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Philip Herbert

Nigeriancomposer, organist, and ethnomusicologist born in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, in 1932. In his early education at King's College, Lagos, and as a chorister at Christchurch Cathedral, in that city, he was exposed to European classical music, Mendelssohn being his favourite composer. His musical outlook was eclectic, and he was involved in dance bands such as the Chocolate Dandies and the Akpabot Players (his own band), formed in 1949, as well as being organist at St Saviour's Anglican Church in Lagos.

Akpabot studied the trumpet and organ in London at the Royal College of Music in 1954, with teachers such as John Addison, Osborn Pisgow, and Herbert Howells. Study at the University of Chicago yielded a Master's degree in Musicology, and he also received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He was a broadcaster for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (1959 ...

Article

Heidi Carolyn Feldman

nicknamed “Champita,” was a violinist, dancer, and singer widely recognized as a leading culture bearer and patriarch of Afro-Peruvian traditions. He was born on 26 November 1933 to Basilio Ballumbrosio (“Don Bacho”) and Isabel Mosquera in the rural Peruvian district of El Carmen, south of Lima on the Peruvian coast. After the abolition of slavery in 1854, El Carmen and surrounding districts in the province of Chincha housed settlements of former black slaves who had worked at nearby plantations, and the region became an enclave of Peru’s relatively small rural black population. One of eleven siblings of mixed African and indigenous descent, Ballumbrosio worked to help his family as a child, gathering firewood for cooking, feeding animals, and watering and picking cotton in the fields. When he grew older, he found employment in housing construction.

At the age of 4 Ballumbrosio nearly drowned in an irrigation ditch but his ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

musician and intellectual, was born in the town of Impfondo in the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) on 18 August 1914. He excelled in his primary and secondary studies, and was in the first class of students to enroll at the Poto-Poto neighborhood school in 1925. His intelligence was evident by the fact that he became an assistant teacher in 1929 at the age of fifteen In his youth Dadet was one of the best football players in Brazzaville during the 1930s and 1940s and helped to form the Native Sports Federation which organized competition between African soccer teams in Brazzaville Besides being a player himself Dadet also took the role as a referee in games Upon graduation from secondary school Dadet became a teacher at the respected École Urbaine of Brazzaville Besides teaching and playing sports Dadet also cultivated another passion music Dadet became a renowned ...

Article

Roanne Edwards

Following her recital debut at New York City's Town Hall in 1954, Natalie Hinderas established herself as a pianist of exceptional talent. Her playing has been described as both lyrical and technically brilliant and, on occasion, “super-bravura.” She performed as a soloist with America's top orchestras and toured widely in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the West Indies. Known as a champion of piano music by black composers, she actively campaigned to expand opportunities for black artists at a time when most American conductors and music managers were reluctant to hire them.

Hinderas was reared and educated in Oberlin, Ohio. Her father was a professional Jazz musician and her mother was a gifted pianist and conservatory music teacher A child prodigy Hinderas began playing piano at the age of three and later studied voice and violin When she was eight years old she was admitted to the Oberlin ...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b New Orleans, Oct 18, 1961). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educationist, brother of Branford Marsalis. From an early age he studied both jazz and classical music. When he was 14 he performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans PO and while a student at the Juilliard School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1980). He toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams and recorded his first album as leader (1981), then in early 1982 left Blakey to form a quintet (1982–5) with his brother Branford; he also toured with Hancock in 1983 as a member of the quintet V.S.O.P. II. In 1984 he became the first musician to win Grammy awards for both a jazz recording and a classical recording. Marsalis completed his first large-scale suite, Soul Gestures in Southern Blues ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz drummer, was born Charles Lawrence Persip in Morristown, New Jersey. Persip changed his first name from Charlie to Charli in the early 1980s. Two of his uncles were musicians. Persip studied drums in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Juilliard for two years in the late 1940s.

Persip began his career playing in Newark with saxophonist Joe Holiday and a variety of local bands. In 1953 he worked with pianist-composer Tadd Dameron and soon met Dizzy Gillespie. He entered the jazz big leagues when he joined Gillespie, working with the trumpeter's combos and his globe-trotting big band (1956–1957) between 1953 and 1958.

A very solid and swinging drummer Persip was one of the few who was equally at home playing with a small group or driving a big band Technically skilled he could play any music that was put in front of him and consistently ...

Article

Philip Herbert

Professor, composer, and organist, celebrated and internationally renowned as being a founding father in the development of modern Nigerian art music. He was born in Lagos in 1905, where, under Dr Ekundayo Phillips, he was trained as a chorister and organist at Lagos Cathedral, being exposed to west European church music and Yoruba traditional musical culture. In 1934, after studying European classical music in London, he gained a Bachelor's degree in music (University of London) and Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists by private study with George Oldroyd and George Cunningham. Later he became a Fellow of Trinity College of Music.

After studying, Sowande undertook a diverse range of activities as an organist–choirmaster, composer, and jazz musician. He became music adviser to the Colonial Film Unit of the British Ministry of Information in London (1941 and head of music and ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz drummer, was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Ben Thigpen, was best known as the drummer with the Andy Kirk Orchestra from 1930 to 1947. His mother's name is not recorded, but he was raised in Los Angeles. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School in LA, where his schoolmates included Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, and Chico Hamilton. It was during this period that he began playing drums.

Thigpen majored in sociology at Los Angeles City College for one year, in 1949. He also spent a year living with his father in East St. Louis, studying drums. He moved to New York, where he was part of the Cootie Williams Orchestra from 1951 to 1952, playing regularly at the Savoy Ballroom. He spent a couple of years serving in the army and then, from 1954 to 1956 Thigpen freelanced in New York including ...

Article

Marc Mazique

Born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, Georgia, Mary Lou Williams began playing piano professionally at age six in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her early influences included Earl Hines, Jelly Roll Morton, and Lovie Austin. As an adolescent, Williams performed in the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA) black vaudeville circuit alongside such figures as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and Willie “The Lion” Smith. In 1926, she married John Williams, a saxophonist and band leader.

Williams began arranging in 1929 after she joined the Andy Kirk Band, first based in Oklahoma City and later in Kansas City, composing Blues-based works which influenced the development of 1930s Swing. During the 1930s, she performed and arranged for Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ellington, and others. Williams moved to New York in 1942 and joined Duke Ellington s band as principal arranger ...

Article

Vera M. Kutzinski

and MacArthur Fellow. Jay Wright's biography is a composite of uncertain and contradictory stories. He was born in either 1934 or 1935 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Leona Dailey, a Virginian of African and Native American descent, and George Murphy (also known as Mercer Murphy Wright), a construction worker, jitney driver, and handy man who claimed to be of African American, Cherokee, and Irish ancestry. Wright spent most of his childhood in the care of foster parents in Albuquerque. In his teens, he lived with his father in San Pedro, California. While in high school, Wright began to play minor league baseball and developed what would become a lifelong passion for the bass. From 1954 to 1957 he served in the U S Army medical corps During most of his service he was stationed in Germany which gave him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe ...