only very limited vision in the other. A number of surgical procedures improved his eye condition to a degree but some of the benefits were reversed when he was assaulted in 1930.[6]

A child with perfect pitch, Tatum learned to play by ear, picking out church hymns by the age of three, learning tunes from the radio and copying piano roll recordings his mother owned. In a Voice of America interview, he denied the widespread rumor that he learned to play by copying piano roll recordings made by two pianists.[7] He developed a very fast playing style, without losing accuracy. As a child he was also very sensitive to the piano's intonation and insisted it be tuned often.[8] While playing piano was the most obvious application of his mental and physical skills, he also had an encyclopedic memory for Major League Baseball statistics.

In 1925, Tatum moved to the Columbus School for the Blind, where he studied music and learned braille. He subsequently studied piano with Overton G. Rainey at either the Jefferson School or the Toledo School of Music. Rainey, who was also visually impaired, probably taught Tatum in the classical tradition, as Rainey did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz.[9] In 1927, Tatum began playing on Toledo radio station WSPD as 'Arthur Tatum, Toledo's Blind Pianist', during interludes in Ellen Kay's shopping chat program and soon had his own program.[10] By the age of 19, Tatum was playing at the local Waiters' and Bellmens' Club.[11] As word of Tatum spread, national performers passing through Toledo, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Joe Turner and Fletcher Henderson, would make it a point to drop in to hear the piano phenomenon.

In 1931, vocalist Adelaide Hall commenced a world tour that lasted almost two years. During the tour, (most probably in January 1932 when Adelaide was appearing at the Rivoli Theatre, Toledo) [12] Adelaide discovered Tatum in Toledo and employed him as one of her stage pianists.[13] In 1932, Hall returned to New York with Tatum and introduced him to Harlem on stage at the Lafayette Theatre. In August 1932, Adelaide Hall made four recordings using Tatum as one of her pianists including the songs "Strange As It Seems" and "You Gave Me Everything But Love"
Dizzy Gillespie


Birth name John Birks Gillespie
Born October 21, 1917
Died January 6, 1993 (aged 75)
Cheraw, South Carolina, United States
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz
Occupations Musician, composer
Instruments Trumpet, piano, vocals
Years active 1935–93
Labels Pablo, RCA Victor, Savoy, Verve
Associated acts Ray Brown, Cab Calloway, Roy Eldridge, J.J. Johnson, James Moody, Chico O'Farrill, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Chano Pozo, Max Roach, Mickey Roker, Sonny Rollins, Lalo Schifrin, Sonny Stitt, William Oscar Smith
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer.[1]

Allmusic's Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time (some would say the best), Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated. Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time."

Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge, but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.

In the 1940s Gillespie, together with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Jon Faddis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Chuck Mangione, and balladeer Johnny Hartman

Roy Eldridge

Birth name David Roy Eldridge
Born January 30, 1911
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died February 26, 1989 (aged 78)
Valley Stream, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, swing, big band
Occupations Musician
Instruments Trumpet
Associated acts Charlie Barnet
David Roy Eldridge (January 30, 1911 – February 26, 1989), commonly known as Roy Eldridge, and nicknamed "Little Jazz", was an American jazz trumpet player. His sophisticated use of harmony, including the use of tritone substitutions, his virtuosic solos exhibiting a departure from the smooth and lyrical style of earlier jazz trumpet innovator Louis Armstrong, and his strong impact on Dizzy Gillespie mark him as one of the most influential musicians of the swing era and a precursor of bebop.
Career[edit]
Early career and traveling bands[edit]
Eldridge led and played in a number of bands during his early years, moving extensively throughout the American Midwest.[8] He absorbed the influence of saxophonists Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins, setting himself the task of learning Hawkins's 1926 solo on "The Stampede" (by Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra) in developing an equivalent trumpet style.[9]

Eldridge left home after being expelled from high school in ninth grade, joining a traveling show at the age of sixteen; the show soon folded, however, and he was left in Youngstown, Ohio.[10] He was then picked up by the "Greater Sheesley Carnival," but returned to Pittsburg after witnessing acts of racism in Cumberland, Maryland that significantly disturbed him.[11] Eldridge soon found work leading a small band in the traveling "Rock Dinah" show,[12] his performance therein leading swing-era bandleader Count Basie to recall young Roy Eldridge as "the greatest trumpet I'd ever heard in my life."[13] Eldridge continued playing with similar traveling groups until returning home to Pittsburgh at the age of 17.[14]

At the age of 20, Eldridge led a band in Pittsburgh, billed as "Roy Elliott and his Palais Royal Orchestra",[15] the agent intentionally changing Eldridge's name because "he thought it more classy."[16] Roy left this position to try out for the orchestra of Horace Henderson, younger brother of famed New York City bandleader Fletcher Henderson, and joined the ensemble, generally referred to as The Fletcher Henderson Stompers, Under the Direction of Horace Henderson.[17] Eldridge then played with a number of other territory bands, staying for a short while in Detroit before joining Speed Webb's band which, having garnered a degree of movie publicity, began a tour of the Midwest.[18] Many of the members of Webb's band, annoyed by the leader's lack of dedication, left to form a practically identical group with Eldridge as bandleader.[19] The ensemble was short-lived, and Eldridge soon moved to Milwaukee, where he took part in a celebrated cutting contest with trumpet player Cladys "Jabbo" Smith, with whom he later became good friends.[20]

New York and Chicago[edit]
Eldridge moved to New York in November 1930, playing in various bands in the early 1930s, including a number of Harlem dance bands with Cecil Scott, Elmer Snowden, Charlie Johnson, and Teddy Hill.[21] It was during this time that Eldridge received his nickname, 'Little Jazz', from Ellington saxophonist Otto Hardwick, who was amused by the incongruity between Eldridge's raucous playing and his short stature.[22] At this time, Eldridge was also making records and radio broadcasts under his own name. He laid down his first recorded solos with Teddy Hill in 1935, which gained almost immediate popularity.[21] For a brief time, he also led his own band at the reputed Famous Door nightclub.[21] Eldridge recorded a number of small group sides with singer Billie Holiday in July 1935, including "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Miss Brown to You", employing a Dixieland-influenced improvisation style.[23] In October 1935, Eldridge joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, playing lead trumpet and occasionally singing.[21] Until he left the group in early September 1936, Eldridge was Henderson's featured soloist, his talent highlighted by such numbers as "Christopher Columbus" and "Blue Lou."[24] His rhythmic power to swing a band was a dynamic trademark of the jazz of the time. It has been said that "from the mid-Thirties onwards, he had superseded Louis Armstrong as the exemplar of modern 'hot' trumpet playing".[25]

In the fall of 1936, Eldridge moved to Chicago to form an octet with older brother Joe Eldridge playing saxophone and arranging. The ensemble boasted nightly broadcasts and made recordings that featured his extended solos, including "After You've Gone" and "Wabash Stomp."[21] Eldridge, fed up with the racism he had encountered in the music industry, quit playing in 1938 to study radio engineering.[15] He was back to playing in 1939, when he formed a ten-piece band that gained a residency at New York's Arcadia Ballroom.[21]

With Gene Krupa's Orchestra[edit]
In April 1941, after receiving many offers from white swing bands, Eldridge joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra, and was successfully featured with rookie singer Anita O'Day.[26] In accepting this position, Eldridge became one of the first black musicians to become a permanent member of a white big band.[27] Eldridge was instrumental in changing the course of Krupa's big band from schmaltz to jazz.[28] The group's cover of Jimmy Dorsey's "Green Eyes," previously an entirely orchestral work, was transformed into jazz via Eldridge's playing; critic Dave Oliphant notes that Eldridge "lift[ed]" the tune "to a higher level of intensity."[29] Eldridge and O'Day were featured in a number of recordings, including the novelty hit "Let Me Off Uptown" and "Knock Me With a Kiss".[22]


One of Eldridge's best known recorded solos is on a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's tune, "Rockin' Chair", arranged by Benny Carter as something like a concerto for Eldridge.[30] Jazz historian Gunther Schuller referred to Eldridge's solo on "Rockin' Chair" as "a strong and at times tremendously moving performance," although he disapproved of the "opening and closing cadenzas, the latter unforgivably aping the corniest of operatic cadenza traditions."[31] Critic and author Dave Oliphant describes Eldridge's unique tone on "Rockin' Chair" as "a raspy, buzzy tone, which enormously heightens his playing's intensity, emotionally and dynamically" and writes that it "was also meant to hurt a little, to be disturbing, to express unfathomable stress."[30]

After complaints from Eldridge that O'Day was upstaging him, the band broke up when Krupa was jailed for marijuana possession in July 1943.[32]

Touring, freelancing, and small group work[edit]
After leaving Krupa's band, Eldridge freelanced in New York during 1943 before joining Artie Shaw's band in 1944. Owing to racial incidents that he faced while playing in Shaw's band, he left to form a big band,[26] but this eventually proved financially unsuccessful, and Eldridge returned to small group work.[26]

In the postwar years, he became part of the group which toured under the Jazz at the Philharmonic banner.[26] and became one of the stalwarts of the tours. The JATP's organiser Norman Granz said that Roy Eldridge typified the spirit of jazz. "Every time he's on he does the best he can, no matter what the conditions are. And Roy is so intense about everything, so that it's far more important to him to dare, to try to achieve a particular peak, even if he falls on his ass in the attempt, than it is to play safe. That's what jazz is all about."[33]

Eldridge moved to Paris in 1950 while on tour with Benny Goodman, before returning to New York in 1951 to lead a band at the Birdland jazz club. He additionally performed from 1952 until the early 1960s in small groups with Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald and Earl Hines among others, and also began to record for Granz at this time.[26] Eldridge also toured with Ella Fitzgerald from late 1963 until March 1965 and with Count Basie from July until September 1966 before returning to freelance playing and touring at festivals.[26]

In 1960, Eldridge participated, alongside Abbey Lincoln, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham and others, in recordings by the Jazz Artist's Guild, a short-lived grouping formed by Mingus and Max Roach as a reaction to the perceived commercialism of the Newport Festival.[34] These resulted in the Newport Jazz Rebels LP.


Racial barriers[edit]
As the featured soloist in Artie Shaw and Gene Krupa's bands, Eldridge was something of an exception, as black musicians in the 1930s were not allowed to appear in public with white bands.[27] Artie Shaw commented on the difficulty Roy had in his band, noting that "Droves of people would ask him for his autograph at the end of the night, but later, on the bus, he wouldn't be able to get off and buy a hamburger with the guys in the band."[15] Krupa, on at least one occasion, spent several hours in jail and paid fines for starting a fistfight with a restaurant manager who refused to let Eldridge eat with the rest of the band.[35]

Late life[edit]
Eldridge became the leader of the house band at Jimmy Ryan's jazz club on Manhattan's West 54th Street for several years, beginning in 1969.[22] Although Ryan's was primarily a Dixieland venue, Eldridge tried to combine the traditional Dixieland style with his own more brash and speedy playing.[22] Eldridge was incapacitated by a stroke in 1970, but continued to lead the group at Ryan's soon after and performing occasionally as a singer, drummer, and pianist.[36] Writer Michael Zirpolo, seeing Eldridge at Ryan's in the late 1970s noted "I was amazed that he still could pop out those piercing high notes, but he did, with frequency…I worried about his health, because the veins at his temples would bulge alarmingly."[37] As leader at Ryan's, Eldridge was noted for his occasional hijinx, including impromptu "amateur night" sessions during which he'd invite inexperienced players on stage to lead his band, often for comedic effect and to give himself a break.[38] In 1971, Eldridge was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

After suffering a heart attack in 1980, Eldridge gave up playing.[36] He died at the age of 78 at the Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream, New York, three weeks after the death of his wife, Viola.[22]

Music[edit]
Influences[edit]
According to Roy, his first major influence on the trumpet was Rex Stewart, who played in a band with young Roy and his brother Joe in Pittsburgh.[39] But unlike many trumpet players, the young Eldridge did not derive most of his inspiration from other trumpeters, but from saxophonists. Roy first developed his solo style by playing along to recordings of Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, and later said that, after hearing these musicians, "I resolved to play my trumpet like a sax."[40] Following these musicians was evidently beneficial to Roy, who got one of his first jobs by auditioning with an imitation of Coleman Hawkin's solo on Fletcher Henderson's "Stampede" of 1926.[41] Eldridge additionally purports to have studied the styles of white cornettist Loring "Red" Nichols and Theodore "Cuban" Bennett, whose style was also very much influenced by the saxophone.[42] Eldridge, by his own report, was not significantly influenced by trumpeter Louis Armstrong during his early years, but did undertake a major study of Armstrong's style in 1932.[21]

Style[edit]
Eldridge was very versatile on his horn, not only quick and articulate with the low to middle registers, but the high registers as well; jazz critic Gary Giddins described Eldridge as having a "flashy, passionate, many-noted style that rampaged freely through three octaves, rich with harmonic ideas impervious to the fastest tempos."[41] Eldridge is frequently grouped among those jazz trumpeters of the '30s and '40s, including Red Allen, Hot Lips Page, Shad Collins, and Rex Stewart who eschewed Louis Armstrong's lyrical style for a rougher and more frantic style.[43] Of these players, critic Gary Giddins names Eldridge "the most emotionally compelling, versatile, rugged, and far-reaching."[44] Eldridge was also lauded for the intensity of his playing; Ella Fitzgerald once said: "He's got more soul in one note that a lot of people could get into the whole song."[22] The high register lines that Eldridge employed were one of many prominent features of his playing, and Eldridge expressed a penchant for the expressive ability of the instrument's highest notes, frequently incorporating them into his solos.[44] Eldridge was also known for his fast style of playing, often executing blasts of rapid double-time notes followed by a return to standard time. His rapid-fire style was noted by jazz trumpeter Bill Coleman when Roy was as young as seventeen; when asked by Coleman how he achieved his speed, Eldridge replied: "Well, I've taken the tops off my valves and now they really fly."[45] Eldridge attributes these virtuosic elements of his style to a rigorous practice regime, particularly as a teen: "I used to spend eight, nine hours a day practicing every day."[46] Critic J. Bradford Robinson sums up his style of playing as exhibiting "a keen awareness of harmony, an unprecedented dexterity, particularly in the highest register, and a full, slightly overblown timbre, which crackled at moments of high tension."[21] Giddins also notes that Eldridge "never had a pure or golden tone; his sound was always underscored by a vocal rasp, an urgent, human roughness."[44]

As for Eldridge's singing style, jazz critic Whitney Balliett describes Eldridge as "a fine, scampish jazz singer, with a light, hoarse voice and a highly rhythmic attack," comparing him to American jazz trumpeter and vocalist Hot Lips Page.[47]


Musical impact[edit]
Eldridge's fast playing and extensive development of the instrument's upper register were heavy influences on Dizzy Gillespie, who, along with Charlie Parker, brought bebop into existence. Tracks such as "Heckler's Hop," from Eldridge's small group recordings with alto saxophonist and clarinettist Scoops Carry, in which Eldridge's use of the high register is particularly emphasized, were especially influential for Dizzy.[48] Dizzy got the chance to engage in numerous jam sessions and "trumpet battles" with Eldridge at New York's Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s.[49] Referring to Eldridge, Dizzy went so far as to say: "He was the Messiah of our generation."[50] Eldridge first heard Dizzy on bandleader Lionel Hampton's 1939 recording of "Hot Mallets," and later recalled: "I heard this trumpet solo and I thought it was me. Then I found out it was Dizzy."[51] A careful listening to bebop standards, such as the song "Bebop", reveals how much Eldridge influenced this genre of jazz. Eldridge also claimed that he was not impressed with Dizzy's bop solo style, saying once to bebop trumpeter Howard McGhee after jamming with Dizzy at the Heat Wave club in Harlem: "I don't dig it...I really don't understand him."[52] Although frequently touted as the bridge between Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, Eldridge always insisted: "I was never trying to be a bridge between Armstrong and something."[53]

Other significant musicians influenced by Roy Eldridge include Shorty Sherock of the Bob Crosby Orchestra,[54] and bebop pioneers Howard McGhee and Fats Navarro.[55]

Personality[edit]
Eldridge was famously considered competitive by those who knew him, pianist Chuck Folds saying: "I can't imagine anyone more competitive than he [Roy] was in the 1970s. I've never met anyone scrappier than Roy, ever, ever, ever."[56] Eldridge fully admitted to his competitive spirit, saying "I was just trying to outplay anybody, and to outplay them my way."[57] Jazz trumpeter Jonah Jones reports that Eldridge's willingness to "go anywhere and play against anyone" even led to a cutting contest with his own hero, Rex Stewart.[58] Roy could also become antagonistic, particularly in the face of those he deemed racist.[59] Many noted Roy's constant restlessness, saxophonist Billie Bowen noting that Roy "could never, even as a youngster, sit down for more than a few minutes, he was always restless."[60] Eldridge is also said to have suffered from sporadic stage fright.[47] He occasionally found himself in trouble with women, including an incident that involved his being forced to sell his trumpet temporarily in order to reclaim a portion of the money that had been stolen from him by a woman with whom he had drunkenly spent the night.[61] Roy is also said to have developed a fiery temper later in life, according to clarinettist Joe Muranyi, who worked with Eldridge at Ryan's and has called Elridge's temper "Mt. Vesuvius to the fifth power."[15]
Coleman Hawkins

Birth name Coleman Randolph Hawkins
Born November 21, 1904
Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States
Died May 19, 1969 (aged 64)
New York, New York, United States
Genres Swing music, bebop
Instruments Tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, clarinet
Years active 1921–1969[1]
Associated acts Ben Webster, Max Roach
Coleman Randolph Hawkins (November 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969), nicknamed Hawk and sometimes "Bean", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.[1] One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: "there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn".[2] While Hawkins is strongly associated with the swing music and big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.[1]

Fellow saxophonist Lester Young, known as "Pres", commented in a 1959 interview with The Jazz Review: "As far as I'm concerned, I think Coleman Hawkins was the President first, right? As far as myself, I think I'm the second one."[2] Miles Davis once said: "When I heard Hawk, I learned to play ballads."[2]
Biography[edit]
Early life: 1904–1920[edit]
Hawkins was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, in 1904. Although some sources say 1901, there is no evidence to prove an earlier date; instead, there is record of Hawkins's parents' first child, a girl, being born in 1901 and dying at the age of two, possibly basis for the mistaken belief.[3] He was named Coleman after his mother Cordelia's maiden name.

He attended high school in Chicago, then in Topeka, Kansas at Topeka High School. He later stated that he studied harmony and composition for two years at Washburn College in Topeka while still attending high school. In his youth he played piano and cello, and started playing saxophone at the age of nine; by the age of fourteen he was playing around eastern Kansas.

1921–1939[edit]
Hawkins's first major gig was with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds in 1921, and he was with the band full-time from April 1922 to 1923, when he settled in New York City. In the Jazz Hounds, he coincided with Garvin Bushell, Everett Robbins, Bubber Miley and Herb Flemming, among others.[4] Hawkins joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, where he remained until 1934, sometimes doubling on clarinet and bass saxophone. Hawkins's playing changed significantly during Louis Armstrong's tenure with the Henderson Orchestra (1924–25). In the late 1920s, Hawkins also participated in some of the earliest interracial recording sessions with the Mound City Blue Blowers. During his time with Henderson, he became a star soloist with an increasing amount of solos space on records. While with the band, he and Henry "Red" Allen recorded a series of small group sides for ARC (on their Perfect, Melotone, Romeo, and Oriole labels). Hawkins also recorded a number of solo recordings, with either piano or with a pick-up band of Henderson's musicians in 1933–34, just prior to his period in Europe. He was also featured on a Benny Goodman session on February 2, 1934 for Columbia, which also featured Mildred Bailey as guest vocalist.


In late 1934, Hawkins accepted an invitation to play with Jack Hylton's orchestra in London, and toured Europe as a soloist until 1939, performing and recording with Django Reinhardt and Benny Carter in Paris in 1937.[5] Following his return to the United States, on October 11, 1939, he recorded a two-chorus performance of the pop standard "Body and Soul", which he had been performing at Bert Kelly's New York venue, Kelly's Stables. In a landmark recording of the swing era, captured as an afterthought at the session, Hawkins ignores almost all of the melody, with only the first four bars stated in a recognizable fashion. In its exploration of harmonic structure[5] it is considered by many to be the next evolutionary step in jazz recording after Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" in 1928.[citation needed]

The 1940s and 1950s[edit]
After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a big band, he led a combo at Kelly's Stables on Manhattan's 52nd Street with Thelonious Monk, Oscar Pettiford, Miles Davis, and Max Roach as sidemen. Hawkins always had a keen ear for new talent and styles, and he was the leader on what is generally considered to have been the first ever bebop recording session in 1944 with Dizzy Gillespie, Pettiford and Roach.[6][7][8] Later he toured with Howard McGhee and recorded with J. J. Johnson and Fats Navarro. He also toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic.

After 1948 Hawkins divided his time between New York and Europe, making numerous freelance recordings. In 1948 Hawkins recorded "Picasso", an early piece for unaccompanied saxophone.

Hawkins directly influenced many bebop performers, and later in his career, recorded or performed with such adventurous musicians as Sonny Rollins, who considered him as his main influence, and John Coltrane. He appears on the Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (Jazzland/Riverside) record. In 1960 he recorded on Roach's We Insist! suite.[1]
Charlie Parker

Birth name Charles Parker, Jr.
Also known as Bird, Yardbird,

Born August 29, 1920
Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Died March 12, 1955 (aged 34)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop
Occupations Saxophonist, composer
Instruments Alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Years active 1937–1955
Labels Savoy, Dial, Verve
Associated acts Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Miles Davis
Website www.cmgww.com/music/parker/
Notable instruments
Buescher, Conn, King and Grafton alto saxophones
Charlie Parker (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as "Yardbird" and "Bird", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.[2]

Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop,[3] a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and improvisation. Parker introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Many Parker recordings demonstrate his virtuoso playing style and complex melodic lines, sometimes combining jazz with other musical genres, including blues, Latin, and classical.[citation needed]

Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career;[4] this and its shortened form, "Bird", which continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspired the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm", and "Bird of Paradise". Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer.[5]
Childhood[edit]
Charles Parker, Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, the only child of Charles and Addie Parker. He attended at Lincoln High School[6] in September 1934, but withdrew in December 1935, just before joining the local musicians' union.[why?]

Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11, and at age 14 he joined his school's band using a rented school instrument. His father, Charles, was often absent but provided some musical influence; he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit. He later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. Parker's mother Addie worked nights at the local Western Union office. His biggest influence at that time was a young trombone player who taught him the basics of improvisation.
Early career[edit]
In the late 1930s Parker began to practice diligently. During this period he mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas that led to bebop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said that he spent 3 to 4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day.[7]

Bands led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten undoubtedly influenced Parker. He played with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique, with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time influenced Parker's developing style.

In 1938, Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band.[8] The band toured nightclubs and other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City.[9][10] Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann's band.

As a teenager, Parker developed a morphine addiction while in hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. He continued using heroin throughout his life, which ultimately contributed to his death.
New York City[edit]
In 1939 Parker moved to New York City, to pursue a career in music. He held several other jobs as well. He worked for nine dollars a week as a dishwasher at Jimmie's Chicken Shack, where pianist Art Tatum performed.[11]

In 1942 Parker left McShann's band and played for one year with Earl Hines, whose band included Dizzy Gillespie, who later played with Parker as a duo. Unfortunately, this period is virtually undocumented, due to the strike of 1942–1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, during which time few professional recordings were made. Parker joined a group of young musicians, and played in after-hours clubs in Harlem, such as Clark Monroe's Uptown House and Minton's Playhouse. These young iconoclasts included Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, guitarist Charlie Christian, and drummer Kenny Clarke. The beboppers' attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk by Mary Lou Williams: "We wanted a music that they couldn't play"[12] – "they" referring to white bandleaders who had usurped and profited from swing music.[citation needed] The group played in venues on 52nd Street, including Three Deuces and the Onyx. While in New York City, Parker studied with his music teacher, Maury Deutsch.
Bebop[edit]
According to an interview Parker gave in the 1950s, one night in 1939 he was playing "Cherokee" in a jam session with guitarist William "Biddy" Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled one of his main musical innovations. He realized that the twelve tones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.

Early in its development, this new type of jazz was rejected by many of the established, traditional jazz musicians who disdained their younger counterparts. The beboppers responded by calling these traditionalists "moldy figs". However, some musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins and Art Tatum, were more positive about its development, and participated in jam sessions and recording dates in the new approach with its adherents.

Because of the two-year Musicians' Union ban of all commercial recordings from 1942 to 1944, much of bebop's early development was not captured for posterity. As a result, it gained limited radio exposure. Bebop musicians had a difficult time gaining widespread recognition. It was not until 1945, when the recording ban was lifted, that Parker's collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and others had a substantial effect on the jazz world. (One of their first small-group performances together was rediscovered and issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945.) Bebop soon gained wider appeal among musicians and fans alike.

On November 26, 1945, Parker led a record date for the Savoy label, marketed as the "greatest Jazz session ever". Recording as Charlie Parker's Reboppers, Parker enlisted such sidemen as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis on trumpet, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. The tracks recorded during this session include "Ko-Ko", "Billie's Bounce" and "Now's the Time".

Shortly afterward, the Parker/Gillespie band traveled to an unsuccessful engagement at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles. Most of the group returned to New York, but Parker remained in California, cashing in his return ticket to buy heroin. He experienced great hardship in California, eventually being committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital for a six-month period.
Addiction[edit]
Parker's chronic addiction to heroin caused him to miss gigs and lose work. He frequently resorted to busking on the streets, receiving loans from fellow musicians and admirers, and pawning his saxophones for drug money. Heroin use was rampant in the jazz scene, and the drug could be acquired easily.

Although he produced many brilliant recordings during this period, Parker's behavior became increasingly erratic. Heroin was difficult to obtain when he moved to California, where the drug was less abundant, and he began to drink heavily to compensate. A recording for the Dial label from July 29, 1946, provides evidence of his condition. Before this session, Parker drank a quart of whiskey. According to the liner notes of Charlie Parker on Dial Volume 1, Parker missed most of the first two bars of his first chorus on the track, "Max Making Wax." When he finally did come in, he swayed wildly and once spun all the way around, away from his microphone. On the next tune, "Lover Man", producer Ross Russell physically supported Parker. On "Bebop" (the final track Parker recorded that evening) he begins a solo with a solid first eight bars; on his second eight bars, however, he begins to struggle, and a desperate Howard McGhee, the trumpeter on this session, shouts, "Blow!" at him. Charles Mingus considered this version of "Lover Man" to be among Parker's greatest recordings, despite its flaws.[13] Nevertheless, Parker hated the recording and never forgave Ross Russell for releasing it. He re-recorded the tune in 1951 for Verve.

When Parker was released from the hospital, he was clean and healthy. Before leaving California, he recorded "Relaxin' at Camarillo" in reference to his hospital stay. He returned to New York, resumed his addiction to heroin and recorded dozens of sides for the Savoy and Dial labels, which remain some of the high points of his recorded output. Many of these were with his so-called "classic quintet" including trumpeter Miles Davis and drummer Max Roach.
Charlie Parker with Strings[edit]
A longstanding desire of Parker's was to perform with a string section. He was a keen student of classical music, and contemporaries reported he was most interested in the music and formal innovations of Igor Stravinsky and longed to engage in a project akin to what later became known as Third Stream, a new kind of music, incorporating both jazz and classical elements as opposed to merely incorporating a string section into performance of jazz standards. On November 30, 1949, Norman Granz arranged for Parker to record an album of ballads with a mixed group of jazz and chamber orchestra musicians.[14] Six master takes from this session comprised the album Charlie Parker with Strings: "Just Friends", "Everything Happens to Me", "April in Paris", "Summertime", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", and "If I Should Lose You".

Jazz at Massey Hall[edit]
In 1953, Parker performed at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada, joined by Gillespie, Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach. Unfortunately, the concert clashed with a televised heavyweight boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott, so it was poorly attended. Mingus recorded the concert, resulting in the album Jazz at Massey Hall. At this concert, Parker played a plastic Grafton saxophone.[citation needed] At this point in his career he was experimenting with new sounds and materials. Parker himself explained the purpose of the plastic saxophone in a May 9, 1953 broadcast from Birdland and did so again in a subsequent May 1953 broadcast. Parker is known to have played several saxophones, including the Conn 6M, the Martin Handicraft and Selmer Model 22. He is also known to have performed with a King "Super 20" saxophone. Parker's King Super 20 saxophone was made specially for him in 1947.
Death[edit]

Parker's grave at Lincoln Cemetery
Parker died on March 12, 1955, in the suite of his friend and patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City, while watching The Dorsey Brothers' Stage Show on television. The official causes of death were lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, but Parker also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had suffered a heart attack. The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker's 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.[15]

Since 1950, Parker had been living with Chan Berg, the mother of his son Baird (who lived until 2014)[16] and his daughter Pree (who died as an infant of cystic fibrosis). He considered Chan his wife although he never formally married her, nor did he divorce his previous wife, Doris, whom he had married in 1948. This complicated the settling of Parker's estate and would ultimately serve to frustrate his wish to be quietly interred in New York City.

It was well known that Parker never wanted to return to Kansas City, even in death.[citation needed] Parker had told Chan that he did not want to be buried in the city of his birth; that New York was his home. Dizzy Gillespie paid for the funeral arrangements[17] and organized a lying-in-state, a Harlem procession officiated by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., as well as a memorial concert, before Parker's body was flown back to Missouri, in accordance with his mother's wishes. Parker's widow criticized Parker’s family for giving him a Christian funeral even though they knew he was a confirmed atheist.[18] Parker was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Missouri, in a hamlet known as Blue Summit, located close to I-435 and east Truman road.
Music[edit]
Parker's style of composition involved interpolation of original melodies over existing jazz forms and standards, a practice known as contrafact and still common in jazz today. Examples include "Ornithology", also known as "How High The Moon" and "Yardbird Suite", the vocal version of which is called "What Price Love", with lyrics by Parker. The practice was not uncommon prior to bebop, but it became a signature of the movement as artists began to move away from arranging popular standards and toward composing their own material.

While tunes such as "Now's The Time," "Billie's Bounce," "Au Privave", "Barbados", "Relaxin' at Camarillo," "Bloomdido," and "Cool Blues" were based on conventional twelve-bar blues changes, Parker also created a unique version of the 12-bar blues for tunes such as "Blues for Alice", "Laird Baird", and "Si Si". These unique chords are known popularly as "Bird Changes".[citation needed] Like his solos, some of his compositions are characterized by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition although he did employ the use of repetition in some tunes, most notably "Now's The Time".

Parker contributed greatly to the modern jazz solo, one in which triplets and pick-up notes were used in unorthodox ways to lead into chord tones, affording the soloist with more freedom to use passing tones, which soloists previously avoided. Parker was admired for his unique style of phrasing and innovative use of rhythm. Via his recordings and the popularity of the posthumously published Charlie Parker Omnibook, Parker's identifiable style dominated jazz for many years to come.

Other well-known Parker compositions include "Ah-Leu-Cha", "Anthropology", co-written with Dizzy Gillespie, "Billie's Bounce", "Bird Gets the Worm", "Cheryl", "Confirmation", "Constellation", "Donna Lee", "Ko-Ko", "Moose the Mooche", and "Scrapple from the Apple".

