The 113 giants of jazz keyboard

For a jazz pianist is considered a giant is not enough to play well, he must have contributed significantly to the jazz history with his instrument leaving a legacy and many players as followers, and he must have been  a great composer, otherwise it is just a good or great keyboardist” (J. Sabán).

In this list of giants are included not only the best pianists but also those that were pioneers in integration of ragtime, barrelhouse and boogie-woogie, the 3 piano-musics precursive of jazz music. The more primitive of 3 is surprisingly barrelhouse which developed in African American communities in the 1870s, and for it is previous to boogie-woogie of 1890 and ragtime of the end of XIX century, exactly in 1898 when Scott Joplin published his first two piano rags.  Respect to the blues, born in the beginning g of XX century, only are included those who performed blues-jazzy or jazz-bluesy. The gospel also influenced the birth of jazz.  In the integration of  this music with jazz music stand out the pianist Ran Blake. The pioneers and best disciples of jazz-organ and the pioneers of diferents styles of piano-jazz are obviously included. Finally also are in our list the pianists which are considered as parents of musics born directly of jazz such as soul, R&B, Rock´n roll, although his pianistic technique was not the better but his talent/gift to innovation is in this case the essential.

The Big Three of ragtime (James Scott, Scott Joplin and Joseph Lamb), are necessarily included in the list because without ragtime, one of thre precursive musics of jazz music, simplily there is not jazz.

Moreover, the pioneers of diferents styles of piano-jazz (stride, swing, bebop, cool-jazz, hard-bop, free, avant-garde…) are obviously included.  Among bossa pianists just are included Hermeto Pascoal, Jonny Alf, and Sergio Mendes beause other famous bossa-pianists (Tom Jobim, João Donato….), did not play jazz music. Respect to latin-jazz only are included the bests: Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O’Farrill,   Chucho and Bebo Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jorge Dalto, and Michel Camilo.  Inside the world of jazz keyboard just six playerd stands out in organ, the bigs Jimmy Smith, (Brother) Jack McDuff, Lonnie Smith, Jimmy McGriffRichard “Groove” Holmes and Joey DeFrancesco,and for it they are the only  ones in our list of giants. Don Shinn was an excelent pianist and organist of rock progressive but not a jazz player.  Among piano blues player only include Roosevelt Sykes,  Willie “The Lion” Smith and the authentic father of jazz & blues, both music, the big “Buddy Bolden”.  Among jazz piano players that influenced the birth of soul stand out Harold Mabern and Ray Charles, “The Genius”, and among pioneers of rock´n roll and R&B in the piano just include in our list Edward Frank and the big Johnnie Johnson, this last was a jazz & blues & rock´n roll pianist that is considered Father of Rock and Roll by his work with Chuck Berry.  Fats Domino, Little Richard, Huey ‘Piano’ Smith,  Allen Toussaint, Jerry Lee Lewis and James Booker played rock´n roll and R&B in piano very well but none of them played also jazz, for it are absent in this list of giants. Among young pianists, two big  pianists such as Derek Paravicini or Ethan Bortnick, great piano players of classical music, New Age and just occasionally classic or contemporary jazz music, such as,  not be included on this first list either. However Brad Mehldau, Kenny Barron, Matt Savage and Helen Sung are the excepcions in this young group, they plays frequently, non from time to time, jazz music in a very high level although, except Mehldau,  something away of the seven bigs of piano jazz all time which are: Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Billy Strayhorn, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson and Cyrus Chestnut.  In our list of giants could not miss, of course, the only three “total pianists” in my opinion: Clare Fischer, Jorge Dalto and Joe Sample. The current great and popular Italian pianist Giovanni Allevi plays all kinds of music except jazz, especially classical music, for it is not included in our selection.  Finally, there are in this list many noted absences and so Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Seymour Simons, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Richard Rodgers and many others were great composers of many jazz-standards but not jazz pianists,  except a little Gershwin, and for it they are not included in this series.

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1-Ahmad Jamal (1930)

In the time of bebop he played “cool jazz” !!!!!, more ten years before of time of this jazz style. He explored the texture of riffstimbres, and phrases rather than the quantity or speed of notes in any given improvisation. He had a style unusually minimalist style for this period.

      Ahmad Jamal (born Frederick Russell Jones) is an American jazz pianist, composer, group leader, and educator. For five decades, he has been one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz.

Jamal was born in PittsburghPennsylvaniaHe began playing piano at the age of threewhen his uncle Lawrence challenged him to duplicate what he was doing on the piano. Jamal began formal piano training at the age of seven with Mary Cardwell Dawson, whom he describes as greatly influencing him. Born to Baptist parents Jamal didnot discover Islam until his early 20s.  While touring in Detroit (where there was a sizable Muslim community in the 1940s and 1950s), Jamal became interested in Islam and Islamic cultureHe converted to Islam and changed his name to Ahmad Jamal in 1950. Shortly after his conversion to Islam, Jamal explained to the New York Times that he “says Muslim prayers five times a day and arises in time to say his first prayers at 5 am. He says them in Arabic in keeping with the Muslim tradition.”

     His Pittsburgh roots have remained an important part of his identity as pianist(“Pittsburgh meant everything to me and it still does,” he said in 2001) and it was there that he was immersed in the influence of jazz artists such as Earl HinesBilly StrayhornMary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner.

Jamal also studied with pianist James Miller and began playing piano professionally at the age of fourteen, at which point he was recognized as a “coming great” by the pianist Art Tatum.  In the time of bebop (Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie), Jamaltook steps in the direction of a new movement, later coined “cool jazz. Jamal explored the texture of riffstimbres, and phrases rather than the quantity or speed of notes in any given improvisation. Because of this style, Jamal was “often dismissed by jazz writers as no more than a cocktail pianist, a player so given to fluff that his work shouldn’t be considered seriously in any artistic sense”.

Jamal began touring with George Hudson’s Orchestra after graduating from George Westinghouse High School in 1948.

     After the recording of the best-selling album But Not For Me, Jamal’s music grew in popularity throughout the 1950s, and he attracted media coverage for his investment decisions pertaining to his “rising fortune”.

      In 1959, he took a tour of North Africa to explore investment options in Africa.Jamal, who was twenty-nine at the time, said he had a curiosity about the homeland of his ancestors, highly influenced by his conversion to the Muslim faith.

Speaking about Jamal, A. B. Spellman of the National Endowment of the Arts said: “Nobody except Thelonious Monk used space better, and nobody ever applied the artistic device of tension and release better.” These (at the time) unconventional techniques that Jamal gleaned from both traditional classical and contemporary jazz musicians helped pave the way for later jazz greats like Bill EvansHerbie Hancock, and McCoy Tyner.

     He moved to Chicago in 1950 (where he legally changed his name to Ahmad Jamal), and played with local musicians.

      He made his first sides in 1951 for the Okeh label with The Three Strings using the piano-guitar-bass lineup (which would later also be called the Ahmad Jamal Trio, although Jamal himself prefers not to use the term “trio”). The other members wereguitarist Ray Crawford and a bassist (at different times, Eddie Calhoun (1950–52), Richard Davis(1953–54), and Israel Crosby (from 1954)).

     The Three Strings arranged an extended engagement at Chicago’s Blue Note, but leapt to fame after performing at the Embers in New York City where John Hammond saw the band play and signed them to Okeh Records.

      The trio’s sound changed significantly when guitarist Crawford was replaced with drummer Vernel Fournier in 1957 and the group worked as the “House Trioat Chicago’s Pershing Hotel. In 1958 they recording “Live at the Preshing Hotel” (Chicago). In 1985, Jamal agreed to do an interview and recording session with his fellow jazz pianist, Marian McPartland.  He said that when he grew in popularity from the Live at the Pershing album.

    In 1962, House Trio disbanded and Jamal moved to New York City where, at the age of 32, he took a three-year hiatus from his musical career.

    In 1964, Jamal resumed touring and recording, this time with the bassist Jamil Nasser.Jamal and Nasser continued to play and record together from 1964 to 1972.

    Until 1970, he played acoustic piano exclusivelyIn the 1970s, he played electric piano as well.

    Now in his eighties, Ahmad Jamal has continued to make numerous tours and recordings. His most recently released albums are Saturday Morning2013.]and the CD/DVD release “Ahmad Jamal featuring Yusef Lateef Live at L’Olympia”, 2014.

    He is frequently credited with having a great influence on Miles Davis.   Jamal and Davis became friends in the 1950.

Jamal is the main mentor of female jazz piano virtuosa Hiromi Uehara, known as Hiromi.

Awards and honors

Some of Ahmad Jamal’s more prestigious awards include the following, in chronological order:

·         1980: Distinguished Service Award from City of Washington D.C., Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, Smithsonian Institution

·         1981: Nomination for the Best R&B Instrumental Performance (“You’re Welcome,” “Stop on By”) from NARAS

·         2001: Induction into The Kelly-Strayhorn Gallery of Stars for Achievements as Pianist and Composer from East Liberty Quarter Chamber of Commerce

·         2003: American Jazz Hall of Fame from New Jersey Jazz Society

·         2007: Named Living Jazz Legend by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on June 2007 (French government)

·         2011: Induction into Downbeat Magazine’s 76th Readers’ Poll Hall of Fame


2-Alan Broadbent (1947)

          Alan Leonard Broadbent  was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a jazz pianist, arranger and composer best known for his work as sideman of artists such as Charlie HadenWoody HermanChet BakerIrene KralSheila JordanNatalie ColeWarne MarshBud Shank, and many others.

Broadbent studied piano and music theory in his own country, but in 1966 went to the US to study at the Berklee College of Music. Alan Broadbent’s first professional gig was in a jazz trio with bassist Kevin Haines and drummer Tony Hopkins at Club 81 in Auckland New Zealand in the mid-1960s.

        Broadbent’s first two albums were recorded in 1985 in New Zealand on the Tartar label (respectively TRL-043 and TRL-052). Those early albums show a fascination with reinterpreting a broad range of standards; he covers material as diverse as “What is this Thing Called Love?” (Cole Porter) and “Oleo” (Sonny Rollins).  He contributes as compositor with two pieces:  “Nictation” and “Don’t Ask Why”.

        Broadbent’s first U.S. release, Everything I Love, was recorded in Hollywood in April 1986 and released on the Discovery label (DS-929). Again, Broadbent covers standardsranging from Oscar Hammerstein (“Softly as in a Morning Sunrise”) to John Coltrane (“Lazy Bird”), and contributes two original compositions (“Continuity” and “Mendocino Nights”).

         In the early 90s he was asked to be a part of Natalie Cole’s famous “Unforgettable” cd, at which time he toured as her pianist and, a little while later, as her conductor. At this time he wrote an orchestral arrangement for her second video                       with her dad, “When I Fall In Love” (by Nat King Cole), which won him his first Grammy for “Best Orchestral Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal”.

During the 1990s Broadbent was part of Charlie Haden‘s “Quartet West.”

It was while he was with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West that he won his second Grammy, an orchestral accompaniment written for Shirley Horn of Leonard Bernstein’s “Lonely Town”.

            As a soloist and with his jazz trio, Broadbent has been nominated for Grammys twice for best instrumental performance, in the company of such artists as Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and Keith Jarrett. In 2007 he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, an honor he holds in high regard.

            Broadbent is Diana Krall’s conductor for her occasional orchestra concerts and is the conductor on her “Live in Paris” DVD.

           Recently he has been the arranger on Glenn Frey’s cd with strings, “After Hours”, and wrote six string arrangements for Sir Paul McCartney’s “Kisses On The Bottom” with the London Symphony.

He has just returned from solo piano concerts in the UK, Poland and France. It has been his lifelong goal, through his orchestral arrangements and jazz improvisations, to discover, in popular music and standard songs, deeper feelings of communication and love.

            In the November 2013 issue of downbeat Magazine his trio CD, Heart To Heart garnished a rare 5 star rating.

3-Albert Ammons (1907 –1949)

He  was an American pianist and player of boogie-woogie, a bluesy jazz style popular from the late 1930s into the mid-1940s. Boogie-woogie“eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”).

      Born Albert C. Ammons in ChicagoIllinois, his parents were pianistsand he had learned to play by the age of ten.

      His interest in boogie-woogie is attributed to his close friendship with Meade Lux Lewis and also his father’s interest in the style. Both Albert and Meade would practice together on the piano in the Ammons household.

      He also played percussion in the drum and bugle corps as a teenager and was soon performing with bandson the Chicago club scene.

      After World War I he became interested in the blueslearning by listening to Chicago pianists Hersal Thomas and the brothers Alonzo and Jimmy Yancey.

     In the early to mid-1920s Ammons worked as a cab driver for the Silver Taxicab Company. In 1924 he met back up with boyhood friend and fellow taxi driver Meade Lux Lewis !!!!!!!!!!. Soon the two players began working as a team, performing at club parties.

Ammons also recorded as Albert Ammons’s Rhythm Kings for Decca Records in 1936.The Rhythm Kings’ version of “Swanee River Boogie” sold a million copies !!!!!!!!.

      Ammons moved from Chicago to New York, where he teamed up with another pianist, Pete JohnsonThe two performed regularly at the Café Society, occasionally joined by Meade Lux Lewis, and performed with other jazz musicians such as Benny Goodman and Harry James.

       In 1938 Ammons appeared at Carnegie Hall with Johnson and Lewis at From Spirituals to Swing, an event that helped launch the boogie-woogie crazeTwo weeks later, record producer Alfred Lion, started Blue Note Records, recording nine Ammons solos including “The Blues” and “Boogie Woogie Stomp”, eight by Lewis and a pair of duets in a one-day session in a rented studio.

       In the 1940s Ammons recorded a session with his son, the tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons.

     Although the boogie-woogie fad began to die down in 1945, Ammons had no difficulty securing work. He continued to tour as a solo artist, and between 1946 and 1949 recorded his last sides for Mercury Records, with bassist Israel Crosby, and took on the position of staff pianist with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. In tha same year, 1949,  he played at President Harry S. Truman‘s inauguration.

      Just four days before he died he had been at the Yancey apartment listening to Don Ewell and Jimmy Yancey play.

       Albert Ammons died in 1949, in Chicago and was interred at the Lincoln Cemetery,Worth TownshipCook County, Illinois.

       Ammons has had wide influence on countless pianists, such as Jerry Lee LewisDave AlexanderDr. JohnHadda BrooksJohnnie JohnsonRay BryantErroll GarnerKatie WebsterAxel Zwingenberger and Henri Herbert.

       The German pianist Joerg Hegemann honoured Ammons, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Ammons’s birth in 2007, with his album A Tribute To Albert Ammons.


4-Alice Coltrane (1937 – 2007)

The only one pianist and, at the same time, harpist in the jazz history.

Alice Coltrane, née McLeod,  was an American jazz pianistorganist,harpist, and composer, and the second wife of jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane.


       Born inDetroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod studied classical music, and also jazz with Bud Powell!!!!! in Paris, France, where she worked as the intermission pianist at the Blue Note Jazz Club in 1960.

       She began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. She married Kenny Hagood in 1960 and had a daughterFrom 1962-63 she played with vibraphonist Terry Gibbs‘s quartetduring which time she met John Coltrane. In 1965 they were married in JuárezMexico. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice’s daughter Michele and the couple had three childrena drummer((John Jr. (1964–1982)); and two saxophonists:  Oranyan (b. 1967),   who played saxophone with Santana for a period of time; and Ravi (b. 1965).

       In January 1966 she replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane’s group.She subsequently recorded with him and continued playing with the band until his death on July 17, 1967.

       After her husband’s death she continued to play with her own groups, later including her children, moving into progressively more meditative music.

       In 1972, she moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center in 1975. By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda (Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba).  On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.

      The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback albumTranslinear Light.

       Following a 25-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006culminating on November 4 with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

       Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles, aged 69She is buried alongside her late husband John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, FarmingdaleSuffolk County, New York.

Paul Weller dedicated his song “Song For Alice”, dedicated to the Beautiful Legacy of Mrs. Coltrane.

5-Art Tatum (1909 -1956)


The virtuous and visually impaired pianist who did not want to ride the bebop fashion, with  an encyclopedic memory for Major League Baseball.


Arthur “Art” Tatum Jr was born in Toledo, Ohio His father, Arthur Tatum, Sr., was a guitarist and an elder (dignatario) at Grace Presbyterian Church, where his mother,Mildred Hoskins, played piano. From infancy he suffered from cataracts (of unknown origen) 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 at age 20. Influences: Tatum drew inspiration from the pianists James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the stride piano style, and from the more “modern” Earl Hines, six years Tatum’s senior. Tatum identified Waller as his main influence, but according to pianist Teddy Wilson “Art Tatum’s favorite jazz piano player was Earl Hines”.                                                                                                           

           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, taught Tatum in the classical tradition, but Rainey did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz, Arthur  ignored him and shortly after he became in a reference pianistic in such music and was idolized by many jazz musicians.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

         In 1931, vocalist Adelaide Hall commenced a world tour that lasted almost two years. During the tour, Adelaide discovered Tatum in Toledo and employed him as one of her stage pianists. 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.                                          

         In 1941, Tatum recorded two sessions for Decca Records with singer Big Joe Turner, the first of which included “Wee Wee Baby Blues”, which attained national popularity. Arthur love theGuitar and when his popularity faded in the mid to late 1940s with the advent of bebop– a movement which Tatum did not embrace-, he formed a trio in 1943 with guitarist Tiny Grimes and bassist Slam Stewart, whose perfect pitch enabled him to follow Tatum’s excursions. Tatum recorded exclusively with the trio for almost two years, but abandoned the trio format in 1945 and returned to solo piano work.                                                                                                                                                     

        Tatum built upon stride and classical piano influences to develop a novel and unique piano style.He introduced a strong, swinging pulse to jazz piano, highlighted with spectacular cadences that swept across the entire keyboard. His interpretations of popular songs were exuberant, sophisticated and intricate. Jazz soloing in the 1930s had not yet evolved into the free-ranging extended improvisations that flowered in the bebop era of the 1940s, 1950s and beyond.                                                                                                                                                               In 1943  Tatum won Esquire Magazine´s first jazz popularity poll. A Curious fact in the life of Tatum was that 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.


Art Tatum died on November 1956 at Queen of Angels Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, as a result of Kidney failure. He was originally interred at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, but was moved by his wife, Geraldine Tatum, to the Great Mausoleum of Glendale’s Forest Lawn Cemetery in 1991, so she could ultimately be buried next to him, although his headstone was left at Rosedale to commemorate where he was first laid to rest. Geraldine died on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, and was interred beside Art at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

6-Arturo O’Farrill (1960)

Tha “pan-latin” musician who was able to integrate the textures and rhythms of all South America and the Caribbean.

         Pianist and organist Arturo O’Farrill is a jazz musician, the son of cuban trumpeterChico O’FarrillLatin jazz musician, arranger, bandleader, who in his early yearswas much more preoccupied with jazz than the actual melodic content of Cuban music but finally his music was undeniably Afro-Cuban in nature.

      Arturo is the current pianist, composer, and director for the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

       He is best known for his contributions to contemporary Latin Jazz, (more specifically Afro-Cuban jazz,) having received one Grammy Award and two Grammy nominations for his work in the genre, though he has also trained in other musical forms such as free jazz and even experimented briefly with hip hop.

       Arturo O’Farrill was born in Mexico City!!!!!!!, Mexico to Lupe Valero and Chico O’Farrill on June 22, 1960. His mother Lupe was a singer from Mexico, and his father Chico was a jazz trumpeter and composer originally from Havana, Cuba. The family lived in Mexico until 1965, when they moved to New York City.

      In NY  his father Chico found work as music director for the CBS program “Festival of Lively Arts,” where he formed relationships with american jazz musicians Count BasieDizzy GillespieGerry Mulligan, and Stan Getz However Chico also worked with many Latin music artists such as Tito PuenteMachitoCelia Cruz, and La Lupe, which, for son Arturo, led to a “psychotic upbringing” in which he was unsure of his own cultural identity.

       At the age of six O’Farrill began taking piano lessons. At 12 he began to receive a formal musical education graduating from LaGuardia High School for Music and Art[ andthen studying at the Manhattan School of Music, the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College (from which he received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal), and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

      Influences:   Bud Powell and Chick Corea

       In 1979, O’Farrill was playing in an upstate New York bar when he was noticed by jazz pianist, organist, and composer Carla BleyImpressed with his talent, Bley recruited the then 19-year-old O’Farrill to play with her band in Carnegie Hall.

       He remained with her band for three years afterwards, playing in such events as the Berlin Jazz Festival where the band was billed alongside O’Farrill’s childhood idol Chick Corea.  In addition to his regular role as a pianist, O’Farrill sometimes played organ with the band.

In 1987 O’Farrill found long-term employment as the singer and music directorHarry Belafonte, the “Calypso” King in the 50s. 

      In the early 90s, O’Farrill, in that period more bandleader than pianist,  slowly began to return to his Latin roots contacting with Gonzalez brothers,   Andy (bassist) and Jerry(pianist) as well as Larry Willis, also pianist who alternated with Jerry in the band.

      In 1995 he was named pianist and music director of the orchestra of his fatherIn 1997 the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra began to play at Birdland each Sunday night, and when his father died in 2001 Arturo became bandleader.

      Wynton Marsalis – artistic director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center program and musical director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra –offered O’Farrill the opportunity to form and lead an Afro-Cuban jazz band that would perform regularly at Lincoln Center, which O’Farrill accepted.

      He named the new band the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), and opted for traditional jazz big band instrumentation with the addition of a three-piece Cuban percussion section.

        In 2005 Arturo O’Farrill released his first album with the ALJO, Una Noche Inolvidable, for which he received a Grammy nomination in the category “Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album.”

       In 2007, O’Farrill and the ALJO left Jazz at Lincoln Center “to pursue its own educational and performance opportunities,”moving their performances to New York’s Symphony Space.That same year he established the nonprofit organization the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, which provides instruments and musical lessons for New York City public schoolstudents.

       In 2008 O’Farrill released his second album with the ALJO, the Grammy-winning Song for Chico,and also took up residency as an assistant professor at State University of New York at Purchase.

       In December 2010 Arturo O’Farrill travelled to Cuba with his mother, sons, and the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Orchestra in order to bring his father’s music back to the island.

       In 2011, once he had returned from Cuba,  recorded “40 Acres and a Burro (see later) and O’Farrill directed the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s final show at Birdland, capping 15 straight years of regular performances.Later that year he released his third Grammy-nominated album with the ALJO titled 40 Acres and a BurroO’Farrill’s most recent recording is 2014’s The Offense of the Drum, his fourth album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

      Unlike his father, whose music was undeniably Afro-Cuban in nature, Arturo O’Farrill’s casts a wider net, capturing sounds from throughout Latin America. Aiming to reflect the big band traditions in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and elsewhere.

       Critic Dan Bilawsky describes O’Farrill as stylistically “pan-Latin.”

Philip Booth of JazzTimes writes that “40 Acres and a Burro ” (recorded in 2011) hasthe textures and rhythms of South America and the Caribbean” than ever before.

7-Barry Harris (1929)

            American bebop jazz pianist and educator (from 1950s). Harris’s playing is noted for its similarity to Bud Powell. Dr. Harris has devoted his life to the advancement of Jazz and in the 1980’s founded the Jazz Cultural Theatre. Respect to the jazz harmony,  he boosted the use of major and minor 6th chords and major and minor 6th diminished scales. He is de creator of the concept of “borrowing notes”. Really is the more important jazz harmony teacher all time.

           Barry Doyle Harris, Barry Harris, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Harris left Detroit for New York City in 1960.

Influences: pianists such as Bud Powell, Art Tatum and  Thelonious Monk; horn players as:  Coleman Hawkins and  Charlie Parker.


           Nothing is known about his childhood and youth.  


           He was an important part of the Detroit jazz scene of the 1950sHarris recorded his first set as a leader while in 1958, and moved to New York in 1960, where he spent a short period with Cannonball Adderley’s QuintetHe also was with Coleman Hawkins off and on throughout the decade (including Hawk’s declining years).


             During the 1970s, Harris lived with Monk at the Weehawken, New Jersey home of the jazz patroness Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, and so was in an excellent position to comment on the last years of his fellow pianist.


             In the 1970s, Harris was on two of saxophonist Sonny Stitt‘s finest records (Tune Up and Constellation).


Barry Harris has mostly worked with his trio since the mid-’70s.


             In 1982, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Jim Harrison, and Frank Fuentes were partners in creating the Jazz Cultural Theater, Located at 368 Eighth Avenue in New York City in a storefront between 28th and 29th Streets in Manhattan. It was primarily a performance venue featuring prominent jazz artists and also hosted jam sessionsAdditionally, it was known for Barry’s music classes for vocalists and instrumentalists, each taught in separate sessions. Several artists recorded albums at the clubincluding guitarists Ted Dunbar andPeter Leitch.


             In 1987 The Jazz Cultural Theater (JCT) enjoyed a vibrant five-year run until August 14, 1987, when its lease ran out and the rent was increased. Barry simply moved his jazz instrumental and vocal instructional classes to other venues in New York City, Japan, and Europe.  Unbelievely he was the teacher not only of future professional pianists (Vahagn Hayrapetyan) but of professional guitarists (Roni Ben-Hur and Pasquale Grasso) and even saxophonists (Luigi  Grasso, sax alto).


            Since 1991, Barry Harris has collaborated with Toronto-based pianist and teacher Howard Rees in creating a series of videos and workbooks documenting his unique harmonic and improvisational systems and teaching process.


             Barry Harris continues to perform and teach worldwideWhen he is not traveling, he holds weekly music workshop sessions in New York City for vocalists, students of piano and other instruments.


              Over many years Barry has developed a codified methodology and approach to the teaching of jazz. His approach, drawing primarily from the melodic and harmonic concepts/techniques utilized by Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, relies upon using the major and minor 6th chords and major and minor 6th diminished scales as a basis for creating melody and harmony. The major 6th diminished scale is a major scale with an extra note between the 5th and 6th scale degreesThe same concept applies as well to the minor 6th diminished scale.


            Given that “modal interchange” is equivalent to “borrowed chord”,  he created the  concept of “borrowing notes,” in which a related diminished note (or notes) is used in a major or minor 6th chord voicing and then resolved (or a major or minor 6th chord note is used in the related diminished 7th chord and then resolved) is an additional way of creating movement.


             Dr. Harris also stresses the relationship of the major 6th chord to the minor 7th chord. Both share the same 4 notes and differ only by what note is considered the bass. The same relationship occurs between the minor 6th chord and the half-diminished 7th chord,that is, that C minor6 and A minor7b5 are almost interchangeable.


Equally important are the step of the dominant seventh to diminished, and the dominant seven flat five to diminished scale. Extending this concept, Barry relates all chord alterations (flat and sharp 9’s, sharp 11’s, flat 13’s, etc.) to the tritone’s minor sixth-diminished scale (Ab minor 6th diminished scale for G7altered), which provides options for moving the alterations through the scales. He has also formulated scales of chords, which allow pianists and guitar players greater freedom in accompaniment and to play, in his own words, “movement, not chords.”


Awards and recognition:

Harris is a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Harris is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Northwestern University. He has received the Living Jazz Legacy award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Association, and an American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Dr. Harris received the Manhattan Borough President Award for Excellence.

8-Bebo Valdés (1918-2013)

          One of the founders of Latin jazz, and a pioneer in bringing Afro-Cuban sacred rhythms to popular dance music. The creator of “batanga rythm”

         Dionisio Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro better known as Bebo Valdés, was a Cuban pianistbandleadercomposer and arranger. He was a central figure in the golden age of Cuban music, led two famous big bands, and was one of the “house” arrangers for the Tropicana Club.

       Valdés was born in Quivicánand started his career as a pianist in the night clubs of Havana during the 1940s.

      From 1948 to 1957 he worked as pianist and arranger for the vedette Rita Montaner, who was the lead act in the Tropicana cabaret.

Valdés played a role in the development of the mambo during the 1950s, anddeveloped a new rhythm to compete with Perez Prado‘s mambo, called the batanga.

     Valdés was also an important figure in Cuban jazz and taking part in the PanartCuban jazz sessions (one was commissioned by American producer Norman Granz).

     In the late 1950s he recorded with Nat ‘King’ Cole.

     In 1960 lived briefly in the United States before touring Europe, and eventually settled in Stockholm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, where he lived until 2007. In the meantime Valdés’ career got a late career boost in 1994 when he teamed up with saxophone player Paquito D’Rivera to release a CD called Bebo Rides Again.

    In 2003, he and Diego El Cigala, a famous Spanish flamenco singer, recorded thealbum Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears), a, for me, strange/odd fusion of Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals.

    Valdés was in the middle of the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease ¿¿¿¿????, which he had suffered for several years, when he died in StockholmSweden on March 22, 2013, aged 94, ¿¿¿playing the piano every day????.

Awards: Valdés won seven Grammy Awards: two for El Arte del Sabor (2002), one for Lágrimas Negras (Best Traditional Tropical Album in Latin Grammy Awards) (¿¿¿¿best traditional tropical album????),and two for Bebo de Cuba in 2006 (in the categories “Best Traditional Tropical Album” and “Best Latin Jazz Album”). His last musical production was one fittingly recorded with his son: 2008’s Bebo y Chucho Valdés: Juntos para Siempre (Together Forever), winner of the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010;they also won the Latin Grammy Award on the same field.

Social events: Valdés was first married to Pilar Valdés. This marriage produced five children, one of whom is the pianist Chucho ValdésIn 1963 he stopped in Sweden on a tour with the Lecuona Cuban Boys. There he met the 18-year-old Rose Marie Pehrson (August 28, 1928), a cavalry (caballería) officer’s daughter.”They remained together until her death in 2012.

9-Bennie Moten (1894 –1935)

             The father of “Kansas City Jazz Style” and beyond he helped to develop the riffing style that defined many of the 1930s Big Bands.

Bennie Moten was a noted American jazz pianist and band leader born in Kansas City, Missouri. He led the Kansas City Orchestrathe most important orchestra active in the Midwest in 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style, supported by a ostinato phrase,  that would come to define many of the 1930s Big Bands. The main musician of early Bennie Moten´s band was Walter Page (tuba & double bass, the “big one” bassist). Walter Page, Wellman Braud and Jimmie Blanton were the parents of “walking bass”,. Wellamn Braud, later bassist with Duke Ellington was the real father of walking bass. Jimmie Blanton was the creator moreover of pizzicato and arco bass. Walking bass lines was a revolution in jazz bass giving the music an entirely new feel coloured by Basie‘s understated (discreto) and  syncopated piano fills.

This first band of Moten  lasted  a short time because in 1923 Walter page left Bennie Moten´s band to joing group that toured the TOBA (Theater Owners Booking Association), 8 theaters between Phladelphia and Texas. Moreover Walter formed in Oklahoma the band “Walter Page & Blued Devils” in 1925, recruiting from Bennie Moten´s Band the trumpeter Hot Lips Page, the singer Jimmy Rushing and the pianist Count Basie. The Blue Devils only recorded once, in 1929, radio station WDAF in Kansas City.  In 1929 many of the Blue Devils got back to Moten´s group, they were the pianist Count Basie, trumpeter Hot Lips Page and the singer Jimmy Rushing.  In 1933 Moten incorporates the great Lester Young (saxophonist).   Count Basie formed his Orchestra in 1936, featuring Lester Young,  a year after that Moten died in 1935.

10-Bill Evans (1929-1980)

One of the most influential figures of the post-bebop jazz piano. He hada weak body with a big talent. He lived a dramatic life.

                 Bill Evans was born in Plainfield, New Jersey in a family with alcoholic father, his first drama. Began his music studies at age 6. Classically trained on piano; he also studiedflute and violin as a child. Evans’ older brother Harry, two years his senior, was his first pianistic influence. Harry was the first one in the family to take piano lessons, and Bill began at the piano by mimicking him. He worshipped his older brother and tried to keep up with him in sports too. By age 12 he was substituting for his older brother in Buddy Valentino’s band, where at one point he discovered a little blues phrase by himself during a stock arrangement performance of “Tuxedo Junction.” It was only a Db-D-F phrase in the key of Bb, but it unlocked a door for him.


He graduated with a degree in piano performance and teaching from Southeastern Louisiana College in 1950, and studied composition at Mannes College of Music in New York.


Influences: 20th century composers: Debussy, Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud and particularly Petrouschka (perhaps the most difficult piano composition ever).


Work with Leaders: in 1958, Miles Davis ((Miles Davis shared Evan’s love of the French impressionists Ravel and Debussy)) asked him to join his group (which also featured John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley).  He stayed for nearly a year, touring and recording, and subsequently playing on the all-time classic Kind of Blue album — as well as composing “Blue in Green”, now a jazz standard.


His famous trio-ensemble was built in 1959.  Evans founded his most innovative trio with the now-legendary bassist Scott LaFaro and with Paul Motian on drums for two intensive years. LaFaro was dead in a car accident in 1961, as dramatic as the accident of the great saxophonist Chu Berry in 1941, an event, the LaFaro´s death,  which personally devastated Bill and sent the pianist into seclusion (reclusion / retiro) for one year, after which he returned to the trio format later in 1962, with Motian again, and Chuck Israels on bass. The great bassist Eddie Gomez began a fruitful eleven year tenure with Bill in 1966, in various trios with many drummers ((Marty Morell, Philly Joe Jones, Jack DeJohnette and others)) — contributing to some of the most acclaimed club appearances and albums in Evans’s career.


       Guitarists preferred:  Mundell Lowe, in the beginning of his career, who brought precisely the young pianist to the attention of producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside Records, and Jim Hall in his last period.


Main contribution / Legato / Disciples: Bill was known for his highly nuanced touch, the clarity of the feeling content of his music and his reform of the chord voicing system pianists used.   His rich legacy  (he recorded over fifty albums as leader) remains undiminished, and his compositions have enjoyed rediscovery by jazz players and even some classical musicians. Even almost 30 years after his passing, Bill Evans’ music continues to influence musicians and composers everywhere and all those who have been deeply touched by his expressive genius and sensitive, lyrical artistry.


Memorable /recording sessionsEvans’ first significant record date was the Jazz Workshop album for George Russell (avant-garde composer) in 1956.  Evans’ first jazz album was New Jazz Conceptions,  too  in 1956, which featured the first recording of his most loved composition, “Waltz for Debby”.


Movements: Bill was one of the most influential figures of the post-bebop jazz piano,was open to new musical approaches (electric piano) (avant-garde).


Award / knowledgment:  received five Grammy awards. He spawned a school of “Bill Evans style”  who include some of the best known artists of our day, including Michel Petrucciani, Andy Laverne, Richard Beirach, Enrico Pieranunzi and Warren Bernhardt.


Events / setback (contratiempos): two failed marriages (the first ending in a dramatic suicide), and an early death. Bill was devastated by the death of Lafaro in 1961 and the death of  his brother in 1979 at the age of 52.


At September 15, 1980, in New York, weak of health all his life, he died in the Mount Sinai Hospital at the age of 51 from digestive bleeding (stomach ulcer or oesophageal varices) as a complication of his liver cirrhosis after a lifelong drug abuse (From Jazz and Death by Frederick Spencer, MD, University Press of Mississippi, 2002). Bill Evans picked up the heroin addiction in 1958 as a member of the Miles Davis Sextet, playing in black clubs, where he was the only white musician.


Curiously he was a Studio musician more than a performance musician: “Jazz will never be a mass appeal music but there is nothing more that I can give an audience than I give myself. I’m not trying to be abstract or esoterical. I’m just trying to play my conception of music, and I have to direct myself to that rather than the audience because I’m the only one who can tell if I’m achieving that objective.” (From a former interview with Bill Evans by Brian Hennessey in Jazz Journal International, October 1985).  Someone described Bill Evans in the sixties as “He looked like a Harvard professor on a Harlem street corner.” 


11-Billy Strayhorn (1915-67)


            Soul mater of Duke Ellington and one of the greatest composers in the history of American music in addition to a great pianist. On the other hand, he was pioneer socially because he was one of the few jazzmen to be declared openly homosexual, the early representative of the gay pride.

William Thomas Strayhorn, with nickname  “Billy”, with a short career,   he was dealter ego / soul mater of Duke Ellington and the creator of a body of work that includes such standards as “Take the ‘A’ Train, Lush Life & Satin Doll”.

      Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1915, grew up near Pittsburgh. His family soon moved to the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother’s family was from Hillsborough, North Carolina, and she sent him there to protect him from his father’s drunken sprees (juergas). Strayhorn spent many months of his childhood at his grandparents’ house in HillsboroughIn an interview, Strayhorn said that his grandmother was his primary influence during the first ten years of his life.

He first became interested in music while living with her, playing hymns on her piano, and playing records on her Victrola record player. Strayhorn returned to Pittsburgh, and attended Westinghouse High School, later attended by jazz men Erroll Garner and Ahmad Jamal.

In Pittsburgh, he began his musical career, studying classical music for a time at thePittsburgh Music Institute, forming a musical trio that played daily on a local radio station, and, while still in his teens, composing (with lyrics) the songs “Life Is Lonely” (later renamed “Lush Life“), “My Little Brown Book”, and “Something to Live For. While still in grade school, he worked odd jobs to earn enough money to buy his first piano. By age 19, he was writing for a professional musical, Fantastic Rhythm, which was performed for several years with young Billy Eckstine starring.

After Strayhorn was hired by Ellington, he gave up his apartment and moved in with Ellington’s family. But later on, he moved in with pianist Aaron Bridgers.

Profile as musician:  Still a teenager, Strayhorn composed what is arguably his masterpiece, “Lush Life,” which not only endures as one of the great songs of the past century but also defines the composer’s signature style: achingly interwoven melodies. Even today, as we are transported by the truth of its longing and regret, it’s astounding to think that the song was written by a teenager.

Teacher: While in high school, he played in the school band, and studied under the same teacher, Carl McVicker, who had also instructed jazz pianists Erroll Garner and Mary Lou Williams.

Work with Leaders: Yet all his life Strayhorn was overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for three decades as the Ellington Orchestra’s ace songwriter and arranger.  While there can be no doubt about Duke Ellington’s genius, some say that a good part of that genius is owed to the contributions of the little guy in the background, Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn was 23 when he met Ellington, but the bandleader waited a year before hiring him as his collaborator. In 1939, the Ellington orchestra performed its first Strayhorn tune, “Something to Live For” that you can listen to and see in our video clips collection.   But what truly cemented the partnership (sociedad) was a nationwide radio strike in 1941, which necessitated a new set of songs for a big date on the West Coast. Strayhorn and the boss’ son, Mercer Ellington,  boarded a train in Chicago and emerged a few days later in Los Angeles with a whole new band book, whose songs included “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Johnny Come Lately”,” “Chelsea Bridge” and “After All”.  When complimented on a song such as “Satin Doll,” Ellington would often note Strayhorn’s contribution, but the music continued to be identified primarily as Ellington’s.Although it was standard practice back then for a bandleader to claim composing credit on something written by someone else for his group, Ellington didn’t do that very often, except on “Something to Live For,” which was actually written while Strayhorn was still a teenager and before he even met Ellington. In opinion of Mark Stryker the work of Strayhorn and Ellington in the soundtrack of film Anatomy of a Murder, directed by Otto Preminger in 1959, with James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O’Connell, is indispensable to realize of chemistry among both, and so we can listen to this chemistry in the essential masterpiece suites of film such as Such Sweet Thunder and The Far East Suite.

While the jazz world wasn’t known for being very tolerant back then, and Strayhorn did have his run-ins with other musicians, he never went out of his way to hide his sexual orientation before the mythic date of  28 June 1969, when a group of LGBT people rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, New York City.  Sylvia Rivera, a transgender rights activist and founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, is credited by many as the first to actually strike back at the police and, in so doing, spark the rebellion. Further protests and rioting continued for several nights following the raid. The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. His life was tragically cut short by cancer and alcohol abuse,. If you want know better the life of this great music you can read more in “Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn”   by David Haidu and you can see a film of Filmmaker Robert Levi also title “Lush Life”. “Lush Life” the film   isn’t just a documentary on a composer. It’s also a documentary about a fascinating and complicated guy, who drank and smoked far too much, who died young, who was very active in the civil rights movement in the early ’60s and who was also pretty openly gay at a time when no one was openly gay, or so we tend to think. The Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Inc., a non profit incorporated in the State of New York, exists to celebrate the music and life of the composer, arranger, pianist Billy Strayhorn and to develop an appreciation of his music among all people. The BSF supports this purpose through live music performance, lectures, and symposia



12-Billy Taylor (1921-2010)

       Lover of both, classic jazz and latin jazz.  One of only three jazz musicians to be appointed to the National Council of the Arts The other two: Buddy DeFranco (clarinet) & Little Jimmy Scott (singer). Taylor played at the prestigious Birdland club  (NYC), as house pianist, longer than any other pianist in the history of the club.

       William “Billy” Taylor was an American jazz pianist, composer, broadcaster and educator.

       Taylor was born in GreenvilleNorth Carolina, but moved to Washington, D.C., when he was five years old. He grew up in a musical family and learned to play different instruments as a child, including guitar, drums and saxophone. He was most successful at the piano, and had classical piano lessons with Henry Grantwho had educated Duke Ellington ¡!!!!!  a generation earlier. Before of Grant lessons he went to Virginia State College graduating with a degree in music in 1942.

      Taylor made his first professional appearance playing keyboard at the age of 13 and was paid one dollar.

      Taylor moved to New York City after graduation and started playing piano professionally from 1944, first with Ben Webster‘s Quartet on New York’s 52nd Street. The same night he joined Webster’s Quartet, he met Art Tatum, who became his mentor.

      Among the other musicians Taylor worked with was the cuban singer Machito and his mambo band, from whom he developed a love for Latin musicHis better work in this style:  “Billy Taylor Trio with Candido (percussionist)”.

After an eight-month tour with the Don Redman Orchestra in Europe, Taylor stayed there with his wife Theodora and worked in Paris and Holland.

      Taylor returned to New York later that year and cooperated with Bob Wyatt and Sylvia Syms at the Royal Roost jazz club and Billie Holiday in a successful show called Holiday on Broadway.

A year later, he became the house pianist at Birdland and performed with Charlie ParkerJ. J. JohnsonStan GetzDizzy Gillespieand Miles DavisTaylor played at Birdland longer than any other pianist in the history of the club. In 1949, Taylor published his first book, a textbook about bebop piano styles.

     In 1952 Taylor composed one of the his most famous tunes, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free. It was selected as “one of the greatest songs of the sixties” by the New York Times and was the theme music of the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi.It was selected as “one of the greatest songs of the sixties” by the New York Times and was the theme music of the 1996 film Ghosts of MississippiNina Simone covered the song in her 1967 album Silk & Soul. The tune is widely known in the UK as a piano instrumental version, used for BBC Television‘s long-running Film programme.

        A jazz activist, Taylor sat on the Honorary Founders Board of The Jazz Foundation of America, an organisation he started in 1989, with Ann Ruckert, Herb Storfer and Phoebe Jacobs, to save the homes and the lives of America’s elderly jazz and blues musicians, later including musicians who survived Hurricane Katrina.

        He made dozens of recordings in the 1950s and 1960s.

       Taylor was also a jazz educator and in 1958, he became the Musical Director of NBC’s The Subject Is Jazz, the first ever television series focusing on jazz. The 13-part series was produced by the new National Educational Television Network (NET) and hosted guests including Ellington, Aaron CoplandBill EvansCannonball AdderleyJimmy Rushing and Langston Hughes. In 1961, he founded New York’s Jazzmobile, which provides an arts education program via workshops, master classes, lecture demonstrations, arts enrichment programs, outdoor summer mobile concerts, special indoor concerts and special projects. As educator he was also the Wilbur D. Barrett Chair of Music at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale. Besides publishing instructional books on jazz, he taught jazz courses at Howard UniversityLong Island University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (where he had earned his Master’s and Ph.D in 1975).

During the 1960s, the Billy Taylor Trio was a regular feature of the Hickory Houseon West 55th Street in Manhattan.

         From 1969 to 1972, he served as the music director forThe David Frost Show and was the first African American to lead a talk-show band.

        In 1981, after being profiled by CBS News Sunday Morning, Taylor was hired as an on-air correspondent and then conducted more than 250 interviews with musiciansHe received an Emmy Award for his segment on the multi-talented Quincy Jones

        In 1989, Taylor formed his own “Taylor Made” record label to document his own music.

       Taylor appeared on hundreds of albums and composed more than 300 songs during his career, which spanned over six decades.

        From 1994 was the artistic director for jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

       Taylor had more than 23 honorary doctoral degrees, and was also the recipient of two Peabody Awards for JazzmobileNEA Jazz Masters Award (1998), an Emmy Award (1983) for carrying out over 250 interviews for CBS News Sunday Morning.  Down Beat magazine’s Lifetime Achievement award (1984), Tiffany Award (1991), National Medal of Arts (1992). In 1997, he received the New York state governor’s art award. He was also honored in 2001 with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Jazz Living Legend Award, and election to the Hall of Fame for the International Association for Jazz Education. He received a Grammy Award (2004). Taylor was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

He performed at the White House seven times.

       Taylor suffered from a 2002 stroke, which affected his right hand, but he continued to perform almost until his death. He died after a heart attack on December 28, 2010, in Manhattan, at the age of 89.

Critic Leonard Feather once said, “It is almost indisputable that Dr. Billy Taylor is the world’s foremost spokesman (portavoz) for jazz.”


13-Bobby” Timmons (1935 –1974)

     The father of soul-funky jazz style.

      Robert Henry “Bobby” Timmons was born in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, the son of a minister. Both of his parents, and several aunts and uncles, played the piano. From an early age Timmons studied music with an uncle, Robert Habershaw, who also taught McCoy Tyner. Timmons first played at the church where his grandfather was minister;this influenced his later jazz playing.

Timmons was awarded a scholarship to study at the Philadelphia Musical Academyand from Philadelphia he moved to New York in 1954.

Carter identified Powell and Garland as the primary influences on Timmons.

He played with the noted Kenny Dorham in 1956, making his recording debut with the trumpeter in a live set in May of that year. Moreover, he played and recorded with Chet Baker in 1956–57 (bassist Scott LaFaro was part of this band for a time), Sonny Stitt in 1957, and Maynard Ferguson in 1957–58.

He was a sideman in Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers for two periods of a year in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Between both periods he was part of Cannonball Adderley‘s band.

Timmons was strongly associated with the soul jazz style that he helped initiate; The Encyclopedia of Jazz states that his compositions “Moanin’” (from the 1958 album of the same title), “This Here” (sometimes “Dis Here”), and “Dat Dere” “helped generate the gospel-tinged ‘soul jazz‘ style of late ’50s and early ’60s.” Timmons left Blakey for the second time in June 1961, encouraged by the success of his compositions. Timmonsthen formed his own bands, initially with Ron Carter on bass and Tootie Heath on drums. They toured around the US, including the West Coast, but played most in and around New York.  According to Tootie Heath, Timmons was at the peak of his fame at that point, but was addicted to heroin, and used a lot of the money that the band was paid maintaining his habit.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz suggested that “Timmons’ characteristic style was a rolling, gospelly funk.

    The funky aspects of Timmons’ playing influenced fellow pianists, including Les McCannRamsey Lewis, and Benny Green.

Timmons started playing vibraphone  and organ in the mid-1960s but he just recorded occasionally with these instruments.

     The drug and alcohol addiction led to a decline in his career. According to saxophonist Jimmy Heath, Timmons joined Clark Terry‘s big band for a tour of Europe in 1974.He was unwell and drank on the plane to Sweden, and fell while drinking at the bar before the band’s first concert, in Malmö.

    Timmons died, aged 38, from cirrhosis. His contribution to jazz remains undervalued. Jazz writer Marc Myers commented in 2008 that “today, Timmons’ contribution to jazz – as an accompanist, writer, leader and innovator of a new sound – is vastly overlooked and undervalued.”

14-Brad Mehldau (1970)

     The near-total pianist. Moreover of jazz, aspects of pop, rock, country,  and classical music, including German Romanticism, have been absorbed into Mehldau’s writing and playing. Unlike the big Clare Fischer, the only “total pianist”, Mehldau do not play latin-jazz.

     Bradford Alexander “Brad” Mehldau is an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger.

      Mehldau was born in Jacksonville, FloridaHis father, Craig Mehldau, was a doctor; and his mother, Annette, was a homemaker.  There was always a piano in the house during Mehldau’s childhood, and he initially listened to pop and rock music on the radio. 

      His family moved to West HartfordConnecticut, when Mehldau was 10, where the move brought him a new piano teacher, who introduced him to classical music. This new interest lasted for a few years, but by the age of 14 he was listening more to jazz, including recordings by saxophonist John Coltrane and pianist Oscar Peterson.

      Mehldau attended William H. Hall High School and played in its concert jazz band.

      In his junior year at the school he won Berklee College‘s Best All Round Musician Award for school students.

     After graduating, Mehldau moved to New York City in 1988 to study jazz and contemporary music at The New School. He studied under pianists Fred HerschJunior Mance and Kenny Werner.

      In 1989 Mehldau was part of saxophonist Christopher Hollyday’s band.

       Main influences: Early influences:  Wynton Kelly and McCoy Tyner. Late influences: Mehldau cites pianists Larry Goldings (for “his full approach to the instrument”) andKevin Hays (for adding alternative harmonies to the set one), as well as guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein (for showing the value of playing melodic phrases instead of just rehearsed patterns) and as direct influences on his own playing, in addition to saxopnonists:  Jesse Davis, David Sánchez and Mark Turner, and the other members of his own trio. He has stated that Hersch was his biggest influence as a player of solo piano.

     Mehldau’s first recording and first tour were for Christopher Hollyday’s The Natural Moment in 1991.

      He led his own trio in  1992, when he played at New York’s Village GateMehldau also played as sideman with a variety of musicians around this time. His performances with saxophonists Perico Sambeat and  Joshua Redman.

     Mehldau graduated from The New School in 1993.

     He formed his first long-term trio in 1994, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy. In the following year, Mehldau recorded Introducing Brad Mehldau for Warner Bros.his first album as sole leader. It was well received, with The Penguin Guide to Jazz commenting that “it’s as if he were aware of jazz tradition but entirely unencumbered by it.”

    By the mid- to late 1990s  the critics was divided between  Mehldau and Bill Evans.  The famous critic John Fordham had it clear: described Mehldau as “the next great keyboard star of jazz”.

Mehldau became established on the international jazz festival scene in the mid- to late 1990s, having played at events such as the

    In 1996 Mehldau made the first of several recordings with saxophonist Lee Konitz and bassist Charlie Haden. Then, he played in Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1997 and the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1998.

    In 1997 he collaborated with Radiohead in “Exit Music (For the Film Romeo and Juliet).  

     In 1998, the pianist reunited with Redman for the saxophonist’s Timeless Tales (For Changing Times) and played on country artist Willie Nelson‘s Teatro.

Mehldau studied music at The New School, and toured and recorded while still a student. He was a member of saxophonist Joshua Redman‘s Quartet with bassist Christian McBrideand drummer Brian Blade in the mid-1990s, and has led his own trio since at least 1992.

      His first long-term trio featured bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy; in 2005 Jeff Ballard replaced Rossy. These bands have released a dozen albums under the pianist’s name.

Largo, released in 2002, contains electronics and input from rock and classical musicians; later examples include touring and recording with guitarist Pat Metheny.

      Aspects of pop, rock, and classical music, including German Romanticism, have been absorbed into Mehldau’s writing and playing.

     Mehldau’s interest in figures of 19th century German Romanticism, including BrahmsSchubert, and Schumann, influenced his first solo piano release, Elegiac Cycle, which was recorded in 1999 and broke the sequence of trio recordings under his name.

     In 2001 Mehldau expanded from playing on film soundtracks.

      A solo piano recording from a 2003 concert, Live in Tokyo, showed greater lyricism appearing in Mehldau’s playing, and was released in 2004 as his first album for Nonesuch Records.

     In the summer of 2004 he toured Europe for three weeks with a band that included guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and Redman.

     In the spring of 2005 he premiered a song cycle that he had written for classical music singer Renée Fleming.

      Mehldau also collaborated with guitarist Pat Metheny from 2005 – they recorded two albums together that year, along with Grenadier (bassist) and Ballard (drummer), and in 2007 went on a worldwide tour.

     Another Village Vanguard recording, Brad Mehldau Trio Live, was recorded in 2006 and released two years later. This also contained unbelievably a variety of sources of material, including “Wonderwall” by rock band Oasis, “Black Hole Sun” by grunge band Soundgarden, and Chico Buarque‘s samba “O Que Será”.

    In March 2007 Mehldau first performed his piano concerto “The Brady Bunch Variations for Piano and Orchestra”, with the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

    Later that decade, Carnegie Hall awarded Mehldau another commission – to write the song cycle Love Songs for singer Anne Sofie von Otter; they premiered it together in 2009 and recorded the songs the following year.

    In 2009 Mehldau also recorded Highway Rider, an album that combined his usual trio with guest musicians and a 28-piece orchestra.

    During 2010–11 Mehldau held Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair, the first jazz musician to do so.

    In 2011 he did  a piano–mandolin duet with Chris Thile.

    In 2012 Mehldau and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performed his “Variations for Piano and Orchestra on a Melancholy Theme” in Europe.

     In 2013 Mehldau began touring with drummer Mark Guiliana as a synthesizer-oriented duo that was given the portmanteau name “Mehliana“.

     Mehldau often plays a separate melody with each hand, and one of the central features of his music is the playing of improvised counterpoint.

     Mehldau is married to Dutch jazz vocalist Fleurine, with whom he has recorded and toured. They met in 1997, and have three children.

    Mehldau won Down Beats Readers Poll piano award in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2012. He was the 2006 winner of the Miles Davis Prize, awarded by the Montreal International Jazz Festival for “jazz artists who have made significant artistic and innovative contributions to the genre”.

      As of December 2014 Mehldau had been nominated for five Grammy Awards. He was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo on “Blame It on My Youth” from The Art of the Trio Volume One in 1998, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group for Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard in 2000,  Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group for Brad Mehldau Trio Live in 2009, Best Improvised Jazz Solo for the title track of Ode in 2013, and Best Improvised Jazz Solo for “Sleeping Giant” from Mehliana: Taming the Dragon in 2015.

           In 2013 Chinen stated that “Mehldau is the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years”. Pianist Ethan Iverson, a contemporary of Mehldau’s, stated that Mehldau was the principal influence on his peers, beginning in the late 1990sPianist Gerald Clayton (born 1984) summarized Mehldau’s importance in a 2013 interview: “He brought in a new feel and sound in jazz. I don’t know a single modern pianist who hasn’t taken something from Brad. I told him that I should be arrested for all the stuff I’ve stolen from him.” Redman said in 2010 that Largo had been particularly important to musicians: “Brad has had a lot of influential records, […but] if you talk to musicians, especially younger musicians, so many of them will name that as a defining record.”] Marco Benevento and Aaron Parks are among the improvisers who have been affected by the 2002 album.

     Moreover to be a fantastic pianist, Mehldau is expert in philosophy and literature.

15-Bruce Barth (1958)

      Bruce Barthborn in PasadenaCalifornia, is a jazz pianist.

       Bruce was born into a musical family and he has played the piano since the age of five.When he turned eight, his family moved to New York, where he studied piano and musicianship with Tony and Sue LaMagra for the next decade. For his fifteenth birthday, Bruce’s older brother, Rich, gave him his first jazz record, Mose Allison’s Back Country Suite.

Inspired, he taught himself to play jazz by listening to records and imitating his many favorite pianists and horn players. Later on, he studied privately with Norman Simmons and Neil Waltzer, and eventually enrolled in New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with Jaki Byard, Fred Hersch, and George Russell.

        Bruce’s first professional recording was Russell’s masterpiece, The African Game, captured live on Blue Note Records.

Barth’s career had included major work with ensembles, as well as solo work.

       In addition to traveling widely performing his own music, he has also performed with revered jazz masters, as well as collaborated with leading musicians of his own generation.

 Bruce arrived on the New York jazz scene in 1988, and soon joined the great tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine; their musical collaboration spanned a decade. In the meantime, in 1990, Bruce joined the trumpeter Terence Blanchard Quintet; the band toured extensively, and also recorded six CDs, as well as several movie soundtracks. While in Terence Blanchard’s band, Bruce recorded his first two CD’s as a leader, In Focus and Morning Call for the Enja label; both were chosen for the New York Times’ top ten lists.  In 1992, Bruce played piano on-screen in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X . These recordings displayed not only Bruce’s powerfully fluent piano playing, but also the scope of his own compositions and his imaginative arrangements of jazz standards.

      Moreover, he have toured Japan with Nat Adderley (cornet and trumpet player), andtoured Europe and recorded with Vincent Herring’s quintet with trumpeter Dave Douglas.

Throughout his professional life, Bruce has had extended collaborations with Tony Bennett,  David Sanchez, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Art Farmer,  John Patitucci and the Mingus Big Band.

      In 2001, Bruce released East and West, which Stereophile called “one of the best jazz albums in recent memory.” It featured an all-star septet playing Bruce’s compositions. Bruce continues to compose extensively for that septet, which has appeared at major jazz clubs in Manhattan including The Jazz Standard and Smoke, as well as at many European jazz festivals.

       In recent years, Bruce has made three solo piano tours of Japan, and has also performed with his trio (Bruce Barth trio) throughout the United States and Europe, featuring Doug Weiss on bass and Montez Coleman on drums.

Bruce served two years on the panel for the U.S. State Department “Jazz Ambassadors” program, choosing jazz bands to represent the United States overseas.

Finally, Bruce is a dedicated teacher, with more than ten years on the jazz faculty ofTemple University in Philadelphia. He has also taught at Berklee College of Music, Long Island University, and currently teaches private lessons to City College University. He also maintains a private teaching studio, with students from the U.S., South America, Europe, and Japan.

      Bruce has performed on over one hundred recordings and movie soundtracks. He is also a Grammy nominated producer, with more than twenty CDs to his credit.

     In a recent review in the Newark Star-Ledger, Zan Stewart writes “No one sounds quite like Barth. His solos are characterized by robust swing, his ability to tell a story, and by his rich,beguiling sound.”


16-Bud Powell (1924-1966)

              Much more than a crazy pianist, a perfect mix of Fats WallerThelonious Monk and Art Tatum. Simply the best. A key player in the development of bebop.

Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell was a jazz pianist who was born and raised in HarlemNew York City. Along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Powell was a key player in the development of bebop.  He had a short career.

Nickname: his virtuosity as a pianist led many to call him the Charlie Parker of the piano.Bud was the first pianist to take Charlie Parker’s language and adapt it successfully to the piano.

His career was developed in USA and Europe and so moved to Paris in 1959, in the company of his girlfriend Altevia “Buttercup” Edwards, whom he had met after an incarceration (encarcelamiento)  in 1954. In Paris, Powell worked in a trio with Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke.

         He was born in a family of musicians: Powell’s father was a stride pianist. 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. Bud’s older brother, William, played the trumpet whereas Bud’s younger brother, Richie, and his teenage friend Elmo Hope, were also accomplished pianists who had significant careers.

        Influences: In his youthfulness or young time he mimicked  Fats Waller‘s and James P. Johnson‘s playing styles but his greatest influences on his instrument were Thelonious Monk, who became his close friend, and Art Tatum. By age fifteen, he had become familiar with Art Tatum, whose overwhelmingly virtuosic technique Powell then set out to equal.

Work with Leaders: In the early 1940s, Powell played in a few dance orchestras, including that of Cootie Williams. Powell was the pianist on a handful of Williams’s recording dates in 1944, the last of which included the first-ever (por primera vez) recording of Monk’s “‘Round Midnight“.

      Profile as musician: 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.

       Main contribution / Legato / DisciplesJazz pianist Bill Cunliffe, whose music was influenced by Bud Powell, said in an interview with All About JazzBud Powell is the most important pianist in jazz and one of the most underrated (infravalorado) 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.

      Memorable /recording sessions: Powell was demanded by various small-group leaders for nightclub engagements in the increasingly integrated midtown scene at New York. His 1945-46 recordings were the result of his sudden visibility on the club scene with Frank SocolowDexter GordonJ. J. JohnsonSonny StittFats Navarro, and Kenny Clarke. “Bebop in Pastel (Bouncing with Bud)” was first recorded on August 23 1946 and became a jazz standardPay attention to this title: Bebop in pastel. Powell’s career advanced when Parker chose him to be his pianist on a quintet record date, with Miles DavisTommy 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 used  his jocular (jocose, festive) chord fillswhile the horn players paused to breathe during “Buzzy”, the last tune recorded. The first Blue Note session, in August 1949, features Fats NavarroSonny Rollins, Powell, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes. The second Blue Note session in 1951 was a trio with Russell and Roach, includes “Parisian Thoroughfare” and Un Poco Loco / A Little Crazy”, later popularized by Tito Puente; this song, played by Bud,  was selected by literary critic Harold Bloom for inclusion on his short list of the greatest works of twentieth-century American art.  His 1960 live recording of the Essen jazz festival performance (with Clarke, Oscar Pettiford and, on some numbers, Coleman Hawkins) is particularly notable. ]

     Movement: bebop.  Bud was soon exposed to the exciting, musically adventurous atmosphere at Uptown House and at Minton’s Playhouse., NewYork,  where he met withCharlie Parker, Dizzy Gillispie and Thelonious Monk, the parents of bebop. Bud had not award nor special  knowledgments.

     Regarding events / setback (contratiempos):  In January 1945 he got separated from the band (Cootie Williams) 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 and then in a psychiatric hospital, sixty miles away. He stayed there for two and a half months.  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. From February to April 1948, he received electroconvulsive therapy. He was eventually released, in October 1948. He was emotionally unstable for the rest of his career and his playing after his release from hospital began to be seriously affected by Clorpromazine, taken for the treatment of schizophrenia. Despite it 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..In 1956, his brother Richie was killed in a car crash alongside (junto a) trumpet player Clifford BrownIn 1963, Powell contracted tuberculosis, and the following year returned to New York with Francis Paudras, a French young jazz fan who met Powell in the late 1950s, 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”. 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. Powell was hospitalized in New York after months of increasingly erratic behavior and self-neglect (indigencia), behavioral condition in which an individual neglects to attend to their basic needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding, … At 1966, he died of tuberculosis (as Charlie Christian)  malnutrition, and alcoholism.  

     Tribute: 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. In 1986 Francis Paudras wrote a book about his friendship with Powell, translated into English in 1997 as Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud PowellThe book was the basis for Round Midnighta 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.


17-Carla Blay (1936)

          “Carla Borg”, later “Carla Bley” (the last name of his ex-husband Paul Bley) isan American jazz composerpianistorganist and bandleader. An important figure in the free jazz movement of the 1960s, she is perhaps best known for her jazz opera Escalator Over The Hill (released as a triple LP set), as well as a book of compositions that have been performed by many other artists, including Gary BurtonJimmy GiuffreGeorge RussellArt FarmerJohn Scofield and her ex-husband Paul Bley.

           Carla Borg was born in Oakland, CaliforniaHer father, a piano teacher and church choirmaster, encouraged her to sing and to learn to play the piano.

After giving up the church to immerse herself in roller skating at the age of fourteen, she moved to New York at seventeen and became a cigarette girl at Birdland, where she met jazz pianist Paul Bleywhom she married in 1957. He encouraged her to start composing. The couple later divorced but she kept his surname professionally.

          A number of musicians began to record her compositions: George Russell recorded “Bent Eagle” on his 1960 release Stratusphunk in 1960; Jimmy Giuffre recorded “Ictus” on his album Thesis; and Paul Bley’s Barrage consisted entirely of her compositions.

           In 1964 she was involved in organising the Jazz Composers Guild which brought together the most innovative musicians in New York at the time. She then had a personal and professional relationship with Michael Mantler, with whom she had a daughter, Karen, now also a musician in her own right. Bley and Mantler were married from 1967-92.

         With Mantler, she co-led the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra and started the JCOA record label which issued a number of historic recordings by Clifford ThorntonDon Cherry andRoswell Rudd, as well as her own magnum opus Escalator Over The Hill and Mantler’s The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra LPs.

             Bley and Mantler followed with WATT Records, which has issued their recordings exclusively since the early 1970s.

             Bley has collaborated with a number of other artists, including Jack BruceRobert Wyatt and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, whose 1981 solo album Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports was a Carla Bley album in all but name.

             She arranged and composed music for Charlie Haden‘s Liberation Music Orchestra, and wrote A Genuine Tong Funeral for Gary Burton.

             Her arrangement of the score for Federico Fellini‘s  appeared on Hal Willner‘s Nino Rota tribute record,Amarcord Nino Rota.

              She contributed to other Willner projects, including the song “Misterioso” for the tribute to Thelonious Monk entitled “That’s the Way I Feel Now”, which included Johnny Griffin as guest musician on tenor saxophone, and the Willner-directed tribute to Kurt Weill, entitled “Lost in the Stars“, where she and her band contributed an arrangement of the title track, with Phil Woods as guest musician on alto saxophone.

In the late 1980s, she also performed with Anton Fier‘s Golden Palominos and played on their 1985 album, Visions of Excess.

           She has continued to record frequently with her own big band.

            Her current partner, the bassist Steve Swallow, has been her closest and most consistent musical associate in recent years and the two have recorded several duet albums. In 1997, a live version of Escalator over the Hill (re-orchestrated by Jeff Friedman) was performed for the first time in Cologne, Germany; in 1998 “Escalator” toured Europe, and another live performance took place in May 2006 inEssen, Germany.

          In 2005 she arranged the music for and performed on Charlie Haden‘s latest Liberation Music Orchestra tour and recording, Not in Our Name.

          She lives in Woodstock, New York.


Bley was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 for music composition.

In 2009, she was awarded the German Jazz Trophy “A Life for Jazz”.

On June 25, 2014 it was announced that Bley will receive the NEA Jazz Masters Award 2015

18-Cecil Taylor (1929)

     One of the pioneers of free jazz beside Lennie Tristano, Gil Evans and Carla Blay.

     Cecil Percival Taylor, born New York City, is an American pianist and poet.

      His music is characterized by an extremely energetic (his piano technique has been likened to percussion), frequently involving tone clustersand intricate polyrhythms. for example described as “eighty-eight tuned drums” (referring to the number of keys on a standard piano). He has also been described as “like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings”.

     Taylor began playing piano at age six and studied at the New York College of Music and New England Conservatory.

He formed his own band with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy in 1956, recording:  Jazz Advance.

    Taylor’s Quartet featuring Lacy also appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival.

Then, he collaborated with saxophonist John Coltrane in 1958 (Stereo Drive, currently available as Coltrane Time).

      Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Taylor’s music grew more complex and moved away from existing jazz styles.

By 1961, Taylor was working regularly with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, one of his most important and consistent collaborators. Taylor, Lyons and drummer Sunny Murray (and later Andrew Cyrille) formed the core personnel of The Unit. Lyons,  strongly influenced by jazz icon Charlie Parker,  had a premature death in 1986.

     Taylor began to perform solo concerts in the second half of the sixties and lecturing as an in-residence artist at universities, and eventually being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and then a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991.

Taylor formed the Feel Trio in the early 1990s with William Parker (bass) and Tony Oxley (drums).  The Feel Trio had a more abstract approach, tethered less to jazz tradition and more aligned with the ethos of European free improvisation.

     His extended residence in Berlin in 1988 was extensively documented by the German label FMP, resulting in a massive boxed set of performances in duet and trio with a who’s who of European free improvisors, including Oxley, Derek BaileyEvan ParkerHan BenninkTristan HonsingerLouis MoholoPaul Lovens, and others

The classical label Bridge released his 1998 Library of Congress performance Algonquin,a duet with violinist Mat Maneri.

    A documentary entitled “All the Notes”, was released on DVD in 2006 by director Chris Felver.

    Taylor recorded in the 2000s with his own ensembles (the Cecil Taylor Ensemble and the Cecil Taylor Big Band) as well as with other musicians such as Joe LockeMax Roach,and the poet Amiri Baraka.

    In 2004, the Cecil Taylor Big Band at the Iridium 2005 was nominated a best performance of 2004 by All About Jazzand the same in 2009 for the Cecil Taylor Trio at the Highline Ballroom in 2009. 

    In 2013, he was awarded the Kyoto Prize for Music.

    In 2014, his career and 85th birthday were honored at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia with the tribute concert event “Celebrating Cecil”.

    Taylor is a poet, citing Robert DuncanCharles Olson and Amiri Baraka as major influences. He often integrates his poems into his musical performancesand they frequently appear in the liner notes of his albums. The CD Chinampas, released by Leo Records in 1987, is a recording of Taylor reciting several of his poems, accompanying himself on percussion.

    In 1964, Taylor co-founded the Jazz Composers Guild to enhance the working possibilities of avant-garde jazz musicians.

      According to Steven Block, free jazz originated with the performances of Cecil Taylor at the Five Spot Cafe in 1957 and Ornette Coleman in 1959.

19-Charles Boles

     Charles Boles is probably the most experienced “new” recording artist you’ll ever meet. (Gary Graff,  Music Journalist)

The Detroit-born jazz pianist, raised in the city’s Black Bottom district, has been playing for nearly as long as he can remember — encouraged at an early age by his adoptive mother’s cousin, the legendary Fats Waller.

Boles has toured with artists such as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Dinah Washington and many others. He  was part of B.B. King’s band during the late ’60s. “I never thought about having a guitar lead.”

Boles, who still lives in Detroit with his third wife. He also has eight children, 23 grandchildren and “somewhere between 25 and 30” great-grandchildren. With 81 years he play every Tuesday night at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in Grosse Pointe since mid-2012. The band is called currently: The Charles Boles Quartet featuring Ron English (guitarist).The band includes bassist John Dana and drummer Renell Gonsalves.

He was educated via Berklee School of Music correspondence course.

As teacher, he taught for eight years at Oakland University and 15 for the Detroit Public Schools system”.

        In the case of “Blue Continuum,” his last CD (2012),  is actually somewhere Boles has never been before. The 11-track album, which features five of his own compositions — some dating back to the ’80s — features a quartet that includes guitarist Ron English, an old friend and fellow educator.

      “I grew up in an era where saxophone or trumpet was the thing — Charlie Parker, Miles (Davis), that kind of thing — or sometimes I’d have a band where I would use trombone,” `

On the new release Blue Continuum by the Charles Boles Quartet featuring Ron English, Boles’ piano playing is a perfectly seasoned mix of post bop jazz and blues.

Boles’ favorite track on Blue Continuum, “Liz,” is dedicated to his mother, herself a piano player who provided much of his early musical inspiration.

       Influences: his cousin Fats Waller and Barry Harris. +

Charles Boles is more than just another great jazz artist in Detroit—and indeed there are many. He is one of the last standing of an old vanguard, a Detroit gem and a musical torchbearer who can still light up a stage every week.

20-Charlie Palmieri (1927 –1988)

  Carlos Manuel Palmieri, Charlie Palmieri,  was a renowned bandleader and musical director of salsa and latin-jazz music. He was known as “The Giant of the Keyboards” for his huge size.

        Palmieri’s parents migrated to New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1926 and settled down in the South Bronx.

          As a child, Palmieri taught himself to play the piano by ear.

        At age 7, his father enrolled him at The Juilliard School, where he took piano lessons.

    By the time Palmieri was 14 years old, he and his 5-year old brother, Eddie, participated in many talent contests, often winning prizes.

         In 1943, when still only 16 years old and still in high school, he made his professional debut as a piano player for the Osario Selasie Band.

       He made his recording debut with the song “Se Va La Rumba” as a member of the Rafael Muñiz Band.

   In October 1947, Tito Puente, the musical director of the Fernando Álvarez Band, was impressed with Palmieri and hired him to play for his band at the Copacabana Club.

     Palmieri also formed a couple of bands that performed at the Palladium Ballroom – these were however short-lived because of a lack of work. During this time, he also worked as an accompanist for other bands.

    Palmieri worked for several years in Chicago, but returned to New York and formed a band called “Charanga La Duboney“.

   Palmieri was signed by the United Artists Record company and had several Latino hits.

     When the Charanga craze declined in popularity, Palmieri switched to the new trend, the Boogaloo, by replacing the flute and violins with three  trumpets and two trombones, he also dropped the word “Charanga” from his bands’ name and it became known simply as “La Duboney”.

    In the 1970s, Palmieri worked as the musical director for Tito Puente’s television show “El Mundo de Tito Puente” (Tito Puente’s World).

     Among the artists Palmieri worked with at one time or another were his brother Eddie, Celia CruzTito Puente, Herbie Mann, Ismael RiveraRafael CortijoIsmael QuintanaBobby CapóMongo Santamaría and Ray Barretto.

      In 1980, Palmieri moved back to Puerto Rico but returned to New York for business – on one trip there he suffered a massive heart attack and stroke. He soon recovered and returned to the music world as the member of various bands.

    Palmieri gave private piano lessons to students at the Schuylerville Music Center in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx in New York. During this time he also appeared in the 1988 movie Salsa.

   Four days before his death, Palmieri gave a private show at La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he performed solo at the piano for the Governor of Puerto Rico (at the time, Rafael Hernández Colón) and his guests. On September 12, 1988, Charlie Palmieri suffered another heart attack upon his arrival at New York where as the musical director of the Joe Cuba Sextet he was to arrange a concert. He died later that day at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx.

       On November 6, 2004, a Big Band Tribute to Charlie Palmieri was held at Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

A notable friend and colleague of Palmieri’s, as well as a great admirer, was the late Clare Fischer, who chose to kick off his 1989 album,Lembranças (Remembrances), with “C.P.”, a piece dedicated to the composer’s recently departed role model. In Fischer’s words:”C.P. – Charlie Palmieri – is dedicated to the wonderfully exciting pianist whom I have idolized for years! Charlie left us last year and the sadness I felt shows itself in some of the segments interspersed among the more spirited sections. We will miss him!”.

21-Chick Corea (1941)

          With Herbie Hancockthe parents of electric jazz fusion movement.

Armando Anthony Corea, “Chick Corea”, was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He is of southern Italian and Spanish descent. His father, a jazz trumpet player who had led a Dixieland band in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s, introduced him to the piano at the age of four. Teacher: A notable influence was concert pianist Salvatore Sullo, from whom Corea started taking lessons at age eight and who introduced him to classical music. At eight Corea also took up drums, which would later influence his use of the piano as a percussion instrument. He was influenced at an early age by bebop and stars such as Dizzy GillespieCharlie ParkerBud PowellHorace Silver, and Lester YoungHe enjoyed listening to Herb Pomeroy‘s band at the time, and played also frequently  Horace Silver‘s music at a local jazz club with his first trio. He eventually decided to move to New York City and his music scene became the starting point for his professional career:  Corea’s first major professional gig was with Cab Calloway and  Blue Mitchell’s quintet, being Mitchell a famous trumpeter at that time.   After it Corea started his real professional career in the 1960s in a latin style playing with Herbie Mann (among the first jazz musicians to specialize on the flute), Willie Bobo (percussion instruments) and Mongo Santamaría (congas). His first album as a leader was Tones for Joan’s Bones in 1966, two years before the release of his album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, with Roy Haynes on drums and s on bass.

      In 70ths Corea had associations with avant garde players but just before of it played with the great Miles and so in September 1968 Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in the piano chair in Davis’ band and appeared on landmark albums such as Filles de KilimanjaroIn a Silent Way, and Bitches Brew. Playind with Miles, Corea experimented with using electric instruments, mainly the Fender Rhodes electric piano. In live performance he frequently processed the output of his electric piano with a device called a ring modulator. Using this style, he appeared on multiple Davis albums, including Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West and Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East.  Dave Holland (double bassist) and Corea left to form their own group, Circle, active in 1970 and 1971. In this  free jazz group Corea played his solos in an atonal style.

      In the early 1970s, Corea took a profound stylistic turn from avant garde playing to a crossover jazz fusion style that incorporated Latin jazz elements. In 1971, Corea founded Return to Forever with Joe Farrell‘s flute and soprano.  This band had a fusion sound and even though it relied on electronic instrumentation it drew more on Brazilian and Spanish styles than on rock music. Bill Connors (Guitar) (Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy was the only record Bill Connors appeared on) joined Corea and Stanley Clarke (bass)  to form the second version of the group. The third and most popular versionincluded Al Di Meola on guitars and focused on jazz-rock, later called “fusion”. 

Corea’s compositions Spain & “My Spanish Heart combined jazz & flamenco. “Spain”first appeared on the 1972 Return to Forever album Light as a FeatherThis is probably his most popular piece, and it has been recorded by a variety of artists. Corea usually performs “Spain” with a prelude based on Joaquín Rodrigo‘s Concierto de Aranjuez (1940), which earlier received a jazz orchestration on Davis and Gil Evans‘ Sketches of Spain. In 1976, he issued “My Spanish Heart, influenced by Latin American music and featuring vocalist Gayle Moran (Corea’s wife) and electric violinist Jean-Luc PontyThe record was somewhat misunderstood at the time, but it is considered nowadays as a true example of Corea’s ability to write fusion materialThe album combined jazz & flamenco.

       Corea’s other bands included the Chick Corea Elektric Band, the  Akoustic Band and The Chick Corea New Trio  with Avishai Cohen (double bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums). Akoustic Band  is a 1989 jazz album by the Chick Corea Akoustic Band, featuring Chick Corea with John Patitucci on double bass and Dave Weckl on drums. The group received the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards., and the The Akoustic Band marked a turn back toward traditional jazz in Corea’s career, and the bulk of his subsequent recordings have been acoustic ones. The Akoustic Band also provided the music for the 1986 Pixar short Luxo Jr. with their song “The Game Maker”. In 2001 the Chick Corea New Trio released the album Past, Present & Futures. The 11-song album includes only one standard composition (Fats Waller‘s “Jitterbug Waltz”). The rest of the tunes are Corea originals.

Corea has been nominated for 59 Grammy Awards, out of which he has won 20.Corea has also won two Latin Grammy AwardsThe Enchantment (with Bela Fleck, banjo player ) Forever ((with Stanley Clarke (double bass)) and Lenny White (jazz fusion drummer)).

22-Chucho Valdés (1941)

            One of the the best afrocuban pianists all time.

             Jesús Valdés Rodríguez, better known as Chucho Valdés isCuban pianist,bandleadercomposer and arranger whose career spans over 50 years. Both his father, Bebo Valdés, and his son, Chuchito, are pianists as well.

              In 1964 Chucho Valdés recorded first sessions as a leader in the Areíto Studios of Havana (former Panart studios) owned by the newly formed EGREMThese early sessions included Paquito D’Rivera on alto saxophone and clarinet.

            In 1967, Chucho and his bandmates became founding members of Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna, together with many other well-known Cuban musicians.This all-star big band would back singers such as Elena Burke and Omara Portuondo.

In 1973, Chucho founded Irakere along with other members of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna, and ensemble that bridged songo and Afro-Cuban jazz.

He would simultaneously continue his solo career, eventually signing with Blue Note Records, which allowed him to get international exposure.

In the late 1990s, Chucho decided to focus on his solo career, and his son Chuchito replaced him as the pianist/director of Irakere.

Since 2010, Chucho performs with a backing band known as The Afro-Cuban Messengers.       Moreover,     Chucho and his father Bebo occasionally played together until the latter’s death in 2013.

Awards: He has won five Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. Chucho has won five Grammy awards: in 1978 for the album Live at Newport by Irakere; in 1998 for his contribution to the CD Havana by Roy Hargrove‘s bandCrisol (formed in 1997), with two songs – “Mr. Bruce” and “Mambo para Roy” – written by Chucho; in 2003 for his album Live at the Village Vanguard; in 2009 for his collaboration with his father, Juntos Para Siempre; and in 2011 for his album Chucho’s Steps.

On October 16, 2006, Chucho Valdés was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ¿¿??.


23-Clare Fischer (1928-2012)

      A fun of Jobim, a total pianist (jazz, latin-jazz, bossa, mexican music, rock, pop, soul….), Clare was the major influence for Herbie Hancock. Only he is able to merge jazz, latin-jazz, bossa nova and mambo, with the harmonic depth of BachShostakovich and Stravinsky. The other two toal pianists of jazz history are: Joe Sample and Jorge Dalto.

        Douglas Clare Fischer  was born in Durand, MichiganHis parents were of German, French, Irish-Scot, and English backgrounds. In grade school he started his general music study with violin and piano as his first instruments. At the age of 7 he began to study harmony on the piano. After two years of piano lessons the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Fischer began composing classical music and making instrumental arrangements for dance bands.

        At South High School he took up celloclarinet, and saxophone. This gave him a personal training in orchestration that was invaluable.

        Fischer started his own band at 15, for which he wrote all the arrangements. During his teens there were no funds for him to study piano, so he was mostly self-taught.

       After graduating in 1946, he began undergraduate studies in 1947 at Michigan State University, studying with H. Owen Reed.  Fischer’s roommates at the Michigan State University were Latin Americans, as were the majority of his friends outside the music department. He was introduced to the music of Tito PuenteTito RodriguezMachito and others.

      Fischer graduated in 1951 with a B.M., cum laude, and began his first year of graduate work in composition. The U.S. Army drafted him the next year, there he played alto saxophone in the band. After the army, Fischer returned to Michigan State. In 1955 he received his Master of Music.

      After graduating from Michigan State University he became the pianist and arranger for the vocal group The Hi-Lo’s in the late 1950s. Over the next five yearsFischer recorded several albums with the group, serving as pianist and, on occasion, arranger;it was these arrangements that Herbie Hancock would later point to as a major influence.

When Fischer moved to Hollywood in 1958, he went to East L.A. to play and learn more about Latin-Jazz. He started in a charanga group with Modesto Duran. In thattime he composed the Latin jazz standard, “Morning“, and the jazz standard, “Pensativa“. 

       In 1961, Fischer became interested in Brazilian music through the recordings of Elizete Cardoso and Joao Gilberto. This discovery, coupled with his introduction to the music of Mexican composer Mario Ruiz Armengolled to Fischer’s subsequent collaboration with Cal Tjader, a 1962 LP devoted jointly to Armengol’s music and that of assorted contemporary Brazilian composers. That same year Clare recorded First Time OutSurging AheadManteca! and Extension, the first recording under his own name for Pacific Jazz Records. Over the following year, 1963, Fischer collaborated on two Bossa Nova-themed LPs with saxophonist Bud Shank, and arranged another for pianist George Shearing (George Shearing’s Bossa Nova).

        Fischer worked with trumpeters Donald Byrd (who imbued well-known standards with an unaccustomed, melancholic quality).and Dizzy Gillespie (full of energy), and became known for his Latin and bossa nova recordings in the 1960s.

        In the early 1970s, Fischer embarked on a parallel career (and by far the more lucrative one), eventually becoming a much sought-after arranger, providing orchestral “sweeteners” for  bossa (Sérgio Mendespop and R&B artists such as Rufus (his nephew, André Fischer, was the drummer of the band Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan), Robert PalmerPaul McCartneyMichael JacksonCeline Dion, and many others.

       He was nominated for eleven Grammy Awards during his lifetimewinning the first in 1981 Clare Fischer & Salsa Picante Present “2 + 2”) and the two last posthumous in 2012 (¡Ritmo! ) and 2013 (Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest ).

      Main influences: as pianist: Bill Evans, as musician Lee Konitz and as orchestration/arrangement Gil Evans.

       In 1975he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s groupThe reunion with Tjader gave a new impulse to Fischer’s love of Latin-American music. Moreover he started his own group with Latino musicians, “Salsa Picante,” which showed great eclecticism in musical styles. Later he expanded to include four vocalists billed separately as “2 + 2.”The record Clare Fischer & Salsa Picante Present “2 + 2” won a Grammy in 1981.

      In 1983, classical concert artist Richard Stoltzman commissioned him to write a symphonic work using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn themes. The result, “The Duke, Swee’pea and Me”, an eleven and a half minute orchestral work, was performed with a symphony orchestra and Stoltzman on clarinet all around the world.

       Since 1985 Fischer wrote orchestral arrangements for pop artist Prince. Some appeared on Prince’s albums and have been used for his movies Under the Cherry Moon (Fischer’s first screen credit), Graffiti Bridge and in Spike Lee‘s Girl 6. One of Fischer’s Prince arrangements was also used in a revised form for the movie Batman. Prince’s December 2005 single “Te Amo Corazon,” a mid-tempo Latin jazz track, featured string arrangements by Fischer.

        More recently, as a jazz educator, Fischer performed solo piano concerts and conducted clinics and master classes in universities and music conservatories in Europe and throughout the United States.

        Two gifted Dutch jazz pianists, Cor Bakker and Bert van den Brink, recorded the homage DeClared (1993) which contains nine Fischer compositions.

       In December 1999, Michigan State University School of Music conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree on Fischer in recognition of his “creativity and excellence as a jazz composer, arranger and performer”.

        With his commercial work Fischer financed a costly band of twenty brass instruments, called “Clare Fischer’s Jazz Corps“. The recordings of this band contain an interesting arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim‘s “Corcovado” (2002). “The death of my friend Tom Jobim has affected me deeply. After he died I had a dream in which I was conducting his ‘Corcovado’. Only it was not a normal version, there were these harmonic countermelodies in the bass. When I awoke I wrote down what I had dreamed. It became Jobim’s In Memoriam, a piece I called ‘Corcovado Fúnebre.'”

        One of Fischer’s last projects in his own name was a recording with Brazilian guitarist Hélio Delmiro called “Symbiosis” (2003).

       On October 22, 2009, Manhattan School of Music’s Concert Jazz Band, under the direction of Justin DiCoccio, commemorated two Clare Fischer anniversaries – both his 81st birthday and the 40th anniversary of the release of his well-regarded big band LP, Thesaurus 

     On January 8, 2012, Fischer suffered a cardiac arrest in Los Angelesfollowing a minor surgery a few days before. His wife of 18 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!, Donna, was at his side.


24-Count Basie (1904 –1984)

 A blues lover, nicknamed later “Holy Man” by Lester Young, Basie was early a friend of Harry Richardson’s “Kings of Syncopation” and  Willie “the Lion” Smith,  two vital influences in his youth. The creator of a special swing with two tenors, a characteristic “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal and syncoped accents of his own piano. Like Ellington, Basie also hired arrangers !!!!!!!. In 1952 he played the early rock’n’roll!!!!!!!!!  but only temporarily .

             William James “Count” Basie  was born in  Red Bank, New Jersey, an to a musical family with mother (Lillian Basie) pianist and father (Harvey Lee) mellophonist. He started performing drums (his early favourite instrumente) and piano in his teens. He finished junior high school but spent much of his time at the Palace Theater in Red Bank, where doing occasional chores gained him free admission to performances.  Basie at age 15 switched to piano exclusively and by 16 he increasingly played jazz piano at parties,resorts and other venues (locales/plazas). He quickly learned to improvise piano music appropriate to silent films and, in addition, he played sometimes with Harry Richardson’s “Kings of Syncopation” and sometimes with  Sonny Greer (future drums of Ellington).

          In 1924 he went to Harlema hotbed  of jazz. Early after his arrival, he bumped newly into Sonny Greer, his friend of childhood, who was by then the drummer for the Washingtonians, Duke Ellington‘s early band. Soon, Basie met many of the Harlem musicians who were “making the scene,” including Willie “the Lion” Smith and James P. Johnson. As he did with Duke Ellington, Willie “the Lion” Smith helped Basie out during the lean times by arranging gigs at “house-rent parties,” introducing him to other leading musicians, and teaching him some piano technique.

       In thes early years he was sideman of blues singers Katie Krippen and Gonzelle WhiteHis touring took him to Kansas CitySt. LouisNew Orleans, and Chicago.Throughout his tours, Basie met many jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong.

Back in Harlem in 1925, Basie gained his first steady job at Leroy’s, a place known for its piano players and its “cutting contests.” There he met Fats Waller, who was playing organ at the Lincoln Theater accompanying silent movies, and Waller taught him how to play that instrument. (Basie later played organ at the Eblon Theater in Kansas City).

         In 1928 Basie was in Tulsa and heard bassist Walter Page and his Famous Blue Devils, one of the first big bands, which featured Jimmy Rushing on vocals. A few months later, he was invited to join the bandwhich played mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.

         In 1929 Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten (pianist too) band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten’s ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington’s or Fletcher Henderson‘s. Where the Blue Devils of Walter Page were “snappier” and more “bluesy,” the Moten band was classier and more respected, and played in the “Kansas City stomp” style.

In addition to playing piano, Basie was co-arranger with guitarist Eddie Durham, who notated the music. Their “Moten Swing“, which Basie claimed credit for, was widely acclaimed and was an invaluable contribution to the development of swing music.  The band improved with several personnel changes, including the addition of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster.    When the band voted Moten out, Basie took over for several months, calling the group “Count Basie and his Cherry Blossoms.” When his own band folded, he rejoined Moten with a newly re-organized band.

When Moten died in 1935 after a surgical procedure, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra including many Moten alumni, with the important addition of tenor player Lester Young, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. They recorded the musical hit One O’Clock Jump“, a new sound, a new style of the  Kansas City stomp” of Moten.

          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.

        At the end of 1936, Basie and his band, now billed as “Count Basie and His Barons of Rhythm,” moved from Kansas City to Chicago, where Basie  placed two tenor players (Lester Young and Herschel Evans)  engaged in “duels”. Many other bands later adapted the split tenor arrangement.  Like Ellington, Basie also hired arrangers !!!!!!! who knew how to maximize the band’s abilities, such as Eddie Durham and Jimmy Mundy.   By then, Basie’s sound was characterized by a “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. His personnel around 1937 included: Lester Young and Herschel Evans (tenor sax), Freddie Green (guitar), Jo Jones (drums), Walter Page (bass)Earle Warren (alto sax), Buck Claytonand Harry Edison (trumpet), Benny Morton and Dickie Wells (trombone). Lester Young, known as “Prez” by the band, came up with nicknames for all the other band members. He called Basie “Holy Man”, “Holy Main”, and just plain “Holy”.

             When Basie took his orchestra to New York in 1937, they made the Woodside Hotel in Queens their base. In New York Basie favored blues, and he would showcase some of the most notable blues singers of the era after he went to New York: Billie HolidayJimmy RushingBig Joe TurnerHelen Humes, and Joe Williams.           Hammond introduced Basie to Billie Holiday, whom he invited to sing with the band. The band’s first appearance at the Apollo Theater followed, with the vocalists Holiday and Jimmy Rushing getting the most attention.

Next, Basie played at the Savoy, which was noted more for lindyhopping, while the Roseland was a place for fox-trots and congasIn early 1938, the Savoy was the meeting ground for a “battle of the bands” with Chick Webb‘s groupBasie had Holiday, and Webb countered with the singer Ella Fitzgerald. As Metronome magazine proclaimed, “Basie’s Brilliant Band Conquers Chick’s“; the article described the evening:

“Throughout the fight, Chick took the aggressive, with the Count playing along easilyand, on the whole, more musically scientifically  and maintaing an attitude of poise and self-assurance. He constantly parried Chick’s thundering haymakers with tantalizing runs and arpeggios which teased more and more force from his adversary“.

          The publicity over the big band battle, before and after, gave the Basie band a boost and wider recognition.

          A few months later, Holiday left for Artie Shaw‘s band. Hammond introduced Helen Humes, whom Basie hired; she stayed with Basie for four years.When guitarist Eddie Durham left for Glenn Miller‘s orchestra, he was replaced by guitarist Dicky Wells but the arranger were for Jimmy Mundy (who had also worked with Benny Goodman and Earl Hines).

           Throughout the 1940s, Basie maintained a big band that possessed an infectious rhythmic beat, an enthusiastic team spirit, and a long list of inspired and talented jazz soloists.

           The big band era appeared to have ended after the war, and Basie disbanded the group. For a while, he performed in combos, sometimes stretched to an orchestra.

         In 1952 Basie shared the performance with early rock’n’roll !!!!!!!!!!!!!! and rhythm and blues artists. Basie’s new band was more of an ensemble group, with fewer solo turns, and relying less on “head” and more on written arrangements.

          Then Basie added touches of bebop  sharing Birdland with such bebop greats as Charlie ParkerDizzy Gillespie, and Miles DavisBasie also added flute to some numbers, a novelty at the time that became widely copied. Soon, his band was touring and recording again. The new band included: Paul Campbell, Tommy TurrentineJohnny LetmanIdrees Sulieman, and Joe Newman (trumpet); Jimmy Wilkins, Benny PowellMatthew Gee (trombone); Paul Quinichette and Floyd “Candy” Johnson (tenor sax); Marshall Royal and Ernie Wilkins (alto sax); and Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax). They toured with the “Birdland Stars of 1955 generation”, whose lineup included Sarah VaughanErroll GarnerLester YoungGeorge Shearing, and Stan Getz.     In 1957, Basie released the live album Count Basie at Newport. “April in Paris” (arrangement by Wild Bill Davis) was a best-selling instrumental and the title song for the hit album

In 1958, the band made its first European tourJazz was especially appreciated in France, The Netherlands, and Germany in the 1950s;

In 1959, Basie’s band recorded a “greatest hits” double album The Count Basie Story (Frank Foster, arranger) and “Basie and Eckstine, Inc.”: album featuring Billy Eckstine, Quincy Jones (as arranger) and the Count Basie Orchestra.

The summer of 1960, Basie and Duke Ellington combined forces for the recording  First Time! The Count Meets the Duke, each providing four numbers from their play books.

Through steady changes in personnel, Basie led the band into the 1970s.

            Basie died of pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26, 1984 at the age of 79

He was a big leader, a good composer and a great pianist (a grammy award in 1976 to the Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist (Instrumental) moreover 10 grammy awards by the Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band.


25-Cyrus Chestnut (1963)

A fun of Bread group in the early 1970s. “The best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.”,Josh Tyrangiel, music critic for Time Magazine (2006). Chestnut Chestnut enjoys mixing styles

Cyrus Chestnut was born in Baltimore, Marylandin 1963son of McDonald (a retired post-office employee and church organistand Flossie (a city social services worker and church choir director).

         Chestnut started his musical career at the age of six, playing piano at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in his hometown. By the age of nine, he was studying classical music at the Peabody Institute.

          In 1985, Chestnut earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging from Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music.  While at Berklee, Chestnut was awarded the Eubie Blake Fellowship (1982), the Quincy Jones Scholarship (1983), and the Oscar Peterson Scholarship (1984).

        Chestnut toured as pianist for singer Jon Hendricks, 1986–88; trumpeter Terrence Blanchard, 1988–90; alto sax Donald Harrison, 1988–90; trumpeter Wynton Marsalis,1991; and the Betty Carter Trio (singer known for her improvisational technique and scatting), 1991-93. His association with Carter significantly affected his outlook and approach to music, confirming his already iconoclastic instincts.

        In 1993, at the age of 30, Chestnut signed with Atlantic Records, releasing the critically acclaimed Revelation (1993).

       Chestnut has also performed and/or recorded with, Freddy ColeBette MidlerJon HendricksFreddie HubbardJimmy ScottChick CoreaIsaac HayesKevin MahoganyDizzy Gillespie, and Kathleen Battle (opera diva!!!!!!!!!!!!).

        Their shared church roots resulted in such a positive chemistry between Battle and Chestnut that he then joined the soprano on a fall 1996 U.S. TourLater that year came Blessed Quietness: A Collection of Hymns, Spirituals and Carols (1996), a reverently assembled album of traditional numbers instilled with the gospel and bluesChestnut grew up listening to. I

         In 2000, Chestnut signed with manager Bruce Garfield, who convinced him to collaborate with Vanessa L. WilliamsBrian McKnight, The Manhattan Transfer and The Boys’ Choir of Harlem on A Charlie Brown Christmas.

        In 2001, he released Soul Food featuring bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash and special guest soloists including James CarterStefon HarrisWycliffe Gordon and Marcus Printup. This album was one of Down Beat´s best records of 2002 and ascended to “Top 10” on the Jazz Charts.

        In 2006, Chestnut released his first album, Genuine Chestnut, on TelArc Records. On it he is accompanied by his regular trio of Michael Hawkins, bass and Neal Smith, drums. This CD included “If“, the early 1970s soft-rock ballad by Bread. “This song has been with me ever since the sixth grade,” Chestnut recalled, “I had to play it for my English teacher’s wedding. I’ve played it in many and various contexts. I actually played it in a Top 40 band when I was just out of school. A lot of time has passed, but then recently I just started thinking about it again.” Chestnut’s own “Mason Dixon Line” is one of the album’s high points, a joyful bebop number.

       Chestnut continually tours with his trio, playing live at jazz festivals around the world as well as clubs and concert halls.

      His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz OrchestraDizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. Chestnut is currently represented by Addeo Music International (AMI).

26-Dave McKenna (1930 –2008)

His distinctive “three-handed” swing style did him was considered a significant figure in the evolution of jazz piano. Art Tatum, often considered the greatest soloist in jazz piano history, praised McKenna as “a complete musician.”

       Dave McKenna, nicknamed “The Bell Ringer”,  born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island,was an American jazz pianist. Known primarily as a solo pianist and for his distinctive “three-handed” swing style, he was a significant figure in the evolution of jazz piano.

      Starting out at the age of 15, McKenna played with tenor sax Charlie Ventura (1949) and Woody Herman’s Orchestra (1950–51). He then spent two years in the military, and re-joined Ventura (1953–54).

       He worked with a variety of top swing and Dixieland musicians.

       McKenna performed with Louis Armstrong at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival.

       He was also known by recording a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)  special with Tony Bennett.

        McKenna started to be recognized in his own right during the 1970s, but chose to play in his local area rather than travel extensively. He could be found playing in hotel piano bars in Massachusettsincluding a decade-long run at Boston’s grand Copley Plaza Hotel that ended in 1991 when the Plaza was sold. He was “just a saloon player”like Billie Holiday was “just a saloon singer”.

       McKenna retired around the turn of the millennium due to increasing mobility problems brought on by his long battle with diabetesHe died in 2008 from lung cancer.

His method of playing that has come to be known as “three-handed swing”.

        The improvisation began in earnest on three levels simultaneously: a walking bassline, midrange chords and an improvised melody.

      Despite his complex, multi-tiered approach, McKenna’s playing was always a model of clarity, taste, beauty, and swing. Some musician friends called him “The Bell Ringer”for the clear, bell-like sound he evoked from the instrument.

       He had an incomparably “holistic” approach to the keyboardArt Tatum, often considered the greatest soloist in jazz piano history, praised McKenna as “a complete musician.”

      McKenna had an extensive recording career from 1958 to 2002.

      McKenna’s last recording, “An Intimate Evening With Dave McKenna,” was released on Arbors Records in 2002.


27-Dick Hyman (1927)

 A  fun of Chopin. In one occasion he said about this great composer of classical  music:  “Chopin would have been a terrific jazz pianist”.

            Richard “Dick” Hyman was born in 1927, New York, is best known for hisversatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50-year career, he has functioned as apianist, organistarrangermusic director, and, increasingly, as a composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own nameand many more in support of other artists.

         Dick Hyman was trained classically by his mother’s brother, the concert pianist Anton Rovinsky.  Hyman said “Chopin would have been a terrific jazz pianist”. His waltzes are in my improvising to this day. On the other hand, Dick’s older brother, Arthur, introduced him to the music of Bix BeiderbeckeLouis ArmstrongTeddy Wilson, and others.

In June 1945, he enlisted in the Army, transferred to the Navy, and began playing in the band department. When he returned to Columbia, he won an on-air piano competition, earning him 12 free lessons with Teddy Wilson, the great swing-era pianist who a decade earlier had broken the race barrier as a member of the Benny Goodman TrioA few years later, Hyman himself became Goodman’s pianist.

         While developing a facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Hymaninvestigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and and so he researched and recorded the piano music of Scott JoplinJelly Roll MortonJames P. JohnsonZez ConfreyEubie Blake and Fats Waller.

          Hyman recorded two highly regarded ragtime albums under the pseudonym “Knuckles O’Toole”, and included two original compositions.

          Other solo recordings include the music of Irving BerlinHarold ArlenCole PorterGeorge Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. He recorded as a member of the ‘Dick Hyman Trio’, including a 78 RPM hit called ‘Baubles Bangles and Beads.’

          Hyman served as artistic director for the Jazz in July series at New York’s 92nd Street Y for twenty years, a post from which he stepped down in 2004.

He was also jazz advisor to The Shedd Institute‘s Oregon Festival of American Music.

          In 1995, he was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society. Since then, he has received honorary doctorates from Wilkes UniversityFive Towns CollegeHamilton College and the University of South Florida at Tampa, Florida.

          Hyman has had an extensive career in New York as a studio musician and won seven Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

He received an Emmy Award for his musical direction of a PBS Special on Eubie Blake. He continues to be a frequent guest performer with cornetist Jim Cullum (The Jim Cullum Jazz Band)  and collaborated with Ruby Braff, trumpeter and cornetist,extensively.


28- Donald Lambert (1904 –1962)

Lambert is notorious for an occasion on which he challenged Art Tatum at a jazz concert where other famous players were present.

        Donald “The Lamb” Lambert was an American jazz stride pianist born in Princeton, New Jersey.  His nicknames included the “Jersey Rocket”, “The Lamb”, “Muffin”, and “The Lamb of God”.

He is perhaps best known for playing in Harlem night clubs throughout the 1920s.Lambert was taught piano by his mother but never learned to read music. For his particularly rapid left hand striding technique, he was a formidable opponent in cutting contestsLambert is also notorious for an occasion on which he challenged Art Tatum at a jazz concert where other famous players were present.

      Lambert’s discography is very sparse: the only commercial recordings under his name were four titles made for RCA’s Bluebird label in 1941, in which he interpreted classical themes of Wagner, TannhauserEdvard GriegLucia di Lammermoor, and Jules Massenet.However, several compilations were released in the 1980s containing live recordings dating from 1959–62.

Lambert appeared at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival alongside Eubie Blake and Willie “The Lion” Smith and was said to have outplayed both of them.


29-Duke Ellington (1899-1974)

Clearly a giant among giants among jazz composers, simply the best,  but not among the jazz piano players, however the history of jazz piano not can be good understood without know the leading figure of the Duke.

      Duke Ellington was born April 29 (Taurus), in the border of two century, in 1899, in Washington. Died of lung cancer in 1974. Earned the nickname “Duke” for his gentlemanly ways. His good manners were due to the fact that his father was first a butler (mayordomo) in White House and later a blueprint for the U.S. Navy.

        American composer, pianist, and band/orchestra leader. His career, carried out in New York, spanned more than 50 years. Is undoubtedly the major figure in the history of jazz music.  a giant among giants” as defined by Gunther Schuller in 1989. Ellington earned 12 Grammy awards from 1959 to 2000, 9 while he was alive. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999.  About the origin of Jazz the Duke always said that in this music style the most important was the meeting between the “freedom” of black music and the “discipline” of white music, the syncopation vs structural formalism of conventional melody and harmony.  Respect to the “blues”, Ellington said: “Blues is the essence of Jazz”. –

Ellington is the King of Jazz as Scott Joplin is the King of Ragtime with Jelly Roll Morton in the middle for his contribution to both, Ragtime and Jazz.

Duke Ellington had musician parents in a middle-high class neighborhood. At the age of 7, he began studying piano. He wrote his first composition, “Soda Fountain Rag,” at the age of 15. Despite being awarded an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Ellington followed his passion for ragtime and began to play professionally at age 17.As pianist was influenced by the first great pianist of the Jazz history that not was Jelly Roll Morton but another much better, the master of master  James P. Johnson with the stride sound, technique that the Duke incorporated soon to his music. Ellington was thoroughly impressed by “Carolina Shout” of James P. Johnson.

In the 1920s, Ellington performed in Broadway nightclubs with frequent appearances at the Cotton Club, far of Broadway.  Was bandleader of a sextet and an orchestra in different periods of his life.

Ellington sought out musicians with unique playing styles, especially in wind instruments (horns):  such as Bubber Miley, trumpet and cornet player, who used a plunger to make the “wa-wa” sound; Rex Stewart, the other cornet; Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams, a master of both, plunger-mute technique and the brilliant open horn in the trumpet, and Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton, who gave the world his trombone “growl.” Juan Tizol, his other trombonist, help to the Duke in composition tasks (i.e: Perdido). Others horns: his favorite saxophonists: Johnny Hodges (alto saxophonist born in Cambridge, Massachussetts). He played with the Duke in two periods (1928-1951 and 1955-1970). The elements of the blues were present in his solo style. Ben Webster: tenor saxophone. Harry Carney: baritone saxophone. Clarinet: Barney Bigard and Jimmy Hamilton. His favorite female vocalist: Ivie Anderson. Guitarist: Fred Guy (accompaniment guitar). Contrabass or double bass: Jimmy Blanton and his perky pizzicato. In the drums,Sonny Greer, his favorite.

His most popular songs: “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing,” “Solitude,” “Satin Doll.” “Jeep’s Blues” (Hodges), “Caravan”   “Concerto for Cootie” (for trumpeter Cootie Williams) (later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell‘s lyrics). All of them, except for “Jeep´s Blues” and the “Concerto for Cootie”, performed in our website. In his compositions and music arrangements is noted theinfluence of Bix Beiderbecke, whom Ellington admired.  Bix was the “white King of Jazz music”, like non-african Joseph Lamb was one of big three in ragtime.

     Masterworks: Sophysticated Lady // In a sentimental mood. “Prelude to a Kiss,” the three pieces has been performed are available in our website, arranged by to be played with a simple guitar.

Has been written that Ellington refused to refer to himself as a Jazz musician, preferring to be called an “American” musician instead.  Such nonsense is not true and moreover is much more important, by the ulterior influence in New Musics from 1950 onwards (rock´n roll, pop-rock, rock, soul)  to be the King of Jazz than the King of American Music with null influence in the New Musics. In his autobiography, Music Is My Mistress,   published in 1973, and in non-official biography, titled “Dueke Ellington. Jazz composer”, written by Ken Rattenbury,  say nothing to support this way of thinking.  American music had a great influence in the Jazz and the Jazz also had influence in American music but they are different music styles.  Respect to the compositions, Jazz player did a lot of covers of American songs composed by the greatest composers (Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers, Berlin…) but  the Jazz pieces were not covered by classical orchestras in Broadway, and these composers were most important than Ellington in the called “American song” or “American music”.

He had many collaborators in composition tasks but undoubtedly the most important were the trombonist Juan Tizol and the pianists Mary Lou Williams and Billy Strayhorn, author of the great standards such as“Take the A train”, “Isfahan”, “Lush life”, all of them available in our website.  Billy  was a noted  music that accompanied to Ellington from he was a young adult after to perform Lush life for the Duke, who was very impressed by the gift of Billy.  Lush life is clearly one of more complex piece of Jazz History. It is not possible to analyze the Ellington´ career without emphasize the importance of Billy in it.

His last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.” He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City.

30-Earl MacDonald (1970).

          He is a music arranger, composer, jazz pianist and music educator.

          In his youth earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance at McGill University and a master of music degree at Rutgers, where he apprenticed with Kenny Barron.

A former participant in the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop in New York City, MacDonald is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). His compositions for 17-piece jazz ensemble are featured on UConn Jazz, recorded by the University of Connecticut Jazz Ensemble in 2002, as well as his latest disc,re: Visions, which was nominated for a 2011 Juno award in the Traditional Jazz Album of the Year category. His sextet, the

MacDonald currently serves as Musical Director and Composer-In-Residence for the Hartford Jazz Society’s New Directions Ensemble. Owen McNally of the Hartford Courantdescribed the band and outlined its mission, stating “the fresh-sounding New Directions Ensemble taps into the rich lode of area talent, provides a vital forum for original compositions, spreads the good word about contemporary band music in its educational role, and provides a prominent public face for its sponsor, the Hartford Jazz Society. The New Directions Ensemble is set to swing in its own fresh way, generating contemporary band music that lives in the present, independent, cliché-free and untethered to conventional big band nostalgia.”

         From 1998 to 2000, MacDonald was the musical director, pianist, and arranger for the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau band. As music director he was responsible for programming and rehearsing this world renowned ensemble.

         In 2002, MacDonald won the Sammy Nestico Award, for outstanding big band arranging

Earl MacDonald won first place in the 2004 Hartford Advocate Reader’s Poll for “best jazz group.” Their debut recording, Echoes In The Night received critical acclaim.

          The American Association of University Professors honored MacDonald with its 2006 Excellence Award for Teaching Innovation. .

         He has since been selected as a finalist for 2007 BMI /Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Award and the 2008 ArtEZ Composition Contest in the Netherlands.

         In 2011, he won Best Jazz Song at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards for “Bad Dream”.

         Director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut. Earl is dedicated to music education, participating as a clinician, guest conductor and teacher at summer camps, in addition to his teaching at the University of Connecticut.

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41-George Washington Thomas Jr (1885 -1936)

The combination of the Delta blues, jazz, and gospel sounds !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from the Arkansas Delta Lowlands made a lasting impression on him even as his proclivity for the piano began to develop early “boogie woogie piano style”: an “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”).

    He was a American blues and jazz pianist and songwriter.

    Born in Plum Bayou, Arkansas

    By the time he was 15, his family moved to Houston, TX where the east Texas barrelhouse style of blues/jazz further influenced him and his music.

    Thomas was the pianist head of an important Texas blues clan which included his daughter Hociel Thomas, his siblings Beulah ‘Sippie’ Wallace and Hersal Thomas,plus Bernice Edwards, not a blood relative, but raised with the family.

   Thomas was an important composer (of New Orleans Hop Scop Blues and Muscle Shoals Blues among other tunes), and a publisher, for a time in partnership with Clarence Williams.

   Williams attributed the origin of the boogie woogie piano style to George WashingtonThomas JrThomas was certainly among its earliest important exponents. “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues”, published in 1916, is claimed to be the first twelve-bar blues to be written with a boogie-woogie bass line.[1] With brother Hersal, he also copyrighted “The Fives” in 1921, a classic later performed by many pianists.

   On disc records, he made “The Rocks” in 1923 (credited as Clay Custer), a solo whichcontains the earliest recording of a walking bass, accompanied Sippie’s friend Tiny Franklin, and made one record under his own name, and a few with his jazz group, the Muscle Shoals Devils.

   He died, according to differing sources, in March, 1930, ChicagoIllinois or 1936Washington, D.C.


42-Gery Allen (1957)

     Geri Allen was born in Pontiac, MichiganAllen is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

She is an American composer, educator, and jazz pianistraised in Detroit, Michigan, and educated in the Detroit Public Schools.

     Allen has worked with many of the greats of modern jazz music, including Ornette ColemanRon CarterRavi ColtraneTony Williams, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnetteBetty Carter, and Charles Lloyd.

    Influences: pianists Herbie Hancock, Mary Lou Williams, Hank Jones, Alice Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Bud Powell, and mentor Dr. Billy Taylor.

    Allen received her early music education at the Cass Technical High School in Detroit and the Jazz Development Workshop, where her mentor was the trumpeter/teacher Marcus Belgrave.

In 1979, Allen earned her bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She studied under composer Thomas Kerr, and pianists Raymond Jackson, John Malachi, Fred Irby, Arthur Dawkins, and Komla Amoaku. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she studied with the veteran bop pianist Kenny Barron.

From there, at the behest of the jazz educator Nathan Davis, Allen attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning a master’s degree in ethnomusicology,returning to New York in 1982, and began touring with Mary Wilson and the Supremes.

    In the mid-1980s, Allen became a charter member of both the Black Rock Coalition and the Brooklyn M-Basemovement a collective including saxophonist Steve Coleman, and other significant contributors.

Allen played on several of Coleman’s albums, including his first, 1985’s Motherland Pulse, and Coleman also played on her composition “The Dancer” on the LP, In the Middle (released in 1986), which featured veteran tap dancer Lloyd Story.

    Allen’s own first album, The Printmakers, with Anthony Cox and Andrew Cyrille, from a year earlier, showcased the pianist’s more avant-garde tendencies.

     In 1988 came Etudes, a cooperative trio effort with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian.

     In 1995, she was the first recipient of Soul Train’s Lady of Soul Award for jazz albumof the year for Twenty-One, featuringTony Williams and Ron Carter, and the first woman, and youngest person to receive the Danish “Jazz Par Prize”.

      In 1996  Allen continued to push the improvisational envelope with Sound Museum, a recording made under the leadership of Ornette Coleman. The Gathering followed in 1998. The Life of a Song was recorded with veterans Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Her 2010 album Flying Toward the Sound was rated one of the Best Of 2010 on NPR, Downbeat, All About Jazz, and the Village Voice‘s Jazz Critics’ Poll that year.[2] “Timeless Portraits and Dreams” featured NEA Jazz Masters Jimmy Cobb and Ron Carter, as well as opera icon George Shirley singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, saxophonist and mentor Donald Walden, vocalist Carmen Lundy, and the Atlanta Jazz Chorus under the direction of composer/multi-reedist Dwight Andrews.

     In 2006, Allen was commissioned to compose “For the Healing of the Nations” a Sacred Jazz Suite for Voices, written in tribute to the victims, survivors and their families of the 9/11 attacks. The suite was performed by Howard University’s Afro-Blue Jazz Choir, under the direction of Connaitre Miller. Oliver Lake, Craig Harris, Andy Bey, Dwight Andrews, Mary Stallings, Carmen Lundy, Nneena Freelon, Jay Hoggard, and other jazz musicians also participated. The poetry was contributed by Sandra Turner-Barnes.

    Allen contributed original music to the documentary film Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, directed by Lisa Gay Hamilton, which received a Peabody Award.

Also, Allen contributed orchestrations to Andy Bey’s “American Song” which wasnominated for a Grammy Award. She was the recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim fellowship. Allen’s composition “Refractions” was released in response to her Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition, as “Flying Towards The Sound”, along with three short art films by film maker/photographer, Carrie Mae Weems, for Motema Music in 2010. Geri Allen &Timeline Live, her second recording for Motema, featured bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Kassa Overall and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, and was released simultaneously with Flying Toward The Sound.

    Allen received the “African-American Classical Music Award” from the Women of the New Jersey Chapter of Spelman College, and also received “A Salute to African-American Women: Phenomenal Woman” from the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Epsilon chapter at the University of Michigan, in 2008. Allen received a nomination in 2011 for the NAACP Image Award for Best Jazz AlbumGeri Allen & Timeline Live. She was also nominated for both The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards in 2011 under the Live Performance Album category, and for “Best Jazz Pianist”, by the Jazz Journalists Association.

   Allen performed this year in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Unveiling ConcertA Theatrical & Musical Celebration Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., MLK: A Monumental Life, presented in Constitution Hall, by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

    Allen previously served as an Associate Professor of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation at the School Of Music Theatre & Dance, at the University Of Michigan, and, as of July 2012, was a curator in New York City at the STONE.

     In 2013, Allen returned to her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, as an Associate Professor of Music and to replace her retired former mentor, Nathan Davis, as the Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the university.

43-Gil Evans (1912-1988)

One famous jazz critic said that Duke Ellington,  Toshiko Akiyoshi !!!!, Eddie Sauter(trumpet!!!!) and Gil Evans were the more important composer-arrangers in jazz history.  I would add clearly to Billy Strayhorn and Mary Lou Williams. He played an important role in the development of cool jazzmodal jazz (influenced by George Russell), free jazz (beside Cecil Taylor, Lennie Tristano and Carla Blay) and jazz fusion, and collaborated extensively with Miles Davis. The composer of the two bassists!!!!. Evans’s scores usually required at least two bassists !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on any given track,some playing arco (with the bow) and some pizzicato (plucking with fingers, the standard jazz method). Evans’s scores added alto and bass flutes, double reeds, and harporchestral instruments not associated with “swing” bands. A fun of Jimi Hendrix & Sting!!!!!!!!!!!.

        Ian Ernest Gilmore “Gil” Green (later: Evans) was a Canadian jazz pianist,arranger, composer and bandleader. Born in Toronto, Canadahis name was changed early on from Green to Evans, the name of his stepfatherHis family moved to Stockton, California where he spent most of his youth..

       Between 1941 and 1946, Evans worked as an arranger for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra.

        After 1946, he lived and worked primarily in New York City, living for many years at Westbeth Artists Community

       Influences: the leading bebop performers:  Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and John Carisi.

        In 1948, Evans worked  with Miles Davis, Mulligan, and others in a  trio-to-quintet “combos”.  He loved the simple jazz, the “Kenton sound” was in the context of a dense orchestral wall of sound that Evans avoided.

The four albums that resulted from the collaboration Davis-Evans were: Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (1958), Sketches of Spain (1960) and Quiet Nights (1962).

     Their work coupled Evans’s classic big band jazz stylings and arrangements with Davis’s solo playing. Evans also contributed behind the scenes to Davis’ classic quintet albums of the 1960s.

      Their recording of  Porgy and Bess by  Davis-Evans is now regarded by many as one of the greatest reinterpretations of Gershwin’s music in any musical style.

      Evans was a great influence on Davis’s interest in “non-jazz” music, especially orchestral music.

       From 1957 onwards Evans recorded albums under his own name. Among the featured soloists on these records were Lee KonitzJimmy ClevelandSteve LacyJohnny Coles and Cannonball Adderley.

       In 1965 he arranged the big band tracks on Kenny Burrell‘s Guitar Forms album.

      After 1965 Evans was explicitly influenced by Spanish composers Manuel De Falla and Joaquín Rodrigo, and by other Latin and Brazilian music, as well as by German composer Kurt Weill, expatriated to USA.  Evans sometimes took a dark ballad such as Weill’s “Barbara Song” into his jazz music.

      Evans’s scores usually required at least two bassists !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on any given track,some playing arco (with the bow) and some pizzicato (plucking with fingers, the standard jazz method). The presence of four of the most acclaimed young bassists (Richard DavisPaul ChambersRon Carter, and Ben Tucker) along with veteran Milt Hinton would ordinarily indicate that each is used individually for separate tracks, but

       Evans’s scores added alto and bass flutes, double reeds, harp and even violin: He frequently wrote a part for the tenor violin of Harry Lookofsky.; orchestral instruments not associated with “swing” bands, providing a larger pallette of orchestral colors.

      In 1966 he recorded an album with Brazilian singer Astrud GilbertoLook To The Rainbow.

     During this period while he was somewhat depressed about the commercial and logistical difficulties of his previous scoring requirements, his wife suggested that he listen to the guitarist Jimi Hendrix ¡!!!!!!!!!!. Evans developed a particular interest in the work of the rock guitarist!!!!!!!!!!.

    Evans gradually built another orchestra in the 1970s but now working in the free jazz and jazz-rock idioms even with synthesizers, so he gained a new generation of admirers.

    Hendrix’s 1970 death made impossible a scheduled meeting with Evans to discuss having Hendrix front a big band led by Evans.

    In 1974, he released an album of his arrangements of music by Hendrix, with guitarist Ryo Kawasaki!!!!!!!

     From that date on, Evans’s ensembles featured electric guitars and basses, including a notable collaboration with bassist Jaco PastoriusIn contrast to his intricate scores for large ensembles, his later arrangements might feature (more or less) unison playing by the entire ensemble, such as on Hendrix’s “Little Wing“, with improvisational touches added throughout by the musicians completely ad libitum.

Before the 1970s, his keyboard playing was sparse on recordings, because the intricacy of his music required that he conduct, but after the 1970s, he gradually moved from the front of the band back “into” the band.

       In 1987, Evans recorded a live CD with Sting, featuring big band arrangements ofsongs by and with The Police.

Evans died in Cuernavaca, Mexico. .


  • In 1986  was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame : “Bud and Bird” a song composed by – Gil Evans.
  • In 1988 won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band.


44-Gonzalo Rubalcaba (1963) 

Julio Gonzalo Gonzalez Fonseca,  Gonzalo Rubalcaba,  was born in Havana, Cuba. Pianist and composer.

Framed in the posbop era, Rubalcaba is a virtuoso instrumentalist who is consideredone of the leading figures of Afro-Cuban jazz.

       A member of a prominent family of musicians. He began studying music at the Conservatory Manuel Saumell (in Havana) and later continued in the Amadeo Roldán, where he also studied percussion. Later he received lessons from the great pedagogue and pianist Nola SahigArab ancestry,  and at the Instituto Superior de Arte studied composition with Roberto Valera and Carlos Fariñas.

       From the 14 years he worked in various orchestras and soloists accompanying the Cuban Beatriz Márquez, with which he attended in 1980 the International Festival of Buga (Colombia), where he won the first prize of orchestration.

       At this early stage of formation in 1978 created his own groupProject, where he served as drummer, pianist, composer and arranger until the late eighties when he consolidated his international career as a soloist.

       In the first editions of the festival Jazz Plaza in Havana drew a lot of attention with his solo piano, improvisation and rhythmic rich waste. Creations of those years are “New Cuban”, “Treading the grass”, “Parchment”, “Spanish Rhapsody”, contained in its LP The new Cuban (1984) and Concatenation Concatenation I and II (1986) albums.

       In the Jazz Plaza Festival 1986 impressed the great American trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, at that meeting the LP recorded together Gillespie live with Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

       In 1986 he signed with the German label Messidor for which he recorded the albums Gonzalo Rubalcaba (1986), Live in Havana (1986), my great passion (1987) and Giraldilla (1989).

       Before concluding the eighties had conquered the EGREM awards (1986 and 1987) and the award at the Benny Moré Festival 1987.

        In 1987 recorded with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, the black concert,his first foray into symphonic music album without abandoning the latin jazzwhere he combined Yoruba elements with Cuban music and other genres.

        In that decade he developed a technique of shifting rhythmic and harmonic patterns, related guajeo (Tumbao).

          Since 1992 he settled in Dominican Republic, increasing since his world tours and recordings. For the Blue Note label has recorded more than 10 albums.

          With the disc “Supernova” won the Grammy Latino 2002 and in 2006 won the award with the album titled “Only again”.

           In recent years he has continued his performances with his trio and other important figures and groups of salsa, jazz and other genres. He has participated in discs Isaac Delgado, Juan Luis Guerra ([[Bachata rosa), Francisco Céspedes (Excuse Ball) and Charlie Haden (Nocturne).

Currently living in the US city of Fort Lauderdale (Florida).


45-Hadda Brooks (1916 –2002)

“Queen of the Boogie.”

She was an American pianistvocalist and composer.

   Her first single, “Swingin’ the Boogie”, which she composed, was issued in 1945.

    She sang at Hawaii‘s official statehood ceremony in 1959 and was reportedly asked for a private audience by Pope Pius XII.

    She was born Hattie L. Hapgood in 1916 and raised in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, by her parents, who had migrated to California from the South.

     Her grandfather, Samuel, moved to California from Atlanta, Georgia, and proved to be an enormous influence on BrooksHe introduced her to theater and the operatic voices of Amelita Galli-Curci and Enrico Caruso.

    In her youth she formally studied classical music with an Italian piano instructor, Florence Bruni, with whom she trained for twenty years

    She attended the University of Chicago, and later returned to Los Angeles.

     Brooks was married briefly during this period to a Harlem Globetrotter named Earl “Shug” Morrison in 1941Morrison developed pulmonary pneumonia, however, and died about a year after they were married.

     Brooks actually preferred ballads to boogie-woogie, but worked up her style by listening to Albert AmmonsPete Johnson, and Meade Lux Lewis records.

     She was the second African-American woman to host her own television show — after Hazel Scott. The show opened with Brooks seated behind a grand pianocigarette smoke curling about her, and featured “That’s My Desire” as her theme song.

     In the 1970s, she commuted to Europe and later lived for many years in Australia and Hawaii.

     Following the 1984 release of Queen of the Boogie a compilation of recordings from the 40’s, two years later manager Alan Eichler brought her out of a 16-year retirement to open a new jazz room at the historic Perino’s in Los Angeles, after which she continued to play nightclubs regularly in Hollywood, San Francisco, and New York, to rave reviews.

     In 1993, Brooks was presented with the prestigious Pioneer Award by Bonnie Raitt on behalf of the Smithsonian-based Rhythm and Blues Foundation, in a ceremony held at the Hollywood Palace.

     She resumed her recording career with the 1994 album “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere” for DRG.

     Her 1996 album for Virgin RecordsTime Was When, featured Al Viola (Guitar), Eugene Wright (Bass) and Richard Dodd (Cello).

    In 2000, the Los Angeles Music Awards honored Hadda Brooks with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Hadda Brooks died at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, following open-heart surgery at age 86.

    In 2007, a 72-minute documentary, Queen of the Boogie, directed by Austin Young & Barry Pett, was presented at the Los Angeles Silver Lake Film Festival.


46-Hank Jones (1918 – 2010)

He developed a harmonic facility of extraordinary taste and sophistication. Jones’ versatility was more in evidence with the passage of time and so played Afro-pop, spirituals, hymns and folksongs.

           Henry “Hank” Jones  recorded more than 60 albums under his own name, and countless others as a sideman of Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker, Lester YoungCannonball Adderley, Joe Lovano,  Sonny Stitt, Wes Montgomery, Frank Sinatra and in the last years to Diana Krall Salena Jones and  Roberta Gambarini .

            Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Henry “Hank” Jones moved to Pontiac, Michigan,where his father, Henry Jones Sr. a Baptist deacon (diácono/clérigo) and lumber (maderas) inspector, bought a three-story brick home (casa de 3 pisos). Jones was raised in a musical family. His mother Olivia Jones sang; his two older sisters studied piano; and his two younger brothers—Thad, a trumpeter, and Elvin, a drummer—also became prominent jazz musicians. He studied piano at an early age and came under the influence of Earl HinesFats WallerTeddy Wilson, and Art TatumBy the age of 13 Jones was performing locally in Michigan and Ohio.

            In 1944 he met Lucky Thompsonwho invited Jones to work in New York City at the Onyx Club with Hot Lips Page.

            In New York, Jones regularly listened to leading bop musicians, and was inspired to master the new style. While practicing and studying the music he worked with Coleman HawkinsAndy Kirk and Billy Eckstine.

             In autumn 1947, he began touring in Norman Granz‘s Jazz at the Philharmonic packageand from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald ¡!!!!!!!, In addition, during this period he also made several historically important recordings with Charlie Parker, which included “The Song Is You”, from the Now’s the Time album, recorded in December 1952, with Teddy Kotick on bass and Max Roach on drums.

Engagements with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman followed, and recordings with artists such as Lester YoungCannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery and Frank Sinatra.

           By the late 1970s, his involvement as pianist and conductor with the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ (based on the music of Fats Waller) had informed a wider audience of his unique qualities as a musician.

           During the late 1970s and the 1980s, Jones continued to record prolifically, as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianists (including John Lewis and Tommy Flanagan), and with various small ensembles, most notably the Great Jazz Trio  with its original members, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. By 1980 Jones’ sidemen were Eddie Gómez and Al Foster, and in 1982 Jimmy Cobb replaced Foster.

Jones’ versatility was more in evidence with the passage of time. He collaborated on recordings of Afro-pop with an ensemble from Mali and on an album of spirituals, hymns and folksongs with Charlie Haden called Steal Away (1995).

Some of his later recordings were a solo piano recording issued in Japan under the title Round Midnight (2006), and as a sideman he accompanied Diana Krall for “Dream a Little Dream of Me” on the album compilation, We all Love Ella (Verve 2007).

In early 2000, the Hank Jones Quartet accompanied jazz singer Salena Jones at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, and in 2006 at the Monterey Jazz Festival with both jazz singer Roberta Gambarini.

Hank Jones lived in upstate New York and in Manhattan. He died at a Calvary Hospital Hospice in The Bronx, New York, on May 16, 2010.

            The funny note:  On May 19, 1962, he played piano as actress Marilyn Monroe sang her famous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” song to then U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

Awards and recognitions

In 1989, The National Endowment for the Arts honored him with the NEA Jazz Masters Award. He was also honored in 2003 with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Jazz Living Legend Award. In 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. On April 13, 2009, the University of Hartford presented Jones with a Doctorate Degree for his musical accomplishments.Grammy history: Career Wins: 2009: Lifetime Achievement Grammy; Career Nominations: 5


47-Harold Mabern (1936)

Harold Mabern (born March 20, 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a hard boppost-bop and soul jazz pianist and composer. He is described inThe Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings as “one of the great post-bop pianists”.

Mabern initially started learning drums, before switching to piano,  self-taught as a pianist.

Influence: he was most influenced by pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr.

In 1954, after graduating, Mabern moved to Chicago, where, because of a change in his parents’ financial circumstances, he remained self-taught as a pianist.

Mabern moved to New York in 1959 with saxophonist Frank Strozier.

The trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, who was looking for a pianist to replace the soon-to-depart Tommy Flanagan, auditioned him and offered him the place.

A few weeks later, most of the members of this band then joined to tenor sax Jimmy Forrest for a recording in Chicago that resulted in two albums, which were also the debut recordings for guitarist Grant Green.

Mabern steadily built a reputation in New York as a sideman, playing with, among others, Lionel Hampton‘s big band in 1960.

After completing a 1963 tour with drummer Roy Haynes he had a six-week engagement at the Black Hawk in San Francisco with Miles Davis.

In 1965 he also played with trumpeter Lee Morgan, an association that continued on and off until the night in February 1972 that Morgan was shot dead at Slug’s Saloon,

Mabern toured in Europe with Wes Montgomery later in 1965.

Mabern’s recording career as a leader began in 1968, after he signed for Prestige Records early that year.  Mabern has gone on to record approximately 20 albums as leader, for a variety of labels.

He  played jazz-pop electric piano with George Benson and Stanley Turrentine.

He  was part of drummer Walter Bolden’s trio (1973–74), and led his own trio with Bolden and bassist Jamil Nasser.

Mabern has also worked with two piano-based groups: the Piano Choir, formed and led by Stanley Cowell from the early 1970s and featuring at least six pianists/keyboardists, and the four-player Contemporary Piano Ensemble, the latter being formed in the early 1990s to pay tribute to Phineas Newborn, Jr. and touring extensively, including at the Montreal (1991) and Monterey Jazz Festivals (1996).

He also went to Japan in 1990 as a member of a ten-pianist group that toured together but played and recorded separately.

In the mid-1990s, Mabern toured with and led a trio of bassist Erik Applegate and drummer Ed Thigpen.

In later years, he recorded extensively with the tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander,  his former William Paterson University student.  Mabern stated in 2004 that his 2002 recording for Venus,Kiss of Fire, featuring Alexander as a guest, was his best seller.

In 2010, Mabern received the Don Redman Heritage Award.

A longtime faculty member at William Paterson University (from the early 1980s), Mabern is also a frequent instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop

Mabern’s piano style has been described as being “aggressive, very positive, crashing out chordswhile, at the same time, he shows “a keen sensitivity” as “an extremely perceptive accompanist“.  Critic Gary Giddins has identified some of the characteristics of Mabern’s playing as being “blues glisses, […] tremolos and dissonant block chords“, that help to create a style “that marries McCoy Tyner‘s clustering modality with rippling asides that stem from [Art] Tatum“.The influence of Phineas Newborn, Jr. remains noticeable: Mabern employs Newborn’s “manner of playing fast lines in a two-handed octave (or two-octave) unison, and uses this device in wildly imaginative ways”.


48-Herbie Hancok (1940)

Nicknamed Mwandishi, he was one of the primary architects of the “post-bop” sound and the more noted of musicians of avant-garde movement. He explored de classic Gershwin’s World and in the other border, the Afro-jazz.

Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock was born in 1940 and 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 synthesize.

Having taken up the piano at age sevenHancock quickly became known as a prodigy, soloing in the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11. After studies at Grinnell College,Hancock was invited by Donald Byrd in 1961 to join his group in New York City, and before long, Blue Note offered him a solo contract.  His debut album,Takin’ Off, took off indeed after Mongo Santamaria covered one of the album’s songs, “Watermelon Man.”

          In May 1963, Miles Davis asked him to join his band in time for the Seven Steps to Heaven sessions, and he remained there for five years, converting to the Rhodes electric piano. In that time span, Hancock‘s solo career also blossomed on Blue Note, pouring forth increasingly sophisticated compositions like “Maiden Voyage,” “Cantaloupe Island,” “Goodbye to Childhood,” and the exquisite “Speak Like a Child.”

His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazzIn 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.

He was able to absorb blues, funk, gospel, and even modern classical influences, Hancock‘s piano and keyboard voices are entirely his own.

Having studied engineering and professing to love gadgets and buttons, Hancock was perfectly suited for the electronic age and had a big collection of synthesizers and computers on his electric dates.

          Having left the Davis band in 1968, Hancock recorded an elegant funk album, Fat Albert Rotunda, and in 1969 formed a sextet that evolved into one of the most exciting, forward-looking jazz-rock groups of the era. Now deeply immersed in electronics, Hancock added the synthesizer of Patrick Gleesonto his Echoplexed, fuzz-wah-pedaled electric piano and clavinet, and the recordings became spacier and more complex rhythmically and structurally, creating its own corner of the avant-garde.

By 1970, all of the musicians used both English and African names (Herbie‘s was Mwandishi).

The next step, then, was a terrific funk group whose first album, Head Hunters, with its Sly Stone-influenced hit single, “Chameleon,” became the biggest-selling jazz LP up to that time.

After a one-shot reunion of the 1965 Miles Davis Quintet (HancockRon CarterTony WilliamsWayne Shorter, with Freddie Hubbard sitting in for Milesat New York’s 1976 Newport Jazz Festival, they went on tour the following year as V.S.O.P. (the name of thisgroup built in that time featuring Herbie Hancock)

An exciting partnership with Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso that culminated in the swinging 1986 live album Jazz Africa.

           In 1998 he issued Gershwin’s World.

In 2010 Hancock released his The Imagine Project album, which was recorded in seven countries and featured a host of collaborators, including Dave MatthewsAnoushka ShankarJeff Beckthe ChieftainsJohn LegendIndia.ArieSealP!nkJuanesDerek TrucksSusan TedeschiChaka Khan,K’NAANWayne ShorterJames Morrison, and Lisa Hannigan.

He was named Creative Chair for the New Los Angeles Philharmonic.

49-Hermeto Pascoal (1936)

        Hermeto Pascoal is a Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist. He was born in Lagoa da Canoa, AlagoasBrazil. Pascoal is a greatly beloved musical figure in the history of Brazilian music, known for his abilities at orchestration and improvisation, as well as being a record producer and contributor to many other Brazilian and international albums.

He learned the accordion from his father and practised for hours indoors as,being albino, he was incapable of working in the fields with the rest of his family.

      Hermeto’s career began in 1964 with appearances on several Brazilian recordings alongside relatively unknown groups. These now-classic albums and the musicians involved (Edu LoboElis ReginaCesar Camargo Mariano) established widely influentialnew directions in post-bossa Brazilian jazz.

      In 1966, he played in the Sambrasa Trio, with Airto Moreira and Humberto Clayber; they released only one album, Em Som MaiorThen he joined Trio Novo (Airto MoreiraHeraldo do MonteTheo de Barrosand in 1967 the group, renamed Quarteto Novo, released an album that launched the careers of Pascoal and Moreira. Pascoal would then go on to join the multi-faceted group Brazilian Octopus.

     Pascoal initially caught the international public’s attention with an appearance on Miles Davis‘s 1971 album Live-Evil, which featured him on three pieces, which he also composed. Davis said that Pascoal was “the most impressive musician in the world”.Later collaborations involved fellow Brazilian musicians Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.

     From the late 1970s onward he has mostly led his own groups, playing at many prestigious venues, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979. Other members of the group have included bassist Itibere Zwarg, pianist Jovino Santos-Neto and percussionists Nene, Pernambuco and Zabele.

      Known as o Bruxo (the Sorcerer), Pascoal often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children’s toys, and animals, as well as keyboards, button accordion, melodica, saxophone, guitar, flute, voice, various brass and folkloric instruments.

      Perhaps because he grew up in the countryside, he uses nature as a basis for his compositions, as in his Música da Lagoa, in which the musicians burble water and play flutes while immersed in a lagoon: a Brazilian television broadcast from 1999 showed him soloing at one point by singing into a cup with his mouth partially submerged in water.Folk music from rural Brazil is another important influence in his work.

        Between 1996 and 1997, Pascoal worked on a book project called Calendário do Somwhich contains a song for every day of the yearincluding 29 February, so that everyone would have a song for his or her birthday.

        He and his wife Aline Morena currently live in her hometown, CuritibaParanáBrazil.

       Davis said that Pascoal was “the most impressive musician in the world”.


50-Horace Silver (1928)

One of pioneers of the funky and hard bop (combining  elements of rhythm-and-blues and gospel music with jazz)  styles, both  with a classic bluesy touch, always present in his music. His famous song “Sister Sadie”, included in his work  “Blowin’ the Blues Away” (1959),  will be an eternal theme.


Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva, Horace Silver, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, United States.   


Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre. Silver’s father, John Tavares Silva, was from the island of Maio in Cape Verde and played violin and guitar. His mother was born in New Canaan, Connecticut, and was of Irish-African descent.


Silver began his career as a tenor saxophonist but later switched to piano. His tenor saxophone was highly influenced by Lester Young, and his piano style by Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Nat “King” Cole, and Thelonious Monk.


Silver’s big break came in 1950 backing saxophonist Stan Getz at The Sundown Club in Hartford, Connecticut.


Silver moved to New York City in 1951, where he worked at the jazz club Birdlandon Monday nights, when different musicians would come together and informally jam. In New York, he formed the Jazz Messengers, a cooperatively-run group with Art Blakey.


               In 1952 and 1953 Silver recorded three sessions with his own trio, featuring Blakey on drums and Gene Ramey, Curly Russell and Percy Heath on bass. Silver was also a member of the Miles Davis All Stars, recording the Walkin’ album in 1954.


                 From 1956 onwards, Silver recorded exclusively for Blue Note. . During his years with Blue Note, Silver helped to create the rhythmically forceful branch of jazz known as “hard bop“, which combined elements of rhythm-and-blues and gospel music with jazz.


              At the same time, his sharp use of repetition was “funky” even before that word could be used in polite company.


His 1965 hit, “Cape Verdean Blues”, is the only clear rhythmic reference to his childhood home where his father and friends jammed, with traditional Capeverdean morna and coladeira as the main fare.


In 1956 formed his own hard bop quintet at first featuring the same line-up as Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.


In 1963 Silver created a new group featuring Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone and Carmell Jones on trumpet.


As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979).


The 1985 album Continuity of Spirit (Silveto) features his unique orchestral collaborations.


             Silver’s compositions, catchy and very strong harmonically, gained popularity while his band gradually switched to funk and soul. In the 1990s, he directly answered the urban popular music that had been largely built from his influence on It’s Got To Be Funky(Columbia, 1993).


               In 2005, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) gave him its President’s Merit Award. The SFJazz Collective focused on Silver’s music for their 2010 season.


Silver’s music has been a major force in modern jazz. With his hard bop, influenced such pianists as Bobby Timmons, Les McCann, and Ramsey Lewis.


       Nor did Silver’s talent go unnoticed among rock musicians who bore jazz influences; Steely Dan sent Silver into the Top 40 in the early 1970s when they crafted their biggest hit single, “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number”, off the bass riff that opens “Song for My Father”.



51-Jack McDuff (1926 – 2001)

Join to Jimmy Smith, they were the two big organists of jazz and soul era of the 60s although the pioneer of jazz organ was Wild Bill Davis in the 50s (see the other great jazz keboard players) .

   “Brother” Jack McDuff was an American jazz organist who was most prominent during the hard bop and soul jazz era of the 1960s, often performing with an organ trio. He is also credited to giving guitarist George Benson his first break.

        Born Eugene McDuffy in Champaign, Illinois, McDuff began playing bass, appearing in saxophonist and flutist Joe Farrell‘s group.

         Encouraged by Willis Jackson in whose band he also played bass in the late 50s, McDuff moved to the organ and began to attract the attention of Prestige Records while still with Jackson’s group. McDuff soon became a bandleader, leading groups featuring a young George BensonRed Holloway on saxophone and Joe Dukes on drums.

McDuff recorded many classic albums on Prestige including his debut solo Brother Jack in 1960, The Honeydripper (1961), with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest andguitarist Grant Green, and Brother Jack Meets The Boss (1962), featuring Gene Ammons, and Screamin’ (1962).

After his tenure at Prestige, McDuff joined the Atlantic Records label for a brief period and then in the 70s recorded for Blue NoteTo Seek a New Home (1970) was recorded in England with a line-up featuring blues shouterJimmy Witherspoon and some of Britain’s top jazz musicians of the day, including Terry Smith on guitar and Dick Morrissey on tenor sax.

         The decreasing interest in jazz and blues during the late 70s and 1980s meant that many jazz musicians went through a lean time and it wasn’t until the late 1980s,with The Re-Entry, recorded for the Muse label in 1988, that McDuff once again began a successful period of recordings, initially for Muse, then on the Concord Jazz label from 1991. George Benson appeared on his mentor’s 1992 Colour Me Blue album.

Despite health problems, McDuff continued working and recording throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and toured Japan with Atsuko Hashimoto in 2000. “Captain” Jack McDuff, as he later became known, died of heart failure at the age of 74 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


52-James P. Johnson (1894-1955)

The  bridge between ragtime and jazz. The teacher of Fast Weller, both considered the creators of stride style. Before oh this, with Jelly Roll Morton, James took part in  the evolution of ragtime piano (with his sustained syncopation) into jazz. Along with Fats Waller and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith are considered “’The Big Three”.


              James Price Johnson, James P. Johnson, also known as Jimmy Johnson,  was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States. His mother, Josephine Harrison   was a part 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.


Despite he was considered the king of New York jazz pianists through most of the 1930s, inside jazz history is often overlooked, and for it he has been referred to by Reed College musicologist David Schiff, as “The Invisible Pianist“. As all the piano giant players of this series he was a great composer and many of his songs were hit tunes including  “Charleston” and “If I Could be With You One Hour Tonight” “Carolina Shout”.


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” and “Euphonic Sounds”.  He got his first job as a pianist in 1912, decided to pursue his musical career rather than return to school. 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 Johnson met Willie Smith. Smith and Johnson shared many of the same ideas regarding entertainers and their stage appearance.


Before 1920 made dozens of player piano roll recordings and followed to 1927. This year 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 independencethe left hand differentiating bass and mid-range lines while the right supplies melodic issues.” In contrast to ragtime, 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


He was the favorite sideman of singers as Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith.


               In 1922, Johnson 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. 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. 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 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 1945, Johnson performed with Louis Armstrong and heard his works at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.


         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.  John Hammond writed in Down Beat “Talents of James P. Johnson Went Unappreciated”.


          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.


         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.


53-James Reese Europe (1881 –1919)

Eubie Blake called him the “Martin Luther King of music.”

He was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleaderarranger, and composer. He was the leading figure on the African-American music scene of New York City in the 1910s.

      James “Jim” Reese Europe was born in Mobile, Alabama. His family moved to Washington, D.C. when he was 10 years old. He moved to New York in 1904.

     In 1910 Europe organized the Clef Club, a society for African Americans in the music industry.

     In 1912, the club made history when it played a concert at Carnegie Hall for the benefit of the Colored Music Settlement SchoolThe Clef Club Orchestra, while not a jazz band, was the first band to play proto-jazz at Carnegie Hall. It is difficult to overstate the importance of that event in the history of jazz in the United States — it was12 years before the Paul Whiteman and George Gershwin concert at Aeolian Hall.

     The Clef Club’s performances played music written solely by black composers, including Harry T. Burleigh and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

     Europe was known for his outspoken personality and unwillingness to bend to musical conventions, particularly in his insistence on playing his own style of music.

     In 1913 and 1914 he made a series of phonograph records for the Victor Talking Machine Company. These recordings are some of the best examples of the pre-jazz hot ragtime style of the U.S. Northeast of the 1910s.

    The Clef Orchestra had 125 members !!!!!!!!! and played on various occasions between 1912 and 1915 in Carnegie Hall.

     After his return home in February 1919 he stated, “I have come from France more firmly convinced than ever that Negros should write Negro music.

     In 1919 Europe made more recordings for Pathé Records. These include both instrumentals and accompanyments with vocalist Noble Sissle who, with Eubie Blake,would later have great success with their 1921 production of Shuffle Along, which gives us the classic song “I’m Just Wild About Harry”. Differing in style from Europe’s recordings of a few years earlier, they incorporate bluesblue notes, and early jazz influences (including a rather stiff cover record of the Original Dixieland Jass Band‘s “Clarinet Marmalade“).

     On the night of May 9, 1919, Europe performed for the last time. During the intermission Europe went to have a talk with two of his drummers, Steve and Herbert Wright. After Europe criticized some of their behavior (walking off stage during others’ performances), Herbert Wright was able to stab Europe in the neck.

…… had been stabbed by one of his own musicians…

         At the time of his death he was the best-known African-American bandleader in the United States. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

54-James Scott 1886 – 1938

Nicknamed ‘Little Professor’ and cousin of blues singer Ada Brown  James (color),  is regarded as one of the three most important composers of classic ragtime, along with Scott Joplin (color) and Joseph Lamb (white)

          James Sylvester Scott was born in Neosho, Missouri to James Scott Sr. and Molly Thomas Scott, both former slavesIn 1901 his family moved to Carthage, Missouri, where he attended Lincoln High School. In 1902 he began working at the music store of Charles L. Dumars, first washing windows, then demonstrating music at the piano as asong plugger, including his own pieces. Demand for his music convinced Dumars to print the first of Scott’s published compositions, “A Summer Breeze – March and Two Step”, in 1903.

              Ragtime Historians Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis account that Scott went to St. Louis, Missouri in search of his idol Scott Joplin in 1905. He located Joplin and asked if he would listen to one of his ragtime compositions. Upon hearing the rag, Joplin introduced him to his own publisher, John Stillwell Stark, and recommended he publish the work. Stark published the rag a year later as Frog Legs Rag. It quickly became a hit and wassecond in sales in the Stark catalogue only to that of Joplin’s own “Maple Leaf Rag.Scott became a regular contributor to the Stark catalogue until 1922.

            In 1914 Scott moved to Kansas City, Missouriwhere taught music, and accompanied silent movies as an organist and arranger at the Panama Theater. His cousin Patsy Thomas remembers, “Everybody called him ‘Little Professor’He always walked rapidly, looking at the ground – would pass you on the street and never see you – seemed always deep in thought.”

              In the last years of his life, Scott busied himself with teaching, composing and leading an eight-piece band that played for various beer parks and movie theaters in the area. With the arrival of sound movies, however, his fortunes declined. He lost his theater work, his wife died without child, and his health deteriorated.

             He moved in with his cousin Ruth Callahan in Kansas City, Kansasand even though was suffering from chronic dropsy (hidropesía), he continued to compose and playing piano.

            Scott died at Douglas Hospital in 1938 at age 52 and was laid beside his wife in Westlawn Cemetery.

Scott’s best-known compositions include “Climax Rag”, “Frog Legs Rag“, “Grace and Beauty“, “Ophelia Rag” and “The Ragtime Oriole”.


55- James Williams (1951-2004)

At 22, Williams moved to Boston to accept a teaching position!!!!!!!! at the Berklee College of Music .

James Williams was born in Memphis, TennesseeHe began his formal piano studies at age 13, and was subsequently an organist at Eastern Star Baptist Church in Memphis, a position he held for six years.

       He earned a B.S. in Music Education at Memphis State University, where he also formed solid friendships with fellow Memphis pianists Mulgrew Miller and Donald Brown.

      A devotee of the late Memphis piano giant Phineas Newborn, Jr.,

       At 22, Williams moved to Boston to accept a teaching position at the Berklee College of Music.

       A year later, he joined drummer Alan Dawson’s group, which provided support in the Boston area for touring artists.

       In 1977, Williams recorded his first album as a leader, played his first concert featuring his original compositions, and first met Art BlakeyThat encounter ultimately led to James’s resigning from the Berklee faculty for a four-year10-album tenure with the Jazz Messengers, as part of the famous lineup which included Wynton MarsalisBobby WatsonBill Pierce and Charles Fambrough.

      After leaving the Messengers in 1981, James remained in Boston, re-joining Alan Dawson and also playing independently with such artists as Thad JonesJoe HendersonClark TerryChet Baker and Benny Carter.

      In 1984, Williams moved to New York, residing in Brooklyn and becoming deeply involved in the city’s musical activities, omnipresent in jazz clubs. He played, toured and recorded with such prominent artists as Dizzy GillespieRay Brown Art FarmerKenny Burrell Freddie Hubbard and Tony Williams.

       As a leader, James worked in a broad range of formats.

       His James’s last group, “Intensive Care Unit,” a jazz-gospel ensemble featuring two vocalists, saxophone and rhythm section.

        After self-producing his own album Alter Ego for Sunnyside Records in 1984, he went on to produce albums for several other musicians.

       Williams was also a prolific composer with a unique voice.

        Williams was also a dedicated and longtime educatorAs early as 1975, in addition to his responsibilities at Berklee, he was a faculty member of the National Combo CampHe also held a teaching position at the Hartt School of Music during the 1984-85academic year, was a regular contributor to the International Association of Jazz Educators.  In 1999, he became Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University,

        He had an unexpected death of liver cancer in 2004The James Williams Archive is now part of the Living Jazz Archives on the William Paterson campus, containing his LP collection, original manuscripts, hundreds of performance tapes, photos and awards.


56-Jess Stacy (1904 –1995)

Unusually for a famous ‘jazzer’, at the end of his career, Stacy took regular jobs until he was able to retire. For a time Stacy worked as a salesman, then warehouseman, then postman, for Max Factor cosmetics.

     He was an American jazz pianist who gained prominence during the swing era. He is perhaps best known for his years with the Benny Goodman band during the late 1930s, particularly his performance at Goodman’s legendary Carnegie Hall concert in 1938.

Stacy was born Jesse Alexandria Stacy in Bird’s Point, Missouri.

      In 1918 Stacy moved to Cape Girardeau, MissouriThere Stacy received his only formal music training studying under Professor Clyde Brandt.

By 1920 Stacy was playing piano in saxophonist Peg Meyer’s jazz ensemble.

By 1921 the ensemble was known as Peg Meyer’s Melody Kings and started touring the Mississippi River on ‘The Majestic’ and other riverboats.

      In the early 1920s Stacy moved ‘upriver’ to Chicago, Illinois, where he received notice performing with Paul Mares, leader of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, playing a genre of jazz which came to be called Chicago-style”.

      Stacy cites his main influences in the pianist Earl Hines, pianist for Louis Armstrong.Stacy would frequently go to wherever Hines was playing.

      Stacy’s big break came in 1935 when Benny Goodman asked Stacy to join his band.Stacy moved to New York, and spent the four years from 1935-1939 with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. He reached a personal peak when he performed with Goodman band at its famous 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert on 16 January 1938,  the first jazz concert ever played at the venue. In this concert Stacy was the star and played some brilliant and unplanned (inesperado) piano solos during “Sing, Sing, Sing”, “EcStacy” and “The Sell Out”.  Unplanned solos because Teddy Wilson was the regular pianist for the Benny Goodman quartet, the most acclaimed of Goodman’s bands.  A 1939 review of ‘Jess Stacy’ (Commodore 1503) stated:“These were the best solos ever recorded by Jess Stacy”.

     After leaving the Goodman Orchestra, Stacy joined the Bob Crosby (Bing Crosby‘s brother) Orchestra and his famous small jazz group the Bob Crosby Bob-Cats. During this period he won the national Down Beat piano polls in 1940, 1941, 1942, and 1943.

    Stacy spent six months with the Tommy Dorsey band.

He then built his Jess Stacy Band and recorded with vocalist Lee Wiley, to whom he was married. The band did not last long and Wiley and Stacy would later divorce.

    In 1950 he moved to Los Angeles CaliforniaAs with many jazz ‘stars’, his career declined to mostly club work. Finally one eveninghe retired from public performances.

   Unusually for a ‘jazzer’, Stacy took regular jobs until he was able to retire. For a time Stacy worked as a salesman, then warehouseman, then postman, for Max Factor cosmetics.

     Later, he would be “re-discovered” as fame of his past career became known. However Stacy was selective in his performances. After his brief and ‘selective’ revival in the 1970sStacy again retired from the music scene and lived a quiet existence with his third wife, Patricia Peck Stacy. Stacy and Peck lived in Los Angeles and were married very happily for forty-five years.

      Stacy died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles, California on January 1, 1995.

      Since his passing Stacy has gained new attention and honorsIn 1996 he was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, and in 1998 a biography of him Jess Stacy: The Quiet Man of Jazz. a Biography and Discography was published.


57-Jelly Roll Morton (1890 –1941)

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in “early/primitive/embryonic jazz” but  is not true that he is the father of jazz, this one is clearly the cornetist Buddy Bolden and his band. As a consequence of performing as pianist in his youth in brothels (burdeles) of Storyville (N. Orleans), his nickname “Jelly Roll” was the black slang for female genitalia. Morton’s piano style was formed from “ragtime” and “shout”(shout music is a type of gospel music characterized by very fast tempo). He clearly influenced the born of stride piano and the a type of blues, the  “boogie woogie” derived of “barrelhouse (an early form of jazz with wild, improvised piano, and an accented two-beat rhythm, performed in low category saloon /bar but not necessarily of whores). In addition is was one of fathers of latin jazz (habanera, tango) but the habanera rhythm is too of Buddy Bolden!!!!!. For me, the more important was that Morton changed the classical harmony  playing frequently  a diminished 5th above the melody and changed the bassline introducing themajor sixths in the bass, instead of tenths or octaves, a characteristic of bass-blues comping in that time!!!!!!!

           Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and early jazz pianistbandleader and composer who started his career in New Orleans, Louisiana.

His composition Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the “Spanish Tinge” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (habanera rhythm and tresillo).

            With his usual arrogance and self-promotionMorton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902—. The jazz historian, musician, and composer Gunther Schuller says of Morton’s that there is “no proof to the contrary“.  However, the scholar Katy Martin has argued that Morton’s bragging was exaggerated by Alan Lomax in the book Mister Jelly Roll, and this portrayal has influenced public opinion and scholarship on Morton since.

           Ferdinand was born into a Creole of Color family in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of downtown New OrleansLouisianaSources differ as to his birth date: 1884, 1885, 1889, 1890 !!!!.  After his parents separated, his mother married a man named Mouton. Ferdinand took his stepfather’s name and anglicized it as “Morton”.

          Ferdinand started playing music as a child, showing early talent.

At the age of fourteen!!!!!, Morton began working as a piano player in a brothel(burdel) (whorehouse, bawdy house) (whore: puta) (bawdy: obsceno/verde) (or as it was referred to then, sporting house,   ) in Storyville, New Orleans City (today Storyville Records is one of the world’s greatest jazz record labels and the oldest independent jazz label in Europe),  . While working there, he was living with his religious, church-going great-grandmother; he had her convinced that he worked as a night watchman in a barrel factory. After Morton’s grandmother found out that he was playing jazz in a local brothel, she kicked him out of her house.

In that atmosphere, he often sang smutty lyrics; he took the nickname “Jelly Roll”, which was black slang for female genitalia.

Tony Jackson, also a pianist and guitarist at brothels was a major influence on Morton’s music. Jelly Roll said that Jackson was the only pianist better than he was.

          Around 1904, Morton started touring in the American South, workingwith minstrel (juglar) showsHe got to Chicago in 1910 and New York City in 1911, where future stride greats James P. Johnson and Willie “The Lion” Smith caught his act, years before the blues were widely played in the North.

         In 1912–1914, Morton toured with his girlfriend Rosa Brown as a vaudeville act before settling in Chicago for three years.

         In 1915 his “Jelly Roll Blues” was arguably the first jazz composition ever published, recording as sheet music.  Despite the name of this song is not really a blues!!!!!!!!!.

         In 1917, he followed bandleader William Manuel Johnson and Johnson’s sister Anita Gonzalez to California, where Morton’s tango “The Crave” made a sensation in Hollywood.

           Morton was invited to play in a new Vancouver (Canadá) nightclub called The Patricia, on East Hastings Street. The jazz historian Mark Miller described his arrival as “an extended period of itinerancy as a vaudeville pianist”.

          In 1923 Morton returned to Chicago to claim authorship of his recently published rag, “The Wolverines”, which had become a hit as “Wolverine Blues” in the Windy City. He released the first of his commercial recordings, first as piano rolls, then on record, both as a piano soloist and with various jazz bands. This same year Jelly writed the notation of Buddy Bolden´ Blues,  a primitive blues composition of this famous cornetist, called by Bolden as “Funky Butt” which represents moreover one of the earliest references to the concept of “funk” in popular music, now a musical subgenre. “Funky Butt/Buddy Bolden´Blues” is a composition of 8 bars and without V-IV step, which Bolden never transcripted to musical notes.  Buddy  Bolden is considered  the real father of jazz music.  The  Buddy Bolden Band, the first band known,  with the trombonist Willy Cornish, clarinetists  Willy Warnes o Frank Lewis, double bassist Jimmy Johnson and the first jazz guitarist known  Brock Munford created an exciting and novel fusion of ragtime, black sacred music, marching-band music, and rural blues, the primitive jazz. .The “Buddy Bolden Blues”  notation was really the first notation known of a blues song composed before the 1900 when the blues not existed.  known as King Bolden, his band was a top draw in New Orleans (the city of his birth) from about 1900 until 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophreniaBolden suffered an episode of acute 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.. He left no known surviving recordings, but he was known for his very loud sound and constant improvisationBolden is also credited with the discovery or invention of the so-called “Big Four“, a key rhythmic innovation on the marching band beat, which gave embryonic jazz much more room for individual improvisation. As Wynton Marsalis explains, the Big Four was the first syncopated bass drum pattern to deviate from the standard on-the-beat march. In addition, the second half of the Big Four is the pattern commonly known as the habanera rhythm, one of the most basic rhythmic cells in Afro-Latin and sub-Saharan African music traditions.

          In 1926, Morton succeeded in getting a contract to record for the largest and most prestigious company in the United States,Victor, Chicago (The actual RCA Red Seal label was begun in 1902 by the Gramophone Company in the United Kingdom and was quickly adopted by its United States affiliate, the Victor Talking Machine Company),  recording asJelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers.  The Red Hot Peppers featured such other New Orleans jazz luminaries as Kid OryOmer SimeonGeorge MitchellJohnny St. CyrBarney Bigard,Johnny DoddsBaby Dodds, and Andrew HilaireJelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers were one of the first acts booked on tours by MCA.

         In 1928 he moved to New York City, where Morton continued to record for Victor. Although he recorded with the noted musicians clarinetists Omer Simeon,George BaquetAlbert NicholasWilton CrawleyBarney BigardLorenzo Tio and Artie Shaw,trumpeters Bubber Miley,Johnny Dunn and Henry “Red” Allensaxophonists Sidney BechetPaul Barnes and Bud Freemanbassist Pops Foster, and drummers Paul BarbarinCozy Cole and Zutty SingletonMorton generally had trouble finding musicians who wanted to play his style of jazz. His New York sessions failed to produce a hit.

       With the Great Depression and the near collapse of the record industry, Victor did not renew Morton’s recording contract for 1931.

       Morton continued playing in New York, but struggled financially.

        In 1935, Morton moved to Washington, D.C., to become the manager/piano player of a bar ((not a nighclub but net to it)) called, at various times, the “Music Box”, “Blue Moon Inn”, and “Jungle Inn” in the African-American neighborhood of Shaw. (The building that hosted the nightclub stands at 1211 U Street NWMorton was also the master of ceremonies, bouncer, and bartender of the clubHe lived in Washington for a few years but he did not earn much money. The club owner allowed all her friends free admission and drinks, which prevented Morton from earn a lot of money.

          In 1938 Morton was stabbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by a friend of the owner and suffered wounds to the head and chest. After this incident his wife Mabel demanded that they leave Washington. From then he continued suffering  from respiratory problems

         In May 1938, the folklorist Alan Lomax invited Morton to record music and interviews for the Library of Congress. Despite the low fidelity of these non-commercial recordings, their musical and historical importance have attracted numerous jazz fans, and they have helped to ensure Morton’s place in jazz history. In his interviews, Morton claimed to have been born in 1885. He was aware that if he had been born in 1890, he would have been slightly too young to make a good case as the inventor of jazz. He said in the interview that cornetist Buddy Bolden played ragtime & blues but not jazz;this is not accepted by the consensus of Bolden’s other New Orleans contemporaries.

Morton died on July 10, 1941 after an eleven-day stay in Los Angeles County General Hospital with a respiratory disease. According to the jazz historian David Gelly in 2000, the Morton’s arrogance and “bumptious” (engreido) did that many musicians did not attende his funeral except for  Kid Ory, Mutt Carey, Fred Washington and Ed Garland, which were among his pall bearers (porteadores del féretro). The story notes the absence of Duke Ellington and Jimmie Lunceford, both of whom were appearing in Los Angeles at the time. (The article is reproduced in Alan Lomax’s biography of Morton, Mister Jelly Roll, University of California Press, 1950.)

              The interviews of Alan Lomax in 1938, released in different forms over the years, were released on an eight-CD boxed set in 2005The Complete Library of Congress Recordings. This collection won two Grammy Awards. The same year, Morton was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Morton’s piano style was formed from “ragtime” and “shout” (Shout music is a type of gospel music characterized by very fast tempo) which also influenced the New York school of stride piano. Morton’s playing was also close to “barrelhouse (an early form of jazz with wild, improvised piano, and an accented two-beat rhythm, performed in low category saloon /bar but not necessarily of whores), which resulted  in  boogie woogie, a precursor of blues music. Boogie-woogie music is !!!!! “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”).

Morton also changed the classical harmony  playing frequently  diminished 5th above the melody and changed the bassline introducing the major sixths in the bass, instead of tenths or octavesa characteristic of bass-blues comping, a characteristic of bass-blues comping in that time!!!!!!!. The major sixth is essential in bass comping of classic and modern blues and it is included for the most  guitarists  as an obliged note in the building of his solos.   


58-Jessica Williams (1948)

Jessica Williams is an American pianist and composer who has deep roots in jazz. She has been called “one of the top jazz pianists of today.”

    Williams was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She began her music career young, takingpiano lessons at the age of four and began classical training at the Peabody Conservatory of Music when she was seven. She moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during her teens and began playing with the quintet of Philly Joe Jones, the former Miles Davis drummer.

    In 1977, she moved to San Francisco, California, where she played in various house bands, such as for Eddie HarrisDexter GordonTony Williams, and Stan Getz. She also became the house pianist for Keystone Korner. She recorded for CandidFantasyTimelessConcordJazz FocusHep, and MaxJazz record labels.

   She began her own label in 1997, called Red and Blue Recordings, on which to release her own original material. She also owns her own publishing company, JJW Music, and runs her own Internet CD mail-order business,

She is a three-time Grammy Award Nominee and holds a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for composition.

She appeared at the 2004 and 2006 “Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festivals” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


59-Jimmy McGriff  (1936 – 2008)

His album “Blues for Mister Jimmy” is one of his finest examples of blues-based jazz.  

      James Harrell McGriff  was an American hard bop and soul-jazz organist who developed a distinctive style of playing the Hammond B-3 organ.

      Born in GermantownPennsylvaniaMcGriff started playing piano at the age of five and by his teens had also learned to play vibesalto saxdrums and upright bass.

      When he joined the United States Army, McGriff served as an MP (military police) during the Korean War and he later became police officer in Philadelphia for two years.

     McGriff became entranced by the organ sound by two motifs: a) his childhood friend, organist Jimmy Smith had earned a substantial reputation in jazz for his Blue Note records; b) the organist Richard “Groove” Holmes played at his sister’s wedding with a lot of success among assistants.

     Holmes went on to become McGriff’s teacher.

      McGriff bought his first Hammond B-3 organ in 1956, spent six months learning the instrument, then studied at New York’s Juilliard SchoolHe also studied privately with Milt BucknerJimmy Smith, and Sonny Gatewood.

      McGriff formed a combo that often featured tenor saxophonist Charles Earland (who soon switched permanently to organ, and became one of the instrument’s renowned performers).

      During this time, McGriff also accompanied Carmen McRae.

In 1961, McGriff’s trio did an instrumental cover of Ray Charles‘ hit “I’ve Got a Woman“. Then Sue label picked it up and recorded a full album of McGriff’s trio, released in 1962.McGriff recorded a series of popular albums for the Sue label between 1962 and 1965,ending with what still stands as one of his finest examples of blues-based jazz, Blues for Mister Jimmy.

      When producer Sonny Lester started his Solid State record label in 1966, he recruited McGriff to be his star attractionMcGriff was heard everywhere including pop hits(“Cherry”, “The Way You Look Tonight”) and funk classics (Electric Funk and singles such as “The Worm” and “Step 1”).

      During this time, McGriff performed at clubs and concert halls worldwide.

       Beginning in 1969, he also performed regularly with drummer Buddy Rich‘s band, though the two were only recorded once together in 1974 on The Last Blues Album Volume 1.

      McGriff tried to retire from the music industry in 1972 to start a horse farm in Connecticut, but Sonny Lester’s new record company, Groove Merchant, kept issuing McGriff records at a rate of three or four a year. By 1973, McGriff was touring relentlessly and actively recording again.

      By 1980, McGriff broke away from Sonny Lester and began working actively with producer Bob Porter.

      In 1986, McGriff started a popular partnership with alto saxophone player Hank Crawford for ten years.

       Between 1994 and 1998, McGriff also experimented with the Hammond XB-3, an organ synthesizer that increased the organ’s capabilities with MIDI enhancements.

      Along with the soul-jazz sound, McGriff experienced renewed popularity in the mid-1990s, forming The Dream Team group, which featured David “Fathead” Newman (a longtime saxophonist with Ray Charles) and drummer Bernard Purdie, and recording the Straight Up (1998), McGriff’s House Party (2000), Feelin’ It (2001), and McGriff Avenue (2002) albums.

A resident of Voorhees TownshipNew JerseyMcGriff died there at age 72 in 2008, due to complications of multiple sclerosis.


60-Jimmy Smith (1925/1928– 2005)

Important in the jazz history not only for being a fantastic organist but because his 1972 album Root Down is considered a seminal influence on later generations of funk and hip-hop musicians. Moreover is often called the father of acid jazz.

    James Oscar “Jimmy” Smith was an American jazz musician who achieved the rare distinction of releasing a series of instrumental jazz albums that often charted on Billboard. Smith helped popularize the Hammond B-3 electric organ, creating an indelible link between sixties soul and jazz improvisation.

    Born James Oscar Smith in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

    Smith’s birth year is of some confusion, with various sources citing either 1925 or 1928.

     At the age of six he joined his father doing a song-and-dance routine in clubs. Hebegan teaching himself to play the piano. When he was nine, Smith won a Philadelphia radio talent contest as a boogie-woogie pianistBoogie-woogie music is !!!!! “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”).

      After a stint (temporada) in the navy, he began furthering his musical education in 1948, with a year at Royal Hamilton College of Musicthen the Leo Ornstein School of Music in Philadelphia in 1949.

      He began exploring the Hammond organ in 1951From 1951 to 1954 he played piano & organ in Don Gardner and the Sonotones. He switched to organ permanently in 1954 after hearing Wild Bill Davis (the pioneer of jazz organ join to Fats Waller Count Basie).

      He purchased his first Hammond organ, rented a warehouse to practice in and emerged after little more than a yearUpon hearing him playing in a Philadelphia club, Blue Note’s Alfred Lion immediately signed him to the label and his second album, The Champ, quickly established Smith as a new star on the jazz scene.

He was a prolific recording artist and, as a leader, dubbed The Incredible Jimmy Smithhe recorded around forty sessions for Blue Note in just eight years beginning in 1956.

      Smith signed to the Verve label in 1962. He recorded with guitarists as:   Wes Montgomery,  Kenny BurrellGrant Green and George Benson.

       The Jimmy Smith Trio performed “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “The Sermon” in the 1964 film Get Yourself a College Girl.

       In the 1970s, Smith opened his own supper club in Los AngelesCalifornia, and played there regularly with guitarist Paul C Saenz.

         The 1972 album Root Down, considered a seminal influence on later generations of funk and hip-hop musicians. He was recorded live at the club, albeit with a different group of backing musicians.

Holle Thee Maxwell, then known as Holly Maxwell, was Smith’s vocalist for two years in the late 1970s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Smith recorded with other artists including Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson (he plays on the title track of the Bad album).

      His last major album, Dot Com Blues (Blue Thumb, 2000), featured many special guests such as Dr. JohnB. B. King and Etta James.

      Smith and his wife Lola moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2004, but Lola died of cancer a few months later.

      Smith was found dead on February 8, 2005, at his Scottsdale home by his manager,Robert Clayton. He was deemed to have died in his sleep of natural causes.

       Jimmy Smith and Brother Jack McDuff  influenced a constellation of jazz organists, including Jimmy McGriff Don PattersonRichard “Groove” HolmesJoey DeFrancesco and Larry Goldings, as well as rock keyboardists such as Jon LordBrian Auger and Keith Emerson.

     More recently, Smith influenced bands such as the Beastie BoysMedeski, Martin & Woodand the Hayden-Eckert Ensemble.

     Often called the father of acid jazz, Smith lived to see that movement come to reflect Smith’s organ style.

In 2005, Smith was awarded the NEA Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor that the United States bestows upon jazz musicians.

61-Jimmy Yancey  (1894 – 1951)

James Edwards “Jimmy” Yancey, “Yancey bass”,  was an African American boogie-woogie pianistcomposer, and lyricist. One reviewer noted him as “one of the pioneers of this raucous, rapid-fire, !!!!! “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”). Distinctively, he ended many pieces in the key of E-flat, even if he had played in a different key right up to the ending.

Yancey was born in Chicago in (depending on the source) 1894 or 1898His older brother, Alonzo Yancey (1894–1944) was also a pianist, while their father was a vaudeville guitarist and singer.

      By age ten, Yancey had toured across the United States as a tap dancer and singer, and by twenty he had toured throughout Europe.

He began learning piano at the age of 15, after retiring from a career as a singer and dancer in vaudeville and by 1915 had become a noted pianist. His vaudeville career included a performance for the King and Queen of England at Buckingham Palace.

       While he played in a boogie-woogie style, with a strong-repeated figure in the left hand and melodic decoration in the right, his playing was delicate and subtle, rather than hard driving. He popularized the left-hand figure that became known as the “Yancey bass”. Distinctively, he ended many pieces in the key of E-flat, even if he had played in a different key right up to the ending.

Yancey did not record at all through his early career, performing only at house parties and clubs. His first recordings in 1939 created a considerable stir in blues and jazz circles.

        While most of his recordings were solo, later in his career he and his wife Estelle Yancey recorded together (she as a vocalist) under the name ‘Jimmy and Mama Yancey’. They appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall in 1948, and recorded their first album in 1951—released by Atlantic Records the following year.

       During World War I, Yancey played baseball for the Chicago All-Americans, a Negro league baseball team. Throughout his life, he held a  job as a groundskeeper (cuidador de cesped) for the Chicago White Sox.

        Yancey died of a stroke secondary to diabetes in Chicago  in 1951.

        He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Jimmy Yancey was a major influence on Chicago blues and boogie woogie piano. Yet for 30 years, until his death, he supported himself as a groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox. His apartment was the scene of many gatherings in which the top Chicago pianists performed, including including Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons.


62-Joe Sample (1939 – 2014)

One of three “total pianists”, the others are Clare Fischer and Jorge Dalto .  One of parents of hard bop and funky (fusion between jazz and soul) styles. A pioneer in the electric keyboard.

      Joseph Leslie “Joe” Sample was an American pianist, keyboard player, and composer. He was one of the founding members of the Jazz Crusaders, the band which became simply the Crusaders in 1971, and remained as member of the group until its final album in 1991 (not including the 2003 reunion album Rural Renewal).

Sample was born Joseph Leslie Sample in HoustonTexas. Sample began to play the piano at age 5. He was a student of the multi-instrumentalist Curtis Mayo (Maestro Curtis).

      In high school in the 1950s, Sample teamed up the Swingsters.

      While studying piano at Texas Southern Universityteamed up the Modern Jazz Sextet and then the Jazz CrusadersSample never took a degree from the university !!!!!!!.

       In 1960, he and the Jazz Crusaders made the move from Houston to Los Angeles.

The Jazz Crusaders played at first in the dominant hard bop style of the day. Another distinctive quality was the funky, rhythmically appealing acoustic piano playing of Sample, who helped steer the group’s sound into a fusion between jazz and soul in the late 1960s. The Jazz Crusaders became a strong concert draw during those years.

      In 1969 Sample made his first recording under his own nameFancy Dance featured the pianist as part of a jazz trio.

      In the 1970s, as the Jazz Crusaders became simply the Crusaders and branched out into popular sounds.

      The electric keyboard was fairly new in the sixties, and Sample became one of the instrument’s pioneers. He began to use the electric piano while the group retained their original name, and the group hit a commercial high-water mark with the hit single “Street Life” and the album of the same name in 1979In 1978 he recorded Swing Street Café with guitarist David T. Walker.

     Beginning in the early 1980s, he enjoyed a successful solo career and guested on many recordings by other performers and groupsperforming jazz (Anita BakerMiles DavisGeorge Benson), gospel,  blues (B. B. KingEric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoo), Latin, rock (Steely DanJoe Cocker), soul (The SupremesMarvin Gaye,), rock-soul (Tina Turner),folk (Joni Mitchelland classical forms into his musicIn 1983, MCA released Joe Sample’s The Hunter LP, the more important work of his career.   The guitarists Earl Klugh,  Phil Upchurch and Dean Parks, featured a number of leading musicians of the day including Marcus Miller on bass (who was also working on Lonnie Liston Smith’s Dreams of Tomorrow and Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and Paulinho Da Costa on persussion. Sample was also joined on the album by Steve Gadd and Bob Wilson on drumsJohn Phillips on bass clarinet, and Abraham Laboriel on bass. The Hunter album has been transferred to CD from the original tapes but fans are still awaiting a remastered expanded edition with previously unreleased material and demos.

      The Crusaders broke up after recording Life in the Modern World for the GRP label in 1987Despite the disbanding of the Crusaders, the members would join each other to record periodically over the years releasing Healing the Wounds in the early ’90s.  Rural Renewal in 2003. In 2004 they performed a concert in Japan.

      His 2004 album on Verve, Soul Shadows, paid tribute to Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton, and pre-jazz bandleader James Reese Europe.

      In 2007 he recorded Feeling Good with vocalist Randy Crawford.

      Sample had a bassist son named Nicklas Sample (with ex-wife Marianne), who is a member of the Coryell Auger Sample Trio featuring Julian Coryell and Karma Auger.

      On September 12, 2014, Sample died in HoustonTexas from complications from mesothelioma lung diseaseHe was 75 years old.  Previously he suffered heart attacks — the most recent in 2009. In 2013, Sample was hospitalized with pneumonia.


63-Joe Zawinul (1932 –  2007)

           With gypsy blood in his veins, USA immigrant, he was co-founded  of,  Weather Report, Joe was one of the creators of jazz fusion, an innovative musical genre that combined jazz with elements of rock and world music. A pioneer in the use of electric piano and synthesizers (along with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock).

           Josef Erich “Joe” Zawinul was an USA immigrant came from Austria in 1959 to study in Boston.  

