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Mary Krane Derr

multi‐instrumental musician, teacher, and orchestra conductor, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Some sources give her birth year as 1885; however, according to U.S. census data, it was most likely 1882. Her mother, Betty Anderson, was born March 1849 in Virginia. Little is known about Hallie Anderson's father except that he was also a Virginia native. When Hallie was three, the family migrated to New York City. As a child, Hallie took public school and private music lessons. She received classical training at the New York German Conservatory of Music. Although it did not record her occupation, the 1900 census noted that Hallie's mother was a widow who could neither read nor write, and who had seven living children. Betty Anderson was then living with three of her children, all of whom could read and write: Charles (born Sept. 1872), a waiter; John ...

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Gunther Schuller

bass player, was born James Blanton in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Little is known about his parents except that his mother was a pianist and bandleader. Blanton is widely regarded as the most outstanding bass player of the late 1930s and early 1940s, almost single‐handedly revolutionizing jazz bass playing both technically and conceptually. As a child Blanton studied violin, making his first public appearance at age eight. Showing exceptional talent and a serious interest in music, he learned music theory from an uncle and later switched to string bass while studying at Tennessee State College (1934–1937). Precociously gifted on this instrument, Blanton was soon playing with local bands. In 1937 he moved to St. Louis to play with the Jeter‐Pillars Orchestra and Fate Marable's Mississippi riverboat bands.

In late 1939 Blanton was heard by Duke Ellington who immediately asked him to join the famous Ellington orchestra Along with ...

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Jack Sohmer

jazz bassist, was born Wellman Breaux in Saint James Parish, Louisiana. Nothing is known of his parents except that they were of Creole heritage, and it is not known when he anglicized his name. Braud began playing violin at age seven and later took up guitar. His earliest work was with string trios playing on the streets of New Orleans. During the 1910s he worked regularly at Tom Anderson's cabaret, probably playing guitar in a group with the violinist Armand J. Piron while also playing drums and trombone in various ad hoc brass bands.

In 1917 Braud moved to Chicago, where he began playing bass and toured with John Wickliffe's band, later joining the Original Creole Band (or Orchestra) at the Pekin Café as a replacement for Ed Garland. When Braud joined the band the other members included the cornetist “Sugar” Johnny Smith, the clarinetist Lawrence Duhé the trombonist ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father loved music, and through him, Brown first heard jazz pianists such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Waller, and Art Tatum. Brown began taking piano lessons at the age of eight, switching to double bass while in high school. He first played bass professionally as a teenager in Pittsburgh with the Jimmy Hinsley Sextet and Snookum Russell’s group.

In 1945 Brown moved to New York City. On his very first day he participated in a jam session with alto-saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and pianist Bud Powell proving that he belonged with top bop musicians Gillespie was particularly impressed and the following year he hired Brown to work with his big band Brown was featured in One Bass Hit and Two Bass Hit with Gillespie and began recording regularly with the who s ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist and tuba player, was born George Sylvester Callender in Haynesville, Virginia. He grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he studied alto horn and tuba before switching to double bass. While his first musical jobs (from 1932) were in New York and the Midwest, a tour with Blanche Thompson's Brownskin Models took him to Los Angeles in 1936. Callender spent most of the remainder of his life and career on the West Coast.

Red Callender worked with the Buck Clayton Orchestra in 1936 and made his recording debut the following year with Louis Armstrong's big band, where he subbed for Pops Foster. Also in 1937, his songs “Lost Love” and “Bogo Jo” were recorded by Lionel Hampton. Callender taught bass to the young Charles Mingus, worked and recorded with the early Nat King Cole Trio during 1938 and 1939 ...

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Timothy J. O'Brien

jazz bassist. Ronald Levin Carter was born in Ferndale, Michigan, and started playing the cello when he was ten years old. In 1951 his family moved to Detroit, where he realized that the opportunities in classical music were limited because of racial prejudice. After a switch to the double bass he acquired an interest in jazz. He attended the Eastman School of Music (where the Ron Carter Audio Archives were established in 2001) in Rochester, New York, on scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1959. Continuing his studies at the Manhattan School of Music, he received his master's degree in 1961.

Although he played with many top-rate jazz artists, Carter is renowned for his work in the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet from 1963 to 1968 His playing on more than twenty five hundred albums resulted in a well deserved reputation as one of ...

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jazz bassist, was born in Ferndale, Michigan. He was one of seven siblings, all of whom studied music. Carter started playing cello in school when he was ten years old. While attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, he switched to bass although he occasionally played cello through the years. He played his first musical jobs in 1955 and led his own groups while attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, from 1956 to 1959 (earning a degree in music).