Miles Davis once said, "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker."
Miles Davis

Birth name Miles Dewey Davis III
Born May 26, 1926
Alton, Illinois, U.S.
Died September 28, 1991 (aged 65)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop, cool jazz, modal, jazz fusion, jazz-rock, third stream, jazz-funk, jazz rap[1][2]
Occupations Musician (bandleader, composer, trumpeter).
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, organ, synthesizer
Years active 1944–1975, 1980–1991
Labels Capitol Jazz/EMI, Columbia/CBS, Warner Bros. Dial Records, Birdland
Associated acts Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis Quintet, Gil Evans
Website www.milesdavis.com
Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century,[3] Miles Davis was, together with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.

In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,[4] which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz".[4] In 2008, his 1959 album Kind of Blue received its fourth platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of at least four million copies in the United States.[5] On December 15, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution recognizing and commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, "honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure".[
Life and career[edit]
Early life (1926–44)[edit]
Miles Dewey Davis was born on May 26, 1926, to an affluent African American family in Alton, Illinois. His father, Miles Henry Davis, was a dentist. In 1927 the family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois. They also owned a substantial ranch in the Delta region of Arkansas near the city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Davis's father and grandfather were from. It was in both East St. Louis, Illinois and near Pine Bluff, Arkansas that young Davis developed his earliest appreciation for music listening to the gospel music of the black church.

Davis' mother, Cleota Mae (Henry) Davis, wanted her son to learn the piano; she was a capable blues pianist but kept this fact hidden from her son. His musical studies began at 13, when his father gave him a trumpet and arranged lessons with local musician Elwood Buchanan. Davis later suggested that his father's instrument choice was made largely to irk his wife, who disliked the trumpet's sound. Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato; he was reported to have slapped Davis' knuckles every time he started using heavy vibrato.[7] Davis would carry his clear signature tone throughout his career. He once remarked on its importance to him, saying, "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much bass. Just right in the middle. If I can’t get that sound I can’t play anything."[8] Clark Terry was another important early influence.[9]

By age 16, Davis was a member of the music society and, when not at school, playing professionally first at the local Elks Club.[10] At 17, he spent a year playing in Eddie Randle's band, the Blue Devils. During this time, Sonny Stitt tried to persuade him to join the Tiny Bradshaw band, then passing through town, but Davis' mother insisted that he finish his final year of high school. He graduated from East St. Louis Lincoln High School in 1944.

In 1944, the Billy Eckstine band visited East St. Louis. Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the band, and Davis was brought in on third trumpet for a couple of weeks because the regular player, Buddy Anderson, was out sick. Even after this experience, once Eckstine's band left town, Davis' parents were still keen for him to continue formal academic studies.
New York and the bebop years begin (1944–48)[edit]
In the fall of 1944, following graduation from high school, Davis moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. Upon arriving in New York, he spent most of his first weeks in town trying to get in contact with Charlie Parker, despite being advised against doing so by several people he met during his quest, including saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.[7]


Tommy Potter, Charlie Parker,Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach, August 1947

Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis, c. September 1947
Finally locating his idol, Davis became one of the cadre of musicians who held nightly jam sessions at two of Harlem's nightclubs, Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's. The group included many of the future leaders of the bebop revolution: young players such as Fats Navarro, Freddie Webster, and J. J. Johnson. Established musicians including Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke were also regular participants.

Davis dropped out of Juilliard after asking permission from his father. In his autobiography, Davis criticized the Juilliard classes for centering too much on the classical European and "white" repertoire. However, he also acknowledged that, in addition to greatly improving his trumpet playing technique, Juilliard helped give him a grounding in music theory that would prove valuable in later years.

Davis began playing professionally, performing in several 52nd Street clubs with Coleman Hawkins and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. In 1945, he entered a recording studio for the first time, as a member of Herbie Fields's group. This was the first of many recordings Davis contributed to in this period, mostly as a sideman. He finally got the chance to record as a leader in 1946, with an occasional group called the Miles Davis Sextet plus Earl Coleman and Ann Hathaway—one of the rare occasions when Davis, by then a member of the groundbreaking Charlie Parker Quintet, can be heard accompanying singers.[11] In these early years, recording sessions where Davis was the leader were the exception rather than the rule; his next date as leader would not come until 1947.

Around 1945, Dizzy Gillespie parted ways with Parker, and Davis was hired as Gillespie's replacement in his quintet, which also featured Max Roach on drums, Al Haig (replaced later by Sir Charles Thompson and Duke Jordan) on piano, and Curley Russell (later replaced by Tommy Potter and Leonard Gaskin) on bass.

With Parker's quintet, Davis went into the studio several times, already showing hints of the style he would become known for. On an oft-quoted take of Parker's signature song, "Now's the Time", Davis takes a melodic solo, whose unbop-like quality anticipates the "cool jazz" period that followed. The Parker quintet also toured widely. During a stop in Los Angeles, Parker had a nervous breakdown that landed him in the Camarillo State Mental Hospital for several months, and Davis found himself stranded. He roomed and collaborated for some time with bassist Charles Mingus, before getting a job on Billy Eckstine's California tour, which eventually brought him back to New York.[12] In 1948, Parker returned to New York, and Davis rejoined his group.


Miles Davis on piano with Howard McGhee (trumpet), Joe Albany (pianist, standing) and Brick Fleagle (guitarist, smoking), September 1947
The relationships within the quintet, however, were growing tense. Parker's erratic behavior (attributable to his well-known drug addiction) and artistic choices (both Davis and Roach objected to having Duke Jordan as a pianist[7] and would have preferred Bud Powell) became sources of friction. In December 1948, disputes over money (Davis claimed he was not being paid) began to strain their relationship even further. Davis finally left the group following a confrontation with Parker at the Royal Roost.

For Davis, his departure from Parker's group marked the beginning of a period when he worked mainly as a freelancer and sideman in some of the most important combos on the New York jazz scene.
Birth of the Cool (1948–49)[edit]
In 1948 Davis grew close to the Canadian composer and arranger Gil Evans. Evans' basement apartment had become the meeting place for several young musicians and composers such as Davis, Roach, pianist John Lewis, and baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan who were unhappy with the increasingly virtuoso instrumental techniques that dominated the bebop scene. Evans had been the arranger for the Claude Thornhill orchestra, and it was the sound of this group, as well as Duke Ellington's example, that suggested the creation of an unusual line-up: a nonet including a French horn and a tuba (this accounts for the "tuba band" moniker that became associated with the combo).

Davis took an active role in the project,[13] so much so that it soon became "his project". The objective was to achieve a sound similar to the human voice, through carefully arranged compositions and by emphasizing a relaxed, melodic approach to the improvisations.

The nonet debuted in the summer of 1948, with a two-week engagement at the Royal Roost. The sign announcing the performance gave a surprising prominence to the role of the arrangers: "Miles Davis Nonet. Arrangements by Gil Evans, John Lewis and Gerry Mulligan." It was, in fact, so unusual that Davis had to persuade the Roost's manager, Ralph Watkins, to word the sign this way. He prevailed only with the help of Monte Kay, the club's artistic director.

The nonet was active until the end of 1949, along the way undergoing several changes in personnel: Roach and Davis were constantly featured, along with Mulligan, tuba player Bill Barber, and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who had been preferred to Sonny Stitt (whose playing was considered too bop-oriented). Over the months, John Lewis alternated with Al Haig on piano, Mike Zwerin with Kai Winding on trombone (Johnson was touring at the time), Junior Collins with Sandy Siegelstein and Gunther Schuller on French horn, and Al McKibbon with Joe Shulman on bass. Singer Kenny Hagood was added for one track during the recording.

The presence of white musicians in the group angered some black jazz players, many of whom were unemployed at the time, but Davis rebuffed their criticisms.[14]

A contract with Capitol Records granted the nonet several recording sessions between January 1949 and April 1950. The material they recorded was released in 1956 on an album whose title, Birth of the Cool, gave its name to the "cool jazz" movement that developed at the same time and partly shared the musical direction begun by Davis' group.

For his part, Davis was fully aware of the importance of the project, which he pursued to the point of turning down a job with Duke Ellington's orchestra.[7]

The importance of the nonet experience would become clear to critics and the larger public only in later years, but, at least commercially, the nonet was not a success. The liner notes of the first recordings of the Davis Quintet for Columbia Records call it one of the most spectacular failures of the jazz club scene. This was bitterly noted by Davis, who claimed the invention of the cool style and resented the success that was later enjoyed—in large part because of the media's attention—by white "cool jazz" musicians (Mulligan and Dave Brubeck in particular).

This experience also marked the beginning of the lifelong friendship between Davis and Gil Evans, an alliance that would bear important results in the years to follow.
Hard bop and the "Blue Period" (1950–54)[edit]
The first half of the 1950s was, for Davis, a period of great personal difficulty. At the end of 1949, he went on tour in Paris with a group including Tadd Dameron, Kenny Clarke (who remained in Europe after the tour), and James Moody. Davis was fascinated by Paris and its cultural environment, where black jazz musicians, and African Americans in general, often felt better respected than they did in their homeland. While in Paris, Davis began a relationship with French actress and singer Juliette Gréco.

Many of his new and old friends (Davis, in his autobiography, mentions Clarke) tried to persuade him to stay in France, but Davis decided to return to New York. Back in the States, he began to feel deeply depressed. He attributes the depression to his separation from Gréco, his feeling under-appreciated by the critics (who hailed his former collaborators as leaders of the cool jazz movement)—and to the unraveling of his liaison with a former St. Louis schoolmate who lived with him in New York, with whom he had two children.

Davis blames these factors for the heroin habit that deeply affected him for the next four years. During this period, Davis supported his habit partly with his music and partly by living the life of a hustler.[15] By 1953, his drug addiction began to impair his playing ability. Heroin had killed some of his friends (Navarro and Freddie Webster). He had been arrested for drug possession while on tour in Los Angeles, and his drug habit became public in a Down Beat interview of Cab Calloway.[16]

Realizing his precarious condition, Davis tried several times to end his drug addiction, finally succeeding in 1954 after returning to his father's home in St. Louis for several months and locking himself in a room until he had gone through a painful withdrawal. During this period, he avoided New York and played mostly in Detroit and other Midwestern towns, where drugs were then harder to come by. A widely related story, attributed to Richard (Prophet) Jennings[17][18] was that Davis, while in Detroit playing at the Blue Bird club as a guest soloist in Billy Mitchell's house band along with Tommy Flanagan, Elvin Jones, Betty Carter, Yusef Lateef, Barry Harris, Thad Jones, Curtis Fuller and Donald Byrd stumbled into Baker's Keyboard Lounge out of the rain, soaking wet and carrying his trumpet in a paper bag under his coat, walked to the bandstand and interrupted Max Roach and Clifford Brown in the midst of performing "Sweet Georgia Brown" by beginning to play "My Funny Valentine", and then, after finishing the song, stumbled back into the rainy night. Davis was supposedly embarrassed into getting clean by this incident. In his autobiography, Davis disputed this account, stating that Roach had requested that Davis play with him that night, and that the details of the incident, such as carrying his horn in a paper bag and interrupting Roach and Brown, were fictional and that his decision to quit heroin was unrelated to the incident.[19]

Despite all the personal turmoil, the 1950–54 period was actually quite fruitful for Davis artistically. He made quite a number of recordings and had several collaborations with other important musicians. He got to know the music of Chicago pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose elegant approach and use of space influenced him deeply. He also definitively severed his stylistic ties with bebop.[20]

First great quintet and sextet (1955–58)[edit]
Main article: Miles Davis Quintet
Back in New York and in better health, in 1955 Davis attended the Newport Jazz Festival, where his performance (and especially his solo on "'Round Midnight") was greatly admired and prompted the critics to hail the "return of Miles Davis". At the same time, Davis recruited the players for a formation that became known as his "first great quintet": John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

None of these musicians, with the exception of Davis, had received a great deal of exposure before that time; Chambers, in particular, was very young (19 at the time), a Detroit player who had been on the New York scene for only about a year, working with the bands of Bennie Green, Paul Quinichette, George Wallington, J. J. Johnson, and Kai Winding. Coltrane was little known at the time, in spite of earlier collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges. Davis hired Coltrane as a replacement for Sonny Rollins, after unsuccessfully trying to recruit alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.

The repertoire included many bebop mainstays, standards from the Great American Songbook and the pre-bop era, and some traditional tunes.[26] The prevailing style of the group was a development of the Davis experience in the previous years—Davis playing long, legato, and essentially melodic lines, while Coltrane, who during these years emerged as a leading figure on the musical scene, contrasted by playing high-energy solos.

With the new formation also came a new recording contract. In Newport, Rhode Island, Davis had met Columbia Records producer George Avakian, who persuaded him to sign with his label. The quintet made its debut on record with the extremely well received 'Round About Midnight. Before leaving Prestige, however, Davis had to fulfill his obligations during two days of recording sessions in 1956. Prestige released these recordings in the following years as four albums: Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, and Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet. While the recording took place in a studio, each record of this series has the structure and feel of a live performance, with several first takes on each album. The records became almost instant classics and were instrumental in establishing Davis' quintet as one of the best on the jazz scene.


The quintet was disbanded for the first time in 1957, following a series of personal problems that Davis blames on the drug addiction of the other musicians.[27] Davis played some gigs at the Cafe Bohemia with a short-lived formation that included Sonny Rollins and drummer Art Taylor, and then traveled to France, where he recorded the score to Louis Malle's film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. With the aid of French session musicians Barney Wilen, Pierre Michelot, and René Urtreger, and expatriate American drummer Kenny Clarke, he recorded the entire soundtrack with an innovative procedure, without relying on written material: starting from sparse indication of the harmony and a general feel of a given piece, the group played by watching the movie on a screen in front of them and improvising.

A performance of the Ballets Africains from Guinea in 1958 sparked Davis's interest in modal music. This music, featuring the kalimba, stayed for long periods of time on a single chord, weaving in and out of consonance and dissonance.[28] It was a very new concept in jazz at the time, then dominated by the chord-change based music of bebop.

Returning to New York in 1958, Davis successfully recruited Cannonball Adderley for his standing group. Coltrane, who in the meantime had freed himself from his drug habits, was available after a highly fruitful experience with Thelonious Monk and was hired back, as was Philly Joe Jones. With the quintet re-formed as a sextet, Davis recorded Milestones, an album anticipating the new directions he was preparing to give to his music.

Almost immediately after the recording of Milestones, Davis fired Garland and, shortly afterward, Jones, again for behavioral problems; he replaced them with Bill Evans—a young white pianist with a strong classical background—and drummer Jimmy Cobb. With this revamped formation, Davis began a year during which the sextet performed and toured extensively and produced a record (1958 Miles, also known as 58 Sessions). Evans had a unique, impressionistic approach to the piano, and his musical ideas had a strong influence on Davis. But after only eight months on the road with the group, he was burned out and left. He was soon replaced by Wynton Kelly, a player who brought to the sextet a swinging, bluesy approach that contrasted with Evans' more delicate playing.
Recordings with Gil Evans (1957–63)[edit]
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Davis recorded a series of albums with Gil Evans, often playing flugelhorn as well as trumpet. The first, Miles Ahead (1957), showcased his playing with a jazz big band and a horn section arranged by Evans. Songs included Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," as well as Léo Delibes's "The Maids of Cadiz," the first piece of European classical music Davis had recorded. Another distinctive feature of the album was the orchestral passages that Evans had devised as transitions between the different tracks, which were joined together with the innovative use of editing in the post-production phase, turning each side of the album into a seamless piece of music.[29]

In 1958, Davis and Evans were back in the studio to record Porgy and Bess, an arrangement of pieces from George Gershwin's opera of the same name. The lineup included three members of the sextet: Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Davis called the album one of his favorites.[citation needed]

Also in 1958, he married his first wife Frances Taylor.[30] Their marriage lasted 10 years, despite his persistent domestic violence.[31]

Sketches of Spain (1959–1960) featured songs by contemporary Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and also Manuel de Falla, as well as Gil Evans originals with a Spanish flavor. Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall (1961) includes Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, along with other compositions recorded in concert with an orchestra under Evans' direction.

Sessions with Davis and Evans in 1962 resulted in the album Quiet Nights, a short collection of bossa novas that was released against the wishes of both artists: Evans stated it was only half an album, and blamed the record company; Davis blamed producer Teo Macero, to whom he did not speak for more than two years.[32] This was the last time Evans and Davis made a full album together; despite the professional separation, however, Davis noted later that "my best friend is Gil Evans."[33]
Kind of Blue (1959–64)[edit]
In March and April 1959, Davis re-entered the studio with his working sextet to record what is widely considered his magnum opus, Kind of Blue. He called back Bill Evans, months away from forming what would become his own seminal trio, for the album sessions, as the music had been planned around Evans' piano style.[34] Both Davis and Evans were acquainted with the ideas of pianist George Russell regarding modal jazz; Davis from discussions with Russell and others before the Birth of the Cool sessions, and Evans from study with Russell in 1956.[35] Davis, however, had neglected to inform current pianist Kelly of Evans' role in the recordings; Kelly subsequently played only on the track "Freddie Freeloader" and was not present at the April dates for the album.[34] "So What" and "All Blues" had been played by the sextet at performances prior to the recording sessions, but for the other three compositions, Davis and Evans prepared skeletal harmonic frameworks that the other musicians saw for the first time on the day of recording, to allow a fresher approach to their improvisations. The resulting album has proven both highly popular and enormously influential. According to the RIAA, Kind of Blue is the best-selling jazz album of all time, having been certified as quadruple platinum (4 million copies sold).[5] In December 2009, the US House of Representatives voted 409–0 to pass a resolution honoring the album as a national treasure.[6][36]

The trumpet Davis used on the recording is currently displayed in the music building on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It was donated to the school by Arthur "Buddy" Gist, who met Davis in 1949 and became a close friend. The gift was the reason why the jazz program at UNCG is named the "Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program."[37]

In August 1959, the Miles Davis Quintet was appearing at the famous Birdland nightclub in New York City. After finishing a recording for the armed services, Davis took a break outside the club. As he was escorting an attractive blonde woman across the sidewalk to a taxi, Davis was told by a patrolman to "move on."[38] Davis explained that he worked at the nightclub and refused to move.[39] The officer said that he would arrest Davis and grabbed him as Davis protected himself.[38] Witnesses said that the patrolman punched Davis in the stomach with his nightstick without provocation.[38] While two detectives held the crowd back, a third detective approached Davis from behind and beat him about the head. Davis was arrested and taken to jail where he was charged with feloniously assaulting an officer. He was then taken to St. Clary Hospital where he received five stitches for a wound on his head.[38] The following October, he was acquitted of the charge of disorderly conduct and was likewise acquitted the following January of the charge of third-degree assault.[40]

Davis tried to pursue the case by bringing a suit against the New York City Police Department, but eventually dropped the proceedings[citation needed] in a plea bargain so he could recover his suspended cabaret card – entertainers awaiting trial were automatically deprived of their cards[38] – and return to work in New York clubs. In his autobiography, Davis stated that the incident "changed my whole life and whole attitude again, made me feel bitter and cynical again when I was starting to feel good about the things that had changed in this country."[40]


Second great quintet (1964–68)[edit]

"Petits Machins (Little Stuff)"

Issued on his 1968 album Filles de Kilimanjaro, the composition exemplfies Davis's transition from the post-bop style to fusion sounds and textures.[42]
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By the time of E.S.P. (1965), Davis's lineup consisted of Wayne Shorter (saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). The last of his acoustic bands, this group is often referred to as the "second great quintet".

A two-night Chicago performance in late 1965 is captured on The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965, released in 1995. Unlike their studio albums, the live engagement shows the group still playing primarily standards and bebop tunes. Although some of the titles remain the same as the tunes played by the 1950s quintet, the quick tempos and musical departure from the framework of the tune are dramatic. It could be said that these live performances of standards are as radical as the studio recordings of new compositions on the albums listed below.

The recording of Live at the Plugged Nickel was not issued anywhere in the 1960s, first appearing as a Japan-only partial issue in the late 1970s, then as a double-LP in the U.S. and Europe in 1982. It was followed by a series of studio recordings: Miles Smiles (1966), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1967), Miles in the Sky (1968), and Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968). The quintet's approach to improvisation came to be known as "time no changes" or "freebop," because they abandoned the more conventional chord-change-based approach of bebop for a modal approach. Through Nefertiti, the studio recordings consisted primarily of originals composed by Shorter, with occasional compositions by the other sidemen. In 1967, the group began to play their live concerts in continuous sets, each tune flowing into the next, with only the melody indicating any sort of demarcation. Davis's bands would continue to perform in this way until his retirement in 1975.

Miles in the Sky and Filles de Kilimanjaro,—which tentatively introduced electric bass, electric piano, and electric guitar on some tracks—pointed the way to the subsequent fusion phase of Davis's career. Davis also began experimenting with more rock-oriented rhythms on these records. By the time the second half of Filles de Kilimanjaro was recorded, bassist Dave Holland and pianist Chick Corea had replaced Carter and Hancock in the working band, though both Carter and Hancock occasionally contributed to future recording sessions. Davis soon began to take over the compositional duties of his sidemen.
Electric Miles (1968–75)[edit]
The guru-manipulator shifted gears at will in his early-'70s music, orchestrating moods and settings to subjugate the individual musical inspirations of his young close-enough-for-funk subgeniuses to the life of a single palpitating organism that would have perished without them—no arrangements, little composition, and not many solos either, although at any moment a player could find himself left to fly off on his own.

— Robert Christgau, review of Dark Magus (1977)[43]
Davis's influences included 1960s rock and funk artists such as Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament/Funkadelic,[4] many of whom he met through Betty Mabry (later Betty Davis), a young model and songwriter Davis married in September 1968 and divorced a year later. The musical transition required that Davis and his band adapt to electric instruments in both live performances and the studio. By the time In a Silent Way had been recorded in February 1969, Davis had augmented his quintet with additional players. At various times Hancock or Joe Zawinul was brought in to join Corea on electric keyboards, and guitarist John McLaughlin made the first of his many appearances with Davis. By this point, Shorter was also doubling on soprano saxophone. After recording this album, Williams left to form his group Lifetime and was replaced by Jack DeJohnette.

Six months later, an even larger group of musicians, including Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, and Bennie Maupin, recorded the double LP Bitches Brew, which became a huge seller, reaching gold status by 1976. This album and In a Silent Way were among the first fusions of jazz and rock that were commercially successful, building on the groundwork laid by Charles Lloyd, Larry Coryell, and others who pioneered a genre that would become known as jazz-rock fusion. During this period, Davis toured with Shorter, Corea, Holland, and DeJohnette. The group's repertoire included material from Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, and the 1960s quintet albums, along with an occasional standard.[citation needed]

Both Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way feature "extended" (more than 20 minutes each) compositions that were never actually "played straight through" by the musicians in the studio.[citation needed] Instead, Davis and producer Teo Macero selected musical motifs of various lengths from recorded extended improvisations and edited them together into a musical whole that exists only in the recorded version. Bitches Brew made use of such electronic effects as multi-tracking, tape loops, and other editing techniques.[44] Both records, especially Bitches Brew, were big sellers. Starting with Bitches Brew, Davis's albums began to often feature cover art much more in line with psychedelic art or black power movements than that of his earlier albums. He took significant cuts in his usual performing fees in order to open for rock groups like the Steve Miller Band, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and Santana[citation needed]. Several live albums were recorded during the early 1970s at these performances: Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time (March 1970), Black Beauty (April 1970), and Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East (June 1970).[4]



Big Fun (1974) was a double album containing four long improvisations, recorded between 1969 and 1972. Similarly, Get Up With It (1974) collected recordings from the previous five years. Get Up With It included "He Loved Him Madly", a tribute to Duke Ellington, as well as one of Davis's most lauded pieces from this era, "Calypso Frelimo". It was his last studio album of the 1970s. In 1974 and 1975, Columbia recorded three double-LP live Davis albums: Dark Magus, Agharta, and Pangaea. Dark Magus captures a 1974 New York concert; the latter two are recordings of consecutive concerts from the same February 1975 day in Osaka. At the time, only Agharta was available in the US; Pangaea and Dark Magus were initially released only by CBS/Sony Japan. All three feature at least two electric guitarists (Reggie Lucas and Pete Cosey, deploying an array of Hendrix-inspired electronic distortion devices; Dominique Gaumont is a third guitarist on Dark Magus), electric bass, drums, reeds, and Davis on electric trumpet and organ. These albums were the last he recorded for five years. Davis was troubled by osteoarthritis (which led to a hip replacement operation in 1976, the first of several), sickle-cell anemia, depression, bursitis, ulcers, and a renewed dependence on alcohol and drugs (primarily cocaine), and his performances were routinely panned by critics throughout late 1974 and early 1975. By the time the group reached Japan in February 1975, Davis was nearing a physical breakdown and required copious amounts of alcohol and narcotics to make it through his engagements. Nonetheless, as noted by Richard Cook and Brian Morton, during these concerts his trumpet playing "is of the highest and most adventurous order."[citation needed]

This was music that polarized audiences, provoking boos and walk-outs amid the ecstasy of others. The length, density, and unforgiving nature of it mocked those who said that Miles was interested only in being trendy and popular. Some have heard in this music the feel and shape of a musician's late work, an egoless music that precedes its creator's death. As Theodor Adorno said of the late Beethoven, the disappearance of the musician into the work is a bow to mortality. It was as if Miles were testifying to all that he had been witness to for the past thirty years, both terrifying and joyful.

— John Szwed, on Agharta (1975) and Pangaea (1976)[50]
After a Newport Jazz Festival performance at Avery Fisher Hall in New York on July 1, 1975, Davis withdrew almost completely from the public eye for six years. As Gil Evans said, "His organism is tired. And after all the music he's contributed for 35 years, he needs a rest."[citation needed] In his memoirs, Davis is characteristically candid about his wayward mental state during this period, describing himself as a hermit, his house as a wreck, and detailing his drug and sex addictions.[7] In 1976, Rolling Stone reported rumors of his imminent demise. Although he stopped practicing trumpet on a regular basis, Davis continued to compose intermittently and made three attempts at recording during his exile from performing; these sessions (one with the assistance of Paul Buckmaster and Gil Evans, who left after not receiving promised compensation) bore little fruit and remain unreleased. In 1979, he placed in the yearly top-ten trumpeter poll of Down Beat. Columbia continued to issue compilation albums and records of unreleased vault material to fulfill contractual obligations. During his period of inactivity, Davis saw the fusion music that he had spearheaded over the past decade enter into the mainstream. When he emerged from retirement, Davis's musical descendants would be in the realm of new wave rock, and in particular the styling of Prince.
Later years and death[edit]

Davis and Cicely Tyson in 1982
By 1979, Davis had rekindled his relationship with actress Cicely Tyson. With Tyson, Davis would overcome his cocaine addiction and regain his enthusiasm for music. As he had not played trumpet for the better part of three years, regaining his famed embouchure proved particularly arduous. While recording The Man with the Horn (sessions were spread sporadically over 1979–1981), Davis played mostly wahwah with a younger, larger band.


Miles Davis at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1991
The initial large band was eventually abandoned in favor of a smaller combo featuring saxophonist Bill Evans (not to be confused with pianist Bill Evans of the 1958–59 sextet), and bass player Marcus Miller, both of whom would be among Davis's most regular collaborators throughout the decade. He married Tyson in 1981; they would divorce in 1988. The Man with the Horn was finally released in 1981 and received a poor critical reception despite selling fairly well. In May, the new band played two dates as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. The concerts, as well as the live recording We Want Miles from the ensuing tour, received positive reviews.

By late 1982, Davis's band included French percussionist Mino Cinelu and guitarist John Scofield, with whom he worked closely on the album Star People. In mid-1983, while working on the tracks for Decoy, an album mixing soul music and electronica that was released in 1984, Davis brought in producer, composer and keyboardist Robert Irving III, who had earlier collaborated with him on The Man with the Horn. With a seven-piece band, including Scofield, Evans, keyboardist and music director Irving, drummer Al Foster and bassist Darryl Jones (later of the Rolling Stones), Davis played a series of European gigs to positive receptions. While in Europe, he took part in the recording of Aura, an orchestral tribute to Davis composed by Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg.

You're Under Arrest, Davis' next album, was released in 1985 and included another brief stylistic detour. Included on the album were his interpretations of Cyndi Lauper's ballad "Time After Time", and Michael Jackson's pop hit "Human Nature". Davis considered releasing an entire album of pop songs and recorded dozens of them, but the idea was scrapped. Davis noted that many of today's accepted jazz standards were in fact pop songs from Broadway theater, and that he was simply updating the "standards" repertoire with new material. 1985 also saw Davis guest-star on the TV show Miami Vice as pimp and minor criminal Ivory Jones in the episode titled "Junk Love" (first aired November 8, 1985).[51]

You're Under Arrest was Davis' final album for Columbia. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis publicly dismissed Davis' more recent fusion recordings as not being "'true' jazz," comments Davis initially shrugged off, calling Marsalis "a nice young man, only confused." This changed after Marsalis appeared, unannounced, onstage in the midst of Davis' performance at the inaugural Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 1986. Marsalis whispered into Davis' ear that "someone" had told him to do so. Davis responded by ordering him off the stage.[52]




Davis grew irritated at Columbia's delay releasing Aura. The breaking point in the label-artist relationship appears to have come when a Columbia jazz producer requested Davis place a goodwill birthday call to Marsalis. Davis signed with Warner Bros. Records shortly thereafter.

Davis collaborated with a number of figures from the British new wave movement during this period, including Scritti Politti.[53] At the invitation of producer Bill Laswell, Davis recorded some trumpet parts during sessions for Public Image Ltd.'s Album, according to Public Image's John Lydon in the liner notes of their Plastic Box box set. In Lydon's words, however, "strangely enough, we didn't use [his contributions]." (Also according to Lydon in the Plastic Box notes, Davis favorably compared Lydon's singing voice to his trumpet sound.)[54]

Having first taken part in the Artists United Against Apartheid recording, Davis signed with Warner Brothers records and reunited with Marcus Miller. The resulting record, Tutu (1986), was his first to use modern studio tools—programmed synthesizers, samples and drum loops—to create an entirely new setting for his playing. The album was described as the modern counterpart of Sketches of Spain and won a Grammy in 1987.

He followed Tutu with Amandla, another collaboration with Miller and George Duke, plus the soundtracks to four movies: Street Smart, Siesta, The Hot Spot (with bluesman John Lee Hooker), and Dingo. He continued to tour with a band of constantly rotating personnel and a critical stock at a level higher than it had been for 15 years. His last recordings, both released posthumously, were the hip hop-influenced studio album Doo-Bop and Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux, a collaboration with Quincy Jones for the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival. For the first time in three decades, Davis returned to the songs arranged by Gil Evans on such 1950s albums as Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. This album was also the last album recorded by Davis. It left a lot of people who had been disappointed with his newer, more experimental works happy that he had ended his career on such way.[55][56][57]


The grave of Miles Davis in Woodlawn Cemetery
In 1988 he had a small part as a street musician in the film Scrooged, starring Bill Murray. In 1989, Davis was interviewed on 60 Minutes by Harry Reasoner. Davis received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

In early 1991, he appeared in the Rolf de Heer film Dingo as a jazz musician. In the film's opening sequence, Davis and his band unexpectedly land on a remote airstrip in the Australian outback and proceed to perform for the surprised locals. The performance was one of Davis's last on film and one of the first released after his death in September.

During the last years of Miles Davis's life, there were rumors that he had AIDS, something that he and his manager Peter Shukat vehemently denied.[7][58] According to Quincy Troupe by that time Davis was taking azidothymidine (AZT), a type of antiretroviral drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.[23][59]

Davis died on September 28, 1991, from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 65.[4] He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.[60]
Views on his earlier work[edit]
Late in his life, from the "electric period" onwards, Davis repeatedly explained his reasons for not wishing to perform his earlier works, such as Birth of the Cool or Kind of Blue. In Davis' view, remaining stylistically static was the wrong option.[61] He commented: " "So What" or Kind of Blue, they were done in that era, the right hour, the right day, and it happened. It's over [...] What I used to play with Bill Evans, all those different modes, and substitute chords, we had the energy then and we liked it. But I have no feel for it anymore, it's more like warmed-over turkey."[62] When Shirley Horn insisted in 1990 that Miles reconsider playing the ballads and modal tunes of his Kind of Blue period, he demurred. "Nah, it hurts my lip," was the reason he gave.[63]

Other musicians regretted Davis's change of style, for example, Bill Evans, who was instrumental in creating Kind of Blue, said: "I would like to hear more of the consummate melodic master, but I feel that big business and his record company have had a corrupting influence on his material. The rock and pop thing certainly draws a wider audience. It happens more and more these days, that unqualified people with executive positions try to tell musicians what is good and what is bad music."[64]
Legacy and influence[edit]

Statue in Kielce, Poland
Miles Davis is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in the history of music. He has been described as “one of the great innovators in jazz”.[65] The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll noted "Miles Davis played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-'40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music".[66] His album Kind of Blue is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music. On November 5, 2009, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan sponsored a measure in the United States House of Representatives to recognize and commemorate the album on its 50th anniversary. The measure also affirms jazz as a national treasure and "encourages the United States government to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music."[67] It passed, unanimously, with a vote of 409–0 on December 15, 2009.[68]

As an innovative bandleader and composer, Miles Davis has influenced many notable musicians and bands from diverse genres. Many well-known musicians rose to prominence as members of Davis's ensembles, including saxophonists Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman, Branford Marsalis and Kenny Garrett; trombonist J. J. Johnson; pianists Horace Silver, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Kei Akagi; guitarists John McLaughlin, Pete Cosey, John Scofield and Mike Stern; bassists Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Marcus Miller and Darryl Jones; and drummers Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, and Al Foster.[citation needed] Miles' influence on the people who played with him has been described by music writer and author Christopher Smith as follows:

Miles Davis' artistic interest was in the creation and manipulation of ritual space, in which gestures could be endowed with symbolic power sufficient to form a functional communicative, and hence musical, vocabulary. [...] Miles' performance tradition emphasized orality and the transmission of information and artistic insight from individual to individual. His position in that tradition, and his personality, talents, and artistic interests, impelled him to pursue a uniquely individual solution to the problems and the experiential possibilities of improvised performance.
His approach, owing largely to the African American performance tradition that focused on individual expression, emphatic interaction, and creative response to shifting contents, had a profound impact on generations of jazz musicians.[69]

In 1986, the New England Conservatory awarded Miles Davis an Honorary Doctorate for his extraordinary contributions to music.[70] Since 1960 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has honored him with eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. In 2010, Moldejazz premiered a play called Driving Miles, which focused on a landmark concert Davis performed in Molde, Norway, in 1984.
John Coltrane

Birth name John William Coltrane
Also known as "Trane"
Born September 23, 1926
Hamlet, North Carolina, USA
Died July 17, 1967 (aged 40)
Huntington, New York
Genres Avant-garde jazz, hard bop, post-bop, modal jazz, free jazz
Occupations Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone
Years active 1946–1967
Labels Prestige, Blue Note, Atlantic, Impulse!
Associated acts Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis Quintet, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, Pharoah Sanders
Website johncoltrane.com
John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane" (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967),[1] was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
Early life and career (1926–1954)[edit]
Coltrane was born in his parents' apartment at 200 Hamlet Avenue, Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926.[3] His father was John R. Coltrane[4] and his mother was Alice Coltrane.[5] He grew up in High Point, North Carolina, attending William Penn High School (now Penn-Griffin School for the Arts). Beginning in December 1938 Coltrane's aunt, grandparents, and father all died within a few months of each other, leaving John to be raised by his mother and a close cousin.[6] In June 1943 he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In September of that year his mother bought him his first saxophone, an alto.[7] He had his first professional gigs in early to mid-1945 – a "cocktail lounge trio", with piano and guitar.[8]

To avoid being drafted by the Army, Coltrane enlisted in the Navy on August 6, 1945, the day the first U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. He was trained as an apprentice seaman at Sampson Naval Training Station in upstate New York before he was shipped to Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed at Manana Barracks, the largest posting of African-American servicemen in the world. By the time he got to Hawaii, in late 1945, the Navy was already rapidly downsizing. Coltrane's musical talent was quickly recognized, though, and he became one of the few Navy men to serve as a musician without having been granted musicians rating when he joined the Melody Masters, the base swing band. He continued to perform other duties when not playing with the band, including kitchen and security details. By the end of his service, he had assumed a leadership role in the band. His first recordings, an informal session in Hawaii with navy musicians, occurred on July 13, 1946.[9] Coltrane played alto saxophone on a selection of jazz standards and bebop tunes.[10]

After mustering out of the Navy, as a seaman first class in August 1946, Coltrane returned to Philadelphia, where he "plunged into the heady excitement of the new music and the blossoming bebop scene."[11] After touring with King Kolax, he joined a Philly-based band led by Jimmy Heath, who was introduced to Coltrane's playing by his former Navy buddy, the trumpeter William Massey, who had played with Coltrane in the Melody Masters [12] In Philadelphia after the war, he studied jazz theory with guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole and continued under Sandole's tutelage through the early 1950s. Originally an altoist,[13] during this time Coltrane also began playing tenor saxophone with the Eddie Vinson Band. Coltrane later referred to this point in his life as a time when "a wider area of listening opened up for me. There were many things that people like Hawk [Coleman Hawkins], and Ben [Webster] , and Tab Smith were doing in the '40s that I didn't understand, but that I felt emotionally."[14]

An important moment in the progression of Coltrane's musical development occurred on June 5, 1945, when he saw Charlie Parker perform for the first time. In a DownBeat article in 1960 he recalled: "the first time I heard Bird play, it hit me right between the eyes."[13] Parker became an early idol, and they played together on occasion in the late 1940s.

Contemporary correspondence shows that Coltrane was already known as "Trane" by this point, and that the music from some 1946 recording sessions had been played for trumpeter Miles Davis—possibly impressing him.[1]

Coltrane was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early to mid-1950s.
Miles and Monk period (1955–1957)[edit]

The rivalry, tension, and mutual respect between Coltrane and bandleader Miles Davis was formative for both of their careers.
Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia in the summer of 1955 while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from Davis. The trumpeter, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin, was again active and about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the "First Great Quintet"—along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) from October 1955 to April 1957 (with a few absences), a period during which Davis released several influential recordings which revealed the first signs of Coltrane's growing ability. This quintet, represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956 that resulted in the albums Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin', disbanded due in part to Coltrane's heroin addiction.[1]

During the later part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York’s Five Spot, and played in Monk's quartet (July–December 1957), but, owing to contractual conflicts, took part in only one official studio recording session with this group. A private recording made by Juanita Naima Coltrane of a 1958 reunion of the group was issued by Blue Note Records in 1993 as Live at the Five Spot-Discovery! A high quality tape of a concert given by this quartet in November 1957 was also found later, and in 2005 Blue Note made it available on CD and LP. Recorded by Voice of America, the performances confirm the group's reputation, and the resulting album, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, is widely acclaimed.[citation needed]

Blue Train, Coltrane's sole date as leader for Blue Note, featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Paul Chambers, and trombonist Curtis Fuller, is often considered his best album from this period. Four of its five tracks are original Coltrane compositions, and the title track, "Moment's Notice", and "Lazy Bird", have become standards. Both tunes employed the first examples of his chord substitution cycles known as Coltrane changes.
Davis and Coltrane[edit]
Coltrane rejoined Davis in January 1958. In October of that year, jazz critic Ira Gitler coined the term "sheets of sound" to describe the style Coltrane developed during his stint with Monk and was perfecting in Davis' group, now a sextet. His playing was compressed, with rapid runs cascading in hundreds of notes per minute. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in the Davis sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the concert recordings Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza.[1]

At the end of this period Coltrane recorded his first album for Atlantic Records, Giant Steps, made up exclusively of his own compositions. The album's title track is generally considered to have the most complex and difficult chord progression of any widely-played jazz composition. Giant Steps utilizes Coltrane changes. His development of these altered chord progression cycles led to further experimentation with improvised melody and harmony that he would continue throughout his career.
First albums as leader[edit]
Coltrane formed his first group, a quartet, in 1960 for an appearance at the Jazz Gallery in New York City. After moving through different personnel including Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca, and Billy Higgins, the lineup stabilized in the fall with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones. Tyner, from Philadelphia, had been a friend of Coltrane's for some years and the two men had an understanding that the pianist would join Coltrane when Tyner felt ready for the exposure of regularly working with him. Also recorded in the same sessions[clarification needed] were the later released albums Coltrane's Sound and Coltrane Plays the Blues.

Still with Atlantic Records, Coltrane's first record with his new group was also his debut playing the soprano saxophone, the hugely successful My Favorite Things. Around the end of his tenure with Davis, Coltrane had begun playing soprano, an unconventional move considering the instrument's near obsolescence in jazz at the time. His interest in the straight saxophone most likely arose from his admiration for Sidney Bechet and the work of his contemporary, Steve Lacy, even though Davis claimed to have given Coltrane his first soprano saxophone. The new soprano sound was coupled with further exploration. For example, on the Gershwin tune "But Not for Me", Coltrane employs the kinds of restless harmonic movement (Coltrane changes) used on Giant Steps (movement in major thirds rather than conventional perfect fourths) over the A sections instead of a conventional turnaround progression. Several other tracks recorded in the session utilized this harmonic device, including "26–2", "Satellite", "Body and Soul", and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes".
First years with Impulse Records (1960–1962)[edit]
In May 1961, Coltrane's contract with Atlantic was bought out by the newly formed Impulse! Records label.[15] An advantage to Coltrane recording with Impulse! was that it would enable him to work again with engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who had taped both his and Davis' Prestige sessions, as well as Blue Train. It was at Van Gelder's new studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey that Coltrane would record most of his records for the label.

By early 1961, bassist Davis had been replaced by Reggie Workman, while Eric Dolphy joined the group as a second horn around the same time. The quintet had a celebrated (and extensively recorded) residency in November 1961 at the Village Vanguard, which demonstrated Coltrane's new direction. It featured the most experimental music he had played up to this point, influenced by Indian ragas, the recent developments in modal jazz, and the burgeoning free jazz movement. John Gilmore, a longtime saxophonist with musician Sun Ra, was particularly influential; after hearing a Gilmore performance, Coltrane is reported to have said "He's got it! Gilmore's got the concept!"[16] The most celebrated of the Vanguard tunes, the 15-minute blues, "Chasin' the 'Trane", was strongly inspired by Gilmore's music.[17]

During this period, critics were fiercely divided in their estimation of Coltrane, who had radically altered his style. Audiences, too, were perplexed; in France he was booed during his final tour with Davis. In 1961, Down Beat magazine indicted Coltrane and Dolphy as players of "Anti-Jazz", in an article that bewildered and upset the musicians.[17] Coltrane admitted some of his early solos were based mostly on technical ideas. Furthermore, Dolphy's angular, voice-like playing earned him a reputation as a figurehead of the "New Thing" (also known as "Free Jazz" and "Avant-Garde") movement led by Ornette Coleman, which was also denigrated by some jazz musicians (including Davis) and critics. But as Coltrane's style further developed, he was determined to make each performance "a whole expression of one's being".
Classic Quartet period (1962–1965)[edit]

'In a Sentimental Mood'

The romantic ballad features Coltrane with pianist Duke Ellington.
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In 1962, Dolphy departed and Jimmy Garrison replaced Workman as bassist. From then on, the "Classic Quartet", as it came to be known, with Tyner, Garrison, and Jones, produced searching, spiritually driven work. Coltrane was moving toward a more harmonically static style that allowed him to expand his improvisations rhythmically, melodically, and motivically. Harmonically complex music was still present, but on stage Coltrane heavily favored continually reworking his "standards": "Impressions", "My Favorite Things", and "I Want to Talk About You".

The criticism of the quintet with Dolphy may have had an impact on Coltrane. In contrast to the radicalism of his 1961 recordings at the Village Vanguard, his studio albums in 1962 and 1963 (with the exception of Coltrane, which featured a blistering version of Harold Arlen's "Out of This World") were much more conservative and accessible. He recorded an album of ballads and participated in collaborations with Duke Ellington on the album Duke Ellington and John Coltrane and with deep-voiced ballad singer Johnny Hartman on an eponymous co-credited album. The album Ballads is emblematic of Coltrane's versatility, as the quartet shed new light on old-fashioned standards such as "It's Easy to Remember". Despite a more polished approach in the studio, in concert the quartet continued to balance "standards" and its own more exploratory and challenging music, as can be heard on the Impressions album (two extended jams including the title track along with "Dear Old Stockholm", "After the Rain" and a blues), Coltrane at Newport (where he plays "My Favorite Things") and Live at Birdland, both[disambiguation needed] from 1963. Coltrane later said he enjoyed having a "balanced catalogue."[citation needed]

The Classic Quartet produced their most famous record, A Love Supreme, in December 1964. It is reported that Coltrane, who struggled with repeated drug addiction, derived inspiration for A Love Supreme through a near overdose in 1957 which galvanized him to spirituality.[19] A culmination of much of Coltrane's work up to this point, this four-part suite is an ode to his faith in and love for God. These spiritual concerns would characterize much of Coltrane's composing and playing from this point onwards, as can be seen from album titles such as Ascension, Om and Meditations. The fourth movement of A Love Supreme, "Psalm", is, in fact, a musical setting for an original poem to God written by Coltrane, and printed in the album's liner notes. Coltrane plays almost exactly one note for each syllable of the poem, and bases his phrasing on the words. Despite its challenging musical content, the album was a commercial success by jazz standards, encapsulating both the internal and external energy of the quartet of Coltrane, Tyner, Jones and Garrison. The album was composed at Coltrane's home in Dix Hills on Long Island.

The quartet played A Love Supreme live only once—in July 1965 at a concert in Antibes, France.
Avant-garde jazz and the second quartet (1965–1967)[edit]


As Coltrane's interest in jazz became increasingly experimental, he added Pharoah Sanders to his ensemble.
In his late period, Coltrane showed an increasing interest in avant-garde jazz, purveyed by Coleman, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and others. In developing his late style, Coltrane was especially influenced by the dissonance of Ayler's trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, a rhythm section honed with Cecil Taylor as leader. Coltrane championed many younger free jazz musicians (notably Archie Shepp), and under his influence Impulse! became a leading free jazz record label.

After A Love Supreme was recorded, Ayler's style became more prominent in Coltrane's music. A series of recordings with the Classic Quartet in the first half of 1965 show Coltrane's playing becoming increasingly abstract, with greater incorporation of devices like multiphonics, utilization of overtones, and playing in the altissimo register, as well as a mutated return of Coltrane's sheets of sound. In the studio, he all but abandoned his soprano to concentrate on the tenor saxophone. In addition, the quartet responded to the leader by playing with increasing freedom. The group's evolution can be traced through the recordings The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Living Space, Transition (both June 1965), New Thing at Newport (July 1965), Sun Ship (August 1965), and First Meditations (September 1965).

In June 1965, he went into Van Gelder's studio with ten other musicians (including Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Marion Brown, and John Tchicai) to record Ascension, a 40-minute piece that included solos by the young avant-garde musicians (as well as Coltrane), and was controversial primarily for the collective improvisation sections that separated the solos. After recording with the quartet over the next few months, Coltrane invited Sanders to join the band in September 1965. While Coltrane used over-blowing frequently as an emotional exclamation-point, Sanders would overblow his entire solo, resulting in a constant screaming and screeching in the altissimo range of the instrument.

Adding to the quartet[edit]

Percussionist Rashied Ali helped to augment Coltrane's sound in the last years of his life.
By late 1965, Coltrane was regularly augmenting his group with Sanders and other free jazz musicians. Rashied Ali joined the group as a second drummer. This was the end of the quartet; claiming he was unable to hear himself over the two drummers, Tyner left the band shortly after the recording of Meditations. Jones left in early 1966, dissatisfied by sharing drumming duties with Ali. Both Tyner and Jones subsequently expressed displeasure in interviews, after Coltrane's death, with the music's new direction, while incorporating some of the free-jazz form's intensity into their own solo projects.

There is speculation that in 1965 Coltrane began using LSD,[20][21] informing the "cosmic" transcendence of his late period. After the departure of Jones and Tyner, Coltrane led a quintet with Sanders on tenor saxophone, his second wife Alice Coltrane on piano, Garrison on bass, and Ali on drums. Coltrane and Sanders were described by Nat Hentoff as "speaking in tongues". When touring, the group was known for playing very lengthy versions of their repertoire, many stretching beyond 30 minutes and sometimes being an hour long. Concert solos for band members often extended beyond fifteen minutes.

The group can be heard on several concert recordings from 1966, including Live at the Village Vanguard Again! and Live in Japan. In 1967, Coltrane entered the studio several times; though pieces with Sanders have surfaced (the unusual "To Be", which features both men on flutes), most of the recordings were either with the quartet minus Sanders (Expression and Stellar Regions) or as a duo with Ali. The latter duo produced six performances that appear on the album Interstellar Space.
Personal life and religious beliefs[edit]

Coltrane's second wife, Alice, performed with him and also challenged his spiritual beliefs[24]
In 1955, Coltrane married Juanita Naima Grubbs, a Muslim convert, for whom he later wrote the piece "Naima", and came into contact with Islam.[25] They had no children together and were separated by the middle of 1963. Not long after that, Coltrane met pianist Alice McLeod.[26] He and Alice moved in together and had two sons before he was "officially divorced from Naima in 1966, at which time John and Alice were immediately married."[27] John Jr. was born in 1964, Ravi in 1965, and Oranyan ("Oran") in 1967.[27] According to the musician and author Peter Lavezzoli, "Alice brought happiness and stability to John's life, not only because they had children, but also because they shared many of the same spiritual beliefs, particularly a mutual interest in Indian philosophy. Alice also understood what it was like to be a professional musician."[27]

Coltrane was born and raised in a Christian home, and was influenced by religion and spirituality from childhood. His maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Blair, was a minister at an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church[28][29] in High Point, North Carolina, and his paternal grandfather, the Reverend William H. Coltrane, was an A.M.E. Zion minister in Hamlet, North Carolina.[28] Critic Norman Weinstein noted the parallel between Coltrane's music and his experience in the southern church,[30] which included practicing music there as a youth.

In 1957, Coltrane had a religious experience which may have led him to overcome the heroin addiction[31][32] and alcoholism[32] he had struggled with since 1948.[33] In the liner notes of A Love Supreme, Coltrane states that, in 1957, "I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music." The liner notes appear to mention God in a Universalist sense, and do not advocate one religion over another.[34] Further evidence of this universal view regarding spirituality can be found in the liner notes of Meditations (1965), in which Coltrane declares, "I believe in all religions."[27]

After A Love Supreme, many of the titles of Coltrane's songs and albums were linked to spiritual matters: Ascension, Meditations, Om, Selflessness, "Amen", "Ascent", "Attaining", "Dear Lord", "Prayer and Meditation Suite", and "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost".[27] Coltrane's collection of books included The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, the Bhagavad Gita, and Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. The last of these describes, in Lavezzoli's words, a "search for universal truth, a journey that Coltrane had also undertaken. Yogananda believed that both Eastern and Western spiritual paths were efficacious, and wrote of the similarities between Krishna and Christ. This openness to different traditions resonated with Coltrane, who studied the Qur'an, the Bible, Kabbalah, and astrology with equal sincerity."[35] He also explored Hinduism, Jiddu Krishnamurti, African history, the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle,[36] and Zen Buddhism.[37]

In October 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hinduism which symbolizes the infinite or the entire Universe. Coltrane described Om as the "first syllable, the primal word, the word of power".[38] The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita[39] and the Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead,[40] and a recitation of a passage describing the primal verbalization "om" as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things.

Coltrane's spiritual journey was interwoven with his investigation of world music. He believed not only in a universal musical structure which transcended ethnic distinctions, but in being able to harness the mystical language of music itself. Coltrane's study of Indian music led him to believe that certain sounds and scales could "produce specific emotional meanings." According to Coltrane, the goal of a musician was to understand these forces, control them, and elicit a response from the audience. Coltrane said: "I would like to bring to people something like happiness. I would like to discover a method so that if I want it to rain, it will start right away to rain. If one of my friends is ill, I'd like to play a certain song and he will be cured; when he'd be broke, I'd bring out a different song and immediately he'd receive all the money he needed."[
Religious figure[edit]

Coltrane icon at St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church
After Coltrane's death, a congregation called the Yardbird Temple in San Francisco began worshipping him as God incarnate. The group was named after Parker, whom they equated to John the Baptist.[42] The congregation later became affiliated with the African Orthodox Church; this involved changing Coltrane's status from a god to a saint.[42] The resultant St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, San Francisco is the only African Orthodox church that incorporates Coltrane's music and his lyrics as prayers in its liturgy.[43]

Samuel G. Freedman wrote in a New York Times article that "the Coltrane church is not a gimmick or a forced alloy of nightclub music and ethereal faith. Its message of deliverance through divine sound is actually quite consistent with Coltrane's own experience and message."[42] Freedman also commented on Coltrane's place in the canon of American music:

In both implicit and explicit ways, Coltrane also functioned as a religious figure. Addicted to heroin in the 1950s, he quit cold turkey, and later explained that he had heard the voice of God during his anguishing withdrawal. [...] In 1966, an interviewer in Japan asked Coltrane what he hoped to be in five years, and Coltrane replied, "A saint."[42]

Coltrane is depicted as one of the 90 saints in the Dancing Saints icon of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. The icon is a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) painting in the Byzantine iconographic style that wraps around the entire church rotunda. It was executed by Mark Dukes, an ordained deacon at the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, who painted other icons of Coltrane for the Coltrane Church.[44] Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey included Coltrane on their list of historical black saints and made a "case for sainthood" for him in an article on their former website.[45]

Documentaries on Coltrane and the church include Alan Klingenstein's The Church of Saint Coltrane (1996),[46][47] and a 2004 program presented by Alan Yentob for the BBC.
Instruments[edit]
Coltrane played the clarinet and the alto horn in a community band before taking up the alto saxophone during high school. In 1947, when he joined King Kolax's band, Coltrane switched to tenor saxophone, the instrument he became known for playing primarily.[1] Coltrane's preference for playing melody higher on the range of the tenor saxophone (as compared to, for example, Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young) is attributed to his start and training on the alto horn and clarinet; his "sound concept" (manipulated in one's vocal tract—tongue, throat) of the tenor was set higher than the normal range of the instrument.[49]

In the early 1960s, during his engagement with Atlantic Records, he increasingly played soprano saxophone as well.[1] Toward the end of his career, he experimented with flute in his live performances and studio recordings (Live at the Village Vanguard Again!, Expression). Dolphy's mother is reported to have given Coltrane his flute and bass clarinet after Dolphy's death in 1964.[50]

Coltrane's tenor (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 125571, dated 1965) and soprano (Selmer Mark VI, serial number 99626, dated 1962) saxophones were auctioned on February 20, 2005 to raise money for the John Coltrane Foundation. The soprano raised $70,800 but the tenor remained unsold.
Legacy[edit]

John Coltrane House, 1511 North Thirty-third Street, Philadelphia
The influence Coltrane has had on music spans many genres and musicians. Coltrane's massive influence on jazz, both mainstream and avant-garde, began during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death. He is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians.

In 1965, Coltrane was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1972, A Love Supreme was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over half a million copies in Japan. This album, as well as My Favorite Things, was certified gold in the United States in 2001. In 1982 he was awarded a posthumous Grammy for "Best Jazz Solo Performance" on the album Bye Bye Blackbird, and in 1997 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[14] In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Coltrane one of his 100 Greatest African Americans.[52] Coltrane was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007 citing his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."[2] He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.[53]

His widow, Alice Coltrane, after several decades of seclusion, briefly regained a public profile before her death in 2007. A former home, the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. His last home, the John Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills district of Huntington, New York, where he resided from 1964 until his death, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 2007. One of their sons, Ravi Coltrane, named after the sitarist Ravi Shankar, is also a saxophonist.

The Coltrane family reportedly possesses much more unreleased music, mostly mono reference tapes made for the saxophonist, and, as with the 1995 release Stellar Regions, master tapes that were checked out of the studio and never returned.[citation needed] The parent company of Impulse!, from 1965 to 1979 known as ABC Records, purged much of its unreleased material in the 1970s.[54] Lewis Porter has stated that Alice Coltrane intended to release this music, but over a long period of time; Ravi Coltrane is responsible for reviewing the material.

Thelonious Monk

Birth name Thelonious Sphere Monk
Born October 10, 1917
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, USA
Died February 17, 1982 (aged 64)
Englewood, New Jersey, USA
Genres Jazz, cool jazz, bebop, hard bop
Occupations Pianist, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–1973[1]
Labels Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside, Columbia
Associated acts Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Pettiford, John Coltrane
Website http://www.monkzone.com
Thelonious Sphere Monk[2] (October 10, 1917[3] – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered one of the giants of American music.[4] Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Ruby, My Dear," "In Walked Bud," and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than 1,000 pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.[5]

His compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations. This style was not universally appreciated, shown for instance in poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin's dismissal of Monk as "the elephant on the keyboard".[6]

He was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats, and sunglasses. He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit observed at times during performances: while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard, and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano.

Monk is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time, after Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, and Duke Ellington, and before Wynton Marsalis.

Early life[edit]
Thelonious Monk was born October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk, two years after his sister Marion. A brother, Thomas, was born in January 1920.[9] In 1922, the family moved to 243 West 63rd Street, in Manhattan, New York City. Monk started playing the piano at the age of six. Although largely self-taught, he did study music theory, harmony, and arranging at the Juilliard School of Music.[10] Monk attended Stuyvesant High School, but did not graduate.[11] He toured with an evangelist in his teens, playing the church organ, and in his late teens he began to find work playing jazz.

In the early to mid-1940s, Monk was the house pianist at Minton's Playhouse, a Manhattan nightclub. Much of Monk's style was developed during his time at Minton's, when he participated in after-hours "cutting competitions" which featured many leading jazz soloists of the time. The Minton's scene was crucial in the formulation of bebop and it brought Monk into close contact with other leading exponents of the emerging idiom, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker and, later, Miles Davis. Monk is believed to be the pianist featured on recordings Jerry Newman made around 1941 at the club. Monk's style at this time was later described as "hard-swinging," with the addition of runs in the style of Art Tatum. Monk's stated influences included Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and other early stride pianists. In the documentary Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser, it is stated that Monk lived in the same neighborhood in New York City as Johnson and knew him as a teenager.

Mary Lou Williams, who mentored Monk and his compatriots, spoke of Monk's rich inventiveness in this period, and how such invention was vital for musicians since at the time it was common for fellow musicians to incorporate overheard musical ideas into their own works without giving due credit. "So, the boppers worked out a music that was hard to steal. I'll say this for the 'leeches', though: they tried. I've seen them in Minton's busily writing on their shirt cuffs or scribbling on the tablecloth. And even our own guys, I'm afraid, did not give Monk the credit he had coming. Why, they even stole his idea of the beret and bop glasses."
Early recordings (1944–1954)[edit]

From left, Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., c. Sept. 1947
In 1944 Monk made his first studio recordings with the Coleman Hawkins Quartet. Hawkins was one of the earliest established jazz musicians to promote Monk, and Monk later returned the favor by inviting Hawkins to join him on the 1957 session with John Coltrane. Monk made his first recordings as leader for Blue Note in 1947 (later anthologised on Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1) which showcased his talents as a composer of original melodies for improvisation. Monk married Nellie Smith the same year, and in 1949 the couple had a son, T. S. Monk, who is a jazz drummer. A daughter, Barbara (affectionately known as Boo-Boo), was born in 1953. Barbara died in 1984 from cancer.

In August 1951, New York City police searched a parked car occupied by Monk and friend Bud Powell. The police found narcotics in the car, presumed to have belonged to Powell. Monk refused to testify against his friend, so the police confiscated his New York City Cabaret Card. Without the all-important cabaret card he was unable to play in any New York venue where liquor was served, and this severely restricted his ability to perform for several crucial years. Monk spent most of the early and mid-1950s composing, recording, and performing at theaters and out-of-town gigs.

After his cycle of intermittent recording sessions for Blue Note during 1947–1952, he was under contract to Prestige Records for the following two years. With Prestige he cut several highly significant, but at the time under-recognized, albums, including collaborations with saxophonist Sonny Rollins and drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach. In 1954, Monk participated in a Christmas Eve session which produced most of the albums Bags' Groove and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants by Miles Davis. Davis found Monk's idiosyncratic accompaniment style difficult to improvise over and asked him to lay out (not accompany), which almost brought them to blows. However, in Miles Davis' autobiography Miles, Davis claims that the anger and tension between Monk and himself never took place and that the claims of blows being exchanged were "rumors" and a "misunderstanding".[13]

In 1954, Monk paid his first visit to Europe, performing and recording in Paris. Backstage Mary Lou Williams introduced him to Baroness Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter, a member of the Rothschild family and a patroness of several New York City jazz musicians. She would be a close friend for the rest of Monk's life, including taking responsibility for him when she and Monk were charged with marijuana possession.

Riverside Records (1955–1961)[edit]
By the time of his signing to Riverside, Monk was highly regarded by his peers and by some critics, but his records remained poor sellers, and his music was still regarded as too "difficult" for more mainstream acceptance. Indeed, with Monk's consent, Riverside had managed to buy out his previous Prestige contract for a mere $108.24. He willingly recorded two albums of jazz standards as a means of increasing his profile: Thelonious Monk Plays the Music of Duke Ellington (1955) and The Unique Thelonious Monk (1956).