          Zawinul was born and grew up in Landstraße, as a son of the worker Josef Zawinul, in Vienna, Austria, where he went to school with Thomas Klestil, who became Austrian Federal President. His grandmother was a Hungarian Sinti (“Gypsy”), and his grandfather was from southern Moravia.

Classically trained at the Konservatorium WienZawinul played in various broadcasting and studio bands before emigrating to the U.S. in 1959 on a music scholarship at Berklee School of Music in Boston.

          He went on to play with trumpeter Maynard Fergusonwhere he first met Wayne Shorter.  Zawinul then toured and recorded with singer Dinah Washingtonfrom 1959-1961.

           In 1961, Zawinul joined the Quintet led by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. During his nine-year stint with Adderley, he wrote the hit song “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

            In the late 1960s, Zawinul recorded with Miles Davis‘s studio band and helped create the sound of jazz fusion. He played on the album In a Silent Way, the title track of which he composed, and the landmark album Bitches Brew, for which he contributed the twenty-minute track, “Pharaoh’s Dance”, which occupied the whole of side one.

              Zawinul is known to have played live with Davis only once!!!!!!!!!!!!!, on July 10, 1991, in Paris, along with Wayne Shortershortly before Davis’ death.

In addition to piano, he also played thekalimba on Weather Report‘s albums Mysterious Traveller and Mr. Gone.

            In 1970, Zawinul co-founded Weather Report with saxophonist and Davis alumnus Wayne Shorter (and later joined by Jaco Pastorius). Their first two years emphasized a relatively open, group improvisation format not dissimilar to what MilesDavis was doing in a more rock oriented format. However, Josef started making changes with their third album, Sweetnighter, citing he was “tired of waiting for something to happen”. In the third album funk elements such as electric bass, wah-wah pedal, etc. began to be introduced to the band’s sound. With their 4th album, Mysterious Traveller, the musical forms were now through-composed similar to classical music.

The band’s biggest commercial success came from his composition Birdland“, a 6-minute opus featured on Weather Report’s 1977 album Heavy Weather, which peaked at number 30 on the Billboard pop albums chart. “Birdland” is one of the most recognizable jazz pieces of the 1970sThe song won him three Grammys!!!!!!!.

           Weather Report was active until the mid 1980s, with Zawinul and Shorter remaining the sole constant members through multiple personnel shiftsThe two “final” albums were “Sportin’ Life and “This Is This! . Shorter and Zawinul separated just after recording the first of these two albums. The second of these albums was obligated by a contract signed some years before.

            Zawinul’s playing style was often dominated by quirky melodic improvisations — traversing bebop, ethnic and pop styles. Zawinul also wrote a symphony, called Stories of the Danube, which was commissioned by the Brucknerhaus (a festival and congress centre in Linz, Austria, so named in honour of the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner). It was first performed as part of the Linzer Klangwolke (a large-scale open-air broadcast event), for the opening of the 1993 Bruckner Festival in Linz. It was recorded in 1995 by the Czech State Philharmonic Orchestra, Brno, conducted by Caspar Richter.

           Absolute Zawinul, a CD recording by Absolute Ensemble, with music by Zawinul, is the last studio recording done during the year that Zawinul died in 2007, and features some of his original music as well as orchestrations by Absolute Ensemble member, Gene Pritsker, which he created in collaboration with Zawinul.

Zawinul became ill and was hospitalized in his native Vienna on August 7, 2007, after concluding a five-week European tour. He died a little over a month later from a rare and highly aggressive skin cancer, which, in most cases, is caused by the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) (Merkel cell carcinoma) in 2007. He is buried in the Zentralfriedhof Cemetery in Vienna.

           A number of prominent musical artists have honored Zawinul with compositions, notably Brian Eno‘s instrumental “Zawinul/Lava“, John McLaughlin‘s instrumental “Jozy”, Warren Cuccurullo‘s “Hey Zawinul”, Bob Baldwin‘s “Joe Zawinul“, Chucho Valdés‘s “Zawinul’s Mambo”, Biréli Lagrènes instrumental “Josef” and Toninho Hortas instrumental “Balada para Zawinul”.


64-Joey DeFrancesco (1971)

Called the best B3 (Hammond organ) player on the planet by Jazz Times.

He is an American jazz organisttrumpeter, and vocalist.

       DeFrancesco signed his first record deal at the age of 16.

       DeFrancesco was born in 1971 in Springfield, Pennsylvania. He was born into a musical family that included three generations of jazz musicians. He was named after his grandfather, Joseph DeFrancesco, a jazz musician who played the saxophone and clarinet. His father, “Papa” John DeFrancesco, was an organist who played nationally and received the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Living Legend Award in 2013.

       DeFrancesco began playing the organ at the age of 4 and was playing songs by Jimmy Smith verbatim by the time he was 5. His father John began bringing him to gigs from the age of 5, letting him sit in on sets.

      At the age of 10, DeFrancesco joined a band in Philadelphia that included jazz legends Hank Mobley and Philly Joe Jones.

He was considered a fixture at local jazz clubs, opening shows for Wynton Marsalis and B.B. King.

        DeFrancesco attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing ArtsDuring his high school years, DeFrancesco won numerous awards, including the Philadelphia Jazz Society McCoy Tyner Scholarship. He was also a finalist in the first Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

       DeFrancesco was 16 years old when he signed an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records.

       At the age of 17 DeFrancesco joined Miles Davis and his band on a five-week concert tour in EuropeHe followed up with playing keyboard on Davis’ album Amandla which reached #1 on the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 1989.

       DeFrancesco started playing the trumpet around the same time, inspired by the sound of Davis.

      DeFrancesco began touring with his own quartet at the age of 18.

       In the early 1990s, DeFrancesco began collaborating with John McLaughlin, former guitarist for Miles Davis and Mahavishnu.

        At the age of 22, he became a founding member of the group The Free Spirits alongwith McLaughlin and drummer Dennis ChambersHe toured with the group for 4 years and was part of several recordings, including the albums Tokyo Live and After the Rain. DeFrancesco is also credited with playing trumpet on the Tokyo Live album.

        In 1999, DeFrancesco recorded his album Incredible! live at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. The album was released in 2000 and featured a performance by his idol and jazz legend Jimmy Smith, who joined DeFrancesco for the last few songs of the set.

        In 2005, DeFrancesco released Legacy, an album that also featured Jimmy SmithThe album was Smith’s last recording as he died in 2004 after it was recorded and before the 2005 release, just prior to going on tour with DeFrancesco.

       DeFrancesco was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for his record Falling in Love Again.

      DeFrancesco was nominated for another Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael JacksonThe recording was released in 2010 as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

DeFrancesco’s music style has been referred to as a swinging Philly (Philadelphia)sound which he “embellishes with his own ferocity and improvisation.

Awards and recognition

Called the best B3 player on the planet by Jazz Times.

Grammy nominations in 2004 and 2011.

DeFrancesco is a 9-time winner of the Down Beat Critics Poll and has won the Down Beat Readers Poll every year since 2005.

He has won a number of Jazz Times Awards.

DeFrancesco is an inaugural member of the Hammond Hall of Fame, inducted in 2013 along with other music legends that included Brian AugerBilly PrestonSteve Winwood, and his mentor Jimmy Smith.


65-John Lewis (1920 –2001)

               John Aaron Lewis was, in addition to a great piano player,  the musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.  The best example  of  a refined chamber style of jazz music, really a neoclassical style of jazz. The father of “Third Stream” music, which was largely defined by the interweave between classical and jazz traditions.

John Lewis was born in La Grange, Illinois, and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and began learning classical music and piano at the age of seven.  He learnt working over classical works and composers such as Chopin, Bach and Beethoven.

Even though he learned piano by playing the classics, he was exposed to jazz from an early age because his aunt loved the swing and he would listen to the music she danced.

He attended the University of New Mexico, where he led a small dance band.

In 1942, Lewis entered the army and played piano alongside Kenny Clarkewho influenced him to move to New York once their service was over. Lewis moved to New York in 1945 to pursue his musical studies at the Manhattan School of Music and eventually graduated with a master’s degree in music in 1953.

            Influences: Lewis’s influence came from the pianists he enjoyed listening specially to  Art Tatum and Earl Hines. Lewis was also influenced by the improvisations of Lester Young on the saxophone. Lewis had not been the first to be influenced by a horn player. Earl Hines in his early years looked to Louis Armstrong‘s improvisations for inspiration and Bud Powell looked to Charlie Parker. Lewis was also heavily influenced by European classical music.

Once Lewis moved to New York, he and Clarke tried out for Dizzy Gillespie‘s bop-style big band. They both were admitted and, as composers, their song “Two Bass Hit” became an instant success. Lewis composed, arranged and played piano for the band from 1945 until 1948 after the band made a concert tour of Europe.

Then Lewis was an sideman for Charlie Parker and played on some of Parker’s famous recordings, such as “Parker’s Mood” (1948) and “Blues for Alice” (1951), but also collaborated with other prominent jazz artists such as Lester Young (tenor sax legend)Ella Fitzgerald (singer) and Illinois Jacquet (tenor and alto sax).

Lewis also was part of Miles Davis‘s Birth of the Cool sessions. Through  1948 and 1949, Lewis joined Davis’s nonet and is considered “one of the more prolific arrangers with the 1949 Miles Davis Nonet”. For the Birth of the Cool sessions, Lewis arranged “S’il Vous Plait”, “Rouge”, “Move” and “Budo”.

Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, drummer Clarke and bassist Ray Brown had been the small group within the Gillespie big band, and they frequently played their own short sets. The small band received a lot of positive recognition and it led to the foursome forming a full-time working group, which they initially called the Milt Jackson Quartet in 1951 but in 1952 renamed the Modern Jazz Quartet.

The Modern Jazz Quartet was formed out of the foursome’s need for more freedom and complexity than Gillespie’s big band, dance-intended sound allowed.

Lewis gradually transformed the group away from strictly 1940’s bebop style, which served as a vehicle for an individual artist’s improvisations, and instead oriented it toward a more refined, polishedchamber style of music. Lewis’s compositions for The Modern Jazz Quartet developed a “neoclassical style” of jazz.

Lewis also made sure that the band was always dressed impeccably. Lewis believed that it was important to dress the way that they came across in their music: polished, elegant and unique. Lewis once said in an interview with Down Beatmagazine: “My model for that was Duke Ellington. was the most elegant band I ever saw”.

The best examples of MJQ music is “Afternoon in Paris” and “Django”, both recorded with a simple guitar in the selfie-video-collection of our website. 

Lewis  was furthermore, head of faculty for the summer sessions held at the Lenox School of Jazz in Lenox, Massachusetts from 1957 to 1960, director of the annual Monterey Jazz Festivalin California from 1958 to 1983, and its musical consultant, and “he formed the cooperative big band Orchestra U.S.A., which performed and recorded Third Stream compositions (1962–65)”. Orchestra U.S.A., along with all of Lewis’s compositions in general, were very influential in developing “Third Stream” music, which was largely defined by the interweave between classical and jazz traditions. He also formed the Jazz and Classical Music Society in 1955, which hosted concerts in Town Hall in New York City that assisted in this new genre of classically influenced jazz to increase in popularity.

The MJQ disbanded in 1974 because Jackson felt that the band was not getting enough money for the level of prestige the quartet had in the music sceneDuring this break, Lewis taught at the City College of New York and at Harvard University.

      In 1981, the Modern Jazz Quartet re-formed just for for a tour of Japan and the United States.  

Lewis  formed  a sextet called the John Lewis Group.

      In 1985, Lewis collaborated with Gary Giddins and Roberta Swann to form the American Jazz Orchestra.

Additionally, he continued to teach jazz piano to aspiring jazz students, which he had done throughout his career. His teaching style involved making sure the student was fluent in “three basic forms: the blues, a ballad, and a piece that moves”.He continued teaching late into his life.

      He also continued playing sporadically with the MJQ until 1999, when Jackson died.

Thomas Owen believes that Lewis’ best pieces for the MJQ are Django, the ballet suite The Comedy (1962, Atl.), and especially the four pieces Versailles, Three Windows, Vendome and Concorde… combine fugal imitation and non-imitative polyphonic jazz in highly effective ways.

66-Johnny Alf (1929-2010)

One of parents of Bossa Nova.

        Alfredo José da Silva, popularly known as Johnny Alf, was a Brazilian musician.

Over his career, he recorded nine albums and appeared on nearly fifty others.

Johnny Alf was born in Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His family was of low socio-economic class relative to his musical colleagues. Alf was raised almost exclusively by his mother, his father having perished in combat in the valley of Paraíba when Alfredo was only three years of age, a casualty of the Brazilian Civil War of 1932.

      Following the death of Alfredo’s father the family of two moved to Tijuca, a small town just Southwest of Rio de Janeiro where Alf’s mother had found employment and lodgings as a household maid.

     Alfredo’s mother was able to enroll him at the IBEU (Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos or Brazilian-American Institute), and it was there that Alf received his first formal musical training, studying classical piano with instructor Geni Bálsamo.

      Influences: Due to his purported shyness Alf spent much more of his time listening to  the music of the Nat “King” Cole Trio (Nat King Coleand pianist George Shearing.

His preferences for the Jazz music led him to seek acceptance into the recently founded Sinatra-Farney Fan Club haunted by artists such as Frank SinatraBing Crosby, and Brazilian born Dick Farney (b. Farnésio Dutra, a Carioca), the owner of the club.

       The jam sessions held by the Sinatra-Farney Fan Club provided Alf his first taste of collaborative music-making and public, musical performance.  He played in others nightclubs in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio, where he was noticed by later bossa nova pioneers. The club’s status being respectable enough around Rio for its members to be allowed to play (without pay) venues such as the Tijuca Tennis Club, the Fluminense Club, and the Athletic Association of the Bank of Brazil.

      In 1952 Alf received his first professional break when he was hired as the pianist at the newly inaugurated Cantina do César (owner, César de Alencar, a popular radio host in Rio at the time)  where his appointed task was, apparently, to “aid the digestion of the guests”. There Alf would receive frequent visits from artists such as pianist João Donato, vocalist Dolores Duran, and guitarist/vocalist João Gilberto would often accompany his colleagues in a duet or two before they were on their way.

The musical fare in the first years of Alf’s professional career rarely varied from the usual Samba-cançãoes and foxtrots (trote del zorro) (american dance born in USA in 1912!!!!!!!!!! And created,  to dance in a funny way,  by combo & big jazz bands!!!) .

       As Alf’s modest reputation slowly grew he managed to catch the eye of producer Ramalho Neto, who in the same year, 1952, expressed interest in recording Alf. This brief pairing would produce Alf’s first two recordings. Alf assembled a trio (in the style of Nat “King” Cole) composed of guitarist Garoto, double-bassist Vidal, and himself on Piano and recorded two tunes: “Falseta” (Deceit) composed by Alf himself, and “De cigarro em cigarro” (From Cigarette to Cigarette) composed by fellow Brazilian Luiz Bonfá. similar rhythmically and structurally to the well-known samba-cançãos of the day, they differed only in their harmonic richness and their melodies, both of which aspects were heavily influenced by American jazz styles and improvisations of the late 1940s and early 1950s

     Following these sessions Alf would continue to find nightly work in the clubs of Rio de Jainero, musical companions such as João GilbertoJoão Donato, and eventually the young pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim, following him from venue to venue provided they could afford the cover fee. For two years Alf contented himself with ephemeral engagements at clubs including the Monte Carlo in Gávea, the Clube da Chave, the Mandarim, and the Drink before settling at the Hotel Plaza nightclub in 1954The Hotel Plaza nightclub was known throughout Copacabana as a haunted venue, which conveniently allowed Alf the freedom to experiment musically to a degree that would not have been possible had he been playing for anyone other than his loyal fan-base.  There he was able to play his own early compositions (“Rapaz De Bem”, “Céu E Mar”, and “O Que É Amar” among othersin a professional setting as well as the compositions of his colleagues and fellow innovators. 

      During the early hours of the evening Alf would hold impromptu jam sessions into the style later known as Bossa Nova.

     In 1955, Alf was offered a position as the house pianist at a new club, Baiúca, opening in São PauloAt Baiúca Alf would form a duo with himself on the piano and double-bassist SabáUnfortunately, however, the group had time only to establish a moderate following before the Baiúca was closed down for reasons pertaining to health-code violations.Once again Alf found himself pounding the pavement.

     The musicians Alf had left in Rio had continued to innovate in his absence while he himself had had no time for anything more than the work required to earn his daily wages. By the time Alf recorded his first full-length LP (“Rapaz De Bem”) in 1961 his songs had begun to sound stale. His music was hailed (aclamado) as one of the progenitors of the Bossa Nova style but unbelievably he had always tried to distance himself from the connotations the title entailed and,  in fact,  declined an invitation to play at Carnegie Hall’s historic Bossa Nova Festival.

    Sorrowfully, after 1961 very little was heard from Alf, he continued to produce albums infrequently throughout the 60s and early 70s many of which display a sound very similar to that which was displayed on “Rapaz De Bem”. The rest of Alf’s career would be spent in São Paulo, collaborating with other artists from time to time, occasionally embarking on solo recording projects, and earning most of his living from his performances in the clubs of São Paulo. Alf would eventually gain employment at a local conservatory of music.

    Johnny Alf died on March 4, 2010, in Santo Andre, Brazil (just outside São Paulo, his home of the past fifty years) of complications caused by prostate cancer. He left no immediate survivors.

Alf has said of his own music: “I always played in my own style […] I had the idea of joining Brazilian music with jazz. I try to bring everything together to achieve an agreeable result”.

    Clearly he had a great influence and inspiration to his peerssome of which would go on to acquire fame under the heading Bossa Nova. “From him I learned all of the modern harmonies that Brazilian music began to use in the bossa nova, samba-jazz and instrumental songs” said pianist and arranger João Donato, “He opened the doors for us with his way of playing piano, with its jazz influence. When my generation arrived, he had already planted the seeds” added guitarist and composer Carlos Lyra.


67-Johnnie Johnson (1924 –2005)

He was an American pianist and jazz & blues & rock´n roll musician. Father of Rock and Roll ?. His work with Chuck Berry led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He had a serious drinking problem.

     He was born Johnnie Clyde Johnson in Fairmont, West Virginia and began playingpiano in 1928.

    He joined the United States Marine Corps during World War II where he was a member of Bobby Troup‘s all serviceman jazz orchestraThe BarracudasAfter his return, he moved to Detroit, Illinois and then Chicago, where he sat in with many notable artists, including Muddy Waters and Little Walter.

He moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1952 and immediately put together a jazz and blues group, The Sir John Trio with drummer Ebby Hardy and saxophonist, Alvin Bennett. The three scored a regular gig at the Cosmopolitan Club in East St. LouisOn New Year’s Eve 1952, Alvin Bennett had a stroke and could not perform. Johnson, searching for a last minute replacement, called a young man named Chuck Berry, the only musician Johnson knew who because of his inexperience, would likely not be playing on New Year’s Eve. Although then a limited guitarist, Chuck Berry added vocals and showmanship to the group. As Bennett would not be able to play again because of his stroke, Johnson hired Berry as a permanent member of the trio.

    They would remain the Sir John’s Trio until Berry took one of their tunes, a reworking of Bob Wills‘ version of “Ida Red” to Chess Records.

     The Chess brothers liked the tune and soon the trio were in Chicago recording Maybellene” and “Wee Wee Hours” – a song Johnson had been playing as an instrumental for years for which Berry quickly penned some lyricsBy the time the trio left Chicago, Berry had been signed as a solo act and Johnson (piano) and Hardy (sax) became part of Berry’s band.

     Over the next 20 years, the two collaborated in the arrangements of many of Berry’s songs but   the  pianist on the “Johnny B. Goode” session was not Johnson !!!!!!!!!!!!!! but Lafayette Leake, one of the two main session pianists for Chess brothers (the other being Otis Spann).

     Berry and Johnson played and toured together until 1973. From then Johnson played occasionally with Berry until Johnson’s death in 2005.

     Johnson was known to have a serious drinking problem.

     Johnson quit drinking entirely in 1991, after nearly suffering a stroke on stage with Eric Clapton.

    Johnson received little recognition until the Chuck Berry concert documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1987.

In 1987, Johnson, Raymond Cantrell, and Stevie Lee Dodge made up the St.Charles Blues Trio.

    In 1998, Johnson told Doug Donnelly of that “Johnny B. Goode” was a tribute to him. “I played no part in nothing of Johnny B. Goode,” Johnson said.“We were playing one night, I think it was Chicago, and he played it. Afterward, he told me it was a tribute to me. He did it on his own. I didn’t know nothing about it. It was never discussed.”

    In 1999, Johnson’s biography was released, Father of Rock and Roll: The Story of Johnnie B. Goode Johnson by 23-year-old Travis Fitzpatrick. The book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by Congressman John Conyers, and garnered Johnson more recognition.

    In 2000, Johnson was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

    In late 2004, Johnson recorded his final project, Johnnie Be Eighty. And Still Bad! It was recorded in St.Louis.

   In November 2000, Johnson sued (demandó) Berry, alleging he deserved co-composer credits (and royalties) for dozens of songs, including “No Particular Place To Go”, “Sweet Little Sixteen”, and “Roll Over Beethoven”, that credit Berry alone. The case was dismissed in less than a year because too many years had passed since the songs in dispute were written.

    In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after a campaign byRolling Stones‘ guitarist, Keith Richards, among others.

    In 2005, he played piano on the 46th anniversary of the recording of “Johnnie B. Goode”, at that same studio.

His last band still performs today as The Johnnie Johnson Band.

    Johnson was the subject of a Homespun Tapes piano instructional video entitled The Blues/Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson – Sessions with a Keyboard Legend. Originally released in 1999 (DVD version in 2005), the video is hosted by David Bennett Cohen, along with Johnson’s band featuring guitarist Jimmy Vivino.

Johnson died in St. Louis, Missouri on April 13, 2005. He was interred in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

   The Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival is held annually in Fairmont West Virginia, only a few blocks from where Johnson was born.


68-Jorge Dalto ( 1948 – 1987)  

One of three total pianists (the other Joe Sample and Clare Fischer), Jorge Pérez Roque Dalto, Jorge  Dalto, was a pop, classical, salsa, jazz, the rhythms of Brazil,Afro-Cuban music pianist,  

      Born in Argentina, he was the former musical director for George Benson.

      “With its presence was impossible to go unnoticed, with her coat reaching to the feet, could only see his face. Dark eyes like night and small beard around his mouth to be confused with their whiskers. Beneath the beret you could see her straight, black and very fine hair. his hands were thin and long fingers, hands were pianist “. Thus defined the Bulletin of the extraordinary Jorge Pérez Roque Dalto, illustrious citizen of the place and one of the most important pianists of the past 40 years. These words were written when 10 anniversary his death that, unfortunately for the world of music, occurred in 1987 after suffering a long illness being heldDalto continued playing until his fingers were no longer responding to them, those fingers sliding on his trusty piano managed to make the world a little more interesting.

      His mother, Porota, was a fan of opera while his father, Lelo, was bandoneon player and tango. His parents offered him the opportunity to study violin at the hands of the teacher Rosita Tagliafico, but soon decides to lean toward what will be one of the great loves of his life, piano, taking classes with Angela Luders.

       In 1958 his family decided to emigrate to Buenos Aires where Dalto continues to receive trainingSoon, with only 15 starts acting by night clubs of the capital of Argentina where it begins to become familiar with the tables for seven years.

     Chicago will be your first destination to join a quintet of Latin music. Soon will found the Inter Sextet.

      Two years later, with his musical backpack full of experience decides to land on the world capital of musicNew York.  Soon begins to contact Latin jazz groups such as Tito Puente and Machito’s orchestra. In 1975 he was presented with Dizzy Gillespie in his “Dizzy Gillespie’s Afro-Cuban Moods”. Soon after, he became a member of the groups of Gato Barbieri and Ruben Blades.

        Moreover in NYC is involved in the movement of fusion jazz, which in those times was in full swing, appearing on albums of bossa-jazz with Brazilian artist such as Djavan.

         During the 80s was the leader of the Interamerican Band as a pianist and arranger. Moreover, with his band Super Friends that included authentic teachers as saxophonist David Sanborn, guitarist George Benson and Eric Gale or the drummers Steve Gadd and Buddy Williams. With them he recorded the “Rendezvous” extraordinary, released in 1983.

          In May of 1983 Jorge Dalto makes a trip to Argentina where recorded a beautiful album that will be released exclusively on two cassettes named “Jorge Dalto Only Piano Vol. 1 & 2”.

          In 1985 he recorded “Urban Oasis” with its Interamerican Band, an excellent session that emphasized its strong Latin roots and his impressive command of the genre. That same year he also recorded “New York Nightline” (with its Superfriends), a magnificent work that has remained in a drawer until recently.

         As often happens after his death in 1987 his recognition as an excellent pianist began to grow and has continued to do so ever since. But Dalto was no longer among us to reap the fruits of his impressive work. A real shame.

        He died of cancer at the age of 39.

         In “Piano Only”, Jorge Dalto pinpoints one by one all the genres that interest you, from jazz to samba, through funk, Latin, fusion, classical and tango.


69-Joseph Lamb (1887 –1960)

      The only non-African American of the “Big Three” composers of classical ragtime, the other two being Scott Joplin and James Scott. The main Lamb´ harmonic contributios were:  emphasizes on the harmonic sonority of the diminished seventh. In addition, Lamb surpassed ragtime’s usual four-measure phrase structure.

           Joseph Francis Lamb was a noted American composer of ragtimemusic. Lamb, of Irish descent, was the only non-African American of the “Big Three” composers of classical ragtime, the other two being Scott Joplin and James Scott.

Lamb was born in Montclair, New JerseyHe taught himself to play the piano with the early ragtime publications of Scott Joplin.

         In the summer of 1907 Scott Joplin went to New York to make contacts with new publishers and to find financial backing for Treemonisha, an opera he had been working on for the past few years. The Joplin met Joseph Lamb, a young white man who composed ragtime as an avocation. The two became friends and on Joplin’s recommendation John Stark published Lamb’s Sensation in 1908. Lamb went on to become one of ragtime’s great composers and during the rest of the ragtime years, the next decade,  published only with Stark.

Lamb’s twelve rags published by Stark from 1908 to 1919 can be divided into two groups. A) The “heavy” rags which are incorporated with Scott Joplin’s melody–dominated style and James Scott’s expansive use of the keyboard registers: B) The “light” rags which have the cakewalk tradition show the narrow-range melodies inspired by Joplin.

Harmonic contributios:  emphasizes on the harmonic sonority of the diminished seventhIn addition, Lamb surpassed ragtime’s usual four-measure phrase structure.

          In 1911, Lamb moved to Brooklyn, New York. He worked as an arranger for the J. Fred Helf Music Publishing Company and from 1914, as an accountant !!!!! (contable) for L. F. Dommerich & Company.

His wife died of influenza in 1920, about the same time that popular music interest shifted from ragtime to jazz. Lamb stopped publishing his music, playing andcomposing only as a hobby.

              With the revival of interest in ragtime in the 1950s, Lamb shared his memories of Joplin and other early ragtime figures with music historians. (Many were surprised to find that not only was he still living, but that he was white.) He also composed some new rags but normally in tha time brought out some of his old compositions that had never been published making with them some recordings.

Lamb died in Brooklyn in 1960 of a heart attack at age 72. That same year, his album, Joseph Lamb: A Study in Classic Ragtime was released by Folkways Records.


70-Keith Jarrett (1945)


           He was great performing in both styles, jazz and classical music, in this style is a follower of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949),. In addition, his improvisations draw from the traditions of jazz and other genres, especially Western classical music, gospel, blues, and ethnic folk music. Jarrett has also played harpsichord, clavichord, organ, soprano saxophone, drums, various forms of percussion and many other instruments.


           Keith was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania,   to a mother of Austrian and Hungarian descent and a father of either French or Scotsch-Irish descent.  He grew up in suburban Allentown with significant early exposure to musicJarrett possessed absolute pitch, and he displayed prodigious musical talents as a young child. He began piano lessons just before his third birthday, and at age five he appeared on a TV talent program hosted by the swing bandleader Paul Whiteman. Jarrett gave his first formal piano recital at the age of seven, playing works by composers including Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, and ending with two of his own compositions. Encouraged especially by his mother, Jarrett took intensive classical piano lessons with a series of teachers, including Eleanor Sokoloff of the Curtis Institute.


In his teens, as a student at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Jarrett learned jazz and quickly became proficient in it. In his early teens, he developed a strong interest in the contemporary jazz scene; a Dave Brubeck performance was an early inspiration.


            Following his graduation from Emmaus High School in 1963,  Jarrett moved from Allentown to Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Berklee College of Music and played cocktail piano in local clubs. After a year he moved to New York City, where he played at the Village VanguardArt Blakey hired Jarrett to play with the Jazz MessengersDeJohnette talked to Jarrett and soon recommended him to his own band leader, Charles Lloyd. The Charles Lloyd Quartet had formed not long before.  The Quartet’s tours across America and Europe, even to Moscow, made Jarrett a widely noticed musician in rock and jazz underground circles.


               In those years, Jarrett also began to record his own tracks as a leader of small informal groups, at first in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian with two albums.


              In 1968 Jarrett was asked to join the Miles Davis group after the trumpeter heard him in a New York City club. During his tenure with Davis, Jarrett played both Fender Contempo electronic organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano, alternating with Chick Corea. After Corea left in 1970, Jarrett often played electric piano and organ simultaneously.


              Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success as a group leader and a solo performer in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music. Jarrett’s first album for ECM, Facing You (1971), was a solo piano date recorded in the studio. In The Light, an album made in 1973, consists of short pieces for solo piano, strings, and various chamber ensembles, including a string quartet and a brass quintet, and a piece for cellos and trombones. This collection demonstrates a young composer’s affinity for a variety of classical styles. Luminessence (1974) and Arbour Zena (1975)both combine composed pieces for strings with improvising jazz musicians, including Jan Garbarek and Charlie Haden.


              From 1971 to 1976, Jarrett added saxophonist Dewey Redman to the existing trio with Haden and Motian. The so-called American quartet was often supplemented by an extra percussionist, such as Danny Johnson, Guilherme Franco, or Airto Moreira, and occasionally by rock-influenced guitarist Sam Brown.


             The quartet’s music is an amalgam of free jazz, straight-ahead post-bop, gospel music, and exotic, Middle-Eastern-sounding improvisations.


              In the mid/late 1970s Jarrett led a “European quartet” concurrently with the American quartet, which was recorded by ECM. This combo consisted of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. They played in a style similar to that of the American quartet, but with many of the avant-garde and Americana elements replaced by theEuropean folk and classical music influences that characterized the work of ECM artists at the time, e.g. Nude Ants album from 1979.


            Jarrett became involved in a legal wrangle following the release of the album Gaucho in 1980 by the U.S. rock band Steely Dan.


The Celestial Hawk (1980) is a piece for orchestra, percussion, and piano that Jarrett performed and recorded with the Syracuse Symphony under Christopher Keene. This piece is the largest and longest of Jarrett’s efforts as a classical composer.


In 1983, at the suggestion of ECM head Manfred Eicher,Jarrett asked bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, with whom he had worked on Peacock’s 1977 album Tales of Another, to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Two more albums, Standards, Volume 2 and Changes, both recorded at the same session, followed soon after. The Jarrett-Peacock-DeJohnette trio also produced recordings that consist largely of challenging original material, including 1987’s Changeless. Several of the standards albums contain an original track or two, some attributed to Jarrett, but most are group improvisations.


He has continued to record solo piano albums in the studio intermittently throughout his career, including Staircase (1976), The Moth and the Flame (1981. Book of Ways (1986) is a studio recording of clavichord solos. Jarrett’s 100th solo performance in Japan was captured on video at Suntory Hall, Tokyo on April 14, 1987, and released the same year.


            After a hiatus, Jarrett returned to the extended solo improvised concert format with Paris Concert (1990), Vienna Concert (1991), Bridge of Light (1993) (the last recording of classical compositions to appear under Jarrett’s name) and La Scala (1995).

            In the late 1990s, Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and was unable to leave his home for long periods of time. It was during this period that he recorded The Melody at Night, With You (1999), a solo piano effort consisting of jazz standards presented with very little of the reinterpretation he usually employs. The album had originally been a Christmas gift to his second wife, Rose Anne.


            By 2000, Jarrett had returned to touring, both solo and with the Standards Trio.


            In September 2005 at Carnegie Hall, Jarrett performed his first solo concert in North America in more than ten years, released a year later as a double-CD set, The Carnegie Hall Concert.


           In  2008, he performed solo in the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and a few days later, on December 1, at London’s Royal Festival Hall, marking the first time Jarrett had played solo in London in seventeen years. These concerts were released in October 2009 on the album Paris / London: Testament.


          One of Jarrett’s trademarks is his frequent, loud vocalizations (grunting, squealing, and tuneless singing), similar to that of Glenn Gould, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Ralph Sutton, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Paul Asaro, and Cecil Taylor. Jarrett is also physically active while playing: writhing, gyrating, and almost dancing on the piano bench.


           Jarrett is notoriously intolerant of audience noise !!!!!!!!!!!!!, including coughing and other involuntary sounds, especially during solo improvised performances. He feels that extraneous noise affects his musical inspiration, and distracts from the purity of the sound. As a result, cough drops are routinely supplied to Jarrett’s audiences in cold weather, and he has been known to stop playing and lead the crowd in a group cough.


          This intolerance was made clear during a concert on October 31, 2006, at the restored Salle Pleyel in Paris. After making an impassioned plea to the audience to stop coughing, Jarrett walked out of the concert during the first half, refusing at first to continue, although he did subsequently return to the stage to finish the first half, and also the second.


          Jarrett has been known for many years to be strongly opposed to electronic instruments and equipment. His liner notes for the 1973 album Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne states: “I am, and have been, carrying on an anti-electric-music crusade of which this is an exhibit for the prosecution. Electricity goes through all of us and is not to be relegated to wires.” He has largely eschewed electric or electronic instruments since his time with Miles Davis.


             Jarrett is a follower of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949), and in 1980 recorded an album of Gurdjieff’s compositions, called Sacred Hymns, for ECM. Jarrett has also visited Princeton University’s ESP lab run by Robert Jahn.[


             Jarrett lives in an 18th-century farmhouse in Oxford Township, New Jersey, in rural Warren County. He uses a converted barn on his property as a recording studio and practice facility


              Jarrett has acknowledged that audiences, and even fellow musicians, have at times been convinced he is African American, due to his appearance.He relates an incident when African American jazz musician Ornette Coleman approached him backstage, and said something like, “Man, you’ve got to be black. You just have to be black”, to which Jarrett replied, “I know. I know. I’m working on it”


  • Awards:

In 2003, Jarrett received the Polar Music Prize, the first (and to this day only) recipient not to share the prize with a co-recipient, and in 2004 he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize.  had previously been given to only one other jazz musician – Miles Davis.In 2008, he was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame in the magazine’s 73rd Annual Readers’ Poll.

71-Kenny Barron (1943)

        Kenny Barron is an American jazz pianist. Known for his lyrical style of playing.

         Barron has appeared on hundreds of recordings as both leader and sideman and is consequently considered one of the most important and influential mainstream jazz pianists since the bebop era

        Kenny Barron is the younger brother of tenor saxophonist Bill Barron (1927–1989).

        One of his first gigs was as pianist with the Dizzy Gillespie quartet.

         Barron was briefly a member of the Jazztet around 1962, but did not record with them.

         He graduated in 1978 with a BA in Arts from Empire State College (Metropolitan Center, New York City).

       He also co-led the groups Sphere and the Classical Jazz Quartet.

       Between 1987 and 1991, Barron recorded several albums with Stan Getz, most notably Bossas & Ballads – The Lost SessionsSerenityAnniversary and People Time, a 2-CD set.

       He has been nominated nine times for Grammy Awards and for the American Jazz Hall of Fame.

       He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.

       For over 25 years, Barron taught piano and keyboard harmony at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He now teaches at the Juilliard School of Music. His piano students have included Earl MacDonaldHarry Pickens, and Aaron Parks.


72-Larry Goldings (1968)

Goldings’ melodic style of organ playing has often been compared to that of Larry Young.

       Larry Goldings  is an American pianist, organist, producer/arranger and composer.

Goldings was born in Boston, MassachusettsHis father was a classical music enthusiast, and Larry studied classical piano until the age of twelve.

      While in high school at Concord Academy, he attended a program at the Eastman School of MusicDuring this period Erroll GarnerOscar PetersonDave McKennaRed Garland, and Bill Evans were prime influences.

As a young teenager, Larry studied privately with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett.

      Influences: Goldings’ melodic style of organ playing has often been compared to that of Larry Young. On organ, Goldings cites as his first inspirations the solo piano style of Dave McKenna “who walks his own bass lines better than anyone”.

      Goldings moved to New York in 1986 to attend a newly formed jazz program under the leadership of Arnie Lawrence at The New SchoolDuring college he studied piano with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch.

     While still a college student, he embarked on a worldwide tour with singer Jon Hendricks and worked with him for a year.

A collaboration lasting almost three years with jazz guitar legend Jim Hall followed.

     In 1988, Goldings began his development as an organist during a regular gig at a pianoless bar called Augie’s Jazz Bar (now Smoke) on New York’sUpper West Side.

     He teamed up his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart.

     Over the course of his career, his distinctive keyboard sound has been sought out more and more by pop, R&B, Brazilian, and alternative artists.

     In 2007, Larry Goldings, Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield, received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond – Saudades (ECM).

Awards and recognition in a reverse order

  • 2007 Grammy Nomination Best Jazz Album of the Year
  • 2001 Jazz Journalists Association Winner Best Organist/Keyboardist of the Year
  • 2000 Jazz Journalists Association Winner Best Organist/Keyboardist of the Year
  • 1997 The New Yorker Magazine Best Jazz Albums of 1997 (“Awareness”)
  • 1996 The New Yorker Magazine Best Jazz Albums of 1996 (“Big Stuff”)



73 -Lennie Tristano (1919 – 1978)

             With Italian blood, he performed in the “cool jazz in the times ofbebop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And was also  one of parents of “free jazz”.    In addition highlights his preoccupation with atonality and Bach‘s counterpoint, as well as his early experimentations with recording techniques such as overdubbing (his own playing). His work as a jazz educator meant that he has exerted a substantial influence on jazz through figures such as Lee Konitz (alto saxophonist)  and Warne Marsh (tenor saxophonist).

             Leonard Joseph Tristano,  a jazzpianistcomposer and teacher of jazz improvisation,  was born in ChicagoHis parents were cousins with roots in Campania, Italy. He was born with weak eyesight during th e influenza epidemic of 1919. Before the age of six he was totally blind. He first went to the School for the Blind in Jacksonville, IllinoisHe later attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago where his aunt took notes for him. He was awarded a B.A. in 1943.

            Tristano’s interest in jazz inspired a move to New York City in 1946. His advanced grasp of harmony pushed his music beyond even the complexities of the contemporary bebop movement

              Influences:  Respect to his musical conception he dad a debt to Charlie Parker,Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell.  Like a pianist,  his main influences were Nat King Cole and Art Tatum.

              The “Tristano school” has often been contrasted with bebop, by being labelled“cool jazz” before the true cool jazz movement of the 1950s.

              Among Tristano’s most important earlier recordings was a 1949 sextet session with his students, saxophone players Lee Konitz (alto) and Warne Marsh (tenor). After recording a number of conventionally structured compositions, the recorded “Intuition” and “Digression”. Both pieces were completely improvisedwith no prearranged melody,harmony or rhythm. These two songs are often cited as the first recorded examples of free jazz or free improvisation.

             His 1953 recording “Descent into the Maelstrom” is especially significant: an experiment in overdubbing which in its harsh atonality anticipates the much later work of players like Cecil Taylor and Borah Bergman (who specifically mentioned the piece as an important influence on his work).

             Tristano released two important albums on Atlantic Records, which remain his best-known workLennie Tristano, from 1955, is famous for including “Requiem” and  “Line Up”.  “Requiem”, a tribute to the late Charlie Parker, is notable for its deep blues feeling – a style not usually associated with Tristano. However, perhaps the most significant work lies in the composition “Line Up”, a spiralling linear improvisation based on the changes to “All of Me” (Gerald Marks y Seymour Simons).

              The New Tristano (1962) remains a landmark in solo jazz piano,  especially the classic “G Minor Complex”, an improvisation on the changes of “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” (Cole Porter).

           He was one of the first musicians to start his own record label, Jazz Records, which is still in existence and is run by his daughter, the drummer Carol Tristano.

            In 2013 Tristano was honored with induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame for the 1949 album Crosscurrents.

           By the mid-1950s, Tristano focused his energies more on music education. He can be regarded as one of the first jazz teachers to teach jazz in a structured way, beginning in the late 1940s and continuing to his death in 1978.

            Tristano would often have his students learn to sing and play the improvised solos by some of best-known names in jazz.

            One of the key teaching tools used by Tristano was the metronome. In practicing fundamentals such as scales, the student would set the metronome at or near to its slowest setting and play the scales and arpeggios in a legato fashion covering the full range of their instrument with very even dynamics. Developing a strong awareness of the beat was a key element of his teaching philosophy.

A book by bassist Peter IndJazz Visions: Lennie Tristano and His Legacy, waspublished in October 2005. The book documents and discusses Tristano’s contributions to jazz music.


74-Les McCann (1935-is alive)

The full artist: Musician, painter and photographer. He was the first soul-jazz pianist merging jazz with funk, soul and world rhythms In addition he was among the first jazz musicians to include electric piano, clavinet, and synthesizer in his music.

             Leslie Coleman “Les” McCann was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He is an American soul jazz pianist and vocalist whose biggest successes came as a crossover artist into R&B and soul.

              An early musical success for McCann was his winning of a Navy talent contest for singing; this led to an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

              McCann’s main career began in the early 1960s when he recorded as a pianist with his trio for Pacific Jazz Records.

            In 1969, Atlantic Records released Swiss Movement, a recording of McCann with frequent collaborator, saxophonist Eddie Harris, and guest trumpeter Benny Bailey at that year’s Montreux Jazz Festival.The album contained the song “Compared to What, and both the album and the single were huge Billboard pop chart successes. “Compared to What” featured political criticism of the Vietnam War. The song was not written by McCann; fellow Atlantic composer/artist Eugene McDaniels wrote it years earlier.“Compared to What” was initially recorded and released by soul vocalist Roberta Flack. Her version appeared as the opening track on her debut recording, First Take (1969).

After the success of Swiss Movement, McCann — primarily a piano player — began to emphasize his rough-hewn vocals more. He became an innovator in the soul jazz stylemerging jazz with funk, soul and world rhythms; much of his early 1970s music prefigures the Stevie Wonder albums of that decade. In addition he was among the first jazz musicians to include electric piano, clavinet, and synthesizer in his music.

               In 1971, he and Harris were part of a group of soul, R&B, and rock performers— including Wilson PickettThe Staple SingersSantana and Ike & Tina Turner — who flew to AccraGhana for a historic 14-hour concert before more than 100,000 Ghanaians. The March 6 concert was recorded for the documentary film Soul To Soul. In 2004 the movie was released on DVD with an accompanying soundtrack album.

               Les McCann discovered Roberta Flack and obtained an audition which resulted in a recording contract with Atlantic Records.

                 A mild stroke in the mid 1990s sidelined McCann for a while, but in 2002 he released a new album, Pump it Up.


75-Lonnie Smith (1942)

       Lonnie Smith, nicknamed  Dr. Lonnie Smith is an American jazz Hammond B3 organist.

        He was born in LackawannaNew York, into a family with a vocal group and radio program. Smith says that his mother was a major influence on him musically, as sheintroduced him to gospelclassical, and jazz music.

        He was part of several vocal ensembles in the 1950s, including the Teen Kings. Art Kubera, the owner of a local music store, gave Smith his first organ, a Hammond B3.

         Smith’s affinity for R&B melded with his own personal style as he became active in the local music scene.

