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Margot Lieth-Philipp

(b St Thomas, VI, Nov 4, 1889; d St Thomas, VI, Nov 24, 1987). American bandmaster, composer and educator. He taught himself to play the flute and piccolo, took correspondence courses from several universities, and received the BMus degree from the University Extension Conservatory of Music, Chicago. In 1910 he formed Adams’ Juvenile Band, which was incorporated into the US Navy when it assumed the administrative duties of the US Virgin Islands in 1917. He was editor of the band department of Jacobs’ Band Monthly (1913–17), the Virgin Islands correspondent for the Associated Press, and the author of articles for various music journals, newspapers and magazines. From 1918 to 1931 he supervised the music programme in the Virgin Islands public schools, modelling it after similar programmes on the mainland. After retiring from the navy in 1947 he produced musical ...

Article

Mark Clague and John H. Zimmerman

flutist, composer, bandmaster, music educator, journalist, and hotelier, was born in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (later U.S. Virgin Islands) and is remembered as the U.S. Navy's first African American bandmaster. Adams was the son of Jacob Henry Adams, a carpenter, and Petrina Evangeline Dinzey, a tailor; both his parents were members of the black artisan class centered around St. Thomas's port. This culture celebrated music and literature and instilled the young Adams with values of hard work and self-education. Although professional musicians were unknown in the Virgin Islands in his youth, Adams dreamt of a musical career inspired by his deeply held belief that music was not just entertainment, but vital to community health.

Adams attended elementary school and apprenticed as a carpenter and then a shoemaker choosing his trade based on the musical abilities of his master ...

Article

Elliott S. Hurwitt

alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, bandleader, arranger, composer, music teacher, and one of the leading jazz musicians in Los Angeles since the early 1940s, was born William Marcell Collette in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of Willie Hugh Collette, who came from Knoxville, Tennessee, and drove a garbage truck. Both he and a brother dabbled in music. Collette's mother, Goldie Marie Dorris came from Kansas City and sang in church She had a degree in cosmetology but was primarily a homemaker Collette had an older sister Doris and a younger brother Patrick As a child he took piano lessons but rebelled against further lessons on the instrument after coming under the sway of big band recordings which inspired him to take up the saxophone Collette bought his first horn at the age of eleven using money he made shining ...

Article

Shennette Garrett-Scott

Revolutionary War soldier and fifer, was born in Africa and brought to work in the British colonies as a slave. Some sources assert that he was a free man when he enlisted in the Continental Army, but it is more likely that he secured his freedom in exchange for enlistment. His name does not appear on the list of enslaved recruits to the First Rhode Island Regiment compiled by historian Lorenzo Greene in his seminal 1952Journal of Negro History article Some Observations on the Black Regiment of Rhode Island in the American Revolution which may explain why historians and writers consider Cozzens a free person Greene admits that the primary source records are incomplete In addition like other enslaved recruits Cozzens would be emancipated if he passed muster and then served through the end of the war Cozzens may have been enslaved by members of the distinguished ...

Article

Eric Dolphy was an extraordinary improviser and innovator who expanded Jazz beyond the developments of Bebop. He established a long-lasting role in progressive jazz for instruments such as the flute and particularly the bass clarinet. Also excelling on alto saxophone, he made multi-instrumentality a common goal for wind players.

Dolphy was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Panamanian immigrants. He began learning clarinet at age six and played alto saxophone professionally while still in junior high school. He performed locally while serving in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952. While leading his own bands, he caught the attention of drummer Chico Hamilton; he later played in Hamilton's popular quintet during 1958 and 1959.

Dolphy moved to New York, New York and in 1959 joined a band led by jazz bassist Charles Mingus In 1960 and 1961 he recorded a staggering ...

Article

Editor The

jazz musician, was born Eric Allan Dolphy Jr, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Eric Dolphy Sr. and Sadie Gillings. He showed a strong interest in music during his preschool years and began playing clarinet in the first grade. He participated in musical activities throughout his grade school years, and he studied privately with Lloyd Reese, a well-known Los Angeles music teacher who also taught the jazz musicians Buddy Collette, Dexter Gordon, and Charles Mingus. After graduating from high school Dolphy enrolled in music classes at Los Angeles City College. By this time he also was playing alto saxophone with local bands, and he made his first recordings with a big band led by the drummer Roy Porter. After serving in the army during the early 1950s he returned to Los Angeles and reentered the music profession. Early in 1958 ...

Article

Thaddeus Russell

jazz saxophonist, flutist, and composer, was born in Pensacola, Florida, and grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. The names and occupations of his parents are not known. Gryce was the product of a highly musical family: his brother and four sisters were classically trained on a variety of instruments. In his youth Gryce attended music school in Hartford, developing his skills on flute, alto saxophone, clarinet, and piano. In 1946 he began performing in and around Hartford, both as a sideman and as the leader of his own twenty-three-piece group. In 1948 Gryce moved to Boston to attend the Boston Conservatory, where he studied composition and instrumentation with Daniel Pinkham and Alan Hovahness. In 1952 he won a Fulbright scholarship to study music in Paris, where he continued his instruction in composition with the famed composer Arthur Honegger.

Gryce returned to the United States in 1953 ...

Article

Born Roland Theodore Kirk in Columbus, Ohio, Kirk later took the name Rahsaan after having a vision in a dream. Blinded in early childhood, he attended the Ohio School for the Blind in Columbus. His first instruments were the bugle and trumpet. As a teenager he began playing the clarinet in his school band, learning his parts by ear. By age fifteen he was playing the tenor saxophone professionally in a local Rhythm-and-Blues group The next year he acquired a manzello which is similar in sound to a soprano sax but has a forward facing bell and soon he was playing the tenor sax and the manzello simultaneously Kirk also acquired a stritch which is comparable to a straightened alto sax and after making some alterations to the keys of his instruments was able to produce three part harmony by playing all three at once He also used them ...

Article

Thomas Owens

jazz musician, was born Ronald Theodore Kirk in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Theodore Kirk and Gertrude Broadus Kirk was blind from infancy He first demonstrated an interest in music when he was a small boy Anxious to become the bugler at summer camp he began blowing the notes of the overtone series on a water hose Soon his parents gave him a bugle which he played for a few years before switching to trumpet He gave up that instrument however when his eye doctor decided that the continuous force required to blow the instrument was hard on Kirk s eyes When Kirk was about twelve he began playing clarinet in the band at Columbus s Ohio State School for the Blind learning by listening to the teacher play his parts on the piano At home he began to practice on the C melody saxophone he picked up ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz flutist, was born in Houston, Texas. He was the second of eight children born to Hubert Laws Sr. and Miola Luverta Donahue. His brother Ronnie Laws was a saxophonist, and his sisters Eloise and Debra were singers. Laws started on the flute when he began high school.

Laws developed quickly. Between 1954 and 1960, he played with a group that went through several name changes, starting with the Swingsters and evolving into the Modern Jazz Sextet, the Night Hawks, and finally the Jazz Crusaders. He also played classical music and studied at Texas South University and Louisiana State College. In 1960, after winning a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, Laws left both the Jazz Crusaders and Texas. He studied with flutist Julius Baker and had dual careers in both jazz and classical music.

Laws played at the Berkshire Festival in 1961 ...

Article

Paul Devlin

professional musician and soldier in the French and Indian War and War of Independence, was the freeborn progenitor of a large Groton, Massachusetts, family. The family later spent time in Dracut and Pepperell, where they owned land. His father, Primus Lew, was a skilled artisan (a cooper, or barrel maker) and it is unclear if he was ever a slave and later freed, or was himself freeborn. The historian Benjamin Quarles claimed that Barzillai Lew was also a cooper, and it has been claimed that Primus was also a musician. His mother was named Margret; nothing else about her is known. Father and son both served in the French and Indian War, with Barzillai (also known as “Zeal”) serving for thirty-eight weeks in 1760 under the command of Thomas Farrington. In 1768 he married Dinah Bowman whose freedom he bought for $400 They later had at ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz tenor saxophonist and flutist, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His father was a pharmacist. Because his parents’ marriage was difficult, Lloyd often lived with different relatives while growing up. When he was nine years old he heard Charlie Parker on the radio. Soon he persuaded his uncle to get him an alto saxophone sax. Lloyd also was exposed to country blues, gospel music from the Baptist church, and Native American songs sung by his grandmother.

As a youth Lloyd studied with the pianist Phineas Newborn, who became his mentor. He had his first musical job at age twelve with Rosco Gordon's blues band (which featured the vocalist Bobby “Blue” Bland), and he also worked with blues groups led by Willie Mitchell, Howlin’ Wolf, B. B. King, Roosevelt Sykes, and Johnny Ace While in high school he learned bebop and became close friends ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz alto-saxophonist and woodwind player, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Mitchell grew up in a musical family. He began playing saxophone and clarinet when he was twelve years old, studying clarinet at Englewood High School a few years later. While serving in the U.S. Army, he played in an army band in Heidelberg, Germany, that included the saxophonists Albert Ayler and Rubin Cooper, who was one of his informal teachers.

After his discharge in 1961 Mitchell played in Chicago with the saxophonists Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, and Joseph Jarman. The music they performed at that early stage was mostly hard bop. Mitchell studied with the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and worked in his Experimental Band, a significant but unfortunately unrecorded group. That experience helped lead to the formation of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965 and a new way of playing ...

Article

jazz tenor and alto saxophonist and flutist, was born in Corsicana, Texas. He grew up in Dallas, where he started playing tenor sax and flute. His high school teacher called him “Fathead” one day when he noticed that Newman, who at that point did not read music very well, had his music upside down on his music stand. The nickname stuck, and the good-humored Newman never minded.