On the LP Brilliant Corners, recorded in late 1956, Monk mainly performed his own music. The complex title track, which featured tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, was so difficult to play that the final version had to be edited together from multiple takes. The album, however, was largely regarded as the first success for Monk; according to Orrin Keepnews, "It was the first that made a real splash."[citation needed]


After having his cabaret card restored, Monk relaunched his New York career with a landmark six-month residency at the Five Spot Cafe in New York beginning in June 1957, leading a quartet with John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums. Unfortunately little of this group's music was documented due to contractual problems. Coltrane was signed to Prestige at the time, but Monk refused to return to his former label. One studio session by the quartet was made for Riverside, three tunes which were not released until 1961 by the subsidiary label Jazzland along with outtakes from a larger group recording with Coltrane and saxophone pioneer Coleman Hawkins, those results appearing in 1957 as the album Monk's Music. An amateur tape from the Five Spot (not the original residency, but a later September 1958 reunion with Coltrane sitting in for Johnny Griffin) was issued on Blue Note in 1993; and a recording of the quartet performing at a Carnegie Hall concert on November 29, previously "rumoured to exist,"[14] was recorded in high fidelity by Voice of America engineers, rediscovered in the collection of the Library of Congress in 2005, and released by Blue Note

"Crepuscule With Nellie", recorded in 1957, "was Monk's only, what's called through-composed composition, meaning that there is no improvising. It is Monk's concerto, if you will, and in some ways it speaks for itself. But he wrote it very, very carefully and very deliberately and really struggled to make it sound the way it sounds. [... I]t was his love song for Nellie," said biographer Robin Kelley in an interview.[15]

The Five Spot residency ended Christmas 1957, Coltrane left to rejoin Miles Davis's group, and the band was effectively disbanded. Monk did not form another long-term band until June 1958, when he began a second residency at the Five Spot, again with a quartet, this time with Griffin (and later Charlie Rouse) on tenor, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums.

On October 15, 1958, en route to a week-long engagement for the quartet at the Comedy Club in Baltimore, Maryland, Monk and de Koenigswarter were detained by police in Wilmington, Delaware. When Monk refused to answer the policemen's questions or cooperate with them, they beat him with a blackjack. Though the police were authorized to search the vehicle and found narcotics in suitcases held in the trunk of the Baroness's car, Judge Christie of the Delaware Superior Court ruled that the unlawful detention of the pair, and the beating of Monk, rendered the consent to the search void as given under duress.[16]

Columbia Records (1962–1970)[edit]
After extended negotiations, Monk signed in 1962 to Columbia Records, one of the big four American record labels of the day along with RCA Victor, Capitol, and Decca. Monk's relationship with Riverside had soured over disagreements concerning royalty payments and had concluded with a brace of European live albums; he had not recorded a studio album since 5 by Monk by 5 in June 1959.

Working with producer Teo Macero on his debut for the label,[17] the sessions in the first week of November had a stable line-up that had been with him for two years: tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse (who worked with Monk from 1959 to 1970), bassist John Ore, and drummer Frankie Dunlop. Monk's Dream, his earliest Columbia album, was released in 1963.

Columbia's resources allowed Monk to be promoted more heavily than earlier in his career. Monk's Dream would become the best-selling LP of his lifetime,[18] and on February 28, 1964, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, being featured in the article "The Loneliest Monk".[19] He continued to record studio albums, particularly Criss Cross, also from 1963, and Underground, from 1968. But by the Columbia years his compositional output was limited, and only his final Columbia studio record Underground featured a substantial number of new tunes, including his only waltz time piece, "Ugly Beauty".

As had been the case with Riverside, his period with Columbia Records contains many live albums, including Miles and Monk at Newport (1963), Live at the It Club and Live at the Jazz Workshop, both recorded in 1964, the latter not being released until 1982. After the departure of Ore and Dunlop, the remainder of the rhythm section in Monk's quartet during the bulk of his Columbia period was Larry Gales on bass and Ben Riley on drums, both of whom joined in 1964, Along with Rouse, they remained with Monk for over four years, his longest-serving band.

According to biographer Kelley, the 1964 Time appearance came because "Barry Farrell, who wrote the cover story, wanted to write about a jazz musician and almost by default Monk was chosen, because they thought Ray Charles and Miles Davis were too controversial. ... [Monk] wasn't so political. [...O]f course, I challenge that [in the biography]," said Kelley.
Later life[edit]
Monk had disappeared from the scene by the mid-1970s, and made only a small number of appearances during the final decade of his life. His last studio recordings as a leader were made in November 1971 for the English Black Lion label, near the end of a worldwide tour with the Giants of Jazz, a group which included Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey. Bassist Al McKibbon, who had known Monk for over twenty years and played on his final tour in 1971, later said: "On that tour Monk said about two words. I mean literally maybe two words. He didn't say 'Good morning', 'Goodnight', 'What time?' Nothing. Why, I don't know. He sent word back after the tour was over that the reason he couldn't communicate or play was that Art Blakey and I were so ugly."[20] A different side of Monk is revealed in Lewis Porter's biography, John Coltrane: His Life and Music; Coltrane states: "Monk is exactly the opposite of Miles [Davis]: he talks about music all the time, and he wants so much for you to understand that if, by chance, you ask him something, he'll spend hours if necessary to explain it to you."[21] Art Blakey reports that Monk was excellent at both chess and checkers.[22]

The documentary film Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) attributes Monk's quirky behaviour to mental illness. In the film, Monk's son, T. S. Monk, says that his father sometimes did not recognize him, and he reports that Monk was hospitalized on several occasions due to an unspecified mental illness that worsened in the late 1960s. No reports or diagnoses were ever publicized, but Monk would often become excited for two or three days, pace for days after that, after which he would withdraw and stop speaking. Physicians recommended electroconvulsive therapy as a treatment option for Monk's illness, but his family would not allow it; antipsychotics and lithium were prescribed instead.[23][24] Other theories abound: Leslie Gourse, author of the book Straight, No Chaser: The Life and Genius of Thelonious Monk (1997), reported that at least one of Monk's psychiatrists failed to find evidence of manic depression (bipolar disorder) or schizophrenia. Another physician maintains that Monk was misdiagnosed and prescribed drugs during his hospital stay that may have caused brain damage.[23]

As his health declined, Monk's last six years were spent as a guest in the Weehawken, New Jersey, home of his long-standing patron and friend, Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, who had also nursed Charlie Parker during his final illness. Monk did not play the piano during this time, even though one was present in his room, and he spoke to few visitors. He died of a stroke on February 17, 1982, and was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. In 1993, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[25] In 2006 he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize citing "a body of distinguished and innovative musical composition that has had a significant and enduring impact on the evolution of jazz."[26]

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was established in 1986 by the Monk family and Maria Fisher. Its mission is to offer public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the globe, helping students develop imaginative thinking, creativity, curiosity, a positive self-image, and a respect for their own and others' cultural heritage. In addition to hosting an annual International Jazz Competition since 1987, the Institute also recently helped, through its partnership with UNESCO, designate April 30, 2012, as the first annual International Jazz Day.

Monk was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Early life and career[edit]

Dizzy Gillespie, Tadd Dameron, Hank Jones, Mary Lou Williams and Milt Orent in 1947
Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, the youngest of nine children of James and Lottie Gillespie. James was a local bandleader, so instruments were made available to the children. Gillespie started to play the piano at the age of four. Gillespie's father died when the boy was only ten years old. Gillespie taught himself how to play the trombone as well as the trumpet by the age of twelve. From the night he heard his idol, Roy Eldridge, play on the radio, he dreamed of becoming a jazz musician.[7] He received a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute in Laurinburg, North Carolina, which he attended for two years before accompanying his family when they moved to Philadelphia.[8]

Gillespie's first professional job was with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra in 1935, after which he joined the respective orchestras of Edgar Hayes and Teddy Hill, essentially replacing Roy Eldridge as first trumpet in 1937. Teddy Hill's band was where Gillespie made his first recording, "King Porter Stomp". In August 1937 while gigging with Hayes in Washington D.C., Gillespie met a young dancer named Lorraine Willis who worked a Baltimore–Philadelphia–New York circuit which included the Apollo Theatre. Willis was not immediately friendly but Gillespie was attracted anyway. The two finally married on May 9, 1940. They remained married until his death in 1993.[9]

Gillespie stayed with Teddy Hill's band for a year, then left and free-lanced with numerous other bands.[5] In 1939, Gillespie joined Cab Calloway's orchestra, with which he recorded one of his earliest compositions, the instrumental "Pickin' the Cabbage", in 1940. (Originally released on Paradiddle, a 78rpm backed with a co-composition with Cozy Cole, Calloway's drummer at the time, on the Vocalion label, No. 5467).


Tadd Dameron, Mary Lou Williams and Dizzy Gillespie in 1947
After a notorious altercation between the two men, Calloway fired Gillespie in late 1941. The incident is recounted by Gillespie, along with fellow Calloway band members Milt Hinton and Jonah Jones, in Jean Bach's 1997 film, The Spitball Story. Calloway did not approve of Gillespie's mischievous humor, nor of his adventuresome approach to soloing; according to Jones, Calloway referred to it as "Chinese music". During one performance, Calloway saw a spitball land on the stage, and accused Gillespie of having thrown it. Gillespie denied it, and the ensuing argument led to Calloway striking Gillespie, who then pulled out a switchblade knife and charged Calloway. The two were separated by other band members, during which scuffle Calloway was cut on the hand.

During his time in Calloway's band, Gillespie started writing big band music for bandleaders like Woody Herman and Jimmy Dorsey.[5] He then freelanced with a few bands – most notably Ella Fitzgerald's orchestra, composed of members of the late Chick Webb's band, in 1942.
The rise of bebop[edit]

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson and Timme Rosenkrantz in September 1947, New York
Bebop was known as the first modern jazz style. However, it was unpopular in the beginning and was not viewed as positively as swing music was. Bebop was seen as an outgrowth of swing, not a revolution. Swing introduced a diversity of new musicians in the bebop era like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford, and Gillespie. Through these musicians, a new vocabulary of musical phrases was created.[12] With Charlie Parker, Gillespie jammed at famous jazz clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House. Charlie Parker's system also held methods of adding chords to existing chord progressions and implying additional chords within the improvised lines.[12]

Gillespie compositions like "Groovin' High", "Woody 'n' You" and "Salt Peanuts" sounded radically different, harmonically and rhythmically, from the swing music popular at the time. "A Night in Tunisia", written in 1942, while Gillespie was playing with Earl Hines' band, is noted for having a feature that is common in today's music, a non-walking bass line.[citation needed] The song also displays Afro-Cuban rhythms.[13] One of their first small-group performances together was only issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945. Gillespie taught many of the young musicians on 52nd Street, including Miles Davis and Max Roach, about the new style of jazz. After a lengthy gig at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles, which left most of the audience ambivalent or hostile towards the new music, the band broke up. Unlike Parker, who was content to play in small groups and be an occasional featured soloist in big bands, Gillespie aimed to lead a big band himself; his first, unsuccessful, attempt to do this was in 1945.[citation needed]


Gillespie with John Lewis, Cecil Payne, Miles Davis, and Ray Brown, between 1946 and 1948
After his work with Parker, Gillespie led other small combos (including ones with Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Lalo Schifrin, Ray Brown, Kenny Clarke, James Moody, J.J. Johnson, and Yusef Lateef) and finally put together his first successful big band. Gillespie and his band tried to popularize bop and make Gillespie a symbol of the new music.[14] He also appeared frequently as a soloist with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. He also headlined the 1946 independently-produced musical revue film Jivin' in Be-Bop.[15]

In 1948 Gillespie was involved in a traffic accident when the bicycle he was riding was bumped by an automobile. He was slightly injured, and found that he could no longer hit the B-flat above high C. He won the case, but the jury awarded him only $1000, in view of his high earnings up to that point.[16]

In 1956 he organized a band to go on a State Department tour of the Middle East which was extremely well received internationally and earned him the nickname "the Ambassador of Jazz".[17][18] During this time, he also continued to lead a big band that performed throughout the United States and featured musicians including Pee Wee Moore and others. This band recorded a live album at the 1957 Newport jazz festival that featured Mary Lou Williams as a guest artist on piano.
Afro-Cuban music[edit]

In the late 1940s, Gillespie was also involved in the movement called Afro-Cuban music, bringing Afro-Latin American music and elements to greater prominence in jazz and even pop music, particularly salsa. Afro-Cuban jazz is based on traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms. Gillespie was introduced to Chano Pozo in 1947 by Mario Bauza, a Latin jazz trumpet player. Chano Pozo became Gillespie's conga drummer for his band. Gillespie also worked with Mario Bauza in New York jazz clubs on 52nd Street and several famous dance clubs such as Palladium and the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They played together in the Chick Webb band and Cab Calloway's band, where Gillespie and Bauza became lifelong friends. Gillespie helped develop and mature the Afro-Cuban jazz style.[19]

Afro-Cuban jazz was considered bebop-oriented, and some musicians classified it as a modern style. Afro-Cuban jazz was successful because it never decreased in popularity and it always attracted people to dance to its unique rhythms.[19] Gillespie's most famous contributions to Afro-Cuban music are the compositions "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo" (both co-written with Chano Pozo); he was responsible for commissioning George Russell's "Cubano Be, Cubano Bop", which featured the great but ill-fated Cuban conga player, Chano Pozo. In 1977, Gillespie discovered Arturo Sandoval while researching music during a tour of Cuba.
Later years[edit]

Gillespie performing in 1955
His biographer Alyn Shipton quotes Don Waterhouse approvingly that Gillespie in the fifties "had begun to mellow into an amalgam of his entire jazz experience to form the basis of new classicism". Another opinion is that, unlike his contemporary Miles Davis, Gillespie essentially remained true to the bebop style for the rest of his career.[citation needed]

In 1960, he was inducted into the Down Beat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.

During the 1964 United States presidential campaign the artist, with tongue in cheek, put himself forward as an independent write-in candidate.[20][21] He promised that if he were elected, the White House would be renamed "The Blues House," and a cabinet composed of Duke Ellington (Secretary of State), Miles Davis (Director of the CIA), Max Roach (Secretary of Defense), Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace), Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress), Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture), Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican), Thelonious Monk (Travelling Ambassador) and Malcolm X (Attorney General).[22][23] He said his running mate would be Phyllis Diller. Campaign buttons had been manufactured years ago by Gillespie's booking agency "for publicity, as a gag",[24] but now proceeds from them went to benefit the Congress of Racial Equality, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr.;[25] in later years they became a collector's item.[26] In 1971 Gillespie announced he would run again[27][28] but withdrew before the election for reasons connected to the Bahá'í Faith.[29]

Gillespie published his autobiography, To Be or Not to Bop, in 1979.

Gillespie was a vocal fixture in many of John Hubley and Faith Hubley's animated films, such as The Hole, The Hat, and Voyage to Next.

In the 1980s, Gillespie led the United Nation Orchestra. For three years Flora Purim toured with the Orchestra and she credits Gillespie with evolving her understanding of jazz after being in the field for over two decades.[30] David Sánchez also toured with the group and was also greatly influenced by Gillespie. Both artists later were nominated for Grammy awards. Gillespie also had a guest appearance on The Cosby Show as well as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.


In 1982, Gillespie had a cameo appearance on Stevie Wonder's hit "Do I Do". Gillespie's tone gradually faded in the last years in life, and his performances often focused more on his proteges such as Arturo Sandoval and Jon Faddis; his good-humoured comedic routines became more and more a part of his live act.


Dizzy Gillespie with drummer Bill Stewart at 1984 Stanford Jazz Workshop
In 1988, Gillespie had worked with Canadian flautist and saxophonist Moe Koffman on their prestigious album Oo Pop a Da. He did fast scat vocals on the title track and a couple of the other tracks were played only on trumpet.

In 1989 Gillespie gave 300 performances in 27 countries, appeared in 100 U.S. cities in 31 states and the District of Columbia, headlined three television specials, performed with two symphonies, and recorded four albums.[citation needed] He was also crowned a traditional chief in Nigeria, received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; France's most prestigious cultural award. He was named Regent Professor by the University of California, and received his fourteenth honorary doctoral degree, this one from the Berklee College of Music. In addition, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the same year. The next year, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ceremonies celebrating the centennial of American jazz, Gillespie received the Kennedy Center Honors Award and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Duke Ellington Award for 50 years of achievement as a composer, performer, and bandleader.[31][32] In 1993 he received the Polar Music Prize in Sweden.[33]


Dizzy Gillespie with the Italian singer Sergio Caputo
November 26, 1992 at Carnegie Hall in New York, following the Second Bahá'í World Congress was Gillespie's 75th birthday concert and his offering to the celebration of the centenary of the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. Gillespie was to appear at Carnegie Hall for the 33rd time. The line-up included: Jon Faddis, Marvin "Doc" Holladay, James Moody, Paquito D'Rivera, and the Mike Longo Trio with Ben Brown on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. But Gillespie didn't make it because he was in bed suffering from cancer of the pancreas. "But the musicians played their real hearts out for him, no doubt suspecting that he would not play again. Each musician gave tribute to their friend, this great soul and innovator in the world of jazz."[34]

Gillespie also starred in a film called The Winter in Lisbon released in 2004.[35] He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7057 Hollywood Boulevard in the Hollywood section of the City of Los Angeles. He is honored by the December 31, 2006 – A Jazz New Year's Eve: Freddy Cole & the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Death and legacy[edit]

Gillespie in concert at Colonial Tavern, Toronto, 1978
A longtime resident of Englewood, New Jersey,[37] he died of pancreatic cancer January 6, 1993, aged 75, and was buried in the Flushing Cemetery, Queens, New York. Mike Longo delivered a eulogy at his funeral. He was also with Gillespie on the night he died, along with Jon Faddis and a select few others.

At the time of his death, Gillespie was survived by his widow, Lorraine Willis Gillespie (d. 2004); a daughter, jazz singer Jeanie Bryson; and a grandson, Radji Birks Bryson-Barrett. Gillespie had two funerals. One was a Bahá'í funeral at his request, at which his closest friends and colleagues attended. The second was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York open to the public.[38]

Dizzy Gillespie, a Bahá'í since about 1970,[39] was one of the most famous adherents of the Bahá'í Faith which helped him make sense of his position in a succession of trumpeters as well as turning his life from knife-carrying roughneck to global citizen, and from alcohol to "soul force",[40] in the words of author Nat Hentoff, who knew Gillespie for forty years. Gillespie's conversion was most affected by Bill Sear's book Thief in the Night.[39] Gillespie spoke about the Bahá'í Faith frequently on his trips abroad.[41][42][43] He is honored with weekly jazz sessions at the New York Bahá'í Center in the memorial auditorium.[44]

As a tribute to him, DJ Qualls' character in the 2002 American teen comedy film The New Guy was named Dizzy Gillespie Harrison.

The Marvel Comics current Hawkeye comic written by Matt Fraction features Gillespie's music in a section of the editorials called the "Hawkguy Playlist".

Also, Dwight Morrow High School, the public high school of Englewood, New Jersey, renamed their auditorium the Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium, in memory of him.

In 2014, Gillespie was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Bud Powell

Birth name Earl Rudolph Powell
Born September 27, 1924
Harlem, New York, United States
Died July 31, 1966 (aged 41)
New York, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop
Occupations Musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1944–1965
Labels Blue Note
Mercury
Norgran
Clef
Verve
Associated acts Art Blakey
Miles Davis
Dexter Gordon
Charles Mingus
Sonny Rollins
Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell (September 27, 1924 – July 31, 1966) was a jazz pianist who was born and raised in Harlem, New York City. While Thelonious Monk became his close friend, his greatest influence was Art Tatum. Along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Powell was a leading figure in the development of bebop, and his virtuosity as a pianist led many to call him the Charlie Parker of the piano.
Early life[edit]
Powell's father was a stride pianist.[1] Powell took to his father's instrument and started to learn classical piano at age five from a teacher his father hired. By age ten, he had also showed interest in the jazz that could be heard all over the neighborhood. He first appeared in public at a rent party,[2] where he mimicked Fats Waller's playing style. The first jazz composition that he mastered was James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout".[3]

Bud's older brother, William, played the trumpet, and by age fifteen, Bud was playing in his band. By this time, he had become familiar with Art Tatum, whose overwhelmingly virtuosic technique Powell then set out to equal.[3] Bud's younger brother, Richie, and his teenage friend Elmo Hope, were also accomplished pianists who had significant careers.
New York[edit]
Bud, though underage, was soon exposed to the exciting, musically adventurous atmosphere at Uptown House, an after-hours venue that was near where he lived. It was here that the first stirrings of modernism could be heard on a nightly basis, and where Charlie Parker first appeared when he was unattached to a band and stayed briefly in New York.[4] Thelonious Monk had some involvement there, but by the time that he and Powell met (around 1942)[5] the elder pianist/composer was able to introduce Powell to the circle of bebop musicians which was starting to form at Minton's Playhouse. Monk was resident there and, consequently, presented Powell as his protégé. The mutual affection grew to where Monk was Powell's greatest mentor and dedicated his composition "In Walked Bud" to him.[citation needed]

In the early 1940s, Powell played in a few dance orchestras, including that of Cootie Williams, whom Powell's mother decided her son should play for and tour with (rather than accept an offer from Oscar Pettiford and Dizzy Gillespie, whose modernist quintet was about to open at a midtown nightclub). Powell was the pianist on a handful of Williams's recording dates in 1944, the last of which included the first-ever recording of Monk's "'Round Midnight". His tenure with Williams was terminated one night in January 1945, when he got separated from the band after a Philadelphia dance engagement and was apprehended, drunk, by railroad police inside a station. He was beaten by them, and then briefly detained by the city police. Shortly after his release and return to Harlem, he was hospitalized—first in Bellevue, an observation ward, and then in a psychiatric hospital, sixty miles away. He stayed there for two and a half months.[citation needed]

Powell resumed playing in Manhattan immediately, in demand by various small-group leaders for nightclub engagements in the increasingly integrated midtown scene. His 1945-46 recordings, many as the result of his sudden visibility on the club scene, were for Frank Socolow, Dexter Gordon, J. J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, and Kenny Clarke. Powell soon became renowned for his ability to play at fast tempos. His percussive punctuation of certain phrases, as well as his predilection for speed, showed the influence of Parker and other modern horn soloists.[citation needed] Bebop in Pastel (Bouncing with Bud) was first recorded on August 23 1946 and became a jazz standard.

Powell's career advanced when Parker chose him to be his pianist on a quintet record date, with Miles Davis, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach in May 1947. Powell demonstrated his mature style on the third complete take of "Donna Lee", where he got a brief solo spot, and with his jocular chord fills while the horn players paused to breathe during "Buzzy", the last tune recorded. When the quintet came together for the final ensemble section, Powell's piano made its final, sarcastic comment on the proceedings.
Hospitalization (1947–1948)[edit]
The Parker session aside, Powell was inactive for most of 1947. In November, he had an altercation with another customer at a Harlem bar. In the ensuing fight, Powell was hit over his eye with a bottle. When Harlem Hospital found him incoherent and rambunctious, it sent him to Bellevue, which had the record of his previous confinement there and in a psychiatric hospital. It chose to institutionalize him again, though this time at Creedmoor State Hospital, a facility much closer to Manhattan. He was kept there for eleven months.

Powell eventually adjusted to the conditions in the institution, though in psychiatric interviews he expressed feelings of persecution founded in racism. From February to April 1948, he received electroconvulsive therapy, first administered after an outburst deemed to be uncontrollable. It might have been in reaction to learning, after a visit by his girlfriend, that she was pregnant with their child.[6] While the electroconvulsive therapy was said to have made no difference, the MDs gave Powell a second series of treatments in May. He was eventually released, in October 1948—though from these early and subsequent hospitalizations, he was emotionally unstable for the rest of his career.

Bebop's and Powell's increased visibility by the end of 1948, the latter's celebrity seemingly having accelerated in anticipation of his release, made plain as well that he had a serious problem with alcohol. Even one drink had a profound effect on his character, making him aggressive or morose. Nonetheless, after another (though brief) hospitalization in early 1949, Powell soon attained the greatest artistic height that he ever would reach.
Solo and trio recordings (1949–1958)[edit]
It is generally agreed that from 1949 through 1953 Powell made his best recordings, most of which were for Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records and for Norman Granz of Mercury, Norgran and Clef. The first Blue Note session, in August 1949, features Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Powell, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes, and the compositions "Bouncing with Bud" and "Dance of the Infidels". The second Blue Note session in 1951 was a trio with Russell and Roach, and includes "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Un Poco Loco"; the latter was selected by literary critic Harold Bloom for inclusion on his short list of the greatest works of twentieth-century American art. Sessions for Granz (more than a dozen) were all solo or trios, with a variety of bassists and drummers, including Ray Brown, George Duvivier, Percy Heath, Russell, Lloyd Trotman, Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke, Osie Johnson, Buddy Rich, Roach, and Art Taylor.

Powell's continued rivalry with Parker, while essential to the production of brilliant music, was also the subject of disruptive feuding and bitterness on the bandstand, as a result of Powell's troubled mental and physical condition.[citation needed]

Powell recorded for both Blue Note and Granz throughout the fifties, interrupted by another long stay in a mental hospital from late 1951 to early 1953, following arrest for possession of marijuana. He was released into the guardianship of Oscar Goodstein, the owner of the Birdland nightclub. A 1953 trio session for Blue Note (with Duvivier and Taylor) included Powell's composition "Glass Enclosure", inspired by his near-imprisonment in Goodstein's apartment.

His playing after his release from hospital began to be seriously affected by Largactil, taken for the treatment of schizophrenia. And by the late fifties, his talent was in eclipse.[7] In 1956, his brother Richie was killed in a car crash alongside Clifford Brown. Three albums for Blue Note in the late fifties showcased Powell's ability as a composer, but his playing was far removed from the standard set by his earlier recordings for the label.
Paris (1959–1963)[edit]
After several further spells in hospital, Powell moved to Paris in 1959, in the company of Altevia "Buttercup" Edwards, whom he had met after an incarceration in 1954.[8] In Paris, Powell worked in a trio with Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke. Buttercup, though, did not have Powell's best interests in mind. She kept control of his finances and overdosed him with Largactil, but Powell continued to perform and record. The 1960 live recording of the Essen jazz festival performance (with Clarke, Oscar Pettiford and, on some numbers, Coleman Hawkins) is particularly notable.[citation needed]

In December 1961, he recorded two albums for Columbia Records under the aegis of Cannonball Adderley: A Portrait of Thelonious (with Michelot and Clarke), and A Tribute to Cannonball (with the addition of Don Byas and Idrees Sulieman—despite the title, Adderley only plays on one alternative take). The first album (with overdubbed audience noise) was released shortly after Powell's death, and the second was released in the late 1970s. Eventually, Powell was befriended by Francis Paudras, a commercial artist and amateur pianist, and Powell moved into Paudras's home in 1962. There was a brief return to Blue Note in 1963, when Dexter Gordon recorded Our Man in Paris for the label. Powell was a last-minute substitute for Kenny Drew, and the album of standards—Powell could not by then learn new material—showed him to be still capable of playing with some proficiency.[citation needed]

Last years (1964–1966)[edit]
In 1963, Powell contracted tuberculosis, and the following year returned to New York with Paudras for a return engagement at Birdland accompanied by drummer Horace Arnold and bassist John Ore. Arnold calls it, "The Ultimate Performance experience of my life".[citation needed] The original agreement had been for the two men to go back to Paris, but Paudras returned alone (although Powell did record in Paris, with Pettiford and Clarke, in July 1964). In 1965, Powell played only two concerts: one a disastrous performance at Carnegie Hall, the other a tribute to Charlie Parker on May 1 with other performers on the bill, including Albert Ayler. Little else was seen of him in public.[citation needed]

Powell was hospitalized in New York after months of increasingly erratic behavior and self-neglect. On July 31, 1966, he died of tuberculosis, malnutrition, and alcoholism. Several thousand people viewed his Harlem funeral procession.
Musical style[edit]
Jazz pianist Bill Cunliffe, whose music was influenced by Bud Powell, said in an interview with All About Jazz:

Bud Powell is the most important pianist in jazz and one of the most underrated because he spent over a third of his life in mental and medical hospitals. He was beaten by the police when he was twenty and he never fully recovered from that beating and as a result, he suffered pain and had to take drugs to alleviate the pain. So he never fully recovered from that and in spite of that, he created a whole lot of wonderful music. He was really the first guy, before Bud Powell, pianists were playing boom, chuck in the left hand and a lot of melodic figures in the right hand that tended to be arpeggios. But with Bud Powell, Bud Powell was imitating Charlie Parker. So Bud was the first pianist to take Charlie Parker's language and adapt it successfully to the piano. That's why he is the most important pianist in music today because everybody plays like that now.[10]

His playing of melodic lines owed most to Billy Kyle, and his accompaniments to horn solos owed most to the style of Earl Hines. At other times, Powell's accompanying recalled stride and, on occasion, the graceful approach of pianist Teddy Wilson. His comping often consisted of single bass notes outlining the root and fifth. He also used a tenth, with the minor seventh included.[citation needed]

Powell was greatly influenced by Art Tatum early in his career and more so by Thelonius Monk later on. Powell often listened to Tatum's records and built upon Tatum's style, but with less stride in the left and without the "arabesques" and "flourishes" favored by Tatum. It has been said that Powell is the linchpin between Tatum and the bebop pianists. {need citation}

Where his solos could be heard to emulate the horn players' attack—with the use of frequent arpeggios punctuated by chromaticism—this was, in part, because of his determination to see that the pianist get the adulation usually reserved for the saxophonist or trumpeter.[11] Powell's progressive exploration, on nightclub bandstands, of the harmonic series[clarification needed] often produced brilliant, thrillingly unexpected solos. But his generally rough-edged execution was the price that his music paid for his virtuosic striving. Many later pianists, nonetheless, copied his daring attack, looking to attain that rarefied status, of the fearless improviser. They also emulated his lush melodicism on ballads.[citation needed]

Powell freed the right hand for continuous linear exploration at the expense of developing the left. Legend has it that one night Art Tatum criticized him as he came off the bandstand after playing a set. Powell responded in his next set by soloing on a piece exclusively with his left hand.[12]

His favoring the treble was not to avoid integrating the hands, which is essential to both a solo and accompanying technique. These[disambiguation needed] formed the basic small ensembles that have dominated jazz since the bebop era (after swing). Before Powell, Art Tatum and Earl Hines had also somewhat explored independent homophony closely resembling later piano playing.[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]
The pianist Bill Evans paid Powell a tribute in 1979:

If I had to choose one single musician for his artistic integrity, for the incomparable originality of his creation and the grandeur of his work, it would be Bud Powell. He was in a class by himself.[13]

In 1986 Paudras wrote a book about his friendship with Powell, translated into English in 1997 as Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell. The book was the basis for Round Midnight, a film inspired by the lives of Powell and Lester Young, in which Dexter Gordon played the lead role of an expatriate jazzman in Paris. In February 2012 a biography titled Wail: The Life of Bud Powell by Peter Pullman was released as an ebook.
Charles Mingus

Birth name Charles Mingus Jr.
Born April 22, 1922
US Army Base in Nogales, Arizona, United States
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Died January 5, 1979 (aged 56)
Cuernavaca, Mexico
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop, avant-garde jazz, post-bop, Third Stream, orchestral jazz, free jazz
Occupations Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Double bass, piano, cello, trombone
Years active 1943–1979
Labels Atlantic, Candid, Columbia, Debut, Impulse!, Mercury, United Artists
Associated acts Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Knepper, Charlie Parker, Don Pullen, Dannie Richmond, Max Roach, Jack Walrath
Website www.mingusmingusmingus.com
Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. He once cited Duke Ellington and church as his main influences.


Mingus focused on collective improvisation, similar to the old New Orleans jazz parades, paying particular attention to how each band member interacted with the group as a whole. In creating his bands, he looked not only at the skills of the available musicians, but also their personalities. Many musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers. He recruited talented and sometimes little-known artists, whom he utilized to assemble unconventional instrumental configurations. As a performer, Mingus was a pioneer in double bass technique, widely recognized as one of the instrument's most proficient players.