         He moved to New York City, where he met George Benson, the guitarist for Jack McDuff‘s band. Benson and Smith connected on a personal level, and the two formed the George Benson Quartet, featuring Lonnie Smith, in 1966.

         After two albums under Benson’s leadership, Lonnie Smith recorded his first solo album (Finger Lickin’ Good) in 1967, with George Benson and Melvin Sparks on guitarRonnie Cuber on baritone sax, and Marion Booker on drums. This combination remained stable for the next five years as George Benson Quintet,

         After recording several albums with Benson, Smith became a solo recording artist and has since recorded over 30 albums under his own name.

         In 1967, Smith met Lou Donaldson, who put him in contact with Blue Note Records.Blue Note signed Smith for the next four albumsall in the soul jazz style.

          Smith’s next album Move Your Hand was recorded at the Club Harlem in Atlantic CityNew Jersey, in August 1969.

          Smith toured the northeastern United States heavily during the 1970s. He concentrated largely on smaller neighborhood venues during this period.

          Smith has performed at several prominent jazz festivals.

          He was named the “Organ Keyboardist of the Year” in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association

          In the mid-1970s, Smith became known as “Dr. Lonnie Smith” although the honorific does not represent an academic doctorate degree. His beard and turban do not reflect a conversion to Sikhism; they are strictly for stylistic reasons.


76-Marian McPartland (1918-2013)

On the the full artists of jazz world embracing jazz piano, classical music piano, jazz accordion,  composition and writing and always defending the role of women in jazz. Almost-centenary. “Oh, she’ll never make it: she’s English, white and a woman.” (critic Leonard Feather). McPartland was also a synesthete, associating different musical keys with colours, stating that “The key of D is daffodil yellow, B major is maroon, and B flat is blue.” In 1978, McPartland performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Rochester Philharmonic OrchestraDue to her poor sight-reading skills, she learned the piece principally by ear as years later did Paco de Lucía in the “Concierto de Aranjuez”.

Margaret Marian McPartland, (née Margaret Marian Turner) was born in Slough, England.

     She demonstrated early aptitude at the piano.

     Margaret (Maggie to her family) studied violin from the age of nine as all the children in that period with exceptional pitch, but never took to the instrumentShe also trained as a vocalist.

      Her mother Janet refused to find her daughter a piano teacher until the age of 16, by which time Margaret was already adept at learning songs by ear. This lack of early education meant that Marian was never a strong reader of notated music.

      She studied  in Stratford House for Girls from 1933 to 1935.There, she met Doris Mackie, a teacher who would be hugely influential on her. Mackie suggested to the Turners that Margaret should apply to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in Londonn where she worked toward a performance degree that would enable her to become a concert pianist, though she also did coursework in vocal performance.She studied with Orlando Morgan, who also taught Myra Hess (Dame Julia Myra Hess, born in London, later famous as concertist of classical music). Turner’s talents for improvisation and composition were recognized early when she won the Wainwright Memorial Scholarship for Composition, the Worshipful Company of Musicians Composition Scholarship, and the Chairman’s School Composition Prize in 1936 and 1937.

    Influences: Much to her family’s dismay, she developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke EllingtonFats WallerTeddy Wilson and Mary Lou Williams.

    Despite her family’s efforts to keep her at Guildhall, Turner left to join Billy Mayerl’s Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act. After the Claviers tour, Marian returned to London in the fall of 1938 and played sporadically for Carroll Lewis Shows.

    During World War II, she volunteered for the Entertainment National Service Association (ENSA), a group that was playing for Allied troops, in fall 1940. In 1944, her friend Zonie Dale recommended that Marian join the United Service Organizations (USO) because they paid more and played with American men.

     With the USO, Marian learned to play the accordion in the event that there was no piano available with which to play for the troops. In St Vith, Belgium on 14 October 1944, Marian met a Chicago cornetist named Jimmy McPartland at a jam sessionJimmy was solicited to put together a sextet to entertain the troops, and invited Marian to join him as their pianistThey married in 1945, in Aachen, Germany, and played at their own military base wedding. Her marriage to an American man automatically gave Marian US citizenship, side-by-side with her English citizenship which she never renounced. Marian was reticent to tell her parents of the marriage, and had Jimmy’s commanding officer tell them when he had lunch with them in England in early 1945. It was with Jimmy that Marian began her first real training in jazz. Jimmy and Marian did their first recording together in 1946 in London before leaving for US. Marian would never live outside of the US again.  Marian and Jimmy moved to Chicago to be near his family. Jimmy grew up in Austin, IL, (non Austin-Texas!!!) and was an original member of the Austin High Gang that popularized Chicago-style Dixieland jazz in the 1920s. In June 1946, Marian and Jimmy made her American debut at the Moose LodgeThey played at exclusive clubs like Blue Note and Silhouette with stars like Billie Holiday.

      During their Chicago years, Jimmy and Marian also visited France in 1949 for the Paris Jazz FestivalIt marked the beginning of Marian’s writing career. Marian’s testimonial about the festival ran in the July 1949 issue of Down Beat. Marian continued writing testimonial pieces for journals such as Down Beat after the favorable reception of her first piece in 1949.

     In 1949, the McPartlands settled in Manhattan.  In 1950, she announced that she would no longer go by her stage name, Marian Page, but would now go by her married name, Marian McPartland.

    With Jimmy’s help and encouragement, Marian started her own trio, which was settled on piano, bass, and drums. The started performing at the newly opened 54th street club called The Embers on 8 May 1951. With the trio moreover she learned how to lead her own group, and played with greats such as Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins. She signed her first record deal without Jimmy in 1951, with Savoy Records.

    In 1952Marian opened a gig at the Hickory House that would continue regularly for 10 years.

   During her time at the Hickory House, Duke Ellington !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!would often come in to listenEllington was influential on McPartland’s development as a pianist, and told her she played too many notes, a sentiment she would take to heart.

In 1953 she introduced changes in his group. His second trio (as the first trio also was kown as McPartland’s trio) with Joe Morello (drummer), and Bill Crow (bass player) would stay together through 1956, and be named Small Group of the Year by Metronome in 1954.

    Toward the end of the 1950s, she began to write about the issue of being a woman in jazzShe questioned “Can’t we women make our own contribution to jazz by playing like women, but still capturing the essential elements of jazz – good beat – good ideas – honesty and true feeling?”. In the 1953–54 season, McPartland appeared as a regular on NBC‘s Judge for Yourself quiz program emceed by Fred Allen

   In 1958 a black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians, including McPartland, was photographed in front of a brownstone in Harlem, New York City. Immediately preceding her death in August 2013, she was one of only four of the 57 participating musicians who were still alive.

   In 1956, !!!!McPartland and Morello began an affair!!!! that would continue for almost ten years. In late 1956, Morello’s wife discovered their affair, and Brubeck hired Morello away.

   After McPartland’s Hickory House engagement ended, Benny Goodman offered her a spot in his septet for his 1963 tour playing exclusively in the trio numbers and not with full-band of seven members. The tour was very stressful for Marian. When the tour finished she was referred to Dr. William Benjamin, a psychotherapist who would counsel her for many years. Benjamin eventually led her to a number of important choices, the first being the decision to end her affair with Morello in the spring of 1964. The second was her decision to divorce Jimmy in the summer of 1967, a separation that was made public in December of the same year. Despite their divorce, Marian and Jimmy would remain close friends and eventually remarry weeks before Jimmy’s 1991 death.

    In the late 1960s, McPartland began reviewing (criticing) albums for Down Beat.

     In 1966, she began hosting a weekly radio show called “A Delicate Balance” where she did interviews to prove to be a star of Piano Jazz.

    Marian struggled to connect to the avant-garde jazz of the late 1960s, though she did endeavor to learn and adapt the free jazz style for her own use.

     She was not in high demand as a performer through the 60s, and her focus shifted to focus on jazz educationShe realized that the kids were totally unaware of jazz, and utterly enamored with the new rock and roll sweeping the country.

    In 1964, Marian McPartland launched a new venture on WBAI-FM (New York City), conducting a weekly radio program that featured recordings and interviews with guests

    In that same year, 1964, she began teaching at jazz clinics organized by Clem DeRosa, one of her former drummers, in Cold Spring Harbor High School. McPartland continued to work in jazz education throughout the following decade. She would continue to teach and judge jazz festivals for young people for the rest of her life.

   During an engagement at the Apartment, a New York club, in February 1967 she met Alec Wilder (american composer of song standars). In 1974, Marian recorded an album, Marian McPartland Plays the Music of Alec Wilder, which was released by Halcyon Records.

    In 1969 McPartland co-founded with Fairchild her own record label, Halcyon Records,  a recording company that produced albums for ten years. Fairchild died in 1971. The last Halcyon album was released in 1979.

     In 1972 Marian and Jimmy divorced, but they remained close, and remarried !!!!!! in 1991, shortly before Jimmy’s death.

     By 1977, McPartland had become a public advocate for women in jazz, and headlined the first Women’s Jazz Festival, which took place in Kansas City on 17 March 1977.

     She was the host of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio from 1978 to 2011.

     In 1978, McPartland performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Rochester Philharmonic OrchestraDue to her poor sight-reading skills, she learned the piece principally by ear as years later did Paco de Lucía in the “Concierto de Aranjuez”.

      Just before her 90th birthday, McPartland composed and performed a symphonic piece, A Portrait of Rachel Carson, to mark the centennial of the environmental pioneer.

     McPartland died in 2013 of natural causes at her home in Port Washington, New York. She was 95 years old.


– In 1974 when she received a Washington DC grant to teach in poor black neighborhoods.

In 1979, McPartland received an NEH grant to write a book about women in jazz.

-In 1984, it received the Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

-In 1986 it won both the Gabriel Award and the NY Gold Medal Awards.

-In 1986 she received the Jazz Educator of the Year award.

-in 1994.Down Beat honored McPartland with a Lifetime Achievement Award

-In 2000 she was named a National Endowment for the ArtsJazz Master.

-In 2004 she was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. McPartland was awarded a Grammy in 2004, a Trustees’ Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work as an educator, writer, and host of NPR Radio’s long-running Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.

-In 2007 she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

-In 2010: McPartland was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours, “For services to jazz and to aspiring young musicians in the USA”.


77-Mary Lou Williams (1910 –1981)

            She ir remembered erroneously as an ordinary assistant-arranger  to Duke Ellington, but she was a great pianist, composer and pioneer !!!! of bebop music for his influence on  young talents such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker.  Furthermore she was a very human people, helping addicted musicians return to performing and finally she was the creator of religious jazz music

               Born as Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, Georgia, she grew up in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of eleven children. As a very young child she taught herself to play the piano (her first public performance was when she was six years old). She became a professional musician in her teens, “the little piano girl of East Liberty”.

In 1924, at the age of 14, she was taken on the Orpheum Circuit. The following year, with 15 years!!!!! she played withDuke Ellington and his early small band, the Washingtonians. One morning at three, she was jamming with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers at Harlem’s Rhythm Club. Louis Armstrong entered the room and paused to listen to her. Mary Lou shyly tells what presently happened: “Louis picked me up and kissed me.”

In 1927, Williams married saxophonist John Williams. She met him at a performance in Cleveland where he was leading his group, the Syncopators, and moved with him to Memphis, Tennessee. He assembled a band in Memphis, which included Mary Lou on piano. In 1929, he accepted an invitation to join Andy Kirk‘s band in Oklahoma City, leaving 19-year-old Mary Lou to head the Memphis band for its remaining tour dates.

The group, now known as Andy Kirk’s “Twelve Clouds of Joy”, relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where John spent her free time transporting bodies for an undertaker (director de pompas fúnebres)!!!!!. When the Clouds of Joy accepted a longstanding engagement in Kansas City, Missouri, Williams joined her husband there and began sitting in with the band, as well as serving as its arranger and composer.

Williams took the name “Mary Lou” at the suggestion of Brunswick’sJack Kapp.

In 1937  Benny Goodman asked Mary to write a blues for his band. The result was “Roll ‘Em”, a boogie-woogie piece (Boogie-woogie music is !!!!! “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”) , which followed her successful “Camel Hop”, Goodman’s theme song for his radio show sponsored by Camel cigarettes.Goodman tried to put Williams under contract to write for him exclusively, but she refused, preferring to freelance instead.

In 1942, Williams, who had divorced her husband, left the “Twelve Clouds of Joy” band, returning again to PittsburghShe was joined there by bandmate Harold “Shorty” Baker. . After a lengthy engagement in Cleveland, Baker left to join Duke Ellington‘s orchestra. Williams joined the band in New York, and then traveled to Baltimore, whereshe and Baker were marriedShe traveled with Ellington and arranged several tunes for him, including “Trumpet No End” (1946), her version of Irving Berlin‘s “Blue Skies“. She also sold Ellington on performing “Walkin’ and Swingin'”. Within a year she had left Baker and the group and returned to New York, where Mary Lou Williams lived in her apartment with Jack TeagardenTadd DameronHank Jones and Dizzy Gillespie

Williams started a weekly radio show called Mary Lou Williams’s Piano Workshop on WNEW, and began mentoring and collaborating with many younger bebop musicians, most notably Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious MonkIn 1945, Williams composed the bebop hit “In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee” for Gillespie. ” She also recorded Zodiac with Parker on the Asch label.

       In 1952, Williams accepted an offer to perform in England and ended up staying in Europe for two yearsWhen she returned to the United States she took a hiatus from performing, converting in 1956 to Roman Catholicism. Her energies were devoted mainly to the Bel Canto Foundationhelping addicted musicians return to performing.

She wrote and performed religious jazz music such as Black Christ of the Andes (1963), a hymn in honor of the St. Martin de Porres; two short works,Anima Christi and Praise the Lord.

Throughout the 1970s, her career flourished, including numerous albums, including as solo pianist and commentator recorded The History of Jazz.  Some years after she accepted an appointment at Duke University as artist-in-residence (from 1977 to 1981),co-teaching the History of Jazz with Father Peter O’Brien and directing the Duke Jazz Ensemble.

Her final recording, Solo Recital (Montreux Jazz Festival, 1978), three years before her death, had a medley encompassing spirituals, ragtime, blues and swing. Other highlights include Williams’s reworkings of “Tea for Two“, “Honeysuckle Rose“, “Over the Rainbow“, and “The Man I Love“, these four songs have been recorded with a simple guitar in our website selfie-collection-videos.

        In 1981, Mary Lou Williams died of bladder cancer in Durham, North Carolinaaged 71. She was buried in the Roman Catholic Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh. As Mary Lou Williams said, looking back at the end of her life, “I did it, didn’t I? Through muck and mud.” (“Lo hice, ¿no? A través de la suciedad y el barro.”)


78-Matt Savage (1992)

Autistic jazz prodigy

     Matthew “Matt” Savage  is an American autistic savant musician.

     Born in SudburyMassachusetts, he is the son of Diane and Lawrence “Larry” Savage.

     Matt was a precocious infant who walked early and learned to read by age 18 months. He was diagnosed at age three  with “pervasive developmental disorder”, a form of autism. Matt did not like any noises or music during his early childhood.

      At age six, Matt taught himself to read piano musicHe studied classical piano for less than a year before discovering jazz, which became his main focusHe began studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in BostonMassachusetts in the fall of 1999. He continued his classical studies as well.

     He and his younger sister, Rebecca, were both home schooled.

      Among Matt’s talents are hyperlexia and perfect pitch. Coupled with his extremely high intelligence, these abilities have allowed him to achieve other distinctions as well, such as winning a statewide geography bee.

       Even without formal instruction in musical composition, Matt is an accomplished musician and composer.

He has released several albums, both as a solo performer and as part of the Matt Savage Trio.

Matt’s compositions tend toward the technical, but they are still very approachable and often humorous.

      Matt has received many awardsincluding being signed in 2003 to Bösendorfer pianos. He is the only child to be so recognized in the company’s 175-year history.

      Matt has toured the worldperforming for heads of state and others, and appearing on numerous television and radio programs.  Matt has also appeared in several documentaries about savants.

      He had played as sideman of singer Chaka-Khan and Scottish folk songwriter/singer Al Stewart.

      In 2009, Matt enrolled at Berklee to continue advancing his musical career. The following year, in November, he prepared to release his ninth CD.


79-McCoy Tyner (Sulieman Saud)( 1938) 

         He is known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career. Noted by to incorporate African and East Asian musical elements to Jazz music. He played harpsichord (European classical music instrument of the 16th to 18th centuries), rarely heard in jazz,  and celeste, in addition to his primary instrument, piano. He had a characteristic chord voicing by fourths and an improvisation Tyner’s style easily comparable to Coltrane’s maximalist style of saxophone.

         Alfred McCoy Tyner  was born in Philadelphia as the oldest of three children. He was encouraged to study piano by his mother. He began studying the piano at age 13and within two years music had become the focal point in his life. His early influence wasBud Powell.  When he was 17, he converted to Islam through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and changed his name to Sulieman Saud.

Tyner’s first main exposure came with Art FarmerJazztet (1960). After departing the Jazztet, Tyner joined Coltrane’s group in 1960 during its extended run at the Jazz Gallery, replacing Steve KuhnThe Coltrane Quartet, which consisted of Coltrane on tenor sax, Tyner, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums, toured almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965 and recorded a number of classic albums.

While in Coltrane’s group Tyner has recorded a number of highly influential albums in his own right and many others appeareing as a sideman on many of the highly acclaimed Blue Note albums of the 1960s, although was often credited as “etc.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on the cover of these albums (when listing the sidemen on the album)in order to respect his contractual obligations at Impulse label!.

        His involvement with Coltrane came to an end in 1965 because  Coltrane’s music was becoming much more atonal and free.

       After leaving Coltrane’s group, Tyner produced a series of post-bop albums released on Blue Note Records from 1967 to 1970. Soon thereafter he moved to the Milestone label and recorded many influential albums, specially , Fly with the Wind (1976), which featured flautist Hubert Laws, drummer Billy Cobham, and a string orchestra.

His music for Blue Note and Milestone often took the Coltrane quartet’s music as a point of departure and also incorporated African and East Asian musical elements.

     Tyner’s style of piano is easily comparable to Coltrane’s maximalist style of saxophone. Though a member of Coltrane’s group, he was never overshadowed by the saxophonist, but complemented and even inspired Coltrane’s open-minded approach.

McCoy was also a judge!!!! for the 6th, 10th and 11thannual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists’ careers.

     Tyner’s playing can be distinguished by a low bass left handin which he tends to raise his arm relatively high above the keyboard for an emphatic attack; the fact that Tyner is left-handed may contribute to this distinctively powerful style. Tyner’s unique right-hand soloing is recognizable for a detached, or staccato, quality. His melodic vocabulary is rich in raw bluesy phrases.   Finally,  his unique approach to chord voicing(most characteristically by fourths) has influenced a wide array of contemporary jazz pianists, most notably Chick Corea.

   Tyner is considered to be one of the most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century,an honor he earned both with Coltrane and in his years of performing following Coltrane’s death.


80-Meade Lux Lewis (1905 – 1964)

Noted for his work in the boogie-woogie styleAS refered previously Boogie-woogie music is !!!!! “eight-to-the-bar” piano style!!! vs “twelve-to the-bar” of blues music & rock´n roll.” (although primitive blues had eight-to-the bar: example: “Blues of Buddy Bolden”).

     Meade “Lux” Lewis (born Meade Anderson Lewis) was an American pianist and composer, His best-known work, “Honky Tonk Train Blues”, has been recorded by many artists.

     Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois in September 1905.

      In his youth he was influenced by the pianist Jimmy YanceyHis father, a guitarist who made two recordings of his own, introduced Meade to music and arranged for violin lessons. He gave up the violin at age 16, shortly after his father’s death, and switched to the piano.

     The nickname “Lux” was given to him by his boyhood friendsHe would imitate a couple of characters from a popular comic strip in Chicago, Alphonse and Gaston, and stroke an imaginary beard as part of the routine. His friends started calling him the Duke of Luxembourg because of this, and the name stuck for the rest of his life.

     He became friends with Albert Ammons during childhood, a friendship that would last throughout their lives. They went to the same school together briefly and they practiced and learned the piano together on the Ammons family piano.

     A 1927 rendition of “Honky Tonk Train Blues” on the Paramount Records label marked his recording debut.

    His performance at John Hammond‘s historic From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938 brought Lewis to public attention. Following the event, Lewis and two other performers from that concert, Albert Ammonsand Pete Johnson, often appeared as a trio and became the leading boogie-woogie pianists of the day.

    They performed an extended engagement at Café Society, toured as a trio, and inspired the formation of Blue Note Records in 1939. Their success led to a decade-long boogie-woogie crazewith big band swing (Tommy Dorsey, Will Bradley, and others).They influenced moreover numerous “country boogie” and “early rock and roll songs”.

Lewis’ best-known work, “Honky Tonk Train Blues”, has been recorded in various contexts, often in a big band arrangementKeith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer often included it in his repertoire and had a Top 30 hit with it in 1976.


81-Mel Powell  (1923 – 1998)

A son of russian-parents arranging for Earl Hines an Benny Goddman!!!!.

    Melvin Epstein, later Mel Powell, was an American jazz pianistcomposer of classical music, and music educator.

Mel Powell was born in The Bronx, New York City to Russian Jewish parents, Milton Epstein and Mildred Mark Epstein. He began playing piano at age four, taking lessons from, among others, Nadia Reisenberg.

    A passionate baseball fan, his home was within sight of Yankee StadiumA hand injury while playing baseball as a boy, however, convinced him to choose music as a career path instead of sports.

    Powell dreamed of life as a concert pianist until one night his older brother took him to see jazz pianist Teddy Wilson play, and later to a concert featuring Benny Goodman. In a 1987 interview with The New Yorker magazine Powell said “I had never heard anything as ecstatic as this music”, prompting a shift from classical to jazz piano.

    By the age of 14 Powell was performing jazz professionally around New York City.

   As early as 1939, he was writing arrangements for Earl Hines.

    He changed his last name from Epstein to Powell in 1941 shortly before joining Benny Goodman’s band.

     Powell’s style was rooted in the stride style that was the direct precursor to swing piano. Newly named, the teenage Mel Powell became a pianist and arranger for Benny Goodman in 1941.

     Powell was drafted into the U.S. Army, but fought his battles from a piano stool, being assigned to Glenn Miller‘s Army Air Force Band from 1943 to 1945.

     Near war’s end, Mel Powell was stationed in Paris, France where he played with Django Reinhardtand then returned for a brief stint in Benny Goodman’s band again after being discharged from the military.

     It was around this time, the mid-to-late 1940s, that Powell moved to Hollywood and ventured into providing music for movies and cartoons—notably Tom and Jerry In 1948.

     Mel Powell had a major health crisis in the late 1940s when he developed Muscular dystrophy. Confined to a wheelchair for some time, then walking with aid of a cane, the illness effectively ended his ability to work as a traveling musician again with Goodman or other bands. It was a career and life-changing event, prompting Powell to devote himself to music composition rather than performance.

     From 1948 to 1952 he studied under German composer and music theorist Paul Hindemith at Yale University.

     At first sticking to traditional neo-Classical styles of composition Powell increasingly explored concepts in Atonality, or “non-tonal” music as he called it, as well as Serialism advocated by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg.

     After receiving his degree in 1952, Powell embarked on a career as a music educator, first at Mannes College of Music and Queens College in his native New York City, then returning to Yale in 1958, succeeding Hindemith as chair of composition faculty and director of one of the nation’s first electronic music studios.

     While teaching in the 1950s, he also played piano and recorded music with Benny Goodman again as well as on his own.

     Powell composed several electronic music pieces in the 1960s.

     Showing the broad range of his talent, Powell composed for orchestras, choruses, singers, and chamber ensembles throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

     In 1969 Powell returned to California to serve as founding dean of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. After serving as Provost of the Institute from 1972 to 1976 he was awarded the Roy O. Disney Professorship of music, and taught at the Institute until shortly before his death. Notable students include composer Ann Millikan.

    In 1987 Mel Powell joined other music greats for a jazz festival, documented on the CD release The Return of Mel Powell (Chiaroscuro Records).

    In 1990 Mel Powell received his highest career achievement, the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work Duplicates: A Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.

     Besides the Pulitzer, other awards and honors for Mel Powell include the Creative Arts Medal from Brandeis University, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an honorary life membership in the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, a commission from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation for the Library of Congress, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant.

Melvin “Mel” Powell died at his home in Sherman Oaks, California on April 24, 1998, from liver cancer. He was 75 years old.  He was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in his wife’s hometown of Jamesport, Missouri.


82-Memphis Slim (1915 –1988)

             He was an American blues & jazz pianistsinger, and composer.  The father of jump blues. The most prominent blues artist in Paris for nearly three decades and for it named a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France.

           John Len Chatman,  Memphis Slim,  was born in MemphisTennesseeUnited StatesHis father, Peter Chatman sang, played piano and guitar. He spent most of the 1930s performing in honky-tonks, dance halls, and gambling joints in West MemphisArkansas, and southeast Missouri. Although he started performing in 1940 under the name Memphis Slim, he continued to publishsongs under the name Peter Chatman, in honor to his father.

           He settled in Chicago in 1939, and began teaming with Big Bill Broonzy (blues singer, songwriter and guitarist) in clubs soon afterward. In 1940 and 1941 he recorded two songs for Bluebird Records that became part of his repertoire for decades, “Beer Drinking Woman,” and “Grinder Man Blues.” Many of Slim’s recordings and performances until the mid-1940s were with Broonzy, who had recruited Slim to be his piano player after Joshua Altheimer‘s death in 1940.

He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, “Every Day I Have the Blues“, has become a blues standard, recorded by many other artists.

           With the decline of blues recording he recorded jazz music with trios for the small Chicago-based label Hy-Tone. With a lineup of alto saxophone, tenor sax, piano, and string bass (Willie Dixon played the instrument on the first session).

In 1946 he signed with the Miracle label. One of the numbers recorded at the first session was the ebullient boogie “Rockin’ the House,” from which his band would take its name. Slim and the House Rockers recorded mainly for Miracle through 1949, enjoying commercial success.

           One of Slim’s 1947 recordings for Miracle, released in 1949, was originally titled “Nobody Loves Me“. It has become famous as “Every Day I Have the Blues.” The tune was recorded in 1950 by Lowell Fulson, and subsequently by a raft of artists including B. B. KingElmore JamesRay CharlesEric ClaptonNatalie ColeElla FitzgeraldJimi HendrixMahalia Jackson,Sarah VaughanCarlos SantanaJoe Williams cover wasrecorded in 1952 for Checker; his remake from 1956 (included in Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings) was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992.

In the 1951 session for Premium he did two changes in the House Rockers’ lineup: Slim started using two tenor saxophones instead of the alto and tenor combination, and he made a trial of adding guitarist Ike Perkins.

              After a year with Mercury Records, Slim signed with United Records in Chicagoadding Matt “Guitar” Murphy  by Ike Perkins.  He remained with United through the end of 1954, when the company began to cut back on blues recording.

            In 1959 his band, still featuring Matt “Guitar” Murphy, cut LP Memphis Slim at the Gate of the Horn, which featured a lineup of his best known songs.

            Slim first appeared outside the United States in 1960, touring with Willie Dixon(double bass player, vocalist, songwriter, arranger), with whom he returned to Europe in 1962 as a featured artist in the first of the series of American Folk Festival concerts organized by Dixon and promoter Willie Dixon that brought many notable blues artists to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. The duo released several albums together onFolkways Records, including, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon at the Village Gate with Pete Seeger, in 1962. That same year, he moved permanently to Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and his engaging personality and well-honed presentation of playing, singing, and storytelling about the blues secured his position as the most prominent blues artist in Paris for nearly three decades.

In the last years of his life, he teamed up with respected jazz drummer George Collier. The two toured Europe together and became friends. After Collier died in August 1987, Slim appeared in public very little.

Memphis Slim died in 1988of renal failure in Paris at the age of 72 but he was buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee.

Awards: Two years before his death, Slim was named a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France. In addition, the U.S. Senate honored Slim with the title of Ambassador-at-Large of Good Will.In 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.


83-Michel Camilo (1954)

           Michel Camilo is a Grammy-award winning pianist and composer  He specializes in jazzLatin and classical piano work. Camilo lists some of

         Influences: the ragtime music of Scott Joplin, the classic jazz pianists Oscar PetersonHorace SilverErroll Garner,  and Art Tatum, specially the last. He was alsoheavily influenced by the bop tradition (Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans),and by the contemporary jazz of Herbie HancockKeith JarrettChick Corea and the brazilian player Amilton Godoy (Zimbo Trio‘s pianist).

         Camilo was born in Santo DomingoDominican Republic into a musical family and as a young child showed aptitude for the accordion that his parents gave him. Although he enjoyed the accordion, it was his grandparents’piano that sparked his interest the most, so at aged 9 he asked his parents to buy him one.

        The formal system of the music school taught Camilo to play in the classical style, and by age 16 he was playing with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic.

Camilo comments on his first encounter with the sounds of jazz, in an interview with the All About Jazz website: “The first time I heard jazz was when I was 14 and a half. I heard the great Art Tatum on the radio playing his solo piano rendition of ‘Tea for Two.’That immediately caught my ear. I just wanted to soak it in, to learn to play that style. Then I found out it was jazz.”

         When the Harvard University Jazz Band visited the Dominican Republic and heard Camilo at a jam session, the bandleader encouraged him, ‘You should be in the States’, and so the idea was planted.

         In 1979, Camilo moved to New York to study at Mannes College and atThe Juilliard School.

          In 1983 he broke onto the international stage making a concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival with Tito Puente.  Cuban reedman Paquito D’Rivera was in the audience and offered him a place in his band. For four years, Camilo toured internationally with D’Rivera and recorded two albums with him.

         Camilo’s emergence as a star in his own right began around 1985, the year he debuted with his trio at Carnegie Hall. In that same year he toured Europe with Paquito D’Rivera’s quintet, and recorded his first album, Why Not?.

         In 1988, Camilo debuted on a major record label, Sony, with the release of Michel Camilo, which became a bestseller and held the top jazz album spot for ten consecutive weeks.

Other bestselling albums followed and so did the accolades, including a Grammy and an Emmy.

        Camilo’s collaborative 2000 album with flamenco guitarist Tomatito Spain won Best¿¿¿¿¿ Latin Jazz Album????? in the Latin Grammy Awards.

         Camilo tours extensively, and lectures in Europe, the US, and in the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. He holds several honorary degrees, a Visiting Professorship andDoctorate at Berklee College of Music.

       He has been honored in his home country by being named a Knight of the Heraldic Order of Christopher Columbus, and being awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Duarte, Sanchez & Mella.

       Camilo’s regular trio lineup for many years had his long-term friends Anthony Jackson on contrabass guitar and Horacio Hernandez “El Negro” on drumsCharles Flores has occupied the trio’s bass seat since their Grammy winning album Live at the Blue Note. Lately Camilo has drummer Dafnis Prieto as part of his trio. This new trio released the album, Spirit of the Moment in April 2007.

       Other notable musicians he has played with includeDizzy Gillespie,  Chuck MangioneStanley Turrentine,  Mongo SantamaríaGeorge BensonEddie Palmieri,  Jaco Pastorius,  Randy BreckerMichael BreckerChuck Loeb,  Wynton Marsalis, , Chucho ValdésJoe LovanoHerbie Hancock,  John Patitucci,  Gary Burton,Billy TaylorRomero Lubambo, , Arturo Sandoval,  Béla Fleck.


84-Mike Lipskin


       Mike Lipskin is a stride jazz pianist of the pre-bop jazz style, piano instructor, record producer and author.

        Born in New York, Mike first fell in love with Fats Waller records from his father’s collection when he was 4 years old and was hooked on the style from then on. By the time he was in high school he was traveling to Harlem, learning from the remaining Stride masters such as Willie The Lion Smith, Luckey Roberts, Cliff Jackson, and the amazing Donald Lambert.

He has striven to keep alive the form of jazz piano known as Harlem Stride Piano, performing varied repertoire and originals. He played piano and organ onPapa John Creach‘s self-titled album, produced Ryo Kawasaki‘s Juice album, and produced Gil Evans‘ Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix.

        For more than three decades local jazz fans and those from remote parts of the United States and Europe have come to San Francisco’s night spots and concert venues to hear jazz pianist Mike Lipskin perform sparkling musical gems in the Harlem Stride jazz piano style

He was music director for and performed in eight “Stride Summit” concerts at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and Masonic Auditorium.

Eubie Blake also confirmed that “Mike Lipskin plays Stride bass with perfect accuracy.”The legendary record producer, Jerry Wexler, adds: “He’s fantastic ’cause first of all, he’s got chops, he doesn’t fumble, he’s got that stride thing.”

Fats Waller’s guitarist, Al Casey, when hearing Lipskin’s latest CD exclaimed, “I think I’m with Fats right now.”


85-Mulgrew Miller (1955 – 2013)

       Mulgrew Miller was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator.

As a child he played in churches and was influenced on piano by Ramsey Lewis and then Oscar Peterson. He added the greater harmonic freedom of McCoy Tyner and then in creating his own style, which influenced others from the 1980s on.

        Mulgrew Miller was born in GreenwoodMississippi.  His family was not musical, but they had a pianoMiller, played tunes on the piano from the age of six, playing by ear.

       He had piano lessons from the age of eight.

       As a child, he played blues and rhythm and blues for dances, and gospel music in a church.]His family was Methodist, but he played in churches of various denominations. His principal influence on piano at this stage was Ramsey Lewis.

       While at high school, Miller formed a trio that played at cocktail parties.

        His elder brother recommended that he listen to pianist Oscar Peterson, but there was no way of doing this in Greenwood until Peterson appeared on The Joey Bishop Show on television when Miller was about 14After watching Peterson’s performance, Miller decided to become a pianist.

        After graduating from Greenwood High School, Miller became a student at Memphis State University in 1973, attending with a band scholarshipHe played euphonium, but, during his two years at the university, Miller met pianists Donald Brown and James Williams, who introduced him to the music of well-known players such as Wynton KellyBud Powell, and McCoy Tyner.

        Still at Memphis State, Miller attended a jazz workshop, where one of the tutors was his future bandleader, Woody Shaw, who stated that they would meet again in two years.

        After leaving university in 1975, Miller took lessons privately in Boston with Madame Margaret Chaloff, who had taught many of the pianists that Miller admired.

        Towards the end of 1976 Miller was invited to substitute for the regular pianist in the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by the late bandleader’s son, Mercer Ellington). He was pianist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for three years.

      Then Miller had formed his own bands and begun recording under his own name.

        He continued to play and tour internationally with other high profile figures in the music until his death from a stroke at the age of 57.

      During the early 1980s he also accompanied vocalist Carmen Lundy  and played and recorded with saxophonist Johnny Griffin.

      Miller was recommended for Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers by Blakey members Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrisonand he joined band in 1983. His presence in the Jazz Messengers cemented his reputation within jazz.

       After leaving Blakey in 1986, Miller was pianist in drummer Tony Williams‘ quintetfrom its foundation that year until it disbanded around 1993.

        Miller remained busy between tours with Williams’ band, in part by touring with his own groups.

        Miller also played on Williams bandmate Wallace Roney‘s first three recordings (1987–89) and a large number of albums recorded by other leaders in the late 1980s.

        Miller and his family moved to Palmer TownshipLehigh ValleyPennsylvania in 1989. In that year he joined three other pianists in recording a CD tribute to Memphis pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. This group, the Contemporary Piano Ensemble, performed intermittently until 1996, often playing together on four separate pianos.

        For several years after he had turned 40, Miller concentrated on composing and playing his own music.

        In 1997 Miller went on tour in Japan with 100 Golden Fingers, a troupe of 10 pianists. He joined bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen in 1999 to record duets based on 1940s performances by Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton. The pair toured Europe the following year, with drummer Alvin Queen added for some concerts.

       In 2002 Miller’s discography as leader began to expand again, as Maxjazz started to release recordings.]

        In the mid-2000s Miller joined bassist Dave Holland‘s band, changing it from a quintet to a sextet, and adding gospel and soul elements to the group’s sound.

        Miller’s only solo album, a 2000 concert recording entitled Solo, was released in 2010.

       On May 24, 2013, Miller was admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, having suffered another stroke. He died there on May 29.

       Miller made more than 15 albums under his own name during his career, and appeared on more than 400 for other leaders.

        Ben Ratliff, writing for The New York Times, commented that, “As a composer, Mr. Miller is difficult to peg; like his piano playing, he’s a bit of everything.” Critic Ted Panken observed in 2004 that Miller the pianist “finds ways to conjure beauty from pentatonics and odd intervals, infusing his lines with church and blues strains and propelling them with a joyous, incessant beat.”


86–Nat King Cole (1919 – 1965).

             He is sorrowfully (tristemente) better known by his work as singer but in reality he was first of all a great jazz pianist, for me one of the biggest piano players all time. He was firstly inspired by the performances of Earl Hines. He is considered a pioneer of Rock and Roll just by a one musical piece, his song “Straighten Up and Fly Right.

            Nathaniel Adams ColesNat King Cole, was born in MontgomeryAlabama.  Cole had two of three brothers, Ike and Freddy, who later pursued careers in music as well.When Cole was four years old, he and his family moved to ChicagoIllinois, where his father, Edward Coles, became a Baptist minister. Cole learned to play the organ from his mother, Perlina Coles, the church organist. His first performance was at age four.

           He began formal lessons at 12, eventually learning not only jazz and gospel music, but also Western classical music, performing, as he said, “from Johann Sebastian Bach to Sergei Rachmaninoff“.

Cole would sneak out (escabullirse) of the house and hang around outside theclubs, listening to artists such as Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines.

           Inspired by the performances of Earl Hines, Cole began his performing career in the mid-1930s while still a teenager, adopting the name “Nat Cole”. His older brother, Eddie, a bass player, soon joined Cole’s band, and they made their first recording in 1936 under Eddie’s name.

         Cole acquired his nickname, “King”, performing at one jazz club.

         He also was a pianist in a national tour of Broadway theatre legend Eubie Blake‘s revue, “Shuffle Along”.   Eubie is other of my favourite piano player. When it suddenly failed in Long Beach, California, Cole decided to remain there. He would later return to Chicago in triumph to play such venues (locales) as the famed Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Cole and two other musicians formed the “King Cole Swingers” in Long Beach. The trio consisted of Cole on piano, the great Oscar Moore on guitar (one of my favourite guitar players), and Wesley Prince on double bass. The trio played in Failsworth throughout the late 1930s and recorded many radio transcriptions. Cole was not only pianist but leader of the combo as well. Radio!!!!!!! was important to the King Cole Trio’s rise in popularity.  Their first broadcast was with NBC‘s Blue Network in 1938. The King Cole Trio performed twice on CBS Radio‘s variety show The Orson Welles Almanac (1944).

         Legend was that Cole’s singing career did not start until a drunken barroom patron demanded that he sing a song that Cole did not know, so instead he sang “Sweet Lorraine”.

During World War IIWesley Prince left the group and Cole replaced him with Johnny Miller. Miller would later be replaced by Charlie Harris in the 1950s.

         Cole was considered a leading jazz pianist, appearing in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concertsHis revolutionary lineup of piano, guitar, and bass in the time of the big bands became a popular setup for a jazz trio. It was emulated by many musicians, among them Art TatumOscar PetersonAhmad Jamal, and blues pianists Charles Brown and Ray Charles.

          He also performed as a pianist on sessions with Lester Young and Lionel Hampton.

Cole’s first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions,Straighten Up and Fly Right“, based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon. Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for his fledgling Capitol Records label. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Although Cole would never be considered a rocker, the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock and roll records!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Indeed, Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.

          In 1946, the Cole trio paid to have their own 15-minute radio program on the air. It was called, “King Cole Trio Time.” During those years, the trio recorded many “transcription” recordings, which were recordings made in the radio studio for the broadcast. Later they were used for commercial records.

         Beginning in the late 1940s, Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material for mainstream audiencesin which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra.

Cole was a heavy smoker throughout his life and was rarely seen without a cigarette in his hand. He was a smoker of Kool menthol cigarettes, believing that smoking up to three packs a day gave his voice its rich sound. (Cole would smoke several cigarettes in rapid succession before a recording.) After an operation for stomach ulcers in 1953, he had been advised to stop smoking but did not do so.

             In 1964 he was hospitalized with lung cancer.  He underwent cobalt and radiation therapy and was initially given a positive prognosis. On January 25, he underwent surgery to remove his left lung. Despite medical treatments,he died on February 15, 1965, at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica,CaliforniaCole’s funeral was held on February 18 at St. James Episcopal Church on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. His remains were interred inside Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

             In 1983, an german archivist for EMI Electrola Records, discovered some songs Cole had recorded but that had never been released, including one in Japanese and another in Spanish (“Tu Eres Tan Amable”). Capitol released them later that year as the LP Unreleased.

           In 1991, Mosaic Records released “The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio,” an 18-compact-disc set consisting of 349 songs.

Awards: Cole was inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.An official United States postage stamp featuring Cole’s likeness was issued in 1994.  In 2000, Cole was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as one of the major influences on early rock and roll. In 2013, he was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame for his contribution to Latin music.


87-Oscar Peterson (1925 – 2007)

           The Brown Bomber of the Boogie-Woogie” in his youth. He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington. He had eclectic style that absorbed influences from various genres of jazz, popular and classical music. For critic he was considered a “crystallizer”, rather than an innovator

           Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, “O.P.” for his friends,   was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer born to immigrants from the West Indies (a region of the Caribbean Basin and North Atlantic Ocean that includes the islands of the Antilles and the Lucayan); his father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific Railway. Peterson grew up in musical family in a black neighbourhood of  Montreal, Quebec. His father, Daniel Peterson, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, was one of his first music teachers, and his sister Daisy taught young Oscar classical piano (preludes and fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach).  At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills with the trumpet and pianoHowever, a bout of tuberculosis when he was seven prevented him from playing the trumpet again, and so he directed all his attention to the piano.

          As a child, Peterson also studied with Hungarian-born pianist Paul de Marky, a fun of Franz Liszt, so his training was predominantly based on classical piano. Meanwhile he was captivated by traditional jazz and learned several ragtime pieces and especially the boogie-woogie. At that time Peterson was called “the Brown Bomber of the Boogie-Woogie”.

         In 1940, at fourteen years of age, Peterson won the national music competitionorganized by the Canad ian Broadcasting CorporationAfter that victory, he dropped out of school and became a professional pianist working for a weekly radio show, and playing at hotels and music halls.

       Some of the artists who influenced Peterson’s music during the earlier type of years were Art Tatum, Teddy WilsonNat “King” Cole and  James P. Johnson. Specially Tatum was a model for Peterson’s musicianship during the 1940s and 1950s. Tatum and Peterson eventually became good friends, although Peterson was always shy about being compared with Tatum and rarely played the piano in Tatum’s presence.

During the 1960s and 1970s,  The Oscar Peterson Trio, with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, made numerous trio recordings highlighting his piano performances that reveal more of his eclectic style that absorbed influences from various genres ofjazz, popular and classical music.

      An important step in Peterson’s career was joining impresario Norman Granz‘s labels (especially Verve) and Granz’s “Jazz at the Philharmonic” project. In 1949, Granz introduced Peterson at a Carnegie Hall Jazz at the Philharmonic show in New York.

In the course of his career, Peterson developed a reputation as a technically brilliant and melodically inventive jazz pianist and became a regular on Canadian radio from the 1940s.

         Peterson made numerous duo performances and recordings with bassists Ray BrownSam Jones, and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersenguitarists Joe PassIrving AshbyHerb Ellis, and Barney Kesselpianists Count BasieHerbie HancockBenny GreenOliver Jones, and Keith Emersontrumpeters Roy EldridgeClark Terry and Louis Armstrong, and many other important jazz players. His 1950s duo recordings with bassist Ray Brown mark the formation of one of the longest lasting partnerships in the history of jazz.