He started his career playing with local bands after graduating high school. Newman studied theology and music at Jarvis Christian College for two years before dropping out to go on the road. He worked with saxophonists Buster Smith and Red Connors, and bluesmen Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker.

In 1954 Newman joined Ray Charles s new group on baritone It was soon apparent that he had a more individual sound on tenor and by the following year he was on tenor ...

Article

Eric Paul Roorda

was born Juan Azarías Pacheco Kiniping in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on 25 March 1935, to Rafael Azarías Pacheco, a bandleader and clarinetist with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, and Octavia Kiniping Rochet. He moved with his family to New York City in 1946, at the age of 11, and in the mid-1950s he attended the Juilliard School of Music. Pacheco performed with Charlie Palmieri’s Latin Orchestra in the late 1950s, when Cuban band music swept the metropolis. He formed his first band, Pacheco y Su Charanga, in 1960; their eponymous first album sold 100,000 copies and launched the pachanga dance craze across Latin America. The band also appealed to the increasingly diverse music scene in New York City, and in 1962 Pacheco y Su Charanga was the first Dominican band to play the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Pacheco was a driving force in popularizing ...

Article

James Sellman

Johnny Pacheco made his mark during the 1960s and 1970s as part of New York City's Latin music scene. Pacheco was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. His father, Rafael Azarías Pacheco, was a prominent clarinetist and conductor of the Orquestra Santa Cecilia, a leading Dominican orchestra. In the late 1940s his family moved to New York City. Johnny Pacheco learned to play saxophone, flute, and percussion in high school. In 1959 Pacheco joined the pianist Charlie Palmieri as the flutist in the newly formed group Charanga Duboney.

Charanga Duboney, featuring a Cuban-style charanga flute-and-violins front line, inspired an early 1960s charanga craze among Latino New Yorkers. In September of 1959 Pacheco left Palmieri to organize his own charanga. With the album Pacheco y su Charanga (1961) he introduced the pachanga an energetic dance style that combined elements of the charanga ...

Article

Scott Yanow

and grew up in northern California. He started playing alto sax when he was eight and first played professionally when he was fourteen. Richardson, who studied music at San Francisco State College, worked in the San Francisco Bay area from 1935 to 1941. In addition to alto, by 1940 he had become one of jazz’s first flute players. Later in his career he would also play tenor, soprano, and baritone saxes.

He then served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945, part of the time playing in a dance band led by altoist Marshall Royal. After working back in San Francisco with local groups, he was a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra from 1949 to 1951, taking an early flute solo on Hampton’s recording of “Kingfish.” Richardson worked with Earl Hines in 1952 and 1953 before moving to New York in 1953.

He played with ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

specializing in northern Mississippi hill country blues, was born a few miles east of Como, Mississippi, the son of Dora Tuggle and Walter Strickland. Social Security records show his date of birth as 1 October 1919, but his birth certificate states a date of 6 October 1924, according to information compiled by the Mississippi Blues Commission. His name has often been spelled Napoleon, but his family used Napolian, the spelling given here, including at his funeral.

Census entries indicate that Strickland left school after the fourth grade and spent most of his life doing agricultural work living a good part of the time with his mother and working the same fields Census records for the family are rare and intermittent possibly because census takers didn t always inquire about employees or sharecroppers living on plantations Como was a center for cotton production from the 1880s until the 1930s ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz alto saxophonist, flutist, composer, and bandleader, was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a child, he played percussion in marching bands. Threadgill started on saxophone when he was a teenager. While he played baritone saxophone and clarinet in high school and early in his career was heard on many different woodwinds, alto saxophone eventually became his main instrument along with flutes. He gained experience working with Veterans of Foreign Wars marching bands and blues, gospel, Dixieland, mariachi, and even polka groups.

In the early 1960s, Threadgill met fellow saxophonist Joseph Jarman while attending Woodrow Wilson Junior College (now Kennedy-King College) in Chicago. Through Jarman, Threadgill joined Muhal Richard Abrams's Experimental Band and quickly found his musical horizons greatly expanded. Abrams toured with the evangelist Horace Shepherd during 1963–1964 and with the gospel singer Jo Jo Morris. In 1965 he became an early member of ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

jazz and soul tenor saxophonist, was born Harold Edward Vick in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Alice (maiden name unknown). Other details about his parents, including the name of his father, are unknown. Vick took piano lessons at age eight for a few months but without serious interest. He began clarinet lessons at age twelve, and the following year he was given a good instrument by his uncle, the renowned jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Prince Robinson. Two or three years later Vick began playing tenor saxophone while continuing his clarinet studies with Charles Woods at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount. During this period he was raised by his grandparents.

Vick studied sociology and psychology and played on the varsity basketball team at Howard University while working mainly in rhythm and blues bands During his third year at Howard he commenced what amounted to a ...