Nearly as well known as his ambitious music was Mingus's often fearsome temperament, which earned him the nickname "The Angry Man of Jazz". His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many onstage eruptions, exhortations to musicians, and dismissals.[1] Because of his brilliant writing for midsize ensembles, and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups, Mingus is often considered the heir of Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed great admiration. Indeed, Dizzy Gillespie had once claimed Mingus reminded him "of a young Duke", citing their shared "organizational genius".[2]

Mingus' compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition.[3]

Gunther Schuller has suggested that Mingus should be ranked among the most important American composers, jazz or otherwise.[4] In 1988, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts[5] made possible the cataloging of Mingus compositions, which were then donated to the Music Division of the New York Public Library[6] for public use. In 1993, The Library of Congress acquired Mingus's collected papers—including scores, sound recordings, correspondence and photos—in what they described as "the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the Library's history".
Biography[edit]
Early life and career[edit]
Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona. He was raised largely in the Watts area of Los Angeles. His mother's heritage was Chinese and English, while historical records indicate that his father was the illegitimate offspring of a black farmhand and his Swedish employer's white granddaughter.[8] In Mingus's autobiography Beneath the Underdog he recounts a story told to him by his father, Charles Mingus Sr., according to which his white grandmother was actually a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln. Charles Mingus Sr. claims to have been raised by his mother and her husband as a white person until he was fourteen, when his mother revealed to her family that the child's true father was a black slave, after which he had to run away from his family and live on his own. The autobiography doesn't confirm whether Charles Mingus Sr. or Mingus himself believed this story was true, or whether it was merely an embellished version of the Mingus family's lineage.[9] Mingus was a nephew of Fess Williams.

His mother allowed only church-related music in their home, but Mingus developed an early love for other music, especially Duke Ellington. He studied trombone, and later cello, although he was unable to follow the cello professionally because, at the time, it was nearly impossible for a black musician to make a career of classical music, and the cello was not yet accepted as a jazz instrument. Despite this, Mingus was still attached to the cello; as he studied bass with Red Callender in the late 1930s, Callender even commented that the cello was still Mingus's main instrument. In Beneath the Underdog, Mingus states that he did not actually start learning bass until Buddy Collette accepted him into his swing band under the stipulation that he be the band's bass player.[9]

Due to a poor education, the young Mingus could not read musical notation quickly enough to join the local youth orchestra. This had a serious impact on his early musical experiences, leaving him feeling ostracized from the classical music world. These early experiences, in addition to his lifelong confrontations with racism, were reflected in his music, which often focused on themes of racism, discrimination and justice.[10] Much of the cello technique he learned was applicable to double bass when he took up the instrument in high school. He studied for five years with Herman Reinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with Lloyd Reese.[11] Throughout much of his career, he played a bass made in 1927 by the German maker Ernst Heinrich Roth.

Beginning in his teen years, Mingus was writing quite advanced pieces; many are similar to Third Stream because they incorporate elements of classical music. A number of them were recorded in 1960 with conductor Gunther Schuller, and released as Pre-Bird, referring to Charlie "Bird" Parker; Mingus was one of many musicians whose perspectives on music were altered by Parker into "pre- and post-Bird" eras.

Mingus gained a reputation as a bass prodigy. His first major professional job was playing with former Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943, and by early 1945 was recording in Los Angeles in a band led by Russell Jacquet, which also included Teddy Edwards, Maurice Simon, Bill Davis, and Chico Hamilton, and in May that year, in Hollywood, again with Teddy Edwards, in a band led by Howard McGhee.[12] He then played with Lionel Hampton's band in the late 1940s; Hampton performed and recorded several of Mingus's pieces. A popular trio of Mingus, Red Norvo and Tal Farlow in 1950 and 1951 received considerable acclaim, but Mingus's race caused problems with club owners and he left the group. Mingus was briefly a member of Ellington's band in 1953, as a substitute for bassist Wendell Marshall. Mingus's notorious temper led to him being one of the few musicians personally fired by Ellington (Bubber Miley and drummer Bobby Durham are among the others), after an on-stage fight between Mingus and Juan Tizol.[13]

Also in the early 1950s, before attaining commercial recognition as a bandleader, Mingus played gigs with Charlie Parker, whose compositions and improvisations greatly inspired and influenced him. Mingus considered Parker the greatest genius and innovator in jazz history, but he had a love-hate relationship with Parker's legacy. Mingus blamed the Parker mythology for a derivative crop of pretenders to Parker's throne. He was also conflicted and sometimes disgusted by Parker's self-destructive habits and the romanticized lure of drug addiction they offered to other jazz musicians. In response to the many sax players who imitated Parker, Mingus titled a song, "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats" (released on Mingus Dynasty as "Gunslinging Bird").
Based in New York[edit]
In 1952 Mingus co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach so he could conduct his recording career as he saw fit. The name originated from his desire to document unrecorded young musicians. Despite this, the best-known recording the company issued was of the most prominent figures in bebop. On May 15, 1953, Mingus joined Dizzy Gillespie, Parker, Bud Powell, and Roach for a concert at Massey Hall in Toronto, which is the last recorded documentation of the two lead instrumentalists playing together. After the event, Mingus chose to overdub his barely audible bass part back in New York; the original version was issued later. The two 10" albums of the Massey Hall concert (one featured the trio of Powell, Mingus and Roach) were among Debut Records' earliest releases. Mingus may have objected to the way the major record companies treated musicians, but Gillespie once commented that he did not receive any royalties "for years and years" for his Massey Hall appearance. The records though, are often regarded as among the finest live jazz recordings.

One story, has it that Mingus was involved in a notorious incident while playing a 1955 club date billed as a "reunion" with Parker, Powell, and Roach. Powell, who suffered from alcoholism and mental illness (possibly exacerbated by a severe police beating and electroshock treatments), had to be helped from the stage, unable to play or speak coherently. As Powell's incapacitation became apparent, Parker stood in one spot at a microphone, chanting "Bud Powell...Bud Powell..." as if beseeching Powell's return. Allegedly, Parker continued this incantation for several minutes after Powell's departure, to his own amusement and Mingus's exasperation. Mingus took another microphone and announced to the crowd, "Ladies and Gentleman, please don't associate me with any of this. This is not jazz. These are sick people."[14] This was Parker's last public performance; about a week later he died after years of substance abuse.

Mingus often worked with a mid-sized ensemble (around 8–10 members) of rotating musicians known as the Jazz Workshop. Mingus broke new ground, constantly demanding that his musicians be able to explore and develop their perceptions on the spot. Those who joined the Workshop (or Sweatshops as they were colorfully dubbed by the musicians) included Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Booker Ervin, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper, Charles McPherson and Horace Parlan. Mingus shaped these musicians into a cohesive improvisational machine that in many ways anticipated free jazz. Some musicians dubbed the workshop a "university" for jazz.
Pithecanthropus Erectus among other creations[edit]
The decade that followed is generally regarded as Mingus's most productive and fertile period. Impressive new compositions and albums appeared at an astonishing rate: some thirty records in ten years, for a number of record labels (Atlantic Records, Candid, Columbia Records, Impulse! Records and others), a pace perhaps unmatched by any other musicians except Ellington.[citation needed]

Mingus had already recorded around ten albums as a bandleader, but 1956 was a breakthrough year for him, with the release of Pithecanthropus Erectus, arguably his first major work as both a bandleader and composer. Like Ellington, Mingus wrote songs with specific musicians in mind, and his band for Erectus included adventurous musicians: piano player Mal Waldron, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean and the Sonny Rollins-influenced tenor of J. R. Monterose. The title song is a ten-minute tone poem, depicting the rise of man from his hominid roots (Pithecanthropus erectus) to an eventual downfall. A section of the piece was free improvisation, free of structure or theme.

Another album from this period, The Clown (1957 also on Atlantic Records), the title track of which features narration by humorist Jean Shepherd, was the first to feature drummer Dannie Richmond, who remained his preferred drummer until Mingus's death in 1979. The two men formed one of the most impressive and versatile rhythm sections in jazz. Both were accomplished performers seeking to stretch the boundaries of their music while staying true to its roots. When joined by pianist Jaki Byard, they were dubbed "The Almighty Three".
Mingus Ah Um and other works[edit]
In 1959 Mingus and his jazz workshop musicians recorded one of his best-known albums, Mingus Ah Um. Even in a year of standout masterpieces, including Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, and Ornette Coleman's prophetic The Shape of Jazz to Come, this was a major achievement, featuring such classic Mingus compositions as "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (an elegy to Lester Young) and the vocal-less version of "Fables of Faubus" (a protest against segregationist Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus that features double-time sections). Also during 1959, Mingus recorded the album Blues & Roots, which was released the following year. As Mingus explained in his liner notes: "I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing."

Mingus witnessed Ornette Coleman's legendary—and controversial—1960 appearances at New York City's Five Spot jazz club. He initially expressed rather mixed feelings for Coleman's innovative music: "...if the free-form guys could play the same tune twice, then I would say they were playing something...Most of the time they use their fingers on the saxophone and they don't even know what's going to come out. They're experimenting." That same year, however, Mingus formed a quartet with Richmond, trumpeter Ted Curson and multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy. This ensemble featured the same instruments as Coleman's quartet, and is often regarded as Mingus rising to the challenging new standard established by Coleman. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus was the quartet's only album. This album also features the version of "Fables of Faubus" with lyrics, aptly titled "Original Faubus Fables".

Only one misstep occurred in this era: 1962's Town Hall Concert. An ambitious program, it was plagued with troubles from its inception.[16] Mingus's vision, now known as Epitaph, was finally realized by conductor Gunther Schuller in a concert in 1989, 10 years after Mingus's death.
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and other Impulse! albums[edit]
In 1963, Mingus released The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, a sprawling, multi-section masterpiece, described as "one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history."[17] The album was also unique in that Mingus asked his psychotherapist to provide notes for the record.

Mingus also released Mingus Plays Piano, an unaccompanied album featuring some fully improvised pieces, in 1963.

In addition, 1963 saw the release of Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, an album praised by critic Nat Hentoff.[18]

In 1964 Mingus put together one of his best-known groups, a sextet including Dannie Richmond, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, trumpeter Johnny Coles, and tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan. The group was recorded frequently during its short existence; Coles fell ill and left during a European tour. Dolphy stayed in Europe after the tour ended, and died suddenly in Berlin on June 28, 1964. 1964 was also the year that Mingus met his future wife, Sue Graham Ungaro. The couple were married in 1966 by Allen Ginsberg.[19] Facing financial hardship, Mingus was evicted from his New York home in 1966.
Changes[edit]
Mingus's pace slowed somewhat in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1974 he formed a quintet with Richmond, pianist Don Pullen, trumpeter Jack Walrath and saxophonist George Adams. They recorded two well-received albums, Changes One and Changes Two. Mingus also played with Charles McPherson in many of his groups during this time. Cumbia and Jazz Fusion in 1976 sought to blend Colombian music (the "Cumbia" of the title) with more traditional jazz forms. In 1971, Mingus taught for a semester at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York as the Slee Professor of Music.[20]

Later career and death[edit]
By the mid-1970s, Mingus was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His once formidable bass technique suffered, until he could no longer play the instrument. He continued composing, however, and supervised a number of recordings before his death. At the time of his death, Mingus was working on an album named after him with Joni Mitchell, which included lyrics added by Mitchell to Mingus compositions, including "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat". The album featured the talents of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and another influential bassist and composer, Jaco Pastorius.

Mingus died, aged 56, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he had traveled for treatment and convalescence. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River.
Personality and temper[edit]
As respected as Mingus was for his musical talents, he was sometimes feared for his occasional violent onstage temper, which was at times directed at members of his band, and other times aimed at the audience.[21] He was physically large, prone to obesity (especially in his later years), and was by all accounts often intimidating and frightening when expressing anger or displeasure. Mingus was prone to clinical depression. He tended to have brief periods of extreme creative activity, intermixed with fairly long periods of greatly decreased output.

When confronted with a nightclub audience talking and clinking ice in their glasses while he performed, Mingus stopped his band and loudly chastised the audience, stating "Isaac Stern doesn't have to put up with this shit."[22] Mingus reportedly destroyed a $20,000 bass in response to audience heckling at New York's Five Spot.[23]

Guitarist and singer Jackie Paris was a first-hand witness to Mingus's irascibility. Paris recalls his time in the Jazz Workshop: "He chased everybody off the stand except [drummer] Paul Motian and me... The three of us just wailed on the blues for about an hour and a half before he called the other cats back."[24]

On October 12, 1962, Mingus punched Jimmy Knepper in the mouth while the two men were working together at Mingus's apartment on a score for his upcoming concert at New York Town Hall and Knepper refused to take on more work. The blow from Mingus broke off a crowned tooth and its underlying stub.[25] According to Knepper, this ruined his embouchure and resulted in the permanent loss of the top octave of his range on the trombone – a significant handicap for any professional trombonist. This attack temporarily ended their working relationship and Knepper was unable to perform at the concert. Charged with assault, Mingus appeared in court in January 1963 and was given a suspended sentence. Knepper did again work with Mingus in 1977 and played extensively with the Mingus Dynasty, formed after Mingus's death in 1979.[26]


Autobiography[edit]
Mingus wrote the sprawling, exaggerated, quasi-autobiography, Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus,[9] throughout the 1960s, and it was published in 1971. Its "stream of consciousness" style covered several aspects of Mingus's life that had previously been off-record. In addition to his musical and intellectual proliferation, Mingus goes into great detail about his perhaps overstated sexual exploits. He claims to have had over 31 affairs over the course of his life (including 26 prostitutes in one sitting). This does not include any of his five wives (he claims to have been married to two of them simultaneously). In addition, he asserts that he held a brief career as a pimp. This has never been confirmed.

Mingus's autobiography also serves as an insight into his psyche, as well as his attitudes about race and society.[29] Autobiographic accounts of abuse at the hands of his father from an early age, being bullied as a child, his removal from a white musician's union, and grappling with disapproval while married to white women and other examples of the hardship and prejudice.
Eric Dolphy

Birth name Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr.
Born June 20, 1928
Los Angeles, California, United States
Died June 29, 1964 (aged 36)
Berlin, Germany
Genres Jazz, avant-garde jazz, post-bop, third stream, free jazz
Occupations Bandleader, saxophonist, flutist, bass clarinetist, composer, sideman
Instruments Alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, soprano clarinet, baritone saxophone, piccolo
Years active 1949–1964
Labels Verve, Impulse!, Prestige, Blue Note, Mercury
Associated acts Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Booker Little, Chico Hamilton, Mal Waldron, Ron Carter, Oliver Nelson, Ornette Coleman, Max Roach, John Lewis, Freddie Hubbard, George Russell, Ted Curson, Abbey Lincoln, Ken McIntyre, Andrew Hill, Benny Golson
Website adale.org/EDIntro.html
Eric Allan Dolphy, Jr. (June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, flautist, and bass clarinetist. On a few occasions, he also played the clarinet, piccolo, and baritone saxophone. Dolphy was one of several multi-instrumentalists to gain prominence in the 1960s. He was one of the first important bass clarinet soloists in jazz, extended the vocabulary and boundaries of the alto saxophone, and was among the earliest significant jazz flute soloists.

His improvisational style was characterized by the use of wide intervals, in addition to using an array of extended techniques to reproduce human- and animal-like effects which almost literally made his instruments speak. Although Dolphy's work is sometimes classified as free jazz, his compositions and solos were often rooted in conventional (if highly abstracted) tonal bebop harmony and melodic lines that suggest the influences of modern classical composers Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky.
Biography[edit]
Early life[edit]
Dolphy was born in Los Angeles to Eric Allan Dolphy, Sr. and Sadie Dolphy, who immigrated to the United States from Panama. He picked up the clarinet at the age of six, and in less than a month was playing in the school's orchestra. He also learned the oboe in junior high school, though he never recorded on the instrument. Hearing Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins led him towards jazz and he picked up the saxophone and flute while in high school. His father built a studio for Eric in their backyard, and Eric often had friends come by to jam; recordings with Clifford Brown from this studio document this early time.

He performed locally for several years, most notably as a member of bebop big bands led by Gerald Wilson and Roy Porter. He was educated at Los Angeles City College and also directed its orchestra. On early recordings, he occasionally played baritone saxophone, as well as alto saxophone, flute and soprano clarinet.

Dolphy finally had his big break as a member of Chico Hamilton's quintet. With the group he became known to a wider audience and was able to tour extensively through 1958-1959, when he parted ways with Hamilton and moved to New York City. Dolphy appears with Hamilton's band in the film Jazz on a Summer's Day playing flute during the Newport Jazz Festival '58.
Partnerships[edit]
Charles Mingus[edit]
Charles Mingus had known Eric from growing up in Los Angeles, and Dolphy joined his band shortly after arriving in New York. He took part in Mingus' big band recording Pre-Bird, and is featured on "Bemoanable Lady". Later he joined Mingus' working band which also included Dannie Richmond and Ted Curson. They worked at the Showplace during 1960 and recorded the albums, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus and Mingus at Antibes (the latter adding Booker Ervin on all tracks except "What Love?" and Bud Powell for "I'll Remember April"). Dolphy, Mingus said, "was a complete musician. He could fit anywhere. He was a fine lead alto in a big band. He could make it in a classical group. And, of course, he was entirely his own man when he soloed.... He had mastered jazz. And he had mastered all the instruments he played. In fact, he knew more than was supposed to be possible to do on them" (Last Date liner notes; Limelight).

During this time, Dolphy also recorded a large ensemble session for the Candid label and took part in the Newport Rebels session. Dolphy left Mingus' band in 1961 and went to Europe for a few months, where he recorded in Scandinavia and Berlin, though he would record with Mingus throughout his career. He participated in the big band session for Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus in 1963 and is featured on "Hora Decubitus".

In early 1964, he joined Mingus' working band again, along with Jaki Byard, Johnny Coles, and Clifford Jordan. This sextet worked at the Five Spot before playing shows at Cornell University and Town Hall in New York and subsequently touring Europe. Many recordings were made of their tour, which, although short, is well-documented.
John Coltrane[edit]
Dolphy and John Coltrane knew each other long before they formally played together, having met when Coltrane was in Los Angeles with Miles Davis. They would often exchange ideas and learn from each other, and eventually, after many nights sitting in with Coltrane's band, Dolphy was asked to become a full member. Coltrane had gained an audience and critical notice with Miles Davis's quintet, but alienated some jazz critics when he began to move away from hard bop. Although Coltrane's quintets with Dolphy (including the Village Vanguard and Africa/Brass sessions) are now well regarded, they originally provoked Down Beat magazine to brand Coltrane and Dolphy's music as 'anti-jazz'. Coltrane later said of this criticism: "they made it appear that we didn't even know the first thing about music (...) it hurt me to see [Dolphy] get hurt in this thing."[1]

The initial release of Coltrane's stay at the Vanguard selected three tracks, only one of which featured Dolphy. After being issued haphazardly over the next 30 years, a comprehensive box set featuring all of the recorded music from the Vanguard was released by Impulse! in 1997, called The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings. The set features Dolphy heavily on both alto saxophone and bass clarinet, with Eric the featured soloist on their renditions of "Naima". A later Pablo box set from Coltrane's European tours of the early 1960s collected more recordings which feature tunes not played at the Village Vanguard, such as "My Favorite Things", which Dolphy performs on flute.
Booker Little[edit]
Before trumpeter Booker Little's untimely death at the age of 23, he and Dolphy had a very fruitful musical partnership. Booker's leader date for Candid, Out Front, featured Dolphy mainly on alto, though he played bass clarinet and flute on some ensemble passages. In addition, Dolphy's album Far Cry recorded for Prestige features Little on five tunes (one of which, "Serene", was not included on the original album release).

Dolphy and Little also co-led a quintet at the Five Spot during 1961. The rhythm section consisted of Richard Davis, Mal Waldron and Ed Blackwell. One night was documented and has been released on three volumes of At the Five Spot as well as the compilation Here and There. In addition, both Dolphy and Little backed Abbey Lincoln on her album Straight Ahead and played on Max Roach's Percussion Bitter Sweet.
Others[edit]
During this period, Dolphy also played in a number of challenging settings, notably in key recordings by George Russell, Oliver Nelson, and Ornette Coleman. He also worked with Gunther Schuller, multi-instrumentalist Ken McIntyre, and bassist Ron Carter, among many others.

As a leader[edit]
Dolphy's recording career as a leader began with the Prestige label. His association with the label spanned 13 albums recorded from April 1960 to September 1961, though he was not the leader for all of the sessions. Fantasy eventually released a 9-CD box set containing all of Dolphy's recorded output for Prestige.

Dolphy's first two albums as leader were Outward Bound and Out There; both featured artwork by Richard "Prophet" Jennings. The first, sounding closer to hard bop than some later releases, was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey with then newcomer trumpet player Freddie Hubbard. The album features three Dolphy compositions: "G.W.", dedicated to Gerald Wilson, and the blues "Les" and "245". Out There is closer to third stream music which would also form part of Dolphy's legacy, and features Ron Carter on cello. Charles Mingus' "Eclipse" from this album is one of the rare instances where Dolphy solos on soprano clarinet (others being "Warm Canto" from Mal Waldron's The Quest and "Densities" from the compilation Vintage Dolphy; there is also an untitled, unreleased recording from a 1962 Town Hall concert).


Dolphy recorded several unaccompanied cuts on saxophone, which at the time had been done only by Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins, making Dolphy the first to do so on alto. The album Far Cry contains his famous performance of the Gross-Lawrence standard "Tenderly" on alto saxophone, and his subsequent tour of Europe quickly set high standards for solo performance with his exhilarating bass clarinet renditions of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" (the earliest known version was recorded at the Five Spot during his residency with Booker Little). Numerous recordings were made of live performances by Dolphy on this tour, in Copenhagen, Uppsala and other cities, and these have been issued by many record labels, drifting in and out of print, though many if not all have been remastered and are readily available. He also recorded two takes of a short solo rendition of "Love Me" in 1963, released on Conversations and Muses.

Twentieth century classical music also played a significant role in Dolphy's musical career. He performed Edgard Varèse's Density 21.5 for solo flute at the Ojai Music Festival in 1962[2] and participated in Gunther Schuller's and John Lewis' Third Stream efforts of the 1960s.

Around 1962-63, one of Dolphy's working bands included the young pianist Herbie Hancock, who can be heard on The Illinois Concert and Gaslight 1962 and the unissued Town Hall concert with poetess Ree Dragonette.

In July 1963, Dolphy and producer Alan Douglas arranged recording sessions for which his sidemen were among the leading emerging musicians of the day, and the results produced the albums Iron Man and Conversations, as well as the Muses album released in Japan in late 2013. These sessions marked the first time Dolphy played with Bobby Hutcherson, whom he knew from Los Angeles. The sessions are perhaps most famous for the three duets Dolphy performs with Richard Davis on "Alone Together", "Ode To Charlie Parker", and "Come Sunday"; the aforementioned release Muses adds another take of "Alone Together" and an original composition for duet from which the album takes its name.

In 1964, Dolphy signed with Blue Note Records and recorded Out to Lunch! with Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and Tony Williams. This album features Dolphy's fully developed avant-garde yet highly structured compositional style rooted in tradition. It is often considered his magnum opus.
Final months[edit]
After Out to Lunch! and an appearance on Andrew Hill's classic Point of Departure, Dolphy left for Europe with Charles Mingus' sextet in early 1964. Before a concert in Oslo, he informed Mingus that he planned to stay in Europe after their tour was finished, partly because he had become disillusioned with the United States' reception to musicians who were trying something new. Mingus then named the blues they had been performing "So Long Eric". Dolphy intended to settle in Europe with his fiancée, who was working in the ballet scene in Paris. After leaving Mingus, he performed and recorded a few sides with various European bands, and American musicians living in Paris, such as Donald Byrd and Nathan Davis. The famous Last Date with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink was recorded in Hilversum, Holland, though it was not actually Dolphy's last concert. Dolphy was also preparing to join Albert Ayler for a recording and spoke of his strong desire to play with Cecil Taylor. He also planned to form a band with Woody Shaw and Billy Higgins, and was writing a string quartet entitled "Love Suite".

Eric Dolphy died accidentally in Berlin on June 29, 1964. Some details of his death are still disputed, but it is accepted that he died of a coma brought on by an undiagnosed diabetic condition. The liner notes to the Complete Prestige Recordings box set say that Dolphy "collapsed in his hotel room in Berlin and when brought to the hospital he was diagnosed as being in a diabetic coma. After being administered a shot of insulin he lapsed into insulin shock and died." A later documentary and liner note dispute this, saying Dolphy collapsed on stage in Berlin and was brought to a hospital. The attending hospital physicians had no idea that Dolphy was a diabetic and decided on a stereotypical view of jazz musicians related to substance abuse, that he had overdosed on drugs. He was left in a hospital bed for the drugs to run their course.[4]

Ted Curson remembers, "That really broke me up. When Eric got sick on that date [in Berlin], and him being black and a jazz musician, they thought he was a junkie. Eric didn't use any drugs. He was a diabetic - all they had to do was take a blood test and they would have found that out. So he died for nothing. They gave him some detox stuff and he died, and nobody ever went into that club in Berlin again. That was the end of that club." (Stop Smiling Magazine, Jazz Issue).

Charles Mingus said, "Usually, when a man dies, you remember—or you say you remember—only the good things about him. With Eric, that's all you could remember. I don't remember any drags he did to anybody. The man was absolutely without a need to hurt". (Last Date liner notes, Limelight).

Dolphy was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat magazine Hall of Fame in 1964. John Coltrane paid tribute to Dolphy in an interview: "Whatever I'd say would be an understatement. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing him. He was one of the greatest people I've ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician." (Coltrane On Coltrane). Dolphy's mother, Sadie, who had fond memories of her son practicing in the studio by her house, gave instruments that Dolphy had bought in France but never played to Coltrane,[citation needed] who subsequently played the flute and bass clarinet on several albums before his own death in 1967.


Dolphy was engaged to be married to Joyce Mordecai, a classically trained dancer. Before he left for Europe in 1964, Dolphy left papers and other effects with his friends Hale and Juanita Smith. Eventually much of this material was passed on to the musician James Newton. It was announced in May 2014 that five boxes of music papers had been donated to the Library of Congress.[5]

Influence[edit]
Dolphy's musical presence was influential to many young jazz musicians who would later become prominent. Dolphy worked intermittently with Ron Carter and Freddie Hubbard throughout his career, and in later years he hired Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson and Woody Shaw to work in his live and studio bands. Out to Lunch! featured yet another young performer, drummer Tony Williams, and Dolphy's participation on the Point of Departure session brought his influence into contact with up and coming tenor man Joe Henderson.

Carter, Hancock and Williams would go on to become one of the quintessential rhythm sections of the decade, both together on their own albums and as the backbone of Miles Davis's second great quintet. This aspect of the second great quintet is an ironic footnote for Davis, who was not fond of Dolphy's music: in a 1964 Down Beat "Blindfold Test", Miles famously quipped, "The next time I see [Dolphy] I'm going to step on his foot."[6] However, Davis absorbed a rhythm section who had all worked under Dolphy, thus creating a band whose brand of "out" was very similar to Dolphy's.

Dolphy's virtuoso instrumental abilities and unique style of jazz - deeply emotional and free but strongly rooted in tradition and structured composition - heavily influenced such musicians as Anthony Braxton, members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Arthur Blythe, Aki Takase, Rudi Mahall, Don Byron and many others. Dolphy's compositions are the inspiration for many tribute albums, such as Oliver Lake's Prophet and Dedicated to Dolphy, Jerome Harris' Hidden In Plain View, Yoshihide Ōtomo's re-imagining of Out to Lunch!, and Aki Takase and Rudi Mahall's duo album Duet For Eric Dolphy.

In addition, his work with jazz and rock producer Alan Douglas allowed Dolphy's style to posthumously spread to musicians in the jazz fusion and rock environments, most notably with artists John McLaughlin and Jimi Hendrix. Frank Zappa, who drew his inspiration from a variety of musical styles and idioms, paid tribute to Dolphy in the instrumental "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" (on the 1970 album Weasels Ripped My Flesh) and listed Dolphy as an influence on the liner notes for the Mothers' first LP, Freak Out!.

In 1997 Vienna Art Orchestra released Powerful Ways: Nine Immortal Non-evergreens for Eric Dolphy, as part of their 20th anniversary boxset.
Sonny Rollins
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Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins 2011.jpg
Background information
Birth name Theodore Walter Rollins
Also known as Newk, Colossus, Uncle Don
Born September 7, 1930 (age 84)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, hard bop
Occupations Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Years active Late 1940s – present
Labels Prestige, Blue Note, Contemporary, RCA Victor, Impulse!, Milestone, Doxy
Associated acts Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Dizzy Gillespie, Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Max Roach
Website http://www.sonnyrollins.com/
Theodore Walter "Sonny" Rollins (born September 7, 1930)[1] is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Rollins is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians.[1] A number of his compositions, including "St. Thomas", "Oleo", "Doxy", and "Airegin", have become jazz standards.
Early life and career[edit]
Rollins was born in New York City, to parents who were born in the United States Virgin Islands.[2] Rollins received his first saxophone at age 13. He attended Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He said that a concert by Frank Sinatra there, accompanied by a plea for racial harmony, changed his life.[3][4][5]

Rollins started as a pianist, changed to alto saxophone, and finally switched to tenor in 1946. During his high-school years, he played in a band with other future jazz legends Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor. He was first recorded in 1949 with Babs Gonzales (J. J. Johnson was the arranger of the group). In his recordings through 1954, he played with performers such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.[4]

As a saxophonist he had initially been attracted to the jump and R&B sounds of performers like Louis Jordan, but soon became drawn into the mainstream tenor saxophone tradition. Joachim Berendt has described this tradition as sitting between the two poles of the strong sonority of Coleman Hawkins and the light flexible phrasing of Lester Young, which did so much to inspire the fleet improvisation of bebop in the 1950s.[6]

Rollins began to make a name for himself in 1949 as he recorded with Johnson and Bud Powell what would later be called "hard bop", with Davis in 1951, with the Modern Jazz Quartet and with Monk in 1953, but the breakthrough arrived in 1954 when he recorded his famous compositions "Oleo", "Airegin" and "Doxy" with a quintet led by Davis. Rollins then joined the Miles Davis Quintet in the summer of 1955, but left after a short stay to deal with his drug problems.[7][8]

In 1950, Rollins had been arrested for armed robbery and given a sentence of three years. He spent 10 months in Rikers Island jail before he was released on parole. In 1952 he was arrested for violating the terms of his parole by using heroin. In 1955, Rollins was assigned to the Federal Medical Center, Lexington, at the time the only assistance in the U.S. for drug addicts. While there he was a volunteer for then-experimental methadone therapy and was able to break his heroin habit, after which he moved to Chicago.[9] Rollins himself initially feared sobriety would impair his musicianship, but then went on to greater success, inspired by the example of Clifford Brown.