        Peterson redefined the jazz trio by bringing the musicianship of all three members to the highest level. In the early 1950s, Peterson began performing with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Charlie Smith as the Oscar Peterson Trio. Shortly afterward the drummer Smith was replaced by guitarist Irving Ashby, formerly of the Nat King Cole Trio. Ashby, who was a swing guitarist, was soon replaced by Barney Kessel. Kessel tired of touring after a year, and was succeeded by Herb EllisFinally, the definitive trio with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis was, in his own words, “the most stimulating” and productive setting for public performances as well as in studio recordings.

Oscar Peterson at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival is widely regarded as the landmark album in Peterson’s career, and one of the most influential trios in jazz.

When Ellis left the group in 1958, Peterson and Brown believed they could not adequately replace Ellis with guitarist so he was replaced first by drummer Gene Gammage for a brief time, then by Ed Thigpen in 1959. Brown and Thigpen left in 1965 and were replaced by bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes and later, drummer Bobby Durham. The trio performed together until 1970. In 1969 Peterson recorded Motions and Emotions, featuring orchestral arrangements of pop songs such as The Beatles‘ “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby“.

        In the 1970s Peterson formed another trio with guitarist Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass. This trio emulated the success of the 1950s trio with Brown and Ellis, gave acclaimed performances at numerous festivals, and made best-selling recordings, most notably The Trio, which won the 1974 Grammy for Best Jazz Performance by a GroupIn 1974 Oscar added British drummer Martin Drew, and this quartet toured and recorded extensively worldwide.

He was open to experimental collaborations with jazz stars, such as singer Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonist Ben Webster, trumpeter Clark Terry, and vibraphonist Milt Jackson among others. In 1961, the Peterson trio with Jackson recorded the album Very TallIn the 1980s he played successfully in a duo with pianist Herbie Hancock.

His solo piano recordings were rare, until he chose to make a series of solo albumstitled Exclusively for My Friends. These solo piano sessions, made for the Musik Produktion Schwarzwald (MPS)label, were Peterson’s response to the emergence of such stars as Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner.

      In the late 1980s and 1990s, after a stroke, Peterson made performances and recordings with his protégé Benny Green.

       Probably his best-known compositions are “Canadiana Suite” and “Hymn to Freedom”, the latter composed in the 1960s and inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement.

      Peterson taught piano and improvisation in Canada, mainly in Toronto. With associates, he started and headed the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto for five years during the 1960s, but it closed because concert touring called him and his associates away, and it did not have government funding. He was the Chancellor of the entire university for several years in the early 1990s.

      He also published his original jazz piano etudes for practice. However, he asked his students to study the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, especially The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and The Art of Fugue, considering these piano pieces essential for every serious pianist. Pianists Benny Green and Oliver Jones were among his students.

       Peterson had arthritis !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!since his youthand in later years could hardly button his shirt. Never slender, his weight increased to 125 kg (276 lb), hindering his mobility. He had hip replacement surgery in the early 1990s.] Although the surgery was successful, his mobility was still inhibited. Somewhat later, in 1993, Peterson suffered a serious stroke that weakened his left side and sidelined him for two years.

        After the stroke, Peterson recuperated for about two years. He gradually regained mobility and some control of his left hand. However, his virtuosity was never restored to the original level, and his playing after his stroke relied principally on his right hand. In 1995 he returned to public performances on a limited basis, and also made several live and studio recordings for Telarc Records.

        In 2003, Peterson recorded the DVD A Night in Vienna for Verve, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (NHØP), Ulf Wakenius and Martin DrewHe continued to tour the U.S. and Europe, though maximally one month a year. His combo was built by Ulf Wakenius (guitar), NHØP or David Young (bass), and Alvin Queen (drums).

In 2005, Peterson celebrated his 80th birthday at the HMV flagship store in Toronto. Long time admirer and fellow Canadian Diana Krall sang “Happy Birthday” .

       Peterson’s health declined rapidly in 2007. On December 23, 2007, Peterson died of kidney failure at his home inMississauga, Ontario.

Musical awards and recognitionHis work earned him eight Grammy awardsover the years and he was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1978. He also belongs to the Juno Awards Hall of Fame and the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame.In 1991 he received the Toronto Arts Award for lifetime achievement (1991). In 1997 he received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award. The UNESCO Music Prize (2000). The Toronto Musicians’ Association Musician of the Year award (2001), Peterson received the BBC-Radio Lifetime Achievement AwardLondonEngland (2005). Honorary LLD from the University of the West Indies (2006).

Ray Charles, in Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues – Piano Blues (2003), commented that Peterson was the only other piano player who could come close to the technical skills of Art Tatum, praising his abilities with “Oscar could play like a motherfucker (hijo de puta dicho en plan cariñoso)!”


88- Pete Johnson (1904 – 1967)

He was an American boogie-woogie and jazz pianist. The song “Roll ‘Em Pete” (composed by Johnson and Big Joe Turner), featuring Turner on vocals and Johnson on piano, was one of the first rock and roll records

Fellow journalist, Scott Yanow (Allmusic) said “Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Lewis and Ammons) whose sudden prominence in the late 1930s helped make the style very popular”.

Johnson was born in Kansas City, MissouriPete was placed in an orphanage when he was threehowever, that he ran away and returned living at home.

By the age of 12, he sought out work to ease some of the financial burden at home. He worked various jobs; in a factory, a print shop, and as a shoe-shiner. He dropped out of school in the fifth grade as a result of his efforts.

Johnson began his musical career in 1922 as a drummer in Kansas City.

He began piano about the same time he was learning the drums. His early piano practices took place in a church, where he was working as a water boy for a construction company.

From 1926 to 1938 he worked as a pianist, often working with Big Joe Turner.

An encounter with record producer John Hammond in 1936 led to an engagement at the Famous Door in New York CityIn 1938 Johnson and Turner appeared in the From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall. After this show the popularity of the boogie-woogie style was on the upswing. Johnson worked locally and toured and recorded with Turner, Meade Lux Lewis, and Albert Ammons during this period. Lewis, Ammons, and Johnson appeared in the film short Boogie-Woogie Dream in 1941.

The song “Roll ‘Em Pete” (composed by Johnson and Turner), featuring Turner on vocals and Johnson on piano, was one of the first rock and roll records.

In 1949, he also wrote and recorded “Rocket 88 Boogie,” a two-sided instrumental, which influenced the 1951 Ike Turner hit, “Rocket 88“.

In the late 1940s, Johnson recorded an early concept albumHouse Rent Party, in which he starts out playing alone, supposedly in a new empty house, and is joined there by J. C. Higgenbotham, J. C. Heard, and other Kansas City players. Each has a solo single backed by Johnson, and then the whole group plays a jam session together. On this album Johnson shows his considerable command of stride piano and his ability to work with a group.

In 1950 he moved to Buffalo. He encountered some health and financial problems in this period, including losing part of a finger in an accident and being partially paralyzed by a stroke.

Between January and October 1953 he was employed by an ice cream company washing trucks, but supplemented his income by performing in a trio which played at the Bamboo Room in Buffalo on weekends.

In 1954 he washed cars at a mortuary for $25 a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!. In July, however, a nice job came his way at the St. Louis Forest Park Hotel, a six-week engagement as resident pianist at the Circus Snack Bar.

His final live appearance was the Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall in January 1967, his eighth and final appearance at this event. A review of the concert by Dan Morgenstern of Down Beat: “Then for the concert’s most moving moment, Lieberson (the MC) escorted Pete Johnson on stage and introduced him as one of the participants in the original Spirituals to Swing and the greatest boogie-woogie pianist.

Johnson had suffered a series of paralytic strokes and had not played piano for many years.

Pete Johnson died in Meyer Hospital, Buffalo, New York, in March 1967, at the age of 62.


89- Phineas Newborn Jr. (1931 – 1989)

     Phineas Newborn, Jr. was an American jazz pianist

    Influences: Art TatumOscar Peterson, and Bud Powell.

     Newborn came from a musical family: his father, Phineas Newborn, Sr., was a blues musician and his younger brother, Calvin, a jazz guitarist.

     Phineas studied piano as well as trumpet, and tenor and baritone saxophone.

      Newborn first played in an R&B band led by his father on drums, with his brother Calvin on guitar, Tuff Green on bass, Ben Branch and future Hi Records star Willie MitchellThe group was the house band at the now famous Plantation Inn Club in West Memphis, Arkansas, from 1947 to 1951, and recorded as B. B. King‘s band !!!!!!!!!!!!! on his first recordings in 1949, as well as the Sun Records sessions in 1950.

       They left West Memphis in 1951 to tour with Jackie Brenston as the “Delta Cats” in support of the record Rocket 88“, recorded by Sam Phillips and considered by many to be the first ever rock & roll record !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(it was the first Billboard No. 1 record for Chess Records).

       Among his earliest recordings, from the early 1950s, are those for Sun Records with blues harmonica player Big Walter HortonWe Three (as a trio with drummer Roy Haynes and bassistPaul Chambers), and his debut as a solo artist on RCA VictorPhineas’ Rainbow.

      From 1956 he began to perform in New York City, making his first album as a leader in that year.

      His trios and quartets at that time included Oscar PettifordKenny ClarkeGeorge Joyner andPhilly Joe Jones.

       Subsequently moving to Los Angeles around 1960, he recorded a sequence of piano trio albums for the Contemporary labelHowever, some critics found his playing style rather facile, and Newborn developed emotional problems as a result, necessitating hisadmission to the Camarillo State Mental Hospital for some periods!!!!!!!!!. He also suffered a hand injury which hindered his playing.

      Newborn’s later career was intermittent due to ongoing health problems.

       He made a partial comeback in the late 1970s and early 1980s, although this return apparently failed to benefit his financial situation.

       He died in 1989 after the discovery of a cancer on his lungs and was buried in       Memphis National Cemetery.

       According to jazz historian Nat Hentoff, Newborn’s plight spurred the 1989 founding of the Jazz Foundation of America, a group dedicated to helping with the medical bills and other financial needs of retired jazz greats.

       In the early 1990s the four-player Contemporary Piano Ensemble was formed by pianists Harold MabernJames WilliamsMulgrew Miller, and Geoff Keezer to pay tribute to Newborn; it recorded two albums and toured internationally.


90-Pinetop Smith (1904-1929)

Clarence Smith, better known as Pinetop Smith or Pine Top Smith

    Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie, by Clarence “Pinetop” Smith is probably the single most influential boogie woogie composition of all time.  But this song is based in a recording of Jimmy Blythe called “Jimmy Blues” (see “Other great jazz keyboard d players” in our web).

Smith was born in Troy, Alabama and raised in Birmingham, AlabamaHe received his nickname as a child from his liking for climbing trees.

In 1920 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as an entertainer before touring on the T. O. B. A. vaudeville circuit, performing as a singer and comedian as well as a pianist.

    For a time he worked as accompanist for blues singer Ma Rainey.

    In the mid-1920s he was recommended by Cow Cow Davenport to J. Mayo Williams at Vocalion Recordsand in 1928 he moved to ChicagoIllinois to record. For a time he, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis lived in the same rooming house.

      On 29 December 1928 he recorded his influential “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie,” one of the first “boogie woogie” style recordings to make a hit, and which cemented the name for the style.  Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie was the first recorded piece to use the term “boogie woogie” in the title.  He said he originated the number at a house-rent party in St. Louis, Missouri but is not true, the song is based in “Jimmy Blues” composed by the pianist “Jimmy Blythe”.

     Smith was scheduled to make another recording session for Vocalion in 1929, but died from a gunshot the day before the sessionHe was killed by a stray bullet when a fight broke out in a Chicago dance hall.

      Smith was acknowledged by other boogie woogie pianists such as Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson as a key influence, and he gained posthumous fame when “Boogie Woogie” was arranged for big band and recorded by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra in 1938.

       From the 1950s, the famous blues pianist of Austin, Texas, Joe Willie Perkins, previously a bass player,  became universally known as “Pinetop Perkins” for his recording of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”. Perkins later became Muddy Waters‘ pianist and later, when in his nineties, recorded a song on his 2004 Ladies’ Man album, which played on the by-then-common misconception that Perkins had himself written “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”.

    He was a posthumous 1991 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Ray Charles adapted “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” for his song “Mess Around”

In 1975 the Bob Thiele Orchestra recorded a modern jazz album called I Saw Pinetop Spit Blood that included a treatment of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” as well as the title song.

Gene Taylor recorded a version of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” on his eponymous 2003 album.


91-Ralph Sutton (1922 –2001)


           Ralph Earl Sutton was an American jazz pianist born in Hamburg, Missouri. He wasstride pianist in the tradition of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.

          Sutton had a stint as a session musician with Jack Teagarden‘s band before joining the US Army during World War II.

          After the war, he played at various venues in Missourieventually ending up at Eddie Condon’s club in Greenwich Village, New York.

          In 1956, he relocated to San Francisco, California, where he recorded several albums with trumpeter Bob Scobeydixieland band.

         From the 1960s onward, he worked mostly on his own.

          Whe World’s Greatest Jazz Band was established in 1968he was the pianist for 8 years!!!!!. He left that band in 1974 due to the extensive travel involved, and joined an old sidekick, clarintetist Peanuts Hucko, in a quartet in Denver, near his home in Evergreen, CO.

Fellow jazz pianist Jess Stacy said this about Ralph Sutton: “He is a superb piano player and a great guy. There’s nothing upstage about him. I really admire the way he plays. He’s one of the few piano players who uses both hands, and it’s sure nice to know that a player like Ralph is still around. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s one of the greats, and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.”

He died in 2001 and was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame the following year. Sutton died in Evergreen, Colorado.


92-Ramsey Lewis Jr (1935).

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with “The In Crowd“, “Hang On Sloopy“and “Wade in the Water“. All three singles each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.

             Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr, Ramsey Lewis, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis. Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four.At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. Then joined  to drummer Isaac “Redd” Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

            The trio started as primarily a jazz unit and released their first album, Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing, in 1956Following their 1965 hit “The In Crowd”they concentrated more on pop material!!!!!!!!!.

             Young and Holt left in 1966 to form Young-Holt Unlimited and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice WhiteWhite left to form Earth, Wind & Fire and was replaced by Morris Jennings in 1970.

            By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with “The In Crowd“, “Hang On Sloopy“,and “Wade in the Water“. All three singles each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the 1970s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

         In 1994, Lewis appeared on the Red Hot Organization‘s compilation albumin support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as “Album of the Year” by Time Magazine.

         In addition to recording and performing, Lewis hosts the weekly syndicated radio program Legends of Jazz, created in 1990.

          Early in 2005, the Ramsey Lewis Foundation was created to help connect at-risk children to the world of music.

In 2006, a well-received 13-episode Legends of Jazz television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast on public TV nationwide. This same year, Lewis was designated as artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia (an annual feature at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois).

           In January 2007, the Dave Brubeck Institute invited Lewis to join its Honorary Board of Friends at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CaliforniaLewis is an Honorary Board member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

           In May 2008, Lewis received an honorary doctorate from Loyola University Chicago upon delivering the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

         Lewis still lives in ChicagoIllinois, the city of his musical roots.

Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received seven gold recordsand three Grammy Awards so far in his career.


Ramsey Lewis Grammy Awards History








Best Jazz Performance – Small Group or
Soloist with Small Group

“The In Crowd”





Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance –
Vocal or Instrumental

“Hold It Right There”





Best Rhythm & Blues Instrumental Performance

“Hang on Sloopy”





93-Ran Blake (1935)

     Ran Blake  is an American pianist, composer, and educatorHe is known for his unique style that combines blues, gospel, classical, and film noir influences into an innovative and dark jazz sound.

His career spans over 40 recording credits on jazz albums alongside over 40 years of teaching jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he started the Department of Third Stream (now called the Department of Contemporary Improvisation) with Gunther Schuller.

    Blake was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on April 20, 1935. He grew up in Suffield, Connecticut, and became fascinated by film noir after seeing Robert Siodmak’s Spiral Staircase as a twelve year old.

     He began playing piano as a young child, and, as a teenager, he studied with Ray Cassarino.

     In his teenage years, he became fascinated with gospel music and studied the compositions of Béla Bartok and Claude Debussy

      After high school, he attended Bard College in New York and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz.  It was at Bard that he met Jeanne Lee (jazz singer, poet and composer), with whom he performed for many years.

       He also studied with John LewisOscar Peterson, and Gunther Schuller (American composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian, and jazz musician) at the School of Jazz in Lenox, MA.

     Beginning in the late 1950s, Blake was part of a duo with vocalist Jeanne Lee. Together they recorded his first album The Newest Sound Around, with a tribute to David Raksin’s Laura and a reworking of the gospel standard, “The Church on Russell Street”.Lee and Blake continued to play together throughout their careers, and released another album in 1989 entitled You Stepped out of a Cloud.

Blake first met Gunther Schuller in a chance encounter at Atlantic Records in 1959.Recognizing Blake’s talent, Schuller asked him to study at the School of Jazz in Lenox, Massachusetts. Schuller became a great friend and mentor to Blake throughout his career. Schuller organized the recording of The Newest Sound Around for Blake and Lee, and it was he who brought Blake to Atlantic Records, and later to the New England Conservatory.

   Blake first met jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams during a performance at The Composer, a New York nightclub. She would later become a mentor and a significant influence on his work. Williams and Blake worked together while she was a visiting faculty member at the School of Jazz.

     In 1966, Blake released his first record as a solo pianist, appropriately titled Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano, on New York-based label ESP Disk.

     In 1967, Blake accepted a faculty position as the Community Services Director at the New England Conservatory, where Schuller was president at the time. Blake stayed in this role until 1973, when he took on the chairmanship of the new Third Stream (classical + jazz) Department (now Contemporary Improvisation) at the New England Conservatory, an initiative started by Blake and Schuller.

    The phrase “Third Stream” was coined by Schuller in 1957 during a talk at Brandeis University. According to Schuller, Third Stream is “a new genre of music located about halfway between jazz and classical music”.

  Musicians Don Byron (clarinetist, multi-instrumentalist and composer)Matthew Shipp (American pianist, composer and bandleader)John Medeski (American jazz keyboards player and composer) and Yitzhak Yedid  (Israeli Australian composer of classical music and jazz pianist) have studied with Blake at NEC, and he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition in 1982, and a MacArthur Genius Grant six years later. At the NEC, he still teaches composition classes, as well as a seminar on performance and a special class on film noir, his earliest inspiration.

    Blake has continued recording throughout his career as an educator, and has amassed over forty recording credits on jazz albums. His first album with Lee won the RCA Album First Prize in Germany, the 1980 Prix Billie Holiday, and is part of the Académie du Jazz.

     In 1981, Blake recorded an album of songs by, or associated with, Duke Ellington, entitled Duke Dreams, which was awarded 4.5 stars by Allmusic, and a five-star rating in Down Beat and the All Music Guide to JazzIn 1986, he recorded Short Life of Barbara Monk with saxophonist Ricky Ford, which was selected by the Penguin Guide to Jazz to be part of their Core Collection.

     Blake’s philosophy in teaching differs greatly from that of many music educators, even in the jazz world. He calls his unique approach “the primacy of the ear”. In 1977, he wrote an article for the Music Educator’s Journal on having a career as a “Pop/Rock/Jazz instrumentalist“. In the article, he stressed that “the ear is and should be of primary importance.” This article is also unique as it discusses the more practical aspects of a career in music, and stresses the importance of luck and showmanship over education and background. Blake’s focus on improvisation and ear training, coupled with his diverse influences, have made him one of the more innovative music educators of the jazz world.

   Beyond his article in the Music Educator’s Journal, Blake also wrote Third Stream and the Importance of the Ear in 1981.

  In 2011, Ran Blake published a book with Jason Rogers entitled The Primacy of the Ear.In the 144-page work, Blake explores the relationship between the ear and the mind in-depth and provides the reader with exercises to train one’s ear.


94-Randy Weston (1926)

A fun of Thelonious Monk,  he was described by Marian McPartland as “one of the world’s great visionary pianists and composers”. A giant of African American music, aka jazz.  Its main qualities: percussive, highly rhythmic, capable of producing a wide variety of moods.

       Randy Weston, of Jamaican parentage and  cousin of also great pianist Wynton Kelly, was born in BrooklynNew York.

       Weston’s piano style owes much to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk (he has paid direct tribute to both on the “portraits” albums), but it is highly distinctive in its qualities: percussive, highly rhythmic, capable of producing a wide variety of moods.

      Weston was raised in BrooklynHe studied classical piano as a child and he took dance lessons as wellHe graduated from Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

      He took piano lessons from Professor Atwell, because unlike his former piano teachers, Professor Atwell allowed him to play songs outside of the classical music paradigm.

      After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he ran a restaurant that was frequented by many of the leading bebop musicians. Among his piano heroes are Count BasieNat King ColeArt Tatum and Duke Ellington , but it was Thelonious Monk who had the greatest impact.

     In the late 1940s Weston began gigging with bands.

      Weston worked with Kenny Dorham in 1953 and in 1954 with Cecil Payne, before forming his own trio and quartet and releasing his debut recording as a leader in 1954, Cole Porter in a Modern Mood.

      He was voted New Star Pianist in Down Beat magazine’s International Critics’ Poll of 1955!!!!!!!!!.

     In the 1960s, Weston’s music prominently incorporated African elements, as shown on the large-scale suite Uhuru Afrika (with the participation of poet Langston Hughes) and Highlife; on both these albums he teamed up with the arranger Melba Liston. He covered the Nigerian Bobby Benson‘s piece “Niger Mambo”, which included Caribbean and jazz elements within a Highlifestyle. Weston has recorded this number many times throughout his career.

     In 1967 Weston traveled throughout Africa with a U.S. cultural delegation. The last stop of the tour was Morocco, where he decided to settle, running his African Rhythms Club in Tangier from 1967 to 1972. In 1972 he produced Blue Moses for the CTI Records, a best-selling record on which he plays electric keyboard.

   He also made a two-CD recording The Spirits of Our Ancestors (recorded 1991; released 1992), which featured arrangements by his long-time collaborator Melba Liston. The album contained new, expanded versions of many of his well-known pieces and featured an ensemble including some African musicians, specially from Morocco. Guests such as Dizzy Gillespie and Pharoah Sanders also contributed.

    After more than five decades devoted to music, Weston continues to perform throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe.

    In 2002 he performed with Ghana musicians at Canterbury Cathedral at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury (England).

    On June 21, 2009, he featured in a memorial held at the Jazz Gallery in New York for Ghanaian master drummer Kofi Ghanaba, whose composition “Love, the Mystery Of…” Weston has used as his theme for some 40 years.



Weston has been the recipient of many international awards, including: in 1997 theFrench Order of Arts and Letters; in 1999 the Japan’s Swing Journal Award; and in 2000 the Black Star Award from the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana. In 2001 he received the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) lifetime honor as an NEA Jazz Master, the highest US award in jazz.

       In June 2006, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Brooklyn CollegeCity University of New Yorkand on May 20, 2012, Colby College honored him with the same degree.

      On October 17, 2009, Weston’s life and music were celebrated in a “Giants of Jazz” concert featuring an all-star line-up of musicians, including the pianists Monty AlexanderGeri AllenCyrus ChestnutBarry HarrisMulgrew Miller and Billy Taylor.

      Weston was a 2011 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship awardHe was honored by King Mohammed VI of Morocco in June 2011 for his “lifelong engagement with Morocco. In September 2011, Weston was honored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the Jazz Issue Forum and Concert during the 40th Annual Legislative Conference.


Autobiography: In October 2010, Duke University Press published African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, “composed by Randy Weston, arranged by Willard Jenkins. It was hailed as “an important addition to the jazz historiography and a long anticipated read for fans of this giant of African American music, aka jazz.”


95-Ray Charles (1930 –2004)

He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining jazz, gospel,  blues and rhythm and blues styles into music recorded by Atlantic Records.

       Ray Charles Robinson was an American pianist, singer, songwriter, musician, and composer who is sometimes referred to as “The Genius”.

     He also contributed to the racial integration of country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two Modern Sounds albums.

His best friend in music was South Carolina-born James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”.

   Charles said that his music was influenced by jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, country bluesbarrelhouse (an early form of jazz with wild, improvised piano, and an accented two-beat rhythm (developed previous  l to Boogie-woogieand stride piano styles.

    Ray Charles Robinson was the son of Aretha (née William) Robinson, a devout Christian and the family attended the New Shiloh Baptist Church.

     When Charles was an infant, his family moved from Greenville, Florida, where he was born, to the poor black community on the western side of Albany, Georgia.

      Charles was raised by his biological mother Aretha, as well as his father’s first wife, a woman named Mary Jane.

His musical curiosity was sparked at Mr. Wylie Pitman’s Red Wing Cafe when Pitman played boogie woogie on an old upright piano and he subsequently taught Charles how to play.

       Charles started to lose his sight at the age of four or five and went completely blind by the age of seven, apparently as a result of glaucoma.]

       Despite his initial protest, Charles would attend school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945.

      At school, Charles began to develop his musical talentIn his classes, Charles was taught how to play the classical piano music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Histeacher Mrs. Lawrence taught him how to read music with braille, a difficult process that requires learning the left hand movements by reading braille with the right hand and learning the right hand movements by reading braille with the left hand, and then synthesizing the two parts.

        While Charles was happy to play the piano, he was more interested in jazz and blues music he heard on the family radio than classical music.

       In the spring of 1945, when Charles was 14 years old, Aretha died. After the funeral, Charles returned to school but was then expelled in October for playing a prank (gastar una broma) on his teacher.

       After leaving school, Charles moved to Jacksonville with a couple who were friends of his mother.

       For over a year, he played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla, earning $4 a night.

        At age 16, Charles moved to Orlando where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days.

        By 1947, Charles moved to Tampa where he had two jobs, one as a pianist for Charlie Brantley’s Honeydrippers, a seven-piece band, and another as a member of a white country band called The Florida Playboys.

        Charles had always played for other people, but he wanted his own band. He decided to leave Florida for a large city, but considered Chicago and New York City too big. Charles followed his friend Gossie McKee to Seattle in March 1948, knowing the biggest radio hits came from northern cities.

         Seattle is where he first met and befriended, under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell, a 14-year-old Quincy Jones.

         He started playing the one-to-five A.M. shift at the Rocking Chair with his band, McSon Trio, which featured McKee on guitar and Milton Garrett on bass.

        After the success of his first two singles, Charles moved to Los Angeles in 1950 and spent the next few years touring with blues artists Lowell Fulson as his musical director.

After joining Swing Time Records recorded two R&B hits.

        Charles’ first recording session with Atlantic in September 1952, although his last Swing time release  would not come until February 1953.

         He began recording jump blues and boogie-woogie style recordings as well as slower blues ballads where he continued to show the vocal influences of Nat “King” Cole and Charles Brown. ”

Late in 1954, Charles recorded his own compositionI Got a Woman“, and the song became Charles’ first number-one R&B hit in 1955 and brought him to national prominence.

          The elements of “I Got a Woman” included a mixture of gospel, jazz and blues elements that would later prove to be seminal in the development of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music.

          While still promoting his R&B career, Charles also recorded instrumental jazz albums such as 1957’s The Great Ray Charles.

          During this time, Charles also worked with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers in 1958 and Soul Meeting in 1961.

In 1956, Charles recruited a young all-female singing group named the Cookies, and reshaped them as The Raelettes. ç

        Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of “What’d I Say“, a complex song that combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music and a song that Charles would later say he composed spontaneously as he was performing in clubs and dances with his small band.

        Choosing not to renegotiate his contract with Atlantic, Ray Charles signed with ABC-Paramount Records in November 1959.

        With his first hit single for ABC-Paramount, Charles received national acclaim and a Grammy Award for the Sid Feller-produced “Georgia on My Mind, originally written by composers Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael, released as a single by Charles in 1960. Charles also earned another Grammy for the follow-up “Hit the Road  Jack, written by R&B singer Percy Mayfield.

        In the early 60s, Charles had a near-death experience after the pilot of the plane he was riding in lost visibility.

       In 1965, Charles’ career halted after being arrested for a third time for heroin use.Charles first introduced himself to drugs when he played in McSon TrioOn November 14, 1961, Charles was arrested again on a narcotics charge in an Indiana hotel room, where he waited to performIn 1965, Charles was arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin.

       By the late 1960s his music was rarely played on radio stations, the rise ofpsychedelic rock and harder forms of rock and R&B music reduced Charles’ radio appeal.

        In 1977, he reunited with Ahmet Ertegun and re-signed to Atlantic Records where he recorded the album True to Life.

        In 1983, Charles signed a contract with Columbia Records and recorded a string of country albums.

        By the beginning of the 1980s, Charles was reaching younger audiences with appearances in various films and TV shows. In 1980, he appeared in the film The Blues Brothers.

        Charles also appeared at two Presidential inaugurations in his lifetime. In 1985, he performed for Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, and in 1993 for Bill Clinton’s first.

       Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music.

        The film  Ray, released in October 2004, portrays his life and career between 1930 and 1979 and stars Jamie Foxx as Charles. Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.

        On March 15, 1961, not long after releasing the hit song “Georgia on My Mind” (1960), Charles (born in Albany, Georgia) was scheduled to perform for a dance at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GeorgiaHowever, he cancelled after learning from students of Paine College that the larger auditorium dance floor would be restricted to whites.

       On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano.

        Founded in 1986, The Ray Charles Foundation maintains the mission statement of financially supporting institutions and organizations researching hearing disorders.


       On June 10, 2004, as a result of acute liver diseaseCharles died at his home in Los Angeles, California, surrounded by family and friends. He was 73 years old.

       His funeral took place on June 18, 2004, at the First AME Church in Los Angeles. Charles’ body was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery.

       His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries.Two more posthumous albums, Genius & Friends (2005) and Ray Sings, Basie Swings (2006), were released.

Awards and Honors

        In 1979, Charles was one of the first of the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame to be recognized as a musician born in the state. Ray’s version of “Georgia On My Mind” was made the official state song for Georgia. In 1981, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was one of the first inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 1986.

He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.

In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

He was presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, during the 1991 UCLA Spring Sing.

       In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize together with Ravi Shankar in Stockholm, Sweden.

 In 2003, Charles was awarded an honorary degree by Dillard UniversityUpon his death, he endowed a professorship of African-American culinary history at the school, which is the first such chair in the nation. A $20 million performing arts center at Morehouse College was named after Charles and was dedicated in September 2010

  In 2004 he was inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of             Fame.

       The Grammy Awards of 2005 were dedicated to Charles.


96-Red Garlan (1923 – 1984)

           An amateur boxer tha was the father of bop and relaxed sense of swing fusion, as pioneer of “cool jazz”.

Red William Garland’s signature block chord solos and stacked fifths made him trumpeter Miles Davis’s pianist of choice in the late 1950s.

              William “Red” Garland was born on in Dallas, Texas. Garland´s first instruments were the clarinet and the alto saxophone. He studied with saxophonist Buster “Prof” Smith, who had been an early mentor of alto saxophonist Charlie Parker in Kansas City.

                He joined the United States Army in 1941 and began to learn the piano while stationed in Fort Huachuca, ArizonaAt this time, he was also an amateur boxer. He fought the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson, but he lost the bout.

               After being discharged from the military in 1944, Garland played locally around Texas until 1946 when he was chosen to join trumpeter Oran Hot Lips Page´s band.Garland toured with Page that same year, ending the tour with the band in New York.

            While in New York, Garland was recommended to singer Billy Eckstine, who hired him for several weeks.

             In 1947, Garland began a long stint as the house pianist at the Down Beat club in Philadelphiawhere he backed Charlie Parker and Fats Navarro among others, and played with drummer Charlie Rice.

          By the early 1950s Garland´s stature as a pianist grew to the point that he found regular work with saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, and led his own trio.

           Garland was still playing with Young when Miles Davis approached him to record for Prestige record:  Musings of Miles, on June 7, 1955 at Rudy Van Gelder´s studio.This album was the start of an association with Davis that lasted from the summer of 1955 through 1958. Garland was as integral part of Davis´s first great quartet , which featured bassist Paul Chambers, saxophonist John Coltrane, and drummer Phill  Joe Jones. Davis released several albums for Prestige in 1955 and 1956, which included Working With the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin With the Miles Davis Quintet, The New Miles Davis Quintet, andRelaxin. With the Miles Davis Quintet. Garland played on all of these releases.

          When Miles Davis signed to Columbia Records in 1955, the quintet released the album Round About Midnight.

Red Garland’s playing on these sessions can best be described as being heavily rooted in the old traditions of jazz piano. He at times has a strong sense of swing while hissolo lines are very rich and profoundHis style is very lyrical while his right hand clusters contrast the chordal movements of his left hand, which can give a listener goose bumps.Garland‘s style is also very rooted in the stylistics of show tunes and Broadway songs.

The right hand block chord device, which he strongly employed on nearly every solo, had the effect of locking in the rhythm section with a strong sense of swing and synchronization. Garland’s playing at times was bluesy as he was much more comfortable in this capacity than in a modal setting, which he didn’t embrace after leaving Miles Davis, who strongly embraced it during Garland’s tenure with the trumpeter.

            Garland can be heard on saxophonist Sonny Rollins:  in Oleo and There Is No Greater Love” and can also be heard on Rollins’s 1956 album Tenor Madness.

             While performing and recording with Davis, Garland also released several trio albums. In 1956, Garland released the Prestige album A Garland of Red, which featured Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on drums. The same personnel appeared on the Prestige albums Groovy in 1956, and The P.C. Blues in 1957.

           Garland recorded with saxophonist Art Pepper in 1957.

           By April of 1957, Garland was a mainstay in Davis’s working band, whose rotating cast of musicians included saxophonists Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. Garland stayed with Davis through the trumpeter’s 1958 release of Milestones,which proved to be very influential in establishing the trumpeter’s shift towards modal jazz. Garland and Davis had some confrontations during their time togetherOn the songSids Ahead,from Milestones, Davis is the pianist because Garland got mad at him and left the studio during the recording session.  By the middle of 1958, Garland was no longer playing with Davis, having been replaced by Bill Evans.

He did record two albums with John Coltrane that year, Soultrane and Settin the Pace.

             In 1959, Garland along with drummer Art Taylor and bassist Sam Jones released the album Red In Bluesville, which featured the song He´s a Real Gone Guy,”

               In 1968, Garland returned to Dallas to care for his ailing mother and remained there until the mid 1970s.

              In 1978 he released the albumFeelin Red, which featured drummer Sam Jones and bassist Al Foster.

             In 1979, Garland recorded with bassist Ron Carter and guitarist Kenny Burrell, and maintained an active performance schedule over the next few years.

              In 1983, Garland recorded My Funny Valentine live at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco.

               Garland died of a heart attack on April 24th, 1984 at the age of sixty, leaving behind a legacy that influenced the many pianists who followed in his footsteps


97- Richard Beirach (1947)

Richard Alan Beirach was born in Brooklyn, New York City.

Having a sheltered childhood, he started playing the piano at the age of 5From age 6 to age 18, Beirach was given lessons by the pianist and composer James Palmieri. “James Palmieri showed me everything that I know about music,…he made me understand the deeper meaning of music.”

Palmieri’s lessons were strictly classical and until age 13, Beirach exclusively dealt with classical music.

When, at the age of 13, he heard Red Garland’s version of “Billy Boy” from Miles Davis’ album “Milestones”: “I could hardly believe it. This was exactly what I was looking for, what I needed. Until then, I had only had a classical musical education: Mozart, Beethoven, no improvisation. I took the album to my teacher. He hated it, he hated it a lot…”Beirach realized that he wanted to devote himself to improvisation and Jazz. He tried and got in touch with Jazz musicians, while continuing to take lessons with Palmieri.

In the middle of the 1960s, Richard Beirach entered the New York club sceneplayed innumerable gigs and jam sessions.

In 1967, he went to Boston in order to study at the Berklee College Of Music, where Keith Jarrett, Miroslav Vitous and John Abercrombie were enrolled as well at that time. But he only stayed for one year and returned to New York in 1968, where he started a composition degree with Ludmilla Ulehla at the Manhattan School Of Music, from which he graduated in 1972 with a “Master Of Music”.

Soon afterwards, he played in the band of Stan Getz, together with bass player Dave Holland and drummer Jack deJohnette. The band largely went on worldwide tours.

In 1973, he joined the group “Lookout Farm” of the saxophone player Dave Liebman.

In 1976, the first album under Beirach’s own name was released: “Eon”, recorded with drummer Eliot Zigmund and bass player Frank Tusa.

For the label ECM, Beirach worked as a leader, e.g. on the albums “Eon” in 1976, “Elm” in 1979, “Elegy for Bill Evans”, and as a sideman respectively (for John Abercrombie and George Adams) from the middle of the 1970s until the beginning of the 1980s.

His first solo album “Hubris” was released in 1977.

At that time, he went on tour a lot with, among others, Chet Baker, John Scofield and John Abercrombie.

In the 1980s, Richie Beirach focused increasingly on the solo piano and, parallel to that, on the cooperation with David Liebman in their duo and in the band “Quest”.

Since the middle of the 1990s, Beirach has mostly worked with two different trios;together with his musical fellows George Mraz (bass) and Billy Hart (drums), Beirach recorded five albums.  The trio with Beirach, Hübner and again George Mraz on the bass has released three albums with the label ACT.

Since 2000, Richie Beirach lives in Leipzig and holds a professorship for Jazz piano at the Leipzig conservatory “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy”.


98-Richard Holmes (1931-1991)

He is considered a precursor of acid jazz (join to Jimmy Smith). His sound was immediately recognizable because of his virtuosity in creating, undoubtedly, the most rapid, punctuating, and pulsating basslines of all the jazz organists.

      Richard Arnold “Groove” Holmes, born in CamdenNew Jersey,was an American jazz organist who performed in the hard bop and soul jazz genre.

Holmes’ first album, on Pacific Jazz with guest Ben Webster, was recorded in March 1961.

He is best known for his 1965 recording of “Misty”.

       Though he died at the age of 60, he established a recognition within the community of jazz organ giants of Jimmy Smith (The Sermon!), Brother Jack McDuff (A Real Good ‘Un), Jimmy McGriff (I’ve Got a Woman).

       He recorded many albums for Pacific JazzPrestige RecordsGroove Merchant and Muse Records, many of which featured Houston Person.

       Holmes died after a long struggle with prostate cancer (he was died in St. LouisMissouri, June 29, 1991), having performed his last concerts in a wheelchairOne of his last gigs was at the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival with his longtime friend, singer Jimmy Witherspoon.

A year after his death, the Beastie Boys (American rap rock/hip hop band) honoured Holmes by adding an organ-based instrumental track, “Groove Holmes” to their album Check Your Head.


99-Roosevelt Sykes (1906 – 1983)

Roosevelt Sykes was an American jazz & blues musicianalso known as “The Honeydripper“. He was a successful and prolific cigar-chomping blues piano player, whose rollicking thundering boogie-woogie was highly influential.

Born in Elmar, Arkansas, Sykes grew up near Helena but at age 15, went on the road playing piano with a barrelhouse style of blues.

Like many bluesmen of his time, he travelled around playing to all-male audiences in sawmill, turpentine and levee camps along the Mississippi Rivergathering a repertoire of raw, sexually explicit material.

His wanderings eventually brought him to St. Louis, Missouri, where he met St. Louis Jimmy Oden., author of the blues standard Goin’ Down Slow“.

In 1929 he was spotted by a talent scout and sent to New York City to record for Okeh RecordsHis first release was “’44’ Blues” which became a blues standard and his trademark. He quickly began recording for multiple labels under various names including Easy Papa JohnsonDobby Bragg and Willie Kelly.

After he and Oden moved to Chicago he found his first period of fame when he signed with Decca Records in 1934. In 1943, he signed with Bluebird Records and recorded with The Honeydrippers. Sykes and Oden continued their musical friendship well into the 60s.

In Chicago, Sykes began to display an increasing urbanity in his lyric-writing, using a primitive eight-bar blues (like the classic blues of Buddy Bolden) previous to the traditional twelve-bar blues.  The primitive boogie-woogie also had eight-bar.

Roosevelt left Chicago in 1954 for New Orleans as electric blues was taking over the Chicago blues clubs. When he returned to recording in the 1960s it was for labels such as DelmarkBluesvilleStoryville and Folkways that were documenting the quickly passing blues history.

He lived out his final years in New Orleans, where he died from a heart attack on July 17, 1983.

He was responsible for influential blues songs such as “44 Blues“, “Driving Wheel“, and “Night Time Is the Right Time“.

He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in 2011.


100-Scott Joplin (1867 – 1917)

One of the pianists with more importance in the history of ragtime and American music. There is no question as to Joplin’s greatness, his talentAmong Joplin’s significant compositions is his masterpiece The Entertainer. For me,  “alias el calamidad” (unfortunate).

          Sedalia, Missouri was Scott Joplin’s home for only a few years, but is the site choosed for  the annual Scott Joplin Festival.

He was born in Texas bur where? When?. The frequently-cited and celebrated birth date of November 24, 1868 is incorrect. So then, when was he born? Available documents point to a birth between June 1867 and mid-January 1868.

When he was still a young child, his family left the farm and moved to the newly established town of Texarkana, which straddles the Texas-Arkansas borderThe Joplins lived on both sides of the border.

          Anecdotes relate that the young Scott gained access to a piano in a white-owned home where his mother worked, and taught himself the rudiments of musicTreemonishawas an opera that Joplin published in 1911: paying tribute to his mother’s efforts that enabled him to start his musical education.

           Joplin’s talent was noticed in Texarkana by a local, German-born music teacher (Julius Weiss), who instructed him further, placing special emphasis on European art forms, including opera.

           In the 1880s, the teenage Joplin lived for a while in Sedalia and attended Lincoln High School.

Unconfirmed anecdotes tell also of his starting a musical career in the 1880s and traveling to St. Louis, which was to become a major center of ragtime.

             In 1893, he was in Chicago at the time of the World’s Fair, leading a band and playing cornet!!!!!!!. After he returned to Sedalia, established it as his home, and played first cornet in the Queen City Cornet Band, a local ensemble of black musicians. His membership in the band was for only about a year, and on leaving he formed his own band and, at the sime time, continued the life of an itinerant musician.

In 1895 he traveled to Syracuse, NY, with his Texas Medley Quartette, a vocal group.His performances so impressed several businessmen in Syracuse that they issued his first two publications, the songs Please Say You Will and A Picture of Her Face.

          When not traveling, he worked in Sedalia as a pianist  in two social clubs for black men, the Maple Leaf and Black 400 clubs (both founded in 1898). He also taught several of the local young musicians in town, most notably Scott Hayden and Arthur Marshall, with whom he later wrote collaborative rags.

           Until the end of the 1890s he still lacked complete mastery of music notation.It was probably in 1896 that he attended music classes at George R. Smith College in Sedalia.

            In 1896 he published two marches and a fine waltz. Late in 1898 he published his first two piano rags, but just had success with one of them, named Original Rags.

In 1899 he published The Maple Leaf Rag, which was to become the greatest and most famous of piano rags.

           Sales in the first year were slight, only about 400. By 1909, approximately a half-million copies had been sold, and that rate was to continue for the next two decades.

          Within weeks of the Maple Leaf’s publication, Joplin completed The Ragtime Dance, a stage work for dancers and singing narrator. The work was staged at Wood’s Opera House in Sedalia on November 24, 1899, but the recording was delayed until 1902.

           In 1901 he moved to St. Louis, where Joplin associated with ragtime pioneer and saloon owner Tom Turpin and with other ragtimersbut he performed little, preferring to devote his time to composition and teaching.

           In St Louis Joplin further developed his aspirations as a classical musician. It was probably through her, also, that Joplin met in 1901 with Alfred Ernst, conductor of the St. Louis Choral Symphony Society.

          Among Joplin’s significant publications in St. Louis was his masterpiece The Entertainer.

           In  1903 he formed an opera company with personnel of 30rehearsed the work at the Crawford Theatre in St. Louis, and embarked on a tour scheduled to take him to towns in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.  Early in the tour, in Pittsburg,  someone associated with the company stole the box office receipts, seriously damaging the company’s financial position. All of his possessions, including the music from the opera, were confiscatedCopies of the score were never filed with the Library of Congress and the music has never been recovered.

          Comments in newspapers reveal what the opera was about: black leader Booker T. Washington’s dinner at President Roosevelt’s White House in 1901!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joplin expected to his exective producer, Stark, to publish the opera, and indicated this in his copyright application. Stark’s decision not to publish led Joplin to publish with other firms in 1903.

         Following the failed opera tour, Joplin went to Chicago for a few months, and then returned to Arkansas to visit relatives. In Arkansas he met Freddie Alexander, a 19-year-old woman, and was so taken with her that he dedicated The Chrysanthemum to her. The music was published by Stark in the early spring of 1904. In June of that year, he married Freddie Alexander in Little Rock. Early in July they arrived in Sedalia, where Joplin continued his concertizing. Tragically, Freddie developed a cold that progressed into pneumonia, and she died at the age of 20 on September 10, 1904ten weeks after their marriage!!!!!!.

          After Freddie’s funeral, Joplin left Sedalia and never returned.

           In 1905 and 1906 he spent most of the time in St. Louis, composing and picking up insignificant playing jobs for little money.

In 1907, he spent part of year in Chicago, where he got together with Louis Chauvin, a brilliant young pianist he had met in St. Louisand together they composed Heliotrope Bouquet, one of the most enchanting of all ragsChauvin died several months later!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Heliotrope being his only published rag.

          In the summer of 1907 Joplin went to New York to make contacts with new publishers and to find financial backing for Treemonisha, an opera he had been working on for the past few years. The Joplin met Joseph Lamb, a young white man.  The two became friends and on Joplin’s recommendation Stark published Lamb’s Sensation in 1908. Lamb went on to become one of ragtime’s great composers and during the rest of the ragtime years published only with Stark.

         In 1908 he self-published his ragtime manual School of Ragtimebut then turned it over to Stark and others to market it.

His most significant new publisher became Seminary Music, a firm that shared office space and was closely associated with Ted Snyder Musica publisher that employed the young Irving Berlin, destined to become America’s greatest songwriter.

          In 1910 Joplin published only one rag, Stoptime Rag (with Stern), but completed his opera Treemonisha and tried to get it published.

           In 1911  Irving Berlin published his greatest hit song up to that time, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Joplin complained to friends that the song’s verse was taken from the “Marching Onward“ section of “A Real Slow Drag“ in Treemonisha. Joplin then altered that section and published the opera himself in mid-May, 1911.

        The Treemonisha opera’s story, written by Joplin, takes place in a rural, black community in Arkansas, not far from his childhood home of Texarkana. In part, the opera is a tribute to both his mother, for the way that Treemonisha obtains her education, and to Freddie Alexander, his young wife, died ten weeks after his marriage.  The story is an allegory of how Joplin viewed the problems of the African-American community of his time, proposing the view that racial equality would come with education.

The American Musician and Art Journal, an important music magazine, published a lengthy review aboput the opera declaring it to be the most American opera ever composed, far more so than Horatio Parker’s Mona, which had just won a $10,000 “American opera” prize from the Metropolitan Opera.

         Encouraged by this review, Joplin set about to arrange a performance of the opera, but he was unsuccessful!!!!!!!!!!!!!. He did finally a partial performance in 1913 of “A Real Slow Drag,” the opera’s closing number, in a theater in Bayonne, NJ; and in 1915 the Martin-Smith Music School, of Harlem, included in its year-end concert an orchestral performance of “Frolic of the Bears,” the Act 2 ballet. But Joplin was never to witness a completely staged performance of his opera!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

                 By 1916, Joplin was experiencing the devastating physical and mental effects of tertiary syphilis!!!!!!!!!!, a disease he had probably contracted almost two decades earlier. Bymid-January, 1917, he had to be hospitalized, and was soon transferred to a mental institution where he died on April 1, 1917.

              Scott Joplin was the most sophisticated and tasteful ragtime composer of the era. But he aspired to more. His goal was to be a successful composer for the lyric stage and he continually worked toward this end.

He was called “King of Ragtime Writers” but considered by the critic as  pianist mediocre ¿¿??.  He also played cornet and violin, but put little effort into developing himself on those instruments.

                As a person, he was intelligent, well-mannered, well-spoken, generous and instruct m any younger musicians. He had a profound belief in the importance of education.

                At the time of his death, he was almost forgotten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Interest in ragtime, too, was quickly waning as the new style of “jazz” took center stage.

His song Entertainer will continue showing  forever its magic on successive generations of musicians and music lovers.

               In 1970 the notated music of Treemonisha became available through reprinted collections, most notably a two-volume set issued by the New York Public LibraryFinally it was successfully staged in Broadway. This quickly growing presence inspired to Marvin Hamlisch to lightly adapte and orchestrate Joplin’s music for the 1973 film The Sting, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and Adaptation on April 2, 1974.His version of “The Entertainer” reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the American Top 40 music chart on May 18, 1974, which became immensely popular and brought Joplin to the notice of the mass public.

         The result was unprecedented in music history. Led by music that Joplin had composed more than a half-century earlier, ragtime became a current and universally loved style.

In recognition of his significant achievements, the Pulitzer Committee in 1976 issued a posthumous award for Scott Joplin’s contribution to American music.


101-Stan Kenton (1912 – 1979)


             A competent pianist, influenced by Earl Hines, bandleader, composer, and arranger who led an innovative, influential, and often controversial American jazz orchestra. In later years he was active as an educator. He was the creator of “progressive jazz” with a special sound called: “The Wall of Sound”.

             Stanley Newcomb “Stan” Kenton was born in Wichita, Kansasand was raised first in Colorado, then in California.

Kenton was born on December 15, 1911 (birth certificate)  or  February 19, 1912 (grave marker ).

            Kenton learned piano as a child, and while still a teenager toured with various bandsIn June 1941 he formed his own band, which developed into one of the best-known West Coast ensembles of the 1940s. In the mid-1940s, Kenton’s band and style became known as “The Wall of Sound”, a tag later used by Phil Spector.

           In 1941 he formed his first orchestra, the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Although there were no major names in his first band Kenton spent the summer of 1941 playing regularly before a very appreciative audience at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa Beach, CA. Influenced by Jimmie Lunceford.

          Lunceford & Kenton, both enjoyed with high-note trumpeters and thick-toned tenors.

The Stan Kenton Orchestra struggled a bit (tuvo problemas) after its initial success.

          By late 1943 with a Capitol Records contract, a popular record in “Eager Beaver”, and growing recognition, the Stan Kenton Orchestra was gradually catching onIts soloists during the war years included Art Pepper, briefly Stan Getz, altoist Boots Mussulli, and singer Anita O’Day.

By 1945 Pete Rugolo became the chief arranger (extending Kenton’s ideas), Bob Cooper and Vido Musso offered very different tenor styles, and June Christy was Kenton’s new singer; A popular recording of “Laura” was made.

         Calling his music “progressive jazz,” Kenton sought to lead a concert orchestra as opposed to a dance band at a time when most big bands were starting to break up.

          By 1947 Kai Winding was greatly influencing the sound of Kenton’s trombonists  and Jack Costanzo‘s bongos were bringing Latin rhythms into Kenton’s sound. The band gained in audience.

         In 1949 Kenton took a year off.

            In 1950 he put together his most advanced band, the 39-piece Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra that included 16 strings, a woodwind section, and two French horns. Its music ranged from the unique and very dense modern classical charts of Bob Graettinger to works that somehow swung despite the weight. Such major playersas Maynard Ferguson (trumpet) (whose high-note acrobatics set new standards), Shorty RogersMilt Bernhart,John GraasArt Pepper (alto sax), Bud ShankBob CooperLaurindo Almeida (guitarist), Shelly Manne, and June Christy were part of this remarkable project, but from a commercial standpoint, it was really impossible. Kenton managed two tours during 1950-1951 but soon reverted to his usual 19-piece lineup.

           Then quite unexpectedly, Kenton went through a swinging period. Such talented players (in addition to the ones already named) as Lee Konitz & Charlie Mariano (alto saxophonists),  Zoot Sims  & Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophonists) , Sal Salvador (bebop jazz guitarist), Conte Candoli,  Stan LeveyFrank RosolinoRichie Kamuca, , Sam NotoBill PerkinsMel LewisPete Candoli,  Carl FontanaPepper Adams, and Jack Sheldon made strong contributions. The music was never predictable and could get quite bombastic, but it managed to swing while still keeping the Kenton sound.

             Kenton’s last successful experiment was his mellophonium band of 1960-1963. the albums Kenton’s West Side Story (arrangements by Johnny Richards) and Adventures In Jazz, each won Grammy awards in 1962 and 1963 respectively.

              In 1964, Kenton Plays Wagner was an important project, produced in concert with his interests in jazz education and encouraging big band music in high schools and colleges instructing what he called “progressive jazz.”

            In the early 1970s Kenton split from his long-time association with Capitol Records and formed his own label, “The Creative World of Stan Kenton”. Recordings produced during the 1970s on this new label included several “live” concerts at various universities and are a testament to his devotion to education.

Jack Sandmeier, Road Manager during these years, tells the story of an unusual meeting in a hotel lobby lounge between Woody Herman and Kenton. Unusual because they both toured more than fifty (50) weeks a year “one-nighters,” in order to keep their respective bands on the road, they hardly ever met.

            He had a skull fracture from a fall in 1977 while on tour in Reading, PA. Kenton continued leading and touring with his big band up to his final performance in August 1978. He entered Midway Hospital on August 17, 1979 after a stroke and later died. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles.

           The “Kenton Style” continues to permeate big bands at the high school and collegiate level, and the framework he designed for the “jazz clinic” is still widely in use today.

            Kenton donated his entire library to the music department of North Texas State Universit (now the University of North Texas), and the Stan Kenton Jazz Recital Hall is named in his honor. His arrangements are now published by Sierra Music Publications.

              Kenton’s daughter Leslie Kenton wrote a 2010 book “Love Affair”In the book, Leslie Kenton alleged that Stan Kenton initiated a sexual relationship with her beginning when she was 11 and lasting three years. According to Leslie Kenton, she recovered memories of these events only fifteen years after the fact.This accusation by his daughter has been widely criticized. The simple fact that these memories were brought up many years after Kenton died, coupled with the fact that these were brought up only after she “recovered” them fifteen years later, along with the fact that the book was not considered to have a strong and successful sales record, were reason that many believe that she concocted these stories about her father as publicity. That, and the fact that her father would not be able to defend himself as he had passed away in 1979.Further research also shows that this is highly unlikely, considering there is no proof or evidence, other than a recreated memory after nearly two decades after the fact


102- Sweet Emma Barret (1897-1983)

Born in New OrleansLouisiana.  She was nicknamed Bell Gal because she wore a red skull cap and garters with Christmas bells that jingled in time with her music.

“Sweet Emma” Barrett  was an American self-taught jazz pianist and singer who worked with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra between 1923 and 1936, first under Papa Celestin, then William Ridgely. Also active with violinist Armand Pirondrummer John Robichaux, and trumpeter Sidney Desvigne.

In 1947, she accepted a steady job at a local clubHappy Landing.

Sweet Emma Barrett was at her most powerful in the early 1960s and became an iconic figure with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

It was her 1961 recording debut, with her own album in the Riverside Records New Orleans: The Living Legends series, that brought her recognition from beyond the Crescent City. Although most of the songs on the album were instrumentals, others featured vocals by Barrett that the liner notes described as her first recordings as a vocalist.

She was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine and written up in publications on both sides of the AtlanticWhen the Preservation Hall Jazz Band began to “hit the road”, she took it on international toursBarrett toured in the United States as well, including a stint at Disneyland in 1963.

Despite the popular exposure she received at concerts and overseas appearances, Barrett continued to feel most comfortable in her native New Orleans, especially the French Quarter.

In 1963, on her album The Bell Gal And Her Dixieland Boys Music, Barrett sings on four of the eight songs and heads two overlapping groups. While she is joined throughout by banjoist Emanuel Saylesbassist Placide Adams, and drummer Paul Barbarin, four songs feature trumpeter Alvin Alcorn, trombonist Jim Robinson and clarinetist Louis Cottrell, Jr.; the remaining four numbers have trumpeter Don Albert, trombonist Frog Joseph and clarinetist Raymond Burke. Overall, this set gives listeners a good sampling of the sound of New Orleans jazz circa 1963 and is one of the few recordings of Barrett mostly without the regular members of what would become the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Robinson and Sayles excepted). The ensemble-oriented renditions of such numbers as “Big Butter and Egg Man“, “Bogalusa Strut”, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game“‘ are rendered with fun and joy.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band made a brief appearance in the 1965 film, The Cincinnati Kid, which featured Barrett as vocalist and pianist for the band and included a close-up of her.

In 1967, she suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side, but she continued to work and occasionally, to record, until her death in 1983.


103-Teddy Wilson (1912 –1986)

            Teddy was color-musician described by critic Scott Yanow as “the definitiveswing  pianist”, with a sophisticated and elegant style. With Goodman, he was one of the first black musicians to appear prominently with white musicians.

           Theodore Shaw “Teddy” Wilson  was born in Austin, TexasHe studied piano andviolin at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.

After working briefly with  Speed Webb‘s band, Hines’s Grand Terrace Cafe Orchestra, Wilson joined Benny Carter‘s Chocolate Dandies in 1933-1934 and joined finally to Benny Goodman Trio in 1935, which consisted of Goodman (white) (clarinetist), Wilson and Gene Krupa (white) (drums), later expanded to the Benny Goodman Quartetwith the addition of Lionel Hampton (color) as vibraphonist. The trio performed during the big band’s intermissions. By joining the trio and quartet, Wilson became one of the first black musicians to perform prominently in a racially integrated group.

         Noted jazz producer and writer John Hammond was instrumental in getting Wilson a contract with Brunswick, starting in 1935. He recorded fifty hit records with various singers and big musicians. Singers such as Lena Horne,Helen Ward and Billie Holiday,     an big  swing musicians such as Lester YoungRoy EldridgeCharlie ShaversRed NorvoBuck Clayton, and  Ben Webster.

         Wilson formed a sextet at Café Society from 1940 to 1944.

         In the 1950s, Wilson taught at the Juilliard School.

         He also worked as music director for the Dick Cavett Show.

         Wilson lived quietly in suburban Hillsdale, New Jersey, in the 1960s and 1970s. He performed as a soloist and with pick-up groups until the final years of his life, including leading a trio with his sons Theodore Wilson on bass and Steven Wilson on drums.

          Wilson died in New Britain, Connecticut, in 1986; he was 73. He is buried at Fairview Cemetery in New Britain.


104-Terry Pollard (1931-2009)

       Terry Pollard was a woman who was a jazz pianist prominent in the Detroit jazz scene of the 1940s and 1950s. She has been described as a “major player who was inexplicably overlooked.”

Pollard began her career by collaborating with other Detroit musicians, such as Billy Mitchell (and Elvin Jones, in the house band at the Blue Bird Inn), Johnny Hill, and the Emmitt Slay Trio. She was discovered by Terry Gibbs and toured with him in the early 1950s, playing piano and vibraphone. She recorded an album with him, Terry Gibbs Quartet – Featuring Terry Pollard. Pollard appeared with Gibbs on an episode of The Tonight Show hosted by Steve Allen. Her collaborations with Gibbs from 1953 to 1957 marked the height of her career.

Pollard also performed with John ColtraneCharlie ParkerMiles DavisChet BakerNat King ColeDinah WashingtonDuke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

Pollard recorded a self-titled solo album for Bethlehem Records in 1955 and won the Down Beat Magazine New Artist award in 1956. Pollard retired from her full-time music career shortly thereafter in order to raise a family, but she continued to play locally in Detroit and performed with visiting artists, including Diana Ross and the Supremes. She was inducted into the Michigan Jazz Hall of Fame.

Her contributions to the mid-century Detroit jazz scene were recognized in the book Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit 1920-1960, by Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert.


105- Tete Montoliu (1933 –1997)

          Tete Montoliu was a jazz pianist from CataloniaSpainHis real name was Vicenç Montoliu i Massana.

Montoliu was born blind, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, and died in the same city. He was the only son of Vicenç Montoliu (a professional musician) and Àngela Massana, a jazz enthusiast, who encouraged her son to study piano. Montoliu’s first experimenting with the piano took place under the tuition of Enric Mas at the private school for blind children that he attended from 1939 to 1944. In 1944, Montoliu’s mother arranged for Petri Palou to provide him with formal piano lessons.

         From 1946 to 1953 Montoliu studied music at the Conservatori Superior de Música de Barcelona, where he also met jazz musicians and became familiar with the idiom in jam sessions. During the early stages of his career, Montoliu was particularly influenced by the music of U. S. jazz pianist Art Tatum, although he soon developed a distinctive style, characterised by musical sensitivity and technical skill. Montoliu began playing professionally at pubs in Barcelona, where he was noticed by Lionel Hampton on 13 March 1956.

         Montoliu toured with Hampton through Spain and France and was required for commercial reasons to record the album Jazz flamenco !!!!!!!!!!! despite he unknown the flamenco music, never studied that music, only had listened to Arturo Pavon, a pianist flamenco but not jazz player.  Also Miles Davis recorded “Flamenco Sketches” by commercial reason with pianist Bill Evans and the album sounded any thing except flamenco music. Miles overlays a revolving series of five scales evoking what Jelly Roll Morton called “the Spanish tinge (matiz)”. Montoliu played better flamenco than Bill Evans, of course!!!! but none of them were good in it.

          In the 1960s, Montoliu played in various concerts at New York and established collaborations with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Richard Davis.

         During the 1970s, Montoliu travelled extensively throughout Europe, consolidating his reputation as a main referent in the hard bop movement.

        During the 1980s, he played in numerous concerts, collaborating with jazz players such as Dexter GordonJohnny GriffinJoe HendersonDizzy GillespieChick CoreaHank JonesRoy Hargrove, and Jesse Davis, among others.

         He never returned to play flamenco, just pure jazz music and so he will be remembered forever.

        In 1996, shortly before his death, Spain paid public tribute to Montoliu for his fifty-year career in jazz.


106-Sergio Mendes (1941)

       Sérgio Santos Mendes was born in NiteróiBrazil,  is a Brazilian musician. He has over 55 releases, and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk.

       Mendes is married to Gracinha Leporace, who has performed with him since the  early 1970s.

       The child of a physician in NiteróiBrazil, Mendes attended the local conservatory with hopes of becoming a classical pianist.

        Mendes played with Antonio Carlos Jobim (regarded as a mentor) and many U.S. jazz musicians who toured Brazil.

       Mendes formed the Sexteto Bossa Rio and recorded Dance Moderno in 1961.Touring Europe and the United States, where Mendes recorded albums with Cannonball Adderley and Herbie Mann and played Carnegie Hall.

        Mendes moved to the U.S. in 1964 and cut two albums under the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’65 group name with Capitol Records and Atlantic Records.

        Sergio became full partners with Richard Adler, a Brooklyn-born American who had previously brought Bossa Trés plus two dancers, Joe Bennett and a Brazilian partner, to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, in 1963. He was also accompanied by Antonio Carlos Jobim; Flavio Ramos, and Aloisio Olivera, a record and TV producer from Rio.

        The Musicians Union only allowed this group to appear on one TV show and one club appearance (Basin Street East) before ordering them to leave the U.S !!!!!!!!!!.

       Adler and Mendes formed Brasil ’65, which consisted of Wanda Sá and Rosinha de Valença, as well as the Sergio Mendes Trio. The group recorded albums for Atlantic and Capitol.

       Richard Adler suggested that Mendes and the group sing in Englishas well as the Portuguese that Mendes had demanded, and Adler sought new English-based material The new group was dubbed “Brasil ’66

       The first album on A&M was Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, an album that went platinum based largely on the success of the single “Mais Que Nada(a Jorge Ben cover) and the personal support of Alpert, with whom Mendes toured.

        The original lineup of Brasil ’66 was Mendes (piano), vocalists Lani Hall and Bibi Vogel (later replaced by Janis Hansen), Bob Matthews (bass), José Soares (percussion) and João Palma (drums). John Pisano guested as guitarist.

Though his early singles with Brasil ’66 (most notably “Mas Que Nada“) met with some success, Mendes really burst into mainstream prominence when he performed the Oscar-nominated “The Look of Love” on the Academy Awards telecast in April 1968. Brasil ’66’s version of the song quickly shot into the top 10, peaking at #4 and eclipsing Dusty Springfield‘s version from the soundtrack of the movie, Casino Royale.

Mendes spent the rest of 1968 enjoying consecutive top 10 and top 20 hits with hisfollow-up singles, “The Fool on the Hill” and “Scarborough Fair.”

        Mendes’ career in the U.S. stalled in the mid-1970sbut he remained very popular in South America and Japan, while forging new directions in soul with collaborators like Stevie Wonder, who wrote Mendes’ R&B-inflected minor hit, “The Real Thing.”

         In 1983, he rejoined Alpert’s A&M records and enjoyed huge success with “Never Gonna Let You Go“, featuring vocals by Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller, equalled the success of his 1968 single “The Look of Love” by reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot

In 1984 he recorded the “Confetti” album, which had the hit songs “Olympia”,which was also used as a theme song for the Olympic games that year and “Alibis”.

        In 1992by the time Mendes released his Grammy-winning Elektra album Brasileiro  he was the undisputed master of pop-inflected Brazilian jazz. The late-1990s lounge music revival brought retrospection and respect to Mendes’ oeuvre, particularly the classic Brasil ’66 albums.

       He had played in last 15 years with neo-soul and alternative hip hop guest artists,including The Black Eyed PeasErykah BaduBlack ThoughtJill ScottChali 2na of Jurassic 5India.ArieJohn LegendJustin TimberlakeQ-Tip,Stevie Wonder and Pharoahe Monch. It was released February 14, 2006 by Concord Records.

         The 2006 re-recorded version of “Mas Que Nada” with The Black Eyed Peas had additional vocals by Gracinha Leporace (Mendes’ wife); this version is included on Timeless.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song “Real In Rio” from the animated film Rio.


107-Thelonious Monk (1917 –   1982)

    The father of prebebop hard-swinging piano style.

               Thelonious Sphere Monk, Thelonious Monk,  was born in 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The family moved to 243 West 63rd Street, in Manhattan, New York City.Monk started playing the piano at the age of sixAlthough largely self-taught, he did study music theory, harmony and arranging at the Juilliard School of Music. 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 manyleading jazz soloists of the timeThe 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 GillespieCharlie ChristianKenny ClarkeCharlie 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 “prebebop hard-swinging“.

                Influences:  Art TatumDuke EllingtonJames P. Johnson, and other early stride pianists.

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.

               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.

In 1947 Monk made his first recordings as leader for Blue Note.

              In 1949 Monk had a son, T. S. Monk, who is a jazz drummer. His daughter Barbara  was born in 1953. Barbara died in 1984 from cancer.

              In 1951, New York City police searched a parked car occupied by Monk and friend Bud PowellThe 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 Recordsfor the following two years where he collaborated 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.

             In 1954, Monk paid his first visit to Europe, performing and recording in Paris.

          That same year 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.

          By the time of his signing to Riversidehis records remained poor sellersThen he willingly recorded two albums of jazz standards as a means of increasing his profileThelonious Monk Plays the Music of Duke Ellington (1955) and The Unique Thelonious Monk (1956).

          In late 1956 recorded Brilliant Corners with 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.”

         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.

Crepuscule With Nellie”recorded in 1957, “was Monk’s only, what’s called through-composed composition, meaning that there is no improvisingIt is Monk’s concerto,

           In 1957, Coltrane left to rejoin Miles Davis‘s group, and the Five Spot Cafe 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,  Monk and de Koenigswarter were detained by police in Wilmington, DelawareThe 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 condidered unlawful the detention of the pair..

          After extended negotiations, Monk signed in 1962 to Columbia Recordsone of the big four American record labels of the day along with RCA VictorCapitol, and Decca. 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, 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 DunlopMonk’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. He continued to record studio albums, particularly Criss Cross, also in  1963. As had been the case with Riverside, his period with Columbia Records contains many live albums

On February 28, 1964, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, a fact happened in five only ocassions in jazz music history (after Louis ArmstrongDave Brubeck, and Duke Ellington, and before Wynton Marsalis),

          Monk had disappeared from the scene by the mid-1970s, and made only a small number of appearances during the final decade of his lifeHis 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 GillespieKai WindingSonny StittAl McKibbon and Art Blakey.

          The legendThe 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 washospitalized on several occasions due to an unspecified mental illness that worsened in the late 1960s. No reports or diagnoses were ever publicized. Some physicians recommended electroconvulsive therapy as a treatment option for Monk’s illness, but his family would not allow itantipsychotics and lithium were prescribed instead. 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.

         Clearly Monk made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy“, “‘Round Midnight“, “Blue Monk“, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t“. Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington.  Although it has been said that Ellington composed over 1. 000 songs and Monk only  70, Ellington did no compose alone, Monk yes did it.

         Monk had an unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations.

         He was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats and sunglassesMoreover he stopped frequently, stand up from the keyboard and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano.

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 Koenigswarterwho had also nursed Charlie Parker during his final illnessMonk 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.

        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.  

         In 1993, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement AwardIn 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.”

        Monk was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Institute also recently helped, through its partnership with UNESCO, designateApril 30, 2012, as the first annual International Jazz Day.


108-Tommy Flanagan (1930 – 2001)

He created something new in his playing: he “often states the melody with dissonant, levering chords played offbeat or staccato”. He was another jazz player victim of tobacco.

             Thomas Lee Flanagan, Tommy Flanagan,color musician,  was born in Conant GardensDetroit, Michigan, in1930.

            At the age of six, his parents gave him a clarinet for Christmas. He learned to read music from playing that instrument, but within a few years he preferred the pianoThe family had a piano in the house, and Flanagan received lessons from one of his brothers, Johnson, and later from Gladys Wade Dillard, who also taught Kirk Lightsey and Barry Harris. Flanagan graduated from Northern High School, which heattended with other future musicians, including Sonny Red (alto saxophonist associated with the hard bop idiom).

Flanagan’s first concert was around 1945.

           As a teenager!!!!!!!!!!, he played in a band led by Lucky Thompson  (color,tenor and soprano saxophonist) that also contained Pepper Adams (white, baritone saxophonist)  and Kenny Burrell (white, one the best guitarist all time)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still in his teens, Flanagan also sat in on piano for some appearances by Charlie Parker !!!!!!!!!!! in Detroit.

             Influences:   Flanagan’s early influences included classic pianists such as Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, both of whom he heard on radio and playing in the Detroit area, as well as Nat King Cole and local pianists Earl Van Riper and Willie Anderson. Years later, New York, 1956, by the newer bebop musicians, among them, the pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell.

In 1950 Flanagan played jazz and rhythm and blues with saxophonist George Benson (Detroit-based jazz alto and tenor saxophonist, session musician and educator) in Toledo (Ohio), before being drafted into the army in 1951.  After two years’ service he was discharged and returned to Detroit, where he soon became pianist at the Blue Bird again. He again worked with the big Burrell, as well as Donald Byrd (jazz funk trumpeter) and Yusef Lateef (flute, oboe and tenor sax) among others.

In 1956 Flanagan moved to New York. He was unsure of how long he would stay, having been persuaded to go by Burrell; the pair initially stayed with Burrell’s aunt in HarlemWithin months of moving to NY in 1956, he had recorded with Miles Davis,   Sonny RollinsFlanagan also accompanied Ella Fitzgerald in 1956, for around a month, including at the Newport Jazz Festival

In 1957  he joined trombonist J. J. Johnson, with whom he recorded several albums and then toured Europe. Among three dozen albums recorded under his own name the first had been in 1957, in Europe but not with JJ Johnson. While in Sweden, Flanagan, with bassist Wilbur Little and drummer Elvin Jones, recorded his first album as leader, OverseasLate in 1957 he was part of Miles Davis’ band for a short period, before returning to Johnson early the following year, for another stay of 10 months.

              In 1958, a period leading his own trio was followed by joining trombonist Tyree Glenn.

           Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s Flanagan made frequent appearances in recording studios, for a large number of leaders (John Coltrane Wes Montgomery)and record labels.

In 1959–60 Flanagan  played  with trumpeter Harry Edison , and in 1961–62 with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins , including a UK tour.

In this period (59-62), Flanagan recorded albums for several leaders from an earlier era, including Lionel HamptonJo Jones, and Pee Wee Russell.

In 1962 played with guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Percy Heath as a trio in New York. In that year he was asked by jazz impresario Norman Granz to become Ella Fitzgerald’s full-time accompanist from 1962 to 1965. They toured internationally, including to Japan in 1964. He also played with other bands when not required by the vocalist; these included a brief reunion with Rollins in 1965. Later the same year, Flanagan left Fitzgerald and was part of Art Farmer‘s Jazz Sextet (in NY), which recorded Group Therapy. Flanagan then became accompanist to Tony Bennett for part of 1966, and lived on the West Coast. In 1968 return with Ella Fitzgerald and stayed for a decade. In addition to being her pianist, mostly as part of a trio, he was her musical director

      While he played with Fitzgerald,  Flanagan often played a set as part of his trio, without the singer. The Tommy Flanagann Trio begin in 1974. His 1975 trio release, The Tommy Flanagan Tokyo Recital, was his first as leader since 1960. Flanagan ended his role with Fitzgerald in 1978after he had a heart attack and had become tired of extensive touring. After the heart attack, he stopped smokingreduced the amount that he drank, and exercised by walking more than he had previously.

After leaving Fitzgerald again, Flanagan attracted praise for the elegance of his playing, which was principally in Tommy Flanagan trio, but also playing alone.  In 1979 he was a guest on the first series of Marian McPartland‘sPiano Jazz radio programs.

     In 1980 he played with two trio, the first  with white-guitarist Tal Farlow and Red Mitchell (also white, double-bassist) and the second with bassist George Mraz and various drummers. With this second trio he was for a decade.   In the early 1990s Mraz was replaced by Peter Washington, whose heavier bass lines added urgency to the trio’s sound.

In a 1992 article, critic Leonard Feather suggested that “Flanagan is the pianist most likely to be named a personal idol by other jazz pianists, whether they be swing veterans or avant-gardists“.This made him more in demand; the workload may have contributed to his collapse in 1991 and subsequent quadruple bypass heart surgeryHe returned to playing within weeks, but also returned to hospital for treatment for an aneurysm.  In late October 2001, Flanagan played in a John Coltrane tribute at the San Francisco Jazz FestivalThe following month, he was admitted toMount Sinai hospital in Manhattan; less than a fortnight later, on November 16, he died there, from complications related to the aneurysm he had suffered a decade earlier.


Awards and legacy

         During his career, Flanagan was nominated between 1983 and 2003 for five Grammy Awards, thre as soloist,  but he won none. Flanagan was awarded the Danish Jazzpar Prize in 1993. Three years later, he was selected for a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship

       By the time of his death he was one of the most widely admired of jazz pianists and had influenced both his contemporaries and later generations of players Flanagan’s influence on pianists extended from his contemporaries to later generations. Barry HarrisRoland HannaAlan Broadbent , Kenny Barron and specially Helen Sung, who changed from being a classical music pianist to a jazz one after hearing the swing and logic of a Flanagan solo.

Although he acknowledged the influence of other pianists, Flanagan stated that, “I like to play like a horn playerlike I’m blowing into the piano.


109-Toshiko Akiyoshi   (1929 –is alive)

            Toshiko Akiyoshi changed the medical school for the piano in a masterstroke. She is clearly a special case in our list:  a Japanese women as painist,  composer/arranger and jazz bandleader.


           Akiyoshi was born in LiaoyangManchuria (a large Chinese geographic region in Northeast Asia) to Japanese emigrants. In 1945, after World War II, Akiyoshi’s family lost its home and returned to Japan, settling in Beppu.

          Akiyoshi began to study piano at age sevenWhen she was 16, she took a job playing with a band in a local club. Beppu was crowded with US soldiers, and musicians were in high demand to provide entertainment.

           A local record collector introduced Akiyoshi to jazz by playing a record of Teddy Wilson playing “Sweet Lorraine.

         Influences: Duke Ellington and Bud Powell

         In 1952, during a tour of Japan, pianist Oscar Peterson discovered Akiyoshi playing in a club on the Ginza. Peterson was impressed, and convinced producer Norman Granz to record AkiyoshiIn 1953, under Granz’s direction, Akiyoshi recorded her first album with Peterson’s rhythm sectionHerb Ellis on guitarRay Brown on bass, and J. C. Heard ondrums. The album was titled Toshiko’s Piano, and has been reissued on CD in Japan.

        In 1955, Akiyoshi wrote a letter to Lawrence Berk asking him to give her a chance to study at his schoolBerklee College of Music. Berk offered her a full scholarship, and he mailed her a plane ticket to Boston. In January 1956, Akiyoshi enrolled to become the first Japanese student at Berklee. In the 2012-2013 28% of students are internationals and the 10% of Berklee’s student body comprised Japanese students!!!!!!!!!!!! All of it  a trend started in Akiyoshis time.

       While in Boston, Akiyoshi studied with the music teachers Herb PomeroyMadame Chaloff, and Richard Bobbitt. The latter taught her about Joseph Schillinger‘s System of Musical Composition, which influenced her approach to composition.

       Akiyoshi married saxophonist Charlie Mariano in 1959. The couple had a daughter, Michiru, now a musician who performs as Monday Michiru.

       She divorced from Mariano in 1967 after forming several bands together. That same year, she met american flutist and tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin, whom she married in 1969,  both avid wine and cigar collectorsAkiyoshi, Tabackin and Michiru moved to Los Angeles in 1972.

          In March 1973Akiyoshi and Tabackin formed a 16-piece big band composed of studio musicians. Akiyoshi composed and arranged music for the band, and Tabackin served as the band’s featured soloist, on tenor saxophone and fluteThe band recorded its first album, Kogun, in 1974By 1980, the Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band was considered one of the most important big bands in jazz.

         The couple moved to New York City in 1982, where they promptly assembled a new big band (now called the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin).

          While Akiyoshi was able to release several albums in the US featuring her piano in solo and small combo settings, many of her later big band albums were released only in Japan and were available elsewhere only as imports.

         In  2003, after 20 years in NY, her band played its final concert at Birdland in New York Citybecause she was frustrated by her inability to obtain US recording contracts for the big band. In 2004, Warner Japan released the final recording of Akiyoshi’s big band.

         Although her music remained planted firmly in jazz, in 1974 Akiyoshi was inspired moreover to investigate her own Japanese musical heritage. From that point on, she began composing another type of music, in parallel with jazz but never fussioned, with Japanese harmonies, and even Japanese instruments (e.g. kotsuzumikakko, utai, tsugaru shamisen, etc.).

        In 1999, Akiyoshi composed the three-part suite Hiroshima: Rising From the Abyss.The piece was premiered in Hiroshima on August 6, 2001, the 56th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. The Hiroshima suite was featured on a 2002 CD release bearing the same title, Hiroshima – Rising From The Abyss.


She has received 14 Grammy nominations, and she was the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in Down Beat magazine’s Readers Poll. In 2007 she was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.


One famous jazz critic said the music on her big band albums demonstrated “…a level of compositional and orchestral ingenuity that made her one of perhaps two or three composer-arrangers in jazz whose name could seriously be mentioned in the company of Duke Ellington, Eddie Sauter (trumpet!!!!)  and Gil Evans.”


110- Wayne Horvitz (1955)

        Wayne Horvitz is an American composer, jazz keyboardist and record producer.

        Horvitz was born in New York City.

        Horvitz, a “defiant cross-breeder of genres”,has led the groups The President, Pigpen, Zony Mash, and the Four Plus One EnsembleHe is perhaps most famous for being the keyboardist of the his last band Naked City.

          He has recorded or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell and pianist Carla Bley, among many othres.

          He has produced records for the World Saxophone QuartetBill Frisell and Eddie Palmieri.

          As a composer, Horvitz has been commissioned by The KitchenThe Kronos QuartetBrooklyn Academy of MusicNew World Records, The Seattle Chamber Players and Earshot Jazz.

          He has received commissioning grants from Meet the ComposerThe National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Arts Council, The Mary Flagler Carey Trust, The Seattle Arts Commission, The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and The Fund for U.S. Artists.

          In 2002 he was awarded a Rockefeller MAP grant for the creation of a new piece, Joe Hill, for chamber orchestra and voice, which premiered in October 2004 in Seattle.

         His 2003 composition, Whispers, Hymns and a Murmur for String Quartet and soloist, funded in part by a Seattle City Artist grant, premiered in March 2004. This composition and his earlier string quartet, Mountain Language are released on the Tzadik label.

          His newest string quartet composition, These Hills of Glory, was commissioned with support from 4Culture and the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

         His recent collaboration with Tucker Martine, Mylab, was on the top 10 CD list for 2004 in jazz in both the New Yorker and

         In February 2005 he received the Golden Ear award from Earshot Jazz for “Concert of the Year.”

        Horvitz has also composed and produced music for a variety of video, film, television and other multimedia projects, including two projects with director Gus Van Sant, a full length score for PBS’s Chihuly Over Venice, and two films about the creation of Seattle’s EMP museum. His 85-minute score to Charlie Chaplin‘s filmThe Circus, for two pianos, two clarinets, and violin premiered in January 2000 in Oporto, Portugal.

         He currently lives in Seattle with his wife, composer Robin Holcomb, and their two children


111-Willy Anderson (1924-1971)

Willy Anderson, “Willie A”, called “Forgotten Detroit  Piano Wizard too. He had proficiency not only in Piano but also in bass, euphonium, tuba, drums and trumpetAs many jazz players, he was a regular smoker who also drank strong spirits or wine everyday and was dead for it, from tongue cancer related with the tobacoo.

When the big Detroit pianists are discussed, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan, and Hank Jones invariably are focal points. Willie Anderson is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

         For thirty years preceding his death at age 47 in 1971, Willie Anderson (“Willie A”) impressed musicians, critics and fans with his immense talent. He was one of Detroit’s finest pianists, the creative equal of Harris, Flanagan et al. Despite job offers from Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Coleman Hawkins Anderson refused to leave Detroit. This is his story.

        Willie Eugene Anderson was born in Warrenton, Georgia.  Glen, his father, a carpenter, played gospel melodies on his guitar and sometimes played them in church. Both parents encouraged their children to play an instrument or sing.

        The Anderson family moved to Detroit a few months after Willie’s birth.

         They lived on Detroit’s near-east side, near Paradise Valley, center of gravity for Detroit’s for black business and culture.

         Anderson’s brother Glen played guitar and most of the children had modest musical talent but Willie was the standout. “He could play any instrument”.  Anderson never had formal training – with his quick ear and prodigious technique, he didn’t need it. Like his father, he was a “shy man,  low-key, very quiet,” says Mary. Anderson was a slender manof above average height (5’11’’) who used words sparingly but whose music spoke volumes. He had large hands with long fingers, perfect pitch, and a highly developed sense of musical form. He could play anything and he played by earWillie did not read (music)… Willie was a self-taught musician.”

          Anderson also enjoyed playing sports (he was a gifted athlete).  “He got a lot of awards—he was very athletic, running and track,” says Mary.

         In early years of his youth he was very devote. “We was in church all the time. Beulah Baptist. And I would sing and Willie would play. And one time we had a wanted to know if everybody was baptized and all, and Willie wasn’t. And he asked Willie why he wasn’t, and Willie said it was because he was playing music in barsand he would be a hypocrite.

        “When we were growing up, musicians would come to the house. And they would be playin’. The house would be full of people. We went to sleep with music and we woke up with music.

         I had the kind of mother that welcomed everybody  especially the friends of Willie from Miller High School:  Milt Jackson (future jazz vibraphonist), used to come over because he loved navy beans, he loved beans, and Yusef Lateef [future jazz multi-instrumentalist,  nicknamed “Bill Evans”], Art Mardigan (future jazz drummer) and  “Lucky” Thompson  (future tenor and soprano saxophonist) liked hamburgers. “Everyone called my mother Mama A,” recalled his sister Esther.

        He dropped out of Miller during his senior year; Anderson’s sole day job was a brief spell in a radio repair shop. .

         Anderson began playing professionally while in his mid-teens.  An article written during the late 1940s states Anderson “made his first professional appearance at the age of 15, with the George Washington instrumental quartet.”

        Anderson claimed proficiency on Piano, bass, euphonium, tuba, drums and trumpetAnderson was considered moreover a great pianist, an excellent bassist.

In 1942 he met Dizzy Gillespie   and through him he had an opportunity to join Earl Hines band, which he was with. At least there were about to be negotiations to join the band, but he got drafted and ended up in the Special Services in the Air Force

           After Air Force, Anderson was stationed at Camp Plauche, Louisiana and played in the Colored Post band. John Hammond, known for boosting the careers of many musicians like Charlie Christian and Billie Holiday, also heard Anderson play in the Colored post band.vHammond was so impressed that he nominated Anderson for the “All-American Jazz Band” in Esquire’s 1945 Board Of Experts poll but never played in this poll because he was fired in 1944 by reasons unclear. That year he got back in Detroit, Anderson’s friends welcomed him to a music scene in full swing.

          Milt Jackson, then with saxophonist Ted Buckner’s band at Club Three 666, left later in the year to form a quartet with Anderson, guitarist Emitt Slay and bassist Millard Glover. A local newspaper columnist named the group the “Four Sharps”. “It had guitar, bass, piano and me, and we were sponsored by the Cotton Club”. .”The Four Sharps was an important early association for Willie Anderson.Dizzy Gillespie heard and tried to hire them following a 1945 concert at the  Detroit Institute of Arts.  “Dizzy was concerned particularly about Willie and Milt.”

         Coleman Hawkins, great saxophonist and fair pianist, paid attention to Anderson that night. Anderson backed Coleman Hawkins at Randle’s May 1945 concert. Hawkins tried unsuccessfully to hire Anderson.

          The Four Sharps played various venues around townMilt Jackson’s departure in October 1945 to join Gillespie’s group in New York City effectively finished the band.

          By 1946 Anderson attracted regular attention from Detroit’s black press. He was referred to as the “piano find of 1946” or “new star of 1946” and cited as an Esquire or Down Beat poll winner, probably due to John Hammond’s single vote in the 1946 Esquire Critic’s Poll. Willie Anderson never won a national award.

          Telegram from Sid Field, Billy Eckstine’s manager, July 13, 1946. This is the first of two telegrams sent to Anderson in July 1946 asking him to join Eckstine’s band.

He preferred to join to guitarist Emitt Slay’s trio at the newly opened Club Sudan26, in Paradise Valley, in March 1946. The trio played Nat King Cole songs.

Paul Foster was the third member of the Slay trio and he remembered: “Emitt sang; he was commercially oriented. Willie hardly talked, let alone sang. Emitt did not drink much,Willie drank too much, and I drank to be gay (happy)…”

Metronome writer Barry Ulanov visited Detroit in 1946 and mentioned Club Sudan, and Anderson, in his write-up. He returned ten years later and praised Anderson in a Down Beat article. “I had forgotten what a wit Willie is…he’s a Count Basie with 10 fingers,filling in with more notes and ideas than you or I ever thought could be sandwiched in-between the familiar measures of a “Billy Boy” or “Caravan” or anything else…

         In 1946, with the great guitarist Kenny Burrel succeeding in other local of the city, Anderson worked with two minors guitarists, Dave Wilborn and his old boss Emitt Slay, besides of vocalist Cotton Pickers and future tenor sax star Billy Mitchell.

Nationally known musicians who came to Detroit were usually aware of Anderson via the musician’s grapevine and he got many job offers. He got firm offers from Benny Goodman and Al Hibbler (who, when he was in town, stopped by Anderson’s house) as well as the aforementioned offers from Billy Eckstine and Coleman Hawkins. Dizzy Gillespie tried to hire Anderson at least twice—after the 1945 Randle concert, and in the early 1950s.

       Anderson always encouraged younger musiciansHe exemplified “the Detroit