Carter's first important association was in 1959 when he was a member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet. He earned a master of music from the Manhattan School of Music in 1961 but by then was already a busy jazz musician. From 1959 to 1963 Carter gained recognition for his recordings with Eric Dolphy (particularly Out There) and also worked with the altoist Cannonball Adderley ...

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Ronald P. Dufour

bassist known as “Mr. P. C.,” was born Paul Laurence Dunbar Chambers Jr. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Little is known of his parents and early life. After his mother died when he was thirteen, Chambers moved to Detroit, Michigan, with his family. In high school he played the baritone saxophone and then the tuba, but sometime in 1949 he began to play the string bass. He was soon working professionally with the guitarist Kenny Burrell, the trumpeter Thad Jones, the pianist Hank Jones, and other musicians in the Detroit area. In 1952 he began taking lessons with a bassist in the Detroit Symphony and played with a classical group called the Detroit String Band. Between 1952 and 1955 he also studied, off and on, at Cass Tech and played in the school's symphony orchestra and other student groups.

By this time Chambers had fully absorbed the bop lessons ...

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Scott Yanow

electric- and acoustic-bassist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played accordion early on, switched to violin and cello, and started playing acoustic double bass in school. Clarke worked in rhythm-and-blues and rock bands while still attending high school. After graduating from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, in 1971, he moved to New York.

Upon his arrival, Clarke immediately started working as both an acoustic- and electric-bassist and was seen as the brightest young voice on his instruments. He was a versatile virtuoso open not only to several forms of jazz but also to rock and pop music. Among his early associations were pianist Horace Silver; drummers Art Blakey and Mel Lewis; tenor-saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, and Pharoah Sanders; and arranger Gil Evans.

A turning point in Clarke s career occurred when he met and befriended keyboardist Chick Corea They played together in ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, arranger, composer, and bandleader, was born in Venice, California. The oldest of seven children (including the altoist Jeff Clayton), he was introduced to music by his mother, who played the organ for their Baptist church in addition to conducting the choirs. John Clayton took piano lessons starting when he was eight years old, switching to bass when he was thirteen. As a teenager he performed at jam sessions and with pickup groups, sometimes playing electric bass with soul and rhythm and blues groups. He also worked with the pianist Eddie Mitchell.

Strongly inspired by the bassist Ray Brown with whom he took an extension course at the University of California at Los Angeles and private lessons Clayton gained some of his earliest musical jobs through Brown who sometimes sent him in as a substitute He worked with the trombonist Murray McEachern for six ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Counce began studying music as a teenager, having lessons on bass, tuba, and violin before concentrating exclusively on the string bass. His first important musical job was playing with Nat Towles's orchestra, a popular band based in the Midwest that he joined in Omaha in 1941. He left the group in 1944 and the next year moved to Los Angeles, where he spent most of the rest of his life.

Counce worked with Johnny Otis in 1945, made his recording debut that year with the tenor saxophonist Lester Young, and was part of the pianist Edgar Hayes's band during 1945–1948. The bassist was a regular at Los Angeles's Central Avenue clubs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He worked with many of the top jazz musicians of the time, most notably the altoist Benny Carter ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Chicago. He first played trumpet when he was 5. Crosby also played trombone and tuba before switching permanently to bass in 1934, when he was 15.

Already a skilled musician, within a year Crosby was working with boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons's group in Chicago. He made history on his first two record dates. On 16 November 1935, teaming up with pianist Jess Stacy and drummer Gene Krupa on “Barrelhouse” and “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise,” Crosby was part of the first piano-bass-drums trio to ever record. Up until that time the bass was not considered essential enough to be included in a trio, which frequently included piano, drums, and either a horn or a rhythm guitar.

On 19 November 1935 Crosby was part of a session led by drummer Gene Krupa and consisting of Benny Goodman and sidemen from ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents’ names and occupations are not recorded. An only child, Davis began studying the piano when he was five but soon dropped it because his family did not own a piano. When he was in sixth grade, he wanted to play trumpet or trombone but began on the tuba since it was the only instrument available.

In 1951, when he decided to seriously start his music career, Davis switched to string bass. Very technically skilled from the start, Davis was one of the first musicians who had no difficulty switching between jazz and classical music. He studied with the principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Anselme Fortier) and attended Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music from 1953 to 1956. In addition, he led his own quartet and played on radio, on television, at clubs, and at colleges.

After ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz bassist and educator, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Information about his parents is not known, but Davis had extensive classical training on the bass starting in high school, and proved to be a consistently brilliant bassist no matter what the setting. He earned a degree in music education from the Vandercook College of Music, which he attended from 1948 to 1952. Davis gained early experience playing with the Youth Orchestra of Chicago from 1946 to 1948, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, and local dance bands led by Eddie King and Walter Dyett (1952–1953).

By 1953, Davis was a major part of the Chicago jazz scene, working with the Ahmad Jamal Trio and Don Shirley. He also had stints with Benny Goodman, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, and Charlie Ventura in addition to spending time managing his family's restaurant.

After moving to New York Davis gained attention ...

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Scott Yanow

was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A childhood friend of trumpeter Lee Morgan, DeBrest took up the upright bass early on and as a youth was already part of the very fertile Philadelphia jazz scene. He worked as a teenager with local musicians including co-leading a group with Morgan as early as 1953, and performing with drummer Jimmy DePreist’s band. He acquired the lifelong nickname Spanky during that period, possibly due to his percussive style which sometimes found him snapping a string as he played.

In 1956 Art Blakey arrived in Philadelphia with his Jazz Messengers but was short a bassist and a trumpeter. DeBrest and Morgan subbed for two weeks and, while Morgan decided to stay in Philadelphia for the time being, DeBrest joined Blakey’s group and soon moved to New York. He gained his greatest fame during the next year as a member of the Jazz Messengers.

The ...

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Norman Weinstein

Dyani's musical career began in the context of South Africa's first racially integrated experimental Jazz band, Chris MacGregor's Blue Notes (which later evolved into MacGregor's big-band, The Brotherhood of Breath). The band went into exile during a tour of Great Britain in 1965 during the heyday of South African Apartheid, and Dyani made London his home until the 1970s. His sure grasp of bass fundamentals in a variety of Swing and bop styles assured him of steady work, but his memories of his South African past stirred him into constantly seeking fellow players interested in creating a new form of South African jazz.

Dyani formed a close musical friendship with a fellow South African jazz musician in European exile, Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand). Their collaboration in the recording studio resulted in two duo albums, Echoes of Africa (1979) and Good News from Africa (1973 ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz bassist, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Favors was brought up as part of a religious family. He began playing the bass when he was 15 and started playing professionally right after graduating high school.

Favors was originally the protégé of Wilbur Ware and was also influenced by Oscar Pettiford. He performed in conventional “straight-ahead” bop settings during his early years, making his recording debut with tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb in 1953. Favors worked with pianist Andrew Hill in Chicago from 1957 to 1960, recording an album with Hill. He also gigged with Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard, in piano trios and in organ combos.

The turning point in Malachi Favors's career occurred in 1961 when he met saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams He became a member of Abrams s Experimental Band growing and evolving along with Abrams and the other ...

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Burton W. Peretti

musician, was born George Murphy Foster on a plantation near McCall, Louisiana, the son of Charles Foster, a butler, and Annie (maiden name unknown), a seamstress of mixed African American and Cherokee ancestry. As a boy he attended a Catholic elementary school and played the cello in plantation bands led by his father and uncle. His brother Willie excelled at the banjo and also became a professional musician. When Foster was ten his family moved to New Orleans, where he soon switched from the cello to the double bass. He enrolled at New Orleans University, a secondary school for blacks.Foster did not complete his secondary education however because he was heavily involved in the exciting working class black musical scene in New Orleans that was giving birth to jazz He played in pickup groups at lawn parties and fish fries and he soon gained paid work with ...

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Burton W. Peretti

Foster, Pops (18 May 1892–30 October 1969), musician, was born George Murphy Foster on a plantation near McCall, Louisiana, the son of Charles Foster, a butler, and Annie (maiden name unknown), a seamstress. Foster was African American, with considerable Cherokee Indian ancestry from his mother’s family. As a boy he attended a Catholic elementary school and played the cello in plantation bands led by his father and uncle. His brother Willie excelled at the banjo and also became a professional musician. When Foster was ten his family moved to New Orleans, where he soon switched from the cello to the double bass. He enrolled at New Orleans University, a secondary school for blacks.

Foster did not complete his secondary education however because he was heavily involved in the exciting working class black musical scene in New Orleans that was giving birth to jazz He played in pickup ...

Article

was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of trumpeter Sammy Franklin.

Franklin began seriously playing bass when he was seventeen and attending Manual Arts High School. He was soon working with vibraphonist Roy Ayers’s Latin Jazz Quintet but it would take the bassist another decade before he started becoming known beyond Los Angeles.

In the meantime, he studied the acoustic bass with Al McKibbon and George Morrow, and considered Paul Chambers to be an important early influence. Franklin gained important experience working with tenor-saxophonist Harold Land and pianist Hampton Hawes. He sat in with Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, and made his recording debut with Lou Rawls in 1963 as a part of a group led by saxophonist Curtis Amy Franklin worked in New York for a year with drummer Willie Bobo and also had opportunities to play a bit with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp pianist Lamont Johnson ...