Rollins was invited later in 1955 to join the Clifford Brown–Max Roach quintet; studio recordings documenting his time in the band are the albums Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street and Sonny Rollins Plus 4. After Brown's death in 1956 Rollins continued to play with Roach, and released his own albums on Prestige Records, Blue Note, Riverside, and the Los Angeles label Contemporary.
Saxophone Colossus[edit]

His widely acclaimed album Saxophone Colossus was recorded on June 22, 1956 at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey, with Tommy Flanagan on piano, former Jazz Messengers bassist Doug Watkins, and his favorite drummer, Roach. This was Rollins' sixth recording as a leader and it included his best-known composition "St. Thomas", a Caribbean calypso based on a tune sung to him by his mother in his childhood, as well as the fast bebop number "Strode Rode", and "Moritat" (the Kurt Weill composition also known as "Mack the Knife").[1]

In 1956 he also recorded Tenor Madness, using Davis' group – pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The title track is the only recording of Rollins with John Coltrane, who was also in Davis' group.[1]

At the end of the year Rollins recorded a set for Blue Note with Donald Byrd on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano, Gene Ramey on bass, and Roach on drums. This has been released as Sonny Rollins, Volume One (the Volume Two session, recorded the following year, has consistently outsold it).
The pianoless trio[edit]
In 1957 he pioneered the use of bass and drums (without piano) as accompaniment for his saxophone solos.[10] This texture came to be known as "strolling". Two early tenor/bass/drums trio recordings are Way Out West (Contemporary, 1957) and A Night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1957). Rollins used the trio format intermittently throughout his career, sometimes taking the unusual step of using his sax as a rhythm section instrument during bass and drum solos. Way Out West was so named because it was recorded for a California-based record label (with Los Angeles drummer Shelly Manne), and because the record included country and western songs such as "Wagon Wheels" and "I'm an Old Cowhand". The Village Vanguard CD consists of two sets, a matinee with bassist Donald Bailey and drummer Pete LaRoca and then the evening set with bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Elvin Jones.

By this time, Rollins had become well known for taking relatively banal or unconventional material (such as "There's No Business Like Show Business" on Work Time, "I'm an Old Cowhand", and later "Sweet Leilani" on the Grammy-winning CD This Is What I Do) and turning it into a vehicle for improvisation.

1957's Newk's Time saw him working with a piano again, in this case Kelly, but one of the most highly regarded tracks is a saxophone/drum duet, "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" with Philly Joe Jones.[citation needed] Also that year he recorded for Blue Note with Johnson on trombone, Horace Silver or Monk on piano and drummer Art Blakey (released as Sonny Rollins, Volume Two).

In 1958 Rollins recorded another landmark piece for saxophone, bass and drums trio: Freedom Suite. His original sleeve notes said, "How ironic that the Negro, who more than any other people can claim America's culture as his own, is being persecuted and repressed; that the Negro, who has exemplified the humanities in his very existence, is being rewarded with inhumanity."[11]

The title track is a 19-minute improvised bluesy suite, some of it very tense. However, the album was not all politics – the other side featured hard bop workouts of popular show tunes. Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach provided bass and drums, respectively. The LP was available only briefly in its original form, before the record company repackaged it as Shadow Waltz, the title of another piece on the record.

Lew Tabackin cited Rollins' pianoless trio as an inspiration to lead his own.[10] Joe Henderson, David S. Ware, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, and Joshua Redman have also led pianoless sax trios.[10]

Following Sonny Rollins and the Big Brass, Rollins made one more studio album in 1958, Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders, before taking a three-year break from recording. This was a session for Contemporary Records and saw Rollins recording an esoteric mixture of tunes including "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" with a West Coast group made up of pianist Hampton Hawes, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Manne.
1959 to 1971: musical explorations[edit]

By 1959, Rollins was frustrated with what he perceived as his own musical limitations and took the first – and most famous – of his musical sabbaticals. To spare a neighboring expectant mother the sound of his practice routine, Rollins ventured to the Williamsburg Bridge to practice. Upon his return to the jazz scene in 1962 he named his "comeback" album The Bridge at the start of a contract with RCA Records, recorded with a quartet featuring guitarist Jim Hall and still no piano. The rhythm section was Ben Riley on drums and bassist Bob Cranshaw. This became one of Rollins' best-selling records.

The contract with RCA lasted until 1964 and saw Rollins remain one of the most adventurous musicians around. Each album he recorded differed radically from the previous one. Rollins explored Latin rhythms on What's New; tackled the avant-garde on Our Man in Jazz featuring Cranshaw on bass, Billy Higgins on drums and Don Cherry on cornet; played with a tenor saxophone hero, Coleman Hawkins, on Sonny Meets Hawk!, re-examined jazz standards on Now's the Time and some Great American Songbook standards on The Standard Sonny Rollins.

His 1965 residency at Ronnie Scott's jazz club has recently[when?] emerged on CD as Live in London, a series of releases from the Harkit label; they offer a very different picture of his playing from the studio albums of the period. (These are unauthorized releases, and Rollins has responded by "bootlegging" them himself and releasing them on his website.) He then provided the soundtrack to the 1966 film Alfie while recording for Impulse! records, which also produced East Broadway Run Down, There Will Never Be Another You, and Sonny Rollins on Impulse!
1972 to 2000[edit]

Sonny Rollins
Rollins took a sabbatical to study yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophies. When he returned in 1972, it was clear that he had become enamored of R&B, pop, and funk rhythms. His bands throughout the 1970s and 1980s featured electric guitar, electric bass, and usually more pop- or funk-oriented drummers. For most of this period he recorded for Milestone Records (The compilation Silver City: A Celebration of 25 Years on Milestone contains a selection from these years.) The 1970s and 1980s were not all disco though and it was during this period that Rollins' passion for unaccompanied saxophone solos came to the forefront. In 1985 he released The Solo Album.

In 1981, Rollins was asked to play uncredited on three tracks by The Rolling Stones for their album Tattoo You, including the single, "Waiting on a Friend".[12]

In 1986 documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge released a film titled Saxophone Colossus. It featured two Rollins performances: a quintet in upstate New York and his Concerto for Saxophone and Symphony in Japan.
2001 to present[edit]

Sonny Rollins at Newport in 2008
Critics such as Gary Giddins and Stanley Crouch have noted the disparity between Rollins the recording artist, and Rollins the concert artist. In a May 2005 New Yorker profile, Crouch wrote of Rollins the concert artist:

"Over and over, decade after decade, from the late seventies through the eighties and nineties, there he is, Sonny Rollins, the saxophone colossus, playing somewhere in the world, some afternoon or some eight o'clock somewhere, pursuing the combination of emotion, memory, thought, and aesthetic design with a command that allows him to achieve spontaneous grandiloquence. With its brass body, its pearl-button keys, its mouthpiece, and its cane reed, the horn becomes the vessel for the epic of Rollins' talent and the undimmed power and lore of his jazz ancestors."

Rollins won a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for This Is What I Do (2000).[13] On September 11, 2001, the 71-year-old Rollins, who lived several blocks away, heard the World Trade Center collapse, and was forced to evacuate his apartment, with only his saxophone in hand. Although he was shaken, he traveled to Boston five days later to play a concert at the Berklee School of Music. The live recording of that performance was released on CD in 2005 as Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert, which won the 2006 Grammy for Jazz Instrumental Solo for Rollins' performance of "Why Was I Born?"[13] Rollins was presented with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2004; that year also saw the death of his wife, Lucille.[13]

In 2006, Rollins went on to complete a Down Beat Readers Poll triple win for: "Jazzman of the Year", "#1 Tenor Sax Player", and "Recording of the Year" for the CD Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert. The band that year was led by his nephew, trombonist Clifton Anderson, and included bassist Cranshaw, pianist Stephen Scott, percussionist Kimati Dinizulu, and drummer Perry Wilson.


Sonny Rollins at Stockholm Jazz Fest 2009
After a highly successful Japanese tour Rollins returned to the recording studio for the first time in five years to record the Grammy-nominated CD Sonny, Please (2006). The CD title is derived from one of his wife's favorite phrases. The album was released on Rollins' own label, Doxy Records, following his departure from Milestone Records after many years and was produced by Anderson. Rollins' band at this time, and on this album, included Cranshaw, guitarist Bobby Broom, drummer Steve Jordan and Dinizulu.

Rollins performed at Carnegie Hall on September 18, 2007, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of his first performance there. Appearing with him were Anderson (trombone), Bobby Broom (guitar), Cranshaw (bass), Dinizulu (percussion), Roy Haynes (drums) and Christian McBride (bass).[14]

He also released, on Doxy Records, two albums from his archives: Road Shows, Vol. 1 and Road Shows, Vol. 2 (with four tracks documenting his 80th birthday concert, which included Rollins' first ever appearance with Ornette Coleman on the 20-minute "Sonnymoon for Two").

In May 2013, Rollins received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City.
Dexter Gordon

Also known as Long Tall Dexter, Dexter "The Sound" Gordon
Born February 27, 1923
Los Angeles, California, United States
Died April 25, 1990 (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Jazz, swing, bebop, hard bop
Occupations Musician, composer, bandleader, actor
Instruments Tenor saxophone
Years active 1940–1986
Labels Blue Note, Savoy, Columbia
Associated acts Gene Ammons, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Wardell Gray, Lionel Hampton
Website www.dextergordon.com
Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He was among the earliest tenor players to adapt the bebop musical language of people such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the instrument. Gordon's height was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm), so he was also known as "Long Tall Dexter" and "Sophisticated Giant". His studio and live performance career spanned over 40 years.

Gordon's performance in Round Midnight (Warner Bros, 1986) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Leading Role and he won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack.
Biography[edit]
Early life[edit]
Gordon was born and grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a doctor who counted Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton among his patients. He played clarinet from the age of 13, before switching to saxophone (initially alto, then tenor) at 15. While still at school, he played in bands with such contemporaries as Chico Hamilton and Buddy Collette.[1]

Between 1940 and 1943, Gordon was a member of Hampton's band, playing in a saxophone section alongside Illinois Jacquet and Marshall Royal. In 1943 he made his first recordings under his own name, alongside Nat Cole and Harry 'Sweets' Edison. During 1943–44 he featured in the Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson bands, before joining Billy Eckstine.

By 1945, Gordon had left the Eckstine band and was resident in New York, where he was performing and recording with Charlie Parker, as well as recording under his own name. Gordon was particularly known for his saxophone duels with fellow tenorman Wardell Gray that were a popular concert attraction which were documented in recordings made between 1947 and 1952.

Gordon's sound was commonly characterized as being 'large' and spacious and he had a tendency to play behind the beat. One of his major influences was Lester Young. Gordon, in turn, was an early influence on John Coltrane during the 1940s and 1950s. Coltrane's playing, however, during his early period from the mid to late '50s or early '60s influenced Gordon's playing from then onward. Similarities in their styles include their clear, strong, metallic tones, their tendencies to bend up to high notes, and their abilities to single-tongue and still swing. One of Gordon's idiosyncratic rituals was to recite the lyrics of each ballad before playing it.
Blue Note recordings[edit]
Gordon was a saxophonist performing Freddie Redd's music for the Los Angeles production of Jack Gelber's play The Connection in 1960, replacing Jackie McLean. Around this time, Gordon signed to Blue Note Records, an association that was to produce a steady flow of albums for several years: Doin' Allright, Dexter Calling..., Go, and A Swingin' Affair. The first two, his Blue Note debuts, were recorded over three days in May 1961 with Freddie Hubbard, Horace Parlan and others. The last two were recorded in August 1962, just before Gordon left for his extended stay in Europe, with a rhythm section that featured Blue Note regulars Sonny Clark, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins. During the next few years, Gordon recorded again for Blue Note. During this time he was a big advocate of Onzy Matthews and was one of the initial sax players to start Matthews' big band in 1959 along with Curtis Amy; Gordon left for Europe before getting a chance to record with that band.
Years in Europe[edit]
Over the next 15 years in Europe, living mainly in Paris and Copenhagen, Gordon played regularly with fellow expatriate, or visiting players, such as Bud Powell, Ben Webster, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Drew, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Horace Parlan and Billy Higgins. Blue Note's German-born Francis Wolff supervised Gordon's later sessions for the label on his visits to Europe.

From this period come Our Man in Paris, One Flight Up, and Gettin' Around. Our Man in Paris was a Blue Note session recorded in Paris in 1963 with a quartet including pianist Powell, drummer Kenny Clarke, and French bassist Pierre Michelot. One Flight Up, recorded in Paris in 1964 with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Drew, drummer Art Taylor, and Danish bassist Ørsted Pedersen, features an extended solo by Gordon on the track "Tanya".

Gordon also visited the US occasionally for further recording dates with Blue Note: Gettin' Around was recorded during a visit in May 1965, as was the unreleased album Clubhouse.

Less well known, but of similar quality, are the albums he recorded during the same period for the Danish label SteepleChase (Something Different, Bouncin' With Dex, Biting the Apple, and a few dozen others). They again feature American sidemen, but also such Europeans as Spanish pianist Tete Montoliu and Ørsted Pedersen.

Gordon found Europe in the 1960s a much easier place to live, saying that he experienced less racism and greater respect for jazz musicians. Furthermore, in America he had experienced drug addiction and imprisonment twice, and must have found the change of location helpful. While in Copenhagen, Gordon and Drew's trio appeared onscreen[2] in Ole Ege's theatrically released hardcore pornographic film Pornografi (1971), for which they composed and performed the score.[3]

He switched from Blue Note to Prestige Records (1965–1973) but stayed very much in the hard-bop idiom, making classic bop albums like 1972's Tangerine with Thad Jones, Freddie Hubbard, and Hank Jones.

Some of the Prestige albums were recorded during visits back to North America while he was still living in Europe; others were made in Europe, including live sets from the Montreux Jazz Festival. The American recordings included The Chase, a tenor battle with Gene Ammons cut in Chicago in 1970.
Homecoming[edit]

At the 1980 Edison Award, Amsterdam
Gordon finally returned to the United States for good in 1976. He appeared at a gig at the Village Vanguard in New York that was dubbed as his 'homecoming'; it was recorded and released by Columbia Records under that title. He noted "There was so much love and elation; sometimes it was a little eerie at the Vanguard. After the last set they'd turn on the lights and nobody would move".[citation needed]

Gordon recorded additional albums following this performance which showed that he had improved from before his years in Europe, and he finally gained appreciation as one of the great jazz tenors. Columbia Records promotions seem to be a turning point in jazz because they focused on acoustic jazz rather than the commercial cross-over styles which had been heavily promoted during the first part of the 1970s.

Gordon made several film appearances, the first of which was while incarcerated for possession of heroin. He portrayed an inmate playing in the prison band in Unchained; the soundtrack was later overdubbed. In 1986, Gordon starred in the movie Round Midnight as 'Dale Turner', an expatriate jazz musician much like Gordon in real life; the role might even be a thinly veiled biography of him, though Young and Powell were its main inspirations. Gordon received a nomination for a Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal. In addition, he had a non-speaking role in the film Awakenings, which was posthumously released. Before the last film was released he made a guest appearance on the Michael Mann series Crime Story. In 1986, Gordon was named a member and officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France.

Gordon died of kidney failure in Philadelphia, PA, on April 25, 1990, at the age of 67. He had been voted musician of the year by Down Beat magazine in 1978 and 1980, and in the latter year was inducted into Down Beat's Jazz Hall of Fame.
Family[edit]
Gordon's maternal grandfather was Captain Edward L. Baker, who received the Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War, while serving with the 10th Cavalry Regiment (also known as the Buffalo Soldiers).

Gordon's father, Dr. Frank Gordon, M.D., was one of the first prominent African-American physicians and a graduate of Howard University.

Dexter Gordon had a total of six children, from the oldest to the youngest: Robin Gordon (Los Angeles, CA), James Canales Gordon (Oakland, CA), Deidre (Dee Dee) Gordon (Los Angeles, CA), Mikael Gordon-Solfors (Stockholm, Sweden), Morten Gordon (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Benjamin Dexter Gordon (Copenhagen, Denmark), and five grandchildren, Raina Moore (Brooklyn, NY), Jared Johnson (Los Angeles, CA), and Matthew Johnson (Los Angeles, CA) Maya Canales (Oakland, CA), Jared Canales (Oakland, CA).

When he lived in Denmark, Gordon became friends with the family of the future Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, and subsequently became Lars's godfather.[4]

Gordon was also survived by his widow and former manager-producer Maxine Gordon.

Instruments[edit]
Gordon played a Conn 10M Lady Face until 1964. He lost the instrument in a Paris hotel and then switched over to a Selmer Mark VI. His saxophone, seen in various photos, was fitted with an Otto Link metal mouthpiece.
Art Blakey

Birth name Arthur Blakey
Also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina
Born October 11, 1919
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States
Died October 16, 1990 (aged 71)
New York City, United States
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop
Occupations Musician, bandleader
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1942–1990
Labels Blue Note
Website www.artblakey.com


Arthur "Art" Blakey (October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990), (also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina),[1][2][3] was an American Grammy Award-winning[4][5] jazz drummer and bandleader.[1][6][7]

Blakey made a name for himself in the 1940's in the big bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine.[1][2][8][9] He worked with bebop legends Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.[10][11] In the mid 1950's he formed a group with Horace Silver with which he would be associated for the next 35 years: the Jazz Messengers.[12][13]:xx[14] The Messengers were formed as a collective of contemporaries,[1][9][15] but over the years the band became known as an incubator for young talent, including such luminaries as Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis.[14][16][17] The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz calls the Jazz Messengers "the archetypal hard-bop group of the late '50s...".[1]

A relentless performer, he continued to record as a sideman throughout his career—frequently for Messengers alumni.[16] He also led several percussion-centric albums with many of his peers.
I'll play drums until Mother Nature tells me different. I'll retire when I'm six feet under.
— Art Blakey,

Blakey's final performances were in July 1990.He died mere months later, on October 16 of the same year.

Blakey was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1981), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998 and 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Childhood and Early Career[edit]
Blakey was born on October 11, 1919 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a single mother, who he lost shortly after his birth.[13]:1[15] He is described as having been "raised with his siblings by a family friend who became a surrogate mother"; Blakey "received some piano lessons at school", and was able to spend some further time teaching himself.[15] According to Leslie Gourse's biography -- Art Blakey—the surrogate mother figure was named Annie Peron. The stories related by family and friends, and by Blakey himself, are contractictory as to how long he spent with the Peron family, but it is clear he spent some time with them growing up.[13]:2–3

Equally clouded by contradiction are stories of Blakey's early music career. It is agreed by several sources that by the time he was in seventh grade, Blakey was playing music full-time and had begun to take on adult responsibilities, playing the piano to earn money and learning to be a band leader.[8][9][21][22] He switched from piano to drums at an uncertain date in the early 1930's. An oft quoted account of the event states that Blakey was forced at gunpoint to move from piano to drums by a club owner, to allow Erroll Garner to take over on piano.[7][8]:1[12][13]:6–8 The veracity of this story is called into question in the Gourse biography, as Blakey, himself, gives other accounts in addition to this one.[13]:6–8 As noted in Gourse and in supporting biographical materials for the Ken Burns' "Jazz" documentary, the style Blakey would assume was "the aggressive swing style of Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc".[13]:8–10[21]

Between 1939 and 1944 Blakey played with fellow Pittsburgh native Mary Lou Williams and toured with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. While sources differ on the timing, most agree that he traveled to New York with Williams in 1942 before joining Henderson in 1943.[1][9][13]:10[16] (Some accounts have him joining Henderson as early as 1939).[2][3][12] Blakey had a run-in with police in Georgia while with the Henderson band,[23] the injuries from which kept him out of World War II.[13]:11 He then lead his own band at the Tic Toc Club in Boston for a short time.[1][12][13]:11–12


From 1943-47 Blakey worked with Billy Eckstine's big band.[1] Through Eckstine's band, Blakey became associated with the bebop movement, along with his fellow band members Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan among others.[6][8][24]

After the Eckstine band broke up, Blakey states that he travelled to Africa for a time: "In 1947, after the Eckstine band broke up, we -- took a trip to Africa. I was supposed to stay there three months and I stayed two years because I wanted to live among the people and find out just how they lived and -- about the drums especially."[25] Two years is clearly an exaggeration, as Blakey is known to have recorded in 1947, 1948 and 1949,[11] though The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz and the Gourse biography corroborate that the trip happened.[1][13]:18–20 Blakey did study and convert to Islam during this period, taking the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (subsequent nickname, "Bu"), although he stopped being a practicing Muslim in the 1950s (see "Personal life", in following)[26] and continued to perform under the name "Art Blakey" throughout his career.[9]

By the late forties and early fifties, Blakey was backing musicians such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk;[11] he is often considered to have been Monk's most empathetic drummer,[27] and he played on both Monk's first recording session as a leader (for Blue Note Records in 1947) and his final one (in London in 1971), as well as many in between.[11]

Blakey toured with Buddy DeFranco from 1951-53[1] in a band that also included Kenny Drew.
The Jazz Messengers[edit]

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2014)

Art Blakey on a tour billed as part of the "Giants of Jazz" in Hamburg, Germany in 1973
On December 17, 1947 Blakey led a group known as "Art Blakey's Messengers" in his first recording session as a leader, for Blue Note Records. The records were released as 78's at the time and two of the songs were released on the "New Sounds" 10" LP compilation (BLP 5010). This octet included Kenny Dorham, Howard Bowe, Sahib Shihab, Musa Kaleem, Ernest Thompson, Walter Bishop, Jr., and LaVerne Barker.[11]

Around the same time—in 1947[1][21] or 1949[8][13]:20—Blakey led a big band called Seventeen Messengers. The band proved be financially unstable and broke up soon after.[13]:20 The use of the Messengers tag finally stuck with the group co-led at first by both Blakey and pianist Horace Silver, though the name was not used on the earliest of their recordings. Blakey and Silver recorded together on several occasions, including A Night at Birdland Vol. 1 with trumpeter Clifford Brown and alto-saxophonist Lou Donaldson in 1954 for Blue Note Records, having formed in 1953 a regular cooperative group with Hank Mobley and Kenny Dorham.


The "Jazz Messengers" name was first used for this group on a 1954 recording nominally led by Silver, with Blakey, Mobley, Dorham and Doug Watkins – the same quintet recorded The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia the following year, still functioning as a collective. Donald Byrd replaced Dorham, and the group recorded an album called simply The Jazz Messengers for Columbia Records in 1956. Blakey took over the group name when Silver left after the band's first year (taking Mobley, Byrd and Watkins with him to form a new quintet with a variety of drummers), and the band was known as "Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" from then onwards with Blakey being the sole leader, and he remained associated with it for the rest of his life. It was the archetypal hard bop group of the 1950s, playing a driving, aggressive extension of bop with pronounced blues roots. Towards the end of the 1950s, the saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Benny Golson were in turn briefly members of the group. Golson, as music director, wrote several jazz standards which began as part of the band book, such as "I Remember Clifford", and "Blues March", and were frequently revived by later editions of the group. "Along Came Betty" and "Are You Real" were other Golson compositions for Blakey.


Performing at the Umeå jazz festival, Sweden. 1979
From 1959 to 1961 the group featured Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Lee Morgan on trumpet, pianist Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt on bass.[16] From 1961–64, the band was a sextet that added trombonist Curtis Fuller and replaced Morgan and Timmons with Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton, respectively.[16] Shorter was now the musical director of the group, and many of his original compositions such as "Lester Left Town" remained repertoire staples later on. (Other players over the years made permanent marks on Blakey's repertoire – Timmons, composer of "Dat Dere" and "Moanin'", and later, Bobby Watson.) Shorter's more experimental inclinations pushed the band at the time into an engagement with the 1960s "New Thing", as it was called: the influence of John Coltrane's contemporary records on Impulse! is evident on Free for All (1964).

Up to the 1960s Blakey also recorded as a sideman with many other musicians: Jimmy Smith, Herbie Nichols, Cannonball Adderley, Grant Green, and Jazz Messengers graduated Morgan and Mobley, amongst many others. On Shorter's 1964 departure the line up in 1965 included Nathan Davis on tenor sax, Jaki Byard on piano. Hubbard remained on trumpet. In the mid-1960s the band's line had more changes and on one recording session Sun Ra lead saxophonist John Gilmore held the tenor chair. After the mid-1960s Blakey mostly concentrated on his own work as a leader. He also made a world tour in 1971–1972 with the "Giants of Jazz" (with Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt, Monk and Al McKibbon).
Drumming style[edit]
Blakey assumed an aggressive swing style of contemporaries Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc early in his career,[21] and is known, alongside Kenny Clarke and Max Roach as one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming.[citation needed] Blakey's ferociousness and tenacity while drumming earned him the nickname "Jazz Tiger", or "The Tiger of Jazz".[by whom?][citation needed] Max Roach described him thus:

"Art was an original… He's the only drummer whose time I recognize immediately. And his signature style was amazing; we used to call him 'Thunder.' When I first met him on 52d Street in 1944, he already had the polyrhythmic thing down. Art was the perhaps the best at maintaining independence with all four limbs. He was doing it before anybody was."[22]
His drumming form made continuing use of the traditional grip, though in later appearances he is also seen using a matched grip.[28] As the supporting materials for Ken Burns' film, Jazz, notes, "Blakey is a major figure in modern jazz and an important stylist in drums. From his earliest recording sessions with Eckstine, and particularly in his historic sessions with Monk in 1947, he exudes power and originality, creating a dark cymbal sound punctuated by frequent loud snare and bass drum accents in triplets or cross-rhythms." This source continues:

"Although Blakey discourages comparison of his own music with African drumming, he adopted several African devices after his visit in 1948-9, including rapping on the side of the drum and using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter the pitch. Later he organized recording sessions with multiple drummers, including some African musicians and pieces. His much-imitated trademark, the forceful closing of the hi-hat on every second and fourth beat, has been part of his style since 1950–51. … A loud and domineering drummer, Blakey also listens and responds to his soloists."[24][29]
In the opinion of this source, Blakey's innovations in and contributions to jazz drumming were matched by his role as a "discoverer and molder of young [jazz] talent over three decades"
Later career and legacy[edit]

Jazz drummer and band leader Art Blakey at radio interview, KJAZ, Alameda CA Oct 11, 1982. (photo: Brian McMillen)
Blakey went on to record dozens of albums with a constantly changing group of Jazz Messengers. He had a policy of encouraging young musicians: as he remarked on-mike during the live session which resulted in the A Night at Birdland albums in 1954: "I'm gonna stay with the youngsters. When these get too old I'll get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active."[16] After weathering the fusion era in the 1970s with some difficulty (recordings from this period are less plentiful and include attempts to incorporate instruments like electric piano),[citation needed] Blakey's band got revitalized in the early 1980s with the advent of neotraditionalist jazz.[citation needed] Wynton Marsalis was for a time the band's trumpeter and musical director,[citation needed] and even after Marsalis's departure Blakey's band continued as a proving ground for many "Young Lions" like Johnny O'Neal, Philip Harper, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Kenny Garrett.[citation needed] Blakey continued performing and touring with the group into the late 1980s; Ron Wynn notes that Blakey had "played with such force and fury that he eventually lost much of his hearing, and at the end of his life, often played strictly by instinct."[30]

Blakey's and his bands' legacy is thus not only known for the music they produced, but also in their role as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians.[31] Observers[who?] have stated the opinion that Blakey's groups' productivity and influence are matched only by those of Miles Davis.[32] Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Personal life[edit]
In addition to his musical interests, Blakey has been described as a storyteller ("Art was a talker"), as having a "big appetite for music… women [and] food", and an interest in boxing (like "a lot of jazz musicians"; all per Jerry "Tiger" Pearson).[33] Blakey did marry 4 times, and had common law and other relationships throughout his life: marrying his first wife Clarice Stewart, while yet a teen, before joining Billy Eckstine’s Band (1937), being associated with Lorraine Poole in the 1950s, and marrying Diana Bates (1956), Atsuko Nakamura (1968), and Anne Arnold (1983; see Cohassey, and the Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History).[26] These relationships gave him 10 children—daughters Gwendolyn, Akira, Evelyn, Jackie, Kadijah, and Sakeena, and sons Art Jr., Takashi, Kenji and Gamal (ibid.). Sandy Warren, another longtime companion of Blakey, has published a book of reminiscences and favorite food recipes from the period of the late 1970s to early 1980s when Blakey lived in Northfield, NJ with Warren and son Takashi.[34][35][36]

Blakey traveled for a year in West Africa (1948) to explore the culture and religion of Islam he would adopt alongside changing his name (see above); Art's conversion to "Bu" took place in the late 1940s at a time when other African-Americans were being influenced by the Ahmadi missionary Kahili Ahmed Nasir, according to the Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, and at one time in that period, Blakey led a turbaned, Qur'an-reading jazz band called the 17 Messengers (perhaps all Muslim, reflecting notions of the Prophet's and music's roles as conduits of the divine message).[26] A friend recollects that when "Art took up the religion… he did so on his own terms.", saying that "Muslim imams would come over to his place, and they would pray and talk, then a few hours later [we] would go... to a restaurant… [and] have a drink and order some ribs", and suggests that reasons for the name-change included the pragmatic: that "like many other black jazz musicians who adopted Muslim names", musicians did so to allow them to "check into hotels and enter 'white only places' under the assumption they were not African-American".[33] Blakey reportedly stopped public practice of Islam in the 1950s (though retaining his name and continuing private Qur'anic prayer), perhaps because of the pressures of touring and performing, perhaps in response to experiencing racism within the adoptive religion he believed free from this perceived Christian practice.[26]


As John Cohassey reports based on interviews, Blakey was a "jazz musician who lived most of his life on the road, [and] lived by the rules of the road."[33] This lifestyle resulted in run-ins related to but predating the civil rights era (including a 1939 Fletcher Henderson band episode in Albany, Georgia, where an altercation and Blakey's treatment after arrest led to surgery inserting a plate in his head, ibid.). Drummer Keith Hollis, reflecting on Blakey's early life, states his perception that his fellow drummer "wound up doing drugs to cope";[34] like many of the era, Blakey and his bands were known for their drug use around travel and performing (with varying accounts of Blakey's influence on others in this regard).[33][37] Other specific recollections have Blakely forswearing serious drink while playing (after being disciplined by drummer Sid Catlett early in his career, for drinking while performing), and suggest that the influence of "clean-living cat" Wynton Marsalis led to a period where drugs were a less serious matter during performances.[33] Blakey was also a heavy smoker; he appears in a cloud of smoke on the “Buhaina's Delight” (1961) album cover,[38] and, similarly, in extended footage of a 1973 appearance with Ginger Baker, Blakely begins a long drummers "duel" with cigarette present and alight.[39][40]

Blakey had been living in Manhattan (New York City), when he died of lung cancer at age 71, at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center.[22] Blakey's New York Times obituary notes that he was survived by four daughters (Gwendolyn and Evelyn Blakey of New York, Jackie Blakey of Florida, and Sakeena Buhaina of California), and by four sons (Takashi and Kenji Buhaina of New York, Gamal Buhaina of Vermont, and Akira Buhaina of Quebec, Canada).
Herbie Hancock

Birth name Herbert Jeffrey Hancock
Born April 12, 1940 (age 74)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop, post bop, hard bop, modal jazz, jazz fusion, jazz-funk, funk, R&B, electro, classical
Occupations Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Piano, electric piano, synthesizers, organ, clavinet, keytar, vocoder, Fairlight CMI
Years active 1961–present
Labels Columbia, Blue Note, Warner Bros., Verve
Associated acts Miles Davis Quintet, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, The Headhunters, V.S.O.P., Jaco Pastorius, Joni Mitchell
Website www.herbiehancock.com
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer.[1] As part of Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Hancock practices Nichiren Buddhism and is a member of the Buddhist association Sōka Gakkai International.[2][3][4] As part of Hancock's spiritual practice, he recites the Buddhist chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo each day.[5] In 2013, Hancock's dialogue with Wayne Shorter and Daisaku Ikeda on jazz, Buddhism and life was published in Japanese.

On July 22, 2011, at a ceremony in Paris, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. In 2013 Hancock joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he will teach jazz music.[6]

Hancock is the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Holders of the chair deliver a series of six lectures on poetry, "The Norton Lectures", poetry being "interpreted in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts." Previous Norton lecturers include musicians Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Hancock's theme is "The Ethics of Jazz."
Early life and career[edit]
Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Wendell Phillips High-School. Like many jazz pianists, Hancock started with a classical music education. He studied from age seven, and his talent was recognized early. Considered a child prodigy,[8] he played the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major, K. 537 (Coronation) at a young people's concert on February 5, 1952, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (led by CSO assistant conductor George Schick) at age 11.
Through his teens, Hancock never had a jazz teacher, but developed his ear and sense of harmony. He was also influenced by records of the vocal group the Hi-Lo's. He reported that:

the time I actually heard the Hi-Lo's, I started picking that stuff out; my ear was happening. I could hear stuff and that's when I really learned some much farther-out voicings – like the harmonies I used on Speak Like a Child – just being able to do that. I really got that from Clare Fischer's arrangements for the Hi-Lo's. Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept... He and Bill Evans, and Ravel and Gil Evans, finally. You know, that's where it came from.[10]

In 1960, he heard Chris Anderson play just once, and begged him to accept him as a student.[11] Hancock often mentions Anderson as his harmonic guru. Hancock left Grinnell College, moved to Chicago and began working with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkins, during which period he also took courses at Roosevelt University. (He later graduated from Grinnell with degrees in electrical engineering and music. Grinnell also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1972.[9][12]) Donald Byrd was attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York at the time and suggested that Hancock study composition with Vittorio Giannini, which he did for a short time in 1960. The pianist quickly earned a reputation, and played subsequent sessions with Oliver Nelson and Phil Woods. He recorded his first solo album Takin' Off for Blue Note Records in 1962. "Watermelon Man" (from Takin' Off) was to provide Mongo Santamaría with a hit single, but more importantly for Hancock, Takin' Off caught the attention of Miles Davis, who was at that time assembling a new band. Hancock was introduced to Davis by the young drummer Tony Williams, a member of the new band.
Miles Davis Quintet (1963–1968) and Blue Note Records (1962–1969)[edit]
Hancock received considerable attention when, in May 1963,[9] he joined Davis's Second Great Quintet. Davis personally sought out Hancock, whom he saw as one of the most promising talents in jazz. The rhythm section Davis organized was young but effective, comprising bassist Ron Carter, 17-year-old drummer Williams, and Hancock on piano. After George Coleman and Sam Rivers each took a turn at the saxophone spot, the quintet would gel with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone. This quintet is often regarded as one of the finest jazz ensembles[by whom?], and the rhythm section has been especially praised for its innovation and flexibility[by whom?].

The second great quintet was where Hancock found his own voice as a pianist. Not only did he find new ways to use common chords, but he also popularized chords that had not previously been used in jazz. Hancock also developed a unique taste for "orchestral" accompaniment – using quartal harmony and Debussy-like harmonies, with stark contrasts then unheard of in jazz. With Williams and Carter he wove a labyrinth of rhythmic intricacy on, around and over existing melodic and chordal schemes. In the latter half of the 1960s their approach became so sophisticated and unorthodox that conventional chord changes would hardly be discernible; hence their improvisational concept would become known as "Time, No Changes".[citation needed]

While in Davis's band, Hancock also found time to record dozens of sessions for the Blue Note label, both under his own name and as a sideman with other musicians such as Shorter, Williams, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Rivers, Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard.

His albums Empyrean Isles (1964) and Maiden Voyage (1965) were to be two of the most famous and influential jazz LPs of the 1960s, winning praise for both their innovation and accessibility (the latter demonstrated by the subsequent enormous popularity of the Maiden Voyage title track as a jazz standard, and by the jazz rap group US3 having a hit single with "Cantaloop" (derived from "Cantaloupe Island" on Empyrean Isles) some twenty five years later). Empyrean Isles featured the Davis rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Williams with the addition of Hubbard on cornet, while Maiden Voyage also added former Davis saxophonist Coleman (with Hubbard remaining on trumpet). Both albums are regarded as among the principal foundations of the post-bop style.[citation needed] Hancock also recorded several less-well-known but still critically acclaimed albums with larger ensembles – My Point of View (1963), Speak Like a Child (1968) and The Prisoner (1969) featured flugelhorn, alto flute and bass trombone. 1963's Inventions and Dimensions was an album of almost entirely improvised music, teaming Hancock with bassist Paul Chambers and two Latin percussionists, Willie Bobo and Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez.

During this period, Hancock also composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup (1966), the first of many soundtracks he recorded in his career.

Davis had begun incorporating elements of rock and popular music into his recordings by the end of Hancock's tenure with the band. Despite some initial reluctance, Hancock began doubling on electric keyboards including the Fender Rhodes electric piano at Davis's insistence. Hancock adapted quickly to the new instruments, which proved to be instrumental in his future artistic endeavors.

Under the pretext that he had returned late from a honeymoon in Brazil, Hancock was dismissed from Davis's band. In the summer of 1968 Hancock formed his own sextet. However, although Davis soon disbanded his quintet to search for a new sound, Hancock, despite his departure from the working band, continued to appear on Davis records for the next few years. Noteworthy appearances include In a Silent Way, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and On the Corner.
Fat Albert (1969) and Mwandishi (1971)[edit]

Hancock playing a Roland AX-7 keytar, at The Roundhouse, Camden, London, 2006
Hancock left Blue Note in 1969, signing with Warner Bros. Records. In 1969, Hancock composed the soundtrack for the Bill Cosby animated children's television show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Titled Fat Albert Rotunda (1969), the album was mainly an R&B-influenced album with strong jazz overtones. One of the jazzier songs on the record, "Tell Me a Bedtime Story", was later re-worked as a more electronic sounding song for the Quincy Jones album, Sounds...and Stuff Like That!! (1978).

Hancock became fascinated with accumulating musical gadgets and toys. Together with the profound influence of Davis's Bitches Brew (1970), this fascination would culminate in a series of albums, in which electronic instruments are coupled with acoustic instruments.

Hancock's first ventures into electronic music started with a sextet comprising Hancock, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart, and a trio of horn players: Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), and multireedist Bennie Maupin. Dr. Patrick Gleeson was eventually added to the mix to play and program the synthesizers. In fact, Hancock was one of the first jazz pianists to completely embrace electronic keyboards.[citation needed]

The sextet, later a septet with the addition of Gleeson, made three albums under Hancock's name: Mwandishi (1971), Crossings (1972) (both on Warner Bros. Records), and Sextant (1973) (released on Columbia Records); two more, Realization and Inside Out, were recorded under Henderson's name with essentially the same personnel. The music exhibited strong improvisational aspect beyond the confines of jazz mainstream and showed influence from the electronic music of contemporary classical composers.

Synthesizer player Gleeson, one of the first musicians to play synthesizer on any jazz recording, introduced the instrument on Crossings, released in 1972, one of a handful of influential electronic jazz/fusion recordings to feature synthesizer that year. On Crossings (as well as on Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric), the synthesizer is used more as an improvisatory global orchestration device than as a strictly melodic instrument. An early review of Crossings in Downbeat magazine complained about the synthesizer, but a few years later the magazine noted in a cover story on Gleeson that he was "a pioneer" in the field of electronics in jazz. In the albums following The Crossings, Hancock started to play synth himself, with synth taking on a melodic role.

Hancock's three records released in 1971–1973 later became known as the "Mwandishi" albums, so-called after a Swahili name Hancock sometimes used during this era (Mwandishi is Swahili for writer). The first two, including Fat Albert Rotunda were made available on the 2-CD set Mwandishi: the Complete Warner Bros. Recordings, released in 1994, but are now sold as individual CD editions. Of the three electronic albums, Sextant is probably the most experimental since the ARP synthesizers are used extensively, and some advanced improvisation ("post-modal free impressionism") is found on the tracks "Hornets" and "Hidden Shadows" (which is in the meter 19/4).[citation needed] "Hornets" was later revised on the 2001 album Future2Future as "Virtual Hornets".

Among the instruments Hancock and Gleeson used were Fender Rhodes piano, ARP Odyssey, ARP 2600, ARP Pro Soloist Synthesizer, a Mellotron and the Moog synthesizer III.

All three Warner Bros. albums Fat Albert Rotunda (1969), Mwandishi (1971), and Crossings (1972), were remastered in 2001 and released in Europe but were not released in the US as of June 2005. In the winter of 2006–7 a remastered edition of Crossings was announced and scheduled for release in the spring.
From Head Hunters (1973) to Secrets (1976)
After the sometimes "airy" and decidedly experimental "Mwandishi" albums, Hancock was eager to perform more "earthy" and "funky" music. The Mwandishi albums – though later seen as respected early fusion recordings – had seen mixed reviews and poor sales, so it is probable that Hancock was motivated by financial concerns as well as artistic restlessness.[citation needed] Hancock was also bothered by the fact that many people did not understand avant-garde music. He explained that he loved funk music, especially Sly Stone's music, so he wanted to try to make funk himself.

He gathered a new band, which he called The Headhunters, keeping only Maupin from the sextet and adding bassist Paul Jackson, percussionist Bill Summers, and drummer Harvey Mason. The album Head Hunters, released in 1973, was a major hit and crossed over to pop audiences, though it prompted criticism from some jazz fans.

Despite charges of "selling out", Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic positively reviewed the album among other friendly critics, saying, "Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital three decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop."[13]

Drummer Mason was replaced by Mike Clark, and the band released a second album, Thrust, the following year, 1974. (A live album from a Japan performance, consisting of compositions from those first two Head Hunters releases was released in 1975 as Flood. The record has since been released on CD in Japan.) This was almost as well received as its predecessor, if not attaining the same level of commercial success. The Headhunters made another successful album called Survival of the Fittest in 1975 without Hancock, while Hancock himself started to make even more commercial albums, often featuring members of the band, but no longer billed as The Headhunters. The Headhunters reunited with Hancock in 1998 for Return of the Headhunters, and a version of the band (featuring Jackson and Clark) continues to play live and record.

In 1973, Hancock composed his second masterful soundtrack to the controversial film The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Then in 1974, he also composed the soundtrack to the first Death Wish film. One of his memorable songs, "Joanna's Theme", would later be re-recorded in 1997 on his duet album with Shorter, 1 + 1.

Hancock's next jazz-funk albums of the 1970s were Man-Child (1975), and Secrets (1976), which point toward the more commercial direction Hancock would take over the next decade. These albums feature the members of the Headhunters band, but also a variety of other musicians in important roles.
From V.S.O.P. (1976–) to Future Shock (1983)[edit]
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hancock toured with his V.S.O.P. quintet, which featured all the members of the 1960s Davis quintet except Davis, who was replaced by trumpeter Hubbard. There was constant speculation that one day Davis would reunite with his classic band, but he never did so. VSOP recorded several live albums in the late 1970s, including The Quintet (1977).

In 1978, Hancock recorded a duet with Chick Corea, who had replaced him in the Davis band a decade earlier. Hancock also released a solo acoustic piano album titled The Piano (1979), which, like so many Hancock albums at the time, was initially released only in Japan. (It was finally released in the US in 2004.) Several other Japan-only releases have yet[when?] to appear in the US, such as Dedication (1974), V.S.O.P.'s Tempest in the Colosseum (1977), and Direct Step (1978). Live Under the Sky was a VSOP album remastered for the US in 2004, and included an entire second concert from the July 1979 tour.

From 1978 to 1982, Hancock recorded many albums consisting of jazz-inflected disco and pop music, beginning with Sunlight (featuring guest musicians including Williams and Pastorius on the last track) (1978). Singing through a vocoder, he earned a British hit,[14] "I Thought It Was You", although critics were unimpressed.[15] This led to more vocoder on 1979 follow-up, Feets, Don't Fail Me Now, which gave him another UK hit in "You Bet Your Love".[14]

Albums such as Monster (1980), Magic Windows (1981), and Lite Me Up (1982) were some of Hancock's most criticized and unwelcomed albums, the market at the time being somewhat saturated with similar pop-jazz hybrids from the likes of former bandmate Hubbard. Hancock himself had quite a limited role in some of those albums, leaving singing, composing and even producing to others. Mr. Hands (1980) is perhaps the one album during this period, that was critically acclaimed. To the delight of many fans, there were no vocals on the album, and one track featured Pastorius on bass. The album contained a wide variety of different styles, including a disco instrumental song, a Latin-jazz number and an electronic piece, in which Hancock plays alone with the help of computers.

Hancock also found time to record more traditional jazz while creating more commercially oriented music. He toured with Williams and Carter in 1981, recording Herbie Hancock Trio, a five-track live album released only in Japan. A month later, he recorded Quartet with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, released in the US the following year. Hancock, Williams and Carter toured internationally with Wynton and his brother, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, in what was known as "VSOP II". This quintet can be heard on Marsalis's debut album on Columbia (1981). In 1984 VSOP II performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival as a sextet with Hancock, Williams, Carter, the Marsalis Brothers and the addition of a third member into the horn section by way of Bobby McFerrin contributing his unique vocal styling's.


In 1982 Hancock contributed to the Simple Minds album New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84), playing a synthesizer solo on the track "Hunter and the Hunted".

In 1983, Hancock had a mainstream hit with the Grammy-award winning instrumental single "Rockit" from the album Future Shock. It was the first jazz hip-hop song[16][17][18] and became a worldwide anthem for the breakdancers and for the hip-hop culture of the 1980s.[19][20] It was also the first mainstream single to feature scratching, and also featured an innovative animated music video, which was directed by Godley and Creme and showed several robot-like artworks by Jim Whiting. The video was a hit on MTV and reached No. 8 in the UK.[21] The video won in five categories at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards. This single ushered in a collaboration with noted bassist and producer Bill Laswell. Hancock experimented with electronic music on a string of three LPs produced by Laswell: Future Shock (1983), the Grammy Award-winning Sound-System (1984), and Perfect Machine (1988).

During this period, he appeared onstage at the Grammy Awards with Stevie Wonder, Howard Jones, and Thomas Dolby, in a synthesizer jam. Lesser known works from the 1980s are the live album Jazz Africa (1987) and the studio album Village Life (1984), which were recorded with Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso.[22] Also, in 1985 Hancock performed as a guest on the album So Red the Rose (1985) by the Duran Duran spinoff group Arcadia. He also provided introductory and closing comments for the PBS rebroadcast in the United States of the BBC educational series from the mid-1980s, Rockschool (not to be confused with the most recent Gene Simmons' Rock School series).

In 1986 Hancock performed and acted in the film 'Round Midnight. He also wrote the score/soundtrack, for which he won an Academy Award for Original Music Score. Often he would write music for TV commercials. "Maiden Voyage", in fact, started out as a cologne advertisement. At the end of the Perfect Machine tour, Hancock decided to leave Columbia Records after a 15-plus-year relationship.

As of June 2005 almost half of his Columbia recordings have been remastered. The first three US releases, Sextant, Head Hunters and Thrust, as well as the last four releases, Future Shock, Sound-System, the soundtrack to Round Midnight, and Perfect Machine. Everything released in America from Man-Child (1975) to Quartet (1982) has yet to be remastered. Some albums, made and initially released in the US, were remastered between 1999 and 2001 in other countries. Hancock also re-released some of his Japan-only releases in the West, such as The Piano.
1990s to 2000[edit]

Hancock live in concert
After a break following his leaving of Columbia, Hancock, together with Carter, Williams, Shorter, and Davis admirer Wallace Roney, recorded A Tribute to Miles, which was released in 1994. The album contained two live recordings and studio recording classics, with Roney playing Davis's part as trumpet player. The album won a Grammy for best group album. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Pat Metheny in 1990 on their Parallel Realities tour, which included a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 1990.

Hancock's next album, Dis Is da Drum, released in 1994, saw him return to acid jazz. Also in 1994, he appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African-American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine.

1995's The New Standard found Hancock and an all-star band including John Scofield, DeJohnette and Michael Brecker, interpreting pop songs by Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Prince, Peter Gabriel and others.

A 1997 duet album with Shorter, entitled 1 + 1, was successful; the song "Aung San Suu Kyi" winning the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. Hancock also achieved great success in 1998 with his album Gershwin's World, which featured inventive readings of George and Ira Gershwin standards by Hancock and a plethora of guest stars, including Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Shorter. Hancock toured the world in support of Gershwin's World with a sextet that featured Cyro Baptista, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ira Coleman, Eli Degibri and Eddie Henderson.
2000 to 2009[edit]
In 2001 Hancock recorded Future2Future, which reunited Hancock with Laswell and featured doses of electronica as well as turntablist Rob Swift of The X-Ecutioners. Hancock later toured with the band, and released a live concert DVD with a different lineup, which also included the "Rockit" music video. Also in 2001 Hancock partnered with Brecker and Roy Hargrove to record a live concert album saluting Davis and John Coltrane, entitled Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall, recorded live in Toronto. The threesome toured to support the album, and toured on-and-off through 2005.


Hancock performing in concert, 2006
The year 2005 saw the release of a duet album called Possibilities. It featured duets with Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Sting and others. In 2006 Possibilities was nominated for Grammy Awards in two categories: "A Song for You", (featuring Aguilera) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and "Gelo No Montanha", (featuring Trey Anastasio on guitar, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance, although neither nomination resulted in an award.

Also in 2005 Hancock toured Europe with a new quartet that included Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke, and explored textures ranging from ambient to straight jazz to African music. Plus, during the summer of 2005, Hancock re-staffed the famous Headhunters and went on tour with them, including a performance at The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. This lineup did not consist of any of the original Headhunters musicians. The group included Marcus Miller, Carrington, Loueke and Mayer. Hancock also served as the first artist in residence for Bonnaroo that summer.


Also in 2006 Sony BMG Music Entertainment (which bought out Hancock's old label, Columbia Records) released the two-disc retrospective The Essential Herbie Hancock. This set was the first compilation of his work at Warner Bros., Blue Note, Columbia and Verve/Polygram. This became Hancock's second major compilation of work since the 2002 Columbia-only The Herbie Hancock Box, which was released at first in a plastic 4 × 4 cube then re-released in 2004 in a long box set. Also in 2006, Hancock recorded a new song with Josh Groban and Eric Mouquet (co-founder of Deep Forest), entitled "Machine". It is featured on Groban's CD Awake. Hancock also recorded and improvised with guitarist Loueke on Loueke's 1996 debut album Virgin Forest, on the ObliqSound label, resulting in two improvisational tracks – "Le Réveil des agneaux (The Awakening of the Lambs)" and "La Poursuite du lion (The Lion's Pursuit)".

Hancock, a longtime associate and friend of Mitchell released a 2007 album, River: The Joni Letters, that paid tribute to her work with Norah Jones and Tina Turner, adding vocals to the album,[23] as did Corinne Bailey Rae. Leonard Cohen contributed a spoken piece set to Hancock's piano. Mitchell herself also made an appearance. The album was released on September 25, 2007, simultaneously with the release of Mitchell's newest album at that time: Shine.[24] River won the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy Award, only the second time in history that a jazz album received either[disambiguation needed] honor. The album also won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and the song "Both Sides Now" was nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo.

On June 14, 2008 Hancock performed with others at Rhythm on the Vine at the South Coast Winery in Temecula, California, for Shriners Hospitals for Children. The event raised $515,000 for Shriners Hospital.[25]

On January 18, 2009 Hancock performed at the We Are One concert, marking the start of inaugural celebrations for American President Barack Obama.[26] Hancock also performed Rhapsody in Blue at the 2009 Classical BRIT Awards with classical pianist Lang Lang. Hancock was named as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's creative chair for jazz for 2010–12.[27]

His latest work includes assisting the production of the Kanye West track "RoboCop", found on 808s & Heartbreak.
Current work from 2010 to present[edit]

Hancock on stage performing in Warszawa, Poland, November 29, 2010 with his Imagine Project.
In June 2010 Hancock released The Imagine Project. On June 5, 2010 Hancock received an Alumni Award from his alma mater, Grinnell College.[28] On December 8, 2013 he was given the Kennedy Center Honors Award for achievement in the performing arts with artists like Snoop Dogg and Mixmaster Mike from the Beastie Boys performing his music. He appears on the 5th Flying Lotus studio album "You're Dead," set to release in October 2014.
Sun Ra

Sun Ra at the New England Conservatory of Music, February 27, 1992
Background information
Birth name Herman Poole Blount
Also known as Sun Ra, Le Sony'r Ra
Born May 22, 1914
Origin Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Died May 30, 1993 (aged 79)
Genres Avant-garde jazz, hard bop, swing, free jazz, doo wop, jazz fusion, electronic, experimental
Occupation(s) Bandleader, composer, arranger, artist, poet
Instruments Piano, organ, keyboards, Minimoog, celesta, percussion, vocals
Years active 1934–1993
Labels El Saturn Records, Thoth Intergalactic, Impulse!, MPS, ESP-Disk, Black Saint, A&M, Leo, Rounder
Associated acts Arkestra
Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony'r Ra;[1] May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993) was a prolific jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," musical compositions and performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a 1979 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Controversial[2] because of his eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle, and claiming that he was of the "Angel Race," and not from Earth but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona, using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee.[3] Sun Ra denied any connection with his birth name, saying "That's an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym."[4]

From the mid-1950s to his death, Sun Ra led "The Arkestra" (a deliberate re-spelling of "orchestra"), an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up, although certain core members remained with the group through its various incarnations (Marshal Allen, John Gilmore, June Tyson, and others). It was by turns called "The Solar Myth Arkestra", "His Cosmo Discipline Arkestra", the "Blue Universe Arkestra", "Myth Science Arkestra", "The Jet Set Omniverse Arkestra", and many other variations. Sun Ra asserted that the ever-changing name of his ensemble reflected the ever-changing nature of his music. His mainstream success was limited, but Sun Ra was a prolific recording artist and frequent live performer. His music ranged from keyboard solos to big bands of over 30 musicians and touched on virtually the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing music, from bebop to free jazz. He also used free improvisation and was one of the early musicians to make extensive use of electronic keyboards.
Biography
Early life
He was born Herman Blount on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama, as discovered by his biographer, John F. Szwed, and published in his 1998 book. The boy was named after the popular vaudeville stage magician Black Herman, who had deeply impressed his mother. He was nicknamed "Sonny" from his childhood, had an older sister and half-brother, and was doted upon by his mother and grandmother.

For decades, very little was known about Sun Ra's early life, and he contributed to its obscurity. As a self-invented person, he routinely gave evasive, contradictory or seemingly nonsensical answers to personal questions, and denied his birth name. He speculated, only half in jest, that he was distantly related to Elijah Poole, later famous as Elijah Muhammed, leader of the Nation of Islam. His birthday for years remained unknown, as he claimed it for years ranging from 1910 to 1918. Only a few years before his death, the date of Sun Ra's birth was still a mystery. Jim Macnie's notes for Blue Delight (1989) said that Sun Ra was believed to be about 75 years old. But, Ra's biographer John F. Szwed was able to uncover a wealth of information about his early life and confirmed a birth date of May 22, 1914.

As a child, Herman was a skilled pianist. By the age of 11 or 12 years old, he was composing [6] and sight reading music. Birmingham was an important stop for touring musicians. He saw famous musicians such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller, along with others who were quite talented but never made the big time. Sun Ra once said, "[T]he world let down a lot of good musicians".[7]

In his teenage years, Blount demonstrated prodigious musical talent: many times, according to acquaintances, he would see big band performances and produce full transcriptions of the bands' songs from memory. By his mid-teens, Blount was performing semi-professionally as a solo pianist, or as a member of various ad hoc jazz and R&B groups. He attended Birmingham's segregated Industrial High School (now known as Parker High School), where he studied under famed music teacher John T. "Fess" Whatley, a demanding disciplinarian who was widely respected and whose classes produced many professional musicians.

Though deeply religious, his family was not formally associated with any Christian church or sect. Blount had few or no close friends in high school but was remembered as kind-natured and quiet, an honor roll student, and a voracious reader. He took advantage of the Black Masonic Lodge as one of the few places in Birmingham where African Americans had unlimited access to books. Its collection on Freemasonry and other esoteric concepts made a strong impression on him.

By his teens, Blount suffered from cryptorchidism,[8] a chronic testicular hernia. It left him with a nearly constant discomfort that sometimes flared into severe pain. Szwed suggests that Blount felt shame about it and the condition contributed to his isolation.
Early professional career and college[edit]
In 1934 Blount was offered his first full-time musical job by Ethel Harper, his biology teacher from the high school, who organized a band to pursue a career as a singer. Blount joined a musicians' trade union and toured with Harper's group through the US Southeast and Midwest. When Harper left the group mid-tour to move to New York (she later was a member of the modestly successful singing group the Ginger Snaps), Blount took over leadership of the group, renaming it the Sonny Blount Orchestra. They continued touring for several months before dissolving it as unprofitable. Though the first edition of the Sonny Blount Orchestra was not financially successful, they earned positive notice from fans and other musicians. Blount afterward found steady employment as a musician in Birmingham.

The clubs of Birmingham often featured exotic trappings, such as vivid lighting and murals with tropical or oasis scenes. These were believed to have influenced the elements Sun Ra incorporated in his later stage shows. Playing for the big bands gave black musicians a sense of pride and togetherness; they were highly regarded in the black community. They were expected to be disciplined and presentable, and in the segregated South, black musicians had wide acceptance in white society. They often played for elite white society audiences (though they were typically forbidden from associating with members of the audience.)

In 1936 Whatley's intercession led to Blount's being awarded a scholarship at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. He was a music education major, studying composition, orchestration, and music theory; and dropped out after a year.
Trip to Saturn[edit]
Finances and his increasing sense of isolation are believed to have been factors in Sun Ra's leaving college. Perhaps more importantly, he claimed a visionary experience as a college student; it had a major, long-term influence on the young pianist. In 1936 or 1937, in the midst of deep religious concentration, Sun Ra claimed that a bright light appeared around him, and, as he later said:

… my whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up … I wasn't in human form … I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn … they teleported me and I was down on [a] stage with them. They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me. They told me to stop [attending college] because there was going to be great trouble in schools … the world was going into complete chaos … I would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That's what they told me.[9]

Sun Ra said that this experience occurred in 1936 or 1937. According to Szwed, the musician's closest associates cannot date the story any earlier than 1952. (Sun Ra also said that the incident occurred when he was living in Chicago, where he did not settle until the late 1940s). Sun Ra discussed the vision, with no substantive variation, to the end of his life. His trip to Saturn allegedly occurred a full decade before flying saucers entered public consciousness with the 1947 encounter of Kenneth Arnold. It was earlier than other public accounts: about 15 years before George Adamski wrote about contact with benevolent beings; and almost 20 years before the 1961 case of Barney and Betty Hill, who recounted sinister UFO abductions. Szwed says that, "even if this story is revisionist autobiography … Sonny was pulling together several strains of his life. He was both prophesizing his future and explaining his past with a single act of personal mythology."
New devotion to music (late 1930s)[edit]
After leaving college, Blount became known as the most singularly devoted musician in Birmingham. He rarely slept, citing Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Napoleon as fellow highly productive cat-nappers. He transformed the first floor of his family's home into a conservatory-workshop, where he wrote songs, transcribed recordings, rehearsed with the many musicians who were nearly constantly drifting in and out, and discussed Biblical and esoteric concepts with whomever was interested.[11]

Blount became a regular at Birmingham's Forbes Piano Company, a white-owned company. Blount visited the Forbes building almost daily to play music, swap ideas with staff and customers, or copy sheet music into his notebooks.[12] He formed a new band, and like his old teacher Whatley, insisted on rigorous daily rehearsals. The new Sonny Blount Orchestra earned a reputation as an impressive, disciplined band that could play in a wide variety of styles with equal skill.
Draft and wartime experiences[edit]
In October 1942 Blount received a selective service notification that he had been drafted into the Military of the United States. He quickly declared himself a conscientious objector, citing religious objections to war and killing, his financial support of his great-aunt Ida, and his chronic hernia. His case was rejected by the local draft board, and in his appeal to the national draft board, Blount wrote that the lack of black men on the draft appeal board "smacks of Hitlerism".[13] His family was deeply embarrassed by Sonny's refusal to join the military; many relatives ostracized him. Although eventually approved for alternate service at Civilian Public Service camp in Pennsylvania, he did not appear at the camp as required on December 8, 1942. Shortly after, he was arrested in Alabama.

In court, Blount said that alternate service was unacceptable; he debated the judge on points of law and Biblical interpretation. Though sympathetic, the judge ruled that Blount was violating the law and was at risk for being drafted into the U.S. military. Blount responded that if inducted, he would use military weapons and training to kill the first high-ranking military officer possible. The judge sentenced Blount to jail (pending draft board and CPS rulings), and then said, "I've never seen a nigger like you before;" Blount replied, "No, and you never will again."[14]

In January 1943 Blount wrote to the United States Marshals Service from the Walker County, Alabama jail in Jasper. He said he was facing a nervous breakdown from the stress of imprisonment, that he was suicidal, and that he was in constant fear of sexual assault. When his conscientious objector status was reaffirmed in February 1943, he was escorted to Pennsylvania. He did forestry work as assigned during the day and was allowed to play piano at night. Psychiatrists there described him as "a psychopathic personality [and] sexually perverted" but also as "a well-educated colored intellectual".[15]

In March 1943, Blount was classified as 4-F because of his hernia, and returned to Birmingham, embittered and angered. He formed a new band and quickly was playing professionally. After his beloved great-aunt Ida died in 1945, Blount felt no reason to stay in Birmingham. He dissolved the band, and moved to Chicago, part of the Second Great Migration, southern African Americans who moved north during and after World War II.
Chicago years (1945–61)[edit]
In Chicago Blount quickly found work, notably with blues singer Wynonie Harris, with whom he made his recording debut on two 1946 singles, "Dig This Boogie/Lightning Struck the Poorhouse" and "My Baby's Barrelhouse"/"Drinking By Myself". "Dig This Boogie" was also Blount's first recorded piano solo. He performed with the locally successful Lil Green band and played bump-and-grind music for months in Calumet City strip clubs.

In August 1946, Blount earned a lengthy engagement at the Club DeLisa under bandleader and composer Fletcher Henderson. Blount had long admired Henderson, but Henderson's fortunes were fading (his band was now made of up middling musicians rather than the stars of earlier years) in large part because of his instability, due to Fletcher's long term injuries from a car accident. Henderson hired Blount as pianist and arranger, replacing Marl Young. Ra's arrangements initially showed a degree of bebop influence, but the band members resisted the new music, despite Henderson's encouragement.

In 1948 Blount performed briefly in a trio with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and violinist Stuff Smith, both preeminent swing-era musicians. There are no known recordings of this trio, but a home recording of a Blount-Smith duet from 1953 appears on Sound Sun Pleasure, and one of Sun Ra's final recordings was a rare sideman appearance on violinist Billy Bang's Tribute to Stuff Smith.

In addition to enabling professional advancement, what he encountered in Chicago changed Blount's personal outlook. The city was a center of African-American political activism and fringe movements, with Black Muslims, Black Hebrews, and others proselytizing, debating, and printing leaflets or books. Blount absorbed it all and was fascinated with the city's many ancient Egyptian-styled buildings and monuments. He read books such as George G.M. James's Stolen Legacy (which argued that classical Greek philosophy had its roots in ancient Egypt). Blount concluded that the accomplishments and history of Africans had been systematically suppressed and denied by European cultures.

By 1952 Blount was leading the Space Trio with drummer Tommy "Bugs" Hunter and saxophonist Pat Patrick, two of the most accomplished musicians he had known. They performed regularly, and Sun Ra began writing more advanced songs.


On October 20, 1952, Blount legally changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra. Sun Ra claimed[16] to have always been uncomfortable with his birth name of Blount. He considered it a slave name, from a family that was not his. David Martinelli suggested that his change was similar to "Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali … [dropping] their slave names in the process of attaining a new self-awareness and self-esteem".[17]

Patrick left the group to move to Florida with his new wife. His friend John Gilmore (tenor sax) joined the group, and Marshall Allen (alto sax) soon followed. Patrick was in and out of the group until the end of his life, but Allen and Gilmore—who would both earn critical praise for their talents—were the two most devoted members of the Arkestra. Saxophonist James Spaulding and trombonist Julian Priester also recorded with Sun Ra in Chicago, and both went on to notable careers of their own. The Chicago tenor Von Freeman also did a short stint with the band of the early 1950s.[18]

In Chicago, Blount met Alton Abraham, a precociously intelligent teenager and something of a kindred spirit. He became the Arkestra's biggest booster and one of Sun Ra's closest friends. The men both felt like outsiders and shared an interest in fringe esoterica. Abraham's strengths balanced Ra's shortcomings: though he was a disciplined bandleader, Sun Ra was somewhat introverted and lacked business sense (a trait that would haunt his entire career); Abraham was outgoing, well-connected, and practical. Though still a teenager, Abraham eventually became Sun Ra's de facto business manager: he booked performances, suggested musicians for the Arkestra, and introduced several popular songs into the group's repertoire. Ra, Abraham and others formed a sort of book club to trade ideas and discuss the offbeat topics that so intrigued them. This group printed a number of pamphlets and broadsides explaining their conclusions and ideas; some of these were collected by critic John Corbett and Anthony Elms as The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets (2006).

Sun Ra and Abraham also formed an independent record label in the mid-1950s; it was generally known as El Saturn Records. It had several variations of name. Initially focused on 45 rpm singles by Sun Ra and artists related to him, Saturn Records issued two full-length albums during the 1950s: Super-Sonic Jazz (1957) and Jazz In Silhouette (1959). Producer Tom Wilson was the first to release a Sun Ra album, through his independent label Transition Records in 1957, entitled Jazz by Sun Ra.[19] During this era, Sun Ra recorded the first of dozens of singles as a band-for-hire backing a range of doo wop and R&B singers; several dozen of these were reissued in a two-CD set, The Singles, by Evidence Records.

During the late 1950s, Sun Ra and his band began wearing the outlandish, Egyptian-styled or science fiction-themed costumes and headdresses for which they would become known. These costumes had multiple purposes: they expressed Sun Ra's fascination with ancient Egypt and the space age; they provided a distinctive uniform for the Arkestra; they provided a new identity for the band onstage, as well as comic relief. (Sun Ra thought avant garde musicians typically took themselves far too seriously).
New York years (1961–68)[edit]
Sun Ra and some of his core musicians (Allen, Gilmore, and Boykins) left Chicago in July 1961, staying in Montreal through the end of September before settling in New York City. They initially had trouble finding performance venues and began living communally because of New York's higher cost of living. This frustration helped to fuel the drastic changes in the Arkestra's sound as Sun Ra's music underwent a free jazz-influenced experimental period.

In March 1966 the Arkestra scored a regular Monday night gig at Slug's Saloon. This proved to be a breakthrough to new audiences and recognition. Sun Ra's popularity reached an early peak during this period, as the beat generation and early followers of psychedelia embraced him. Regularly for the next year and a half (and intermittently for another half-decade afterwards), Sun Ra and company performed at Slug's for audiences that eventually came to include music critics and notable jazz musicians. Opinions of Sun Ra's music were divided (and hecklers were not uncommon), but high praise came from two of the architects of bebop: trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie offered encouragement, once stating, "Keep it up, Sonny, they tried to do the same shit to me",[20] while pianist Thelonious Monk chided someone who said Sun Ra was "too far out" by responding, "Yeah, but it swings."
Philadelphia years (1968–93)[edit]
In 1968, when the New York building they were renting was put up for sale, Sun Ra and the Arkestra relocated to the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He got a house in Morton Street that became the Arkestra's base of operations until Sun Ra's death. Apart from occasional complaints about the noise of rehearsals, they were soon regarded as good neighbors because of their friendliness, drug-free living, and rapport with youngsters. The saxophonist Danny Thompson owned and operated the Pharaoh's Den, a convenience store in the neighborhood. When lightning struck a tree on their street, Sun Ra took it as a good omen. James Jacson fashioned the Cosmic Infinity Drum from the scorched tree trunk. They commuted via railroad to New York for the Monday night gig at Slug's and for other engagements.

In late 1968 Sun Ra and the Arkestra made their first tour of the US West Coast. Reactions were mixed; hippies accustomed to long-form psychedelia like the Grateful Dead were often bewildered by the Arkestra. By this time, the performance included 20–30 musicians, dancers, singers, fire-eaters, and elaborate lighting. John Burks of Rolling Stone wrote a positive review of a San Jose State College concert. Sun Ra was featured on the April 19, 1969 cover of the magazine, which introduced his inscrutable gaze to millions. During this tour, Damon Choice, then an art student at San Jose, joined the Arkestra and became its vibraphonist.

Starting with concerts in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in 1970, the Arkestra began to tour internationally. They played to audiences who had known his music only through records. Sun Ra continued playing in Europe to nearly the end of his life. The saxophonist Danny Thompson became a de facto tour and business manager during this era, specializing in what he called "no bullshit C.O.D.",[22] preferring to take cash before performing or delivering records.

In early 1971, Sun Ra was appointed as artist-in-residence at University of California, Berkeley, teaching a course called "The Black Man In the Cosmos".[23] Few students enrolled, but his classes were often full of curious persons from the surrounding community. One half-hour of each class was devoted to a lecture (complete with handouts and homework assignments), the other half-hour to an Arkestra performance or Sun Ra keyboard solo. Reading lists included the works of Madame Blavatsky and Henry Dumas, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, The Book of Oahspe and assorted volumes concerning Egyptian hieroglyphs, African American folklore, and other topics.

In 1971, Sun Ra traveled throughout Egypt with the Arkestra at the invitation of the drummer Salah Ragab. He returned to Egypt in 1983 and 1984, when he recorded with Ragab . Recordings made in Egypt have been released as Live in Egypt, Nidhamu, Sun Ra Meets Salah Ragab, Egypt Strut and Horizon.[24][25][26]


In 1972, San Francisco public TV station KQED producer John Coney, producer Jim Newman, and screen writer Joshua Smith worked with Sun Ra to produce an 85-minute feature film, entitled Space Is the Place, with Sun Ra's Arkestra and an ensemble of actors assembled by the production team. It was filmed in Oakland and San Francisco. On May 20, 1978, Sun Ra and the Arkestra appeared on the TV show, Saturday Night Live.

In the mid-1970s, the Arkestra sometimes played free Saturday afternoon concerts in a Germantown park near their home. At their mid-1970s shows in Philadelphia nightclubs, someone would stand at the back of the room, selling stacks of unmarked LPs in plain white sleeves, pressed from recordings of the band's live performances (including one Halloween show where the salesman was dressed as a golden alien, and the LPs included an arrangement of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow").

In New York City in the fall of 1979, Sun Ra and the Arkestra played as the "house band" at the Squat Theatre on 23rd Street, which was notorious as the performance venue of the avant-garde Hungarian theater troupe. Janos, their manager, transformed the theater into a nightclub while most of the troupe was away that season performing in Europe. Debbie Harry, "The Velvet Underground"'s John Cale and Nico (from Andy Warhol's Factory days), John Lurie and 'The Lounge Lizards,' and other pop and avant-garde musicians were regulars.

Sun Ra was disciplined and drank only club soda at the gigs, but did not impose his strict code on his musicians. They deeply respected his genius, discipline and authority. Soft spoken and charismatic, Sun Ra turned Squat Theater into a universe of big band "space" jazz backed by a floor show of sexy Jupiterettes. He directed while playing three synthesizers at the same time. In those days, "Space Is The Place" was the space at Squat.

The Arkestra continued their touring and recording through the 1980s and into the 1990s. Sun Ra became a fixture in Philadelphia, appearing semi-regularly on WXPN radio, giving lectures to community groups, or haunting the city's libraries.

He had a stroke in 1990, but kept composing, performing, and leading the Arkestra. Late in his career, Sun Ra opened a few concerts for the New York–based rock group Sonic Youth. When too ill to perform and tour, Sun Ra appointed Gilmore to lead the Arkestra. (Gilmore was frail from emphysema; after his death, Allen took over leadership of the Arkestra.)

Sun Ra returned to Birmingham to see his sister, whom he had rarely seen in nearly 40 years. He contracted pneumonia and died in Birmingham on May 30, 1993. He was buried at the Elmwood Cemetery. According to the hospital, he had also been affected by circulatory system problems and numerous strokes shortly before his death.[3] The small footstone reads "Herman Sonny Blount aka Le Sony'r Ra".
The Arkestra[edit]
Following Sun Ra's death, the Arkestra was led by tenor saxophonist John Gilmore. Following Gilmore's death in 1995, the group has performed under the direction of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who celebrated his 80th birthday on stage during Arkestra performances at the Vox Populi gallery in Philadelphia and the Vision Festival in New York City. A 1999 album led by Allen, Song for the Sun, features Jimmy Hopps and Dick Griffin. In the summer of 2004 the Arkestra became the first American jazz band to perform in Tuva, in southern Siberia, where they played five sets at the Ustuu-Huree Festival.[29]

As of May 2008, the Arkestra continues to tour and perform, with Marshall Allen celebrating his 84th birthday on stage at New York City's Sullivan Hall. In September 2008 they played for 7 days in a row at the ZXZW festival, each day emphasizing different aspects of the musical legacy of Sun Ra. The Arkestra celebrated Allen's 85th birthday on May 24, 2009, to a packed house at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood. A month later, they performed at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art in conjunction with an exhibition that explored the intersection of the Arkestra's performing legacy and the practice of contemporary art.[30] More recently they ventured to Australia for the first time, for the 2011 Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Under the direction of the sprightly 87-year-old Allen, they played to enthusiastic sold-out crowds.

Music[edit]
Sun Ra's piano technique touched on many styles: his youthful fascination with boogie woogie, stride piano and blues, a sometimes refined touch reminiscent of Count Basie or Ahmad Jamal, and angular phrases in the style of Thelonious Monk or brutal, percussive attacks like Cecil Taylor. Often overlooked is the range of influences from classical music—Sun Ra cited Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg and Shostakovich as his favorite composers for the piano.[31]

As a synthesizer and electric keyboard player, Sun Ra ranks among one of the earliest and most radical pioneers. By the mid-1950s, he used a variety of electric keyboards, and almost immediately, he exploited their potential perhaps more than anyone, sometimes modifying them himself to produce sounds rarely if ever heard before. His live albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s feature some of the noisiest, most bizarre keyboard work ever recorded.

Sun Ra's music can be roughly divided into three phases, but his records and performances were full of surprises and the following categories should be regarded only as approximations.

Pharoah Sanders

Background information
Birth name Farrell Sanders
Born October 13, 1940 (age 74)
Origin Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Genres Free jazz
Avant-garde jazz
World fusion
Post-bop
Hard bop
Occupation(s) Saxophonist, band leader
Instruments Tenor saxophone, flute, piccolo, tambourine
Labels Douglas Records
Pharoah Sanders (born October 13, 1940) is a Grammy Award-winning American jazz saxophonist.

Saxophonist Ornette Coleman once described him as "probably the best tenor player in the world."[1] Emerging from John Coltrane's groups of the mid-1960s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of "sheets of sound." Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz; Albert Ayler famously said: "Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost."

Early life and career[edit]
Born Farrell Sanders in Little Rock, Arkansas, he began his professional career playing tenor saxophone in Oakland, California. He moved to New York City in 1961 after playing with rhythm and blues bands. He received his nickname "Pharoah" from bandleader Sun Ra, with whom he was performing. After moving to New York, Sanders had been destitute: "[H]e was often living on the streets, under stairs, where ever he could find to stay, his clothes in tatters. Sun Ra gave him a place to stay, bought him a new pair of green pants with yellow stripes (which Sanders hated but had to have), encouraged him to use the name 'Pharoah', and gradually worked him into the band."[3]

Sanders came to greater prominence playing with John Coltrane's band, starting in 1965, as Coltrane began adopting the avant-garde jazz of Albert Ayler,[4] Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. Sanders first performed with Coltrane on Ascension (recorded in June 1965), then on their dual-tenor recording Meditations (recorded in November 1965). After this Sanders joined Coltrane's final quintet, usually performing very lengthy, dissonant solos. Coltrane's later style was strongly influenced by Sanders. Amiri Baraka lays claim to naming him Pharaoh in an early sixties Down Beat review[citation needed] upon hearing him introduce himself as Farrell Sanders and thinking he said "Pharaoh Sanders".

After Coltrane[edit]
Although Sanders' voice developed differently from Coltrane, Sanders was strongly influenced by their collaboration. Spiritual elements such as the chanting in Om would later show up in many of Sanders' own works. Sanders would also go on to produce much free jazz, modified from Coltrane's solo-centric conception. In 1968 he participated in Michael Mantler and Carla Bley's Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association album The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, featuring Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Larry Coryell and Gato Barbieri.

In the 1970s, Sanders pursued his own recordings and continued to work with the likes of Alice Coltrane on her Journey In Satchidananda album. Most of Sanders' best-selling work was made in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse Records, including the 30-minute wave-on-wave of free jazz "The Creator has a Master Plan" from the album Karma. This composition featured vocalist Leon Thomas's unique, "umbo weti" yodeling,[5] and Sanders' key musical partner, pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, who worked with Sanders from 1969-1971. Other members of his groups in this period include bassist Cecil McBee, on albums such as Jewels of Thought, Izipho Zam, Deaf Dumb Blind and Thembi.

The 1970s and beyond[edit]
Although supported by African-American radio, Sanders' brand of free jazz became less popular. From the experiments with African rhythms on the 1971 album Black Unity (with bassist Stanley Clarke) onwards he began to diversify his sound. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Sanders explored different musical modes including R'n'B (Love Will Find a Way), modal jazz, and hard bop.

In 1994 he traveled to Morocco to record the Bill Laswell-produced album The Trance Of Seven Colors with Gnawa musician Mahmoud Guinia. The same year, Sanders appeared on the Red Hot Organization's album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, on the track "This is Madness" with Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole and the bonus track, "The Creator Has A Master Plan (Trip hop Remix)." The album was named "Album of the Year" by Time. Sanders worked with Laswell, Jah Wobble, and others on the albums Message From Home (1996) and Save Our Children (1998). In 1999, he complained in an interview that despite his pedigree, he had trouble finding work.[6] In 1997 he was featured on several Tisziji Munoz albums also including Rashied Ali.

In the 2000s, a resurgence of interest in jazz kept Sanders playing festivals including the 2007 Melbourne Jazz Festival and the 2008 Big Chill Festival, concerts, and releasing albums. He has a strong following in Japan, and in 2003 recorded with the band Sleep Walker. Pharoah Sanders is currently represented by Addeo Music International and has album representation with United For Opportunity. Caribou, a co-curator of the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, selected Pharoah Sanders to perform at the December 2011 festival in Minehead, England.

Yusef Lateef

Background information
Birth name William Emanuel Huddleston
Also known as Yusef Lateef
Born October 9, 1920
Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
Died December 23, 2013 (aged 93)
Shutesbury, Massachusetts
United States
Genres New-age music, jazz, post-bop, jazz fusion, swing, hard bop, third stream, world music
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, educator, spokesman, author
Instruments Tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bassoon, bamboo flute, shehnai, shofar, arghul, koto
Years active 1957–2013
Labels Savoy, Prestige, Verve, Riverside, Impulse, Atlantic, CTI, YAL Records
Associated acts Cannonball Adderley
Website www.yuseflateef.com
Yusef Abdul Lateef (born William Emanuel Huddleston; October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013) was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community after his conversion to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam in 1950.

Although Lateef's main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, he also played oboe and bassoon, both rare in jazz, and also used a number of non-western instruments such as the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, xun, arghul and koto. He is known for having been an innovator in the blending of jazz with "Eastern" music.[1] Peter Keepnews, in his New York Times obituary of Lateef, wrote that the musician "played world music before world music had a name."[2]

Lateef wrote and published a number of books including two novellas entitled A Night in the Garden of Love and Another Avenue, the short story collections Spheres and Rain Shapes, also his autobiography, The Gentle Giant, written in collaboration with Herb Boyd.[3] Along with his record label YAL Records, Lateef owned Fana Music, a music publishing company. Lateef published his own work through Fana, which includes Yusef Lateef's Flute Book of the Blues and many of his own orchestral compositions.
Biography[edit]
Early life and career[edit]
Lateef was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His family moved, in 1923, to Lorain, Ohio, and again in 1925, to Detroit, Michigan, where his father changed the family's name to "Evans".[4]

Throughout his early life Lateef came into contact with many Detroit-based jazz musicians who went on to gain prominence, including vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Elvin Jones and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Lateef was a proficient saxophonist by the time of his graduation from high school at the age of 18, when he launched his professional career and began touring with a number of swing bands. The first instrument he bought was an alto saxophone but after a year he switched to the tenor saxophone, influenced by the playing of Lester Young.[5]

In 1949, he was invited by Dizzy Gillespie to tour with his orchestra. In 1950, Lateef returned to Detroit and began his studies in composition and flute at Wayne State University. It was during this period that he converted to Islam as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[6] He twice made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Prominence[edit]
Lateef began recording as a leader in 1957 for Savoy Records, a non-exclusive association which continued until 1959; the earliest of Lateef's album's for the Prestige subsidiary New Jazz overlap with them. Musicians such as Wilbur Harden (trumpet, flugelhorn), bassist Herman Wright, drummer Frank Gant, and pianist Hugh Lawson were among his collaborators during this period.

By 1961, with the recording of Into Something and Eastern Sounds, Lateef's dominant presence within a group context had emerged. His 'Eastern' influences are clearly audible in all of these recordings, with spots for instruments like the rahab, shanai, arghul, koto and a collection of Chinese wooden flutes and bells along with his tenor and flute. Even his use of the western oboe sounds exotic in this context; it is not a standard jazz instrument. Indeed the tunes themselves are a mixture of jazz standards, blues and film music usually performed with a piano/bass/drums rhythm section in support. Lateef made numerous contributions to other people's albums including his time as a member of saxophonist Cannonball Adderley's Quintet during 1962–64.

Lateef's sound has been claimed to have been a major influence on the saxophonist John Coltrane, whose later period free jazz recordings[citation needed] contain similarly "Eastern" traits. For a time (1963–66) Lateef was signed to Coltrane's label, Impulse. He had a regular working group during this period, with trumpeter Richard Williams and Mike Nock on piano.

In the late 1960s he began to incorporate contemporary soul and gospel phrasing into his music, still with a strong blues underlay, on albums such as Detroit and Hush'n'Thunder. Lateef expressed a dislike of the terms "jazz" and "jazz musician" as musical generalizations.[8] As is so often the case with such generalizations, the use of these terms do understate the breadth of his sound. For example, in the 1980s, Lateef experimented with new-age and spiritual elements.


Lateef performing in Hamburg, 1971
In 1960, Lateef again returned to school, studying flute at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1969 and a Master's Degree in Music Education in 1970. Starting in 1971, he taught courses in "autophysiopsychic music" at the Manhattan School of Music, and he became an associate professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in 1972.

In 1975, Lateef completed his dissertation on Western and Islamic education and earned a Ed.D. in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In the early 1980s Lateef was a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Nigerian Cultural Studies at Ahmadu Bello University in the city of Zaria, Nigeria. Returning to the US in 1986 he took a joint teaching position at the University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College.
Later career[edit]
His 1987 album Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album.[9][10] His core influences, however, were clearly rooted in jazz, and in his own words: "My music is jazz."[11]

In 1992, Lateef founded YAL Records. In 1993, Lateef was commissioned by the WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne to compose The African American Epic Suite, a four-part work for orchestra and quartet based on themes of slavery and disfranchisement in the United States. The piece has since been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In 2010 he received the lifetime Jazz Master Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an independent federal agency.[10][12] Established in 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award is the highest honor given in jazz.[13]

Manhattan School of Music, where Lateef had earned a bachelor's and a master's degree, awarded him its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.

Lateef's last albums were recorded for Adam Rudolph's "Meta Records". To the end of his life, he continued to teach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Hampshire College in western Massachusetts. Lateef died on the morning of December 23, 2013, at the age of 93, after suffering from prostate cancer.
Glenn Miller

Background information
Birth name Alton Glenn Miller
Born March 1, 1904
Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died December 15, 1944 (aged 40)
Plane missing over the English Channel
Genres Swing music, big band
Occupation(s) Bandleader, Musician, Arranger, Composer
Instruments Trombone
Years active 1923–1944
Associated acts Glenn Miller Orchestra, Beryl Davis
Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – missing in action[1] December 15, 1944) was an American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known big bands. Miller's notable recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "A String of Pearls", "At Last", "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo", "American Patrol", "Tuxedo Junction", "Elmer's Tune", and "Little Brown Jug".[2] While he was traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Glenn Miller's aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.
Early life and career[edit]
Miller was born in Clarinda, Iowa, to Lewis Elmer Miller and Mattie Lou (née Cavender).[3] He attended grade school in North Platte in western Nebraska. In 1915, Miller's family moved to Grant City, Missouri. Around this time, Miller had finally made enough money from milking cows to buy his first trombone and played in the town orchestra. Originally, Miller played cornet and mandolin, but he switched to trombone by 1916.[4] In 1918, the Miller family moved again, this time to Fort Morgan, Colorado, where Miller went to high school. In the fall of 1919, he joined the high school football team, Maroons, which won the Northern Colorado Football Conference in 1920. He was named the Best Left End in Colorado.[5] During his senior year, Miller became very interested in a new style of music called "dance band music". He was so taken with it that he formed his own band with some classmates. By the time Miller graduated from high school in 1921, he had decided to become a professional musician.[3]

In 1923, Miller entered the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he joined Sigma Nu Fraternity,[6] but spent most of his time away from school, attending auditions and playing any gigs he could get, including with Boyd Senter's band in Denver. He dropped out of school after failing three out of five classes one semester, and decided to concentrate on making a career as a professional musician. He later studied the Schillinger technique with Joseph Schillinger, under whose tutelage he composed what became his signature theme, "Moonlight Serenade".[7] In 1926, Miller toured with several groups, eventually landing a good spot in Ben Pollack's group in Los Angeles. He also played for Victor Young, whose Los Angeles studio orchestra accompanied Judy Garland and Bing Crosby, allowing him to be mentored by other professional musicians.[8] In the beginning, he was the main trombone soloist of the band. But when Jack Teagarden joined the Pollack's band in 1928, Miller found that his solos were cut drastically. From then, he realized that, rather than being a trombonist, his future lay in writing music.[4] He also had a songbook published in Chicago in 1928 entitled Glenn Miller's 125 Jazz Breaks for Trombone by the Melrose Brothers copyrighted in 1927.[9] During his stint with Pollack, Miller wrote several musical arrangements of his own. He also co-wrote his first composition, "Room 1411", written with Benny Goodman and released as a Brunswick 78, 4013, credited to Bennie Goodman's Boys.[10] In 1928, when the band arrived in New York City, he sent for and married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger. He was a member of Red Nichols's orchestra in 1930, and because of Nichols, Miller played in the pit bands of two Broadway shows, Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy (where his bandmates included big band leaders Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa).

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Miller managed to earn a living working as a freelance trombonist in several bands. On a March 21, 1928, Victor session, Miller played alongside Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Joe Venuti in the All-Star Orchestra, directed by Nat Shilkret.[11][12][13] During this period, Miller arranged and played trombone on several significant Dorsey Brothers OKeh sessions including "The Spell of The Blues", "Let's Do It" and "My Kinda Love", all with Bing Crosby vocals. On November 14, 1929,[14] an original vocalist named Red McKenzie hired Miller to play on two records that are now considered to be jazz classics:[15][16] "Hello, Lola" and "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight". Beside Miller were clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, guitarist Eddie Condon, drummer Gene Krupa and Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone.[17]

In the early-to-mid-1930s, Miller also worked as a trombonist, arranger, and composer in The Dorsey Brothers, first when they were a Brunswick studio group (under their own name and providing accompaniment for many of The Boswell Sisters sessions), and finally when they formed an ill-fated co-led touring and recording orchestra.[18] Miller composed the songs "Annie's Cousin Fannie",[19][20] "Dese Dem Dose",[18][21] "Harlem Chapel Chimes", and "Tomorrow's Another Day" for the Dorsey Brothers Band in 1934 and 1935. In 1935, he assembled an American orchestra for British bandleader Ray Noble,[18] developing the arrangement of lead clarinet over four saxophones that eventually became the sonic keynote of his own big band. Members of the Noble band included future bandleaders Claude Thornhill, Bud Freeman and Charlie Spivak. Glenn Miller made his first movie appearance in the 1935 Paramount Pictures release The Big Broadcast of 1936 as a member of the Ray Noble Orchestra performing "Why Stars Come Out at Night".[22] The Big Broadcast of 1936 starred Bing Crosby, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Ethel Merman, Jack Oakie, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The film also featured other performances by Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers, who would appear with Miller again in two movies for Twentieth Century Fox in 1941 and 1942.

Glenn Miller compiled several musical arrangements and formed his first band in 1937. The band, after failing to distinguish itself from the many others of the era, broke up after playing its last show at the Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on January 2, 1938.[23] Benny Goodman said in 1976:

In late 1937, before his band became popular, we were both playing in Dallas. Glenn was pretty dejected and came to see me. He asked, "What do you do? How do you make it?" I said, "I don't know, Glenn. You just stay with it."
Success from 1938 to 1942[edit]

1939 Baltimore Hippodrome Ballroom concert poster.
Discouraged, Miller returned to New York. He realized that he needed to develop a unique sound, and decided to make the clarinet play a melodic line with a tenor saxophone holding the same note, while three other saxophones harmonized within a single octave. George T. Simon discovered a saxophonist named Wilbur Schwartz for Glenn Miller. Miller hired Schwartz, but instead had him play lead clarinet. According to Simon, "Willie's tone and way of playing provided a fullness and richness so distinctive that none of the later Miller imitators could ever accurately reproduce the Miller sound."[25] With this new sound combination, Glenn Miller found a way to differentiate his band's style from the many bands that existed in the late thirties. Miller talked about his style in the May 1939 issue of Metronome magazine. "You'll notice today some bands use the same trick on every introduction; others repeat the same musical phrase as a modulation into a vocal ... We're fortunate in that our style doesn't limit us to stereotyped intros, modulations, first choruses, endings or even trick rhythms. The fifth sax, playing clarinet most of the time, lets you know whose band you're listening to. And that's about all there is to it."[
Reaction from musical peers[edit]
Louis Armstrong thought enough of Miller to carry around his recordings, transferred to seven-inch tape reels when he went on tour. "[Armstrong] liked musicians who prized melody, and his selections ranged from Glenn Miller to Jelly Roll Morton to Tchaikovsky."[65] Jazz pianist George Shearing's quintet of the 1950s and 1960s was influenced by Miller: "with Shearing's locked hands style piano (influenced by the voicing of Miller's saxophone section) in the middle [of the quintet's harmonies]".[66][67] Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé held the orchestra in high regard. Tormé credited Miller with giving him helpful advice when he first started his singing and song-writing career in the 1940s. Mel Tormé met Glenn Miller in 1942, the meeting facilitated by Tormé's father and Ben Pollack. Tormé and Miller discussed "That Old Black Magic", which was just emerging as a new song by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen. Miller told Tormé to pick up every song by Mercer and study it and to become a voracious reader of anything he could find, because "all good lyric writers are great readers."[68] In an interview with George T. Simon in 1948, Sinatra lamented the inferior quality of music he was recording in the late forties, in comparison with "those great Glenn Miller things"[69] from eight years earlier.[70][71] With opposite opinion, fellow bandleader Artie Shaw frequently disparaged the band after Miller's death: "All I can say is that Glenn should have lived, and 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' should have died."[72][73] Clarinetist Buddy DeFranco surprised many people when he led the Glenn Miller Orchestra in the late sixties and early seventies. De Franco was already a veteran of bands like Gene Krupa and Tommy Dorsey in the 1940s. He was also a major exponent of modern jazz in the 1950s.[74] He never saw Miller as leading a swinging jazz band, but DeFranco is extremely fond of certain aspects of the Glenn Miller style. "I found that when I opened with the sound of 'Moonlight Serenade', I could look around and see men and women weeping as the music carried them back to years gone by."[75][76] De Franco says, "the beauty of Glenn Miller's ballads [...] caused people to dance together."[77]

The Army Air Force Band 1942–1944[edit]

Bust outside the Corn Exchange in Bedford, where Miller played in World War II.
In 1942, at the peak of his civilian career, Miller decided to join the war effort, forsaking an income of $15,000 to $20,000 per week in civilian life.[78] At 38, Miller was too old to be drafted and first volunteered for the Navy but was told that they did not need his services.[79] Miller then wrote to Army Brigadier General Charles Young. He persuaded the United States Army to accept him so he could, in his own words, "be placed in charge of a modernized Army band".[3] After being accepted into the Army, Miller's civilian band played its last concert in Passaic, New Jersey, on September 27, 1942.[3] His patriotic intention of entertaining the Allied Forces with the fusion of virtuosity and dance rhythms in his music earned him the rank of captain and he was soon promoted to major by August 1944.
Disappearance[edit]

U.S. Army Air Force UC-64

Miller's monument in Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut
Miller spent the last night before his disappearance at the Hall in Milton Ernest, near Bedford. On December 15, 1944, Miller was to fly from the United Kingdom to Paris, France, to play for the soldiers there. His plane, a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285, departed from RAF Twinwood Farm in Clapham, on the outskirts of Bedford and disappeared while flying over the English Channel.[90]

A 2014 article in the Chicago Tribune reported that, despite many theories that had been proposed, Miller's plane crashed because it had a faulty carburetor. The plane's engine had a type of carburetor that was known to be defective in cold weather and had a history of causing crashes in other aircraft by icing up.[91] The theory that the plane was hit by a bomb jettisoned by Allied planes returning from an aborted bombing raid on Germany is discredited by the log of a plane-spotter that implies that the plane was heading in a direction that would avoid the zone where such bombs were jettisoned.[92]

When Miller disappeared, he left behind his wife, the former Helen Burger, originally from Boulder, Colorado, and the two children they had adopted in 1943 and 1944, Steven and Jonnie.[93] In February 1945, Helen Miller accepted the Bronze Star medal for Miller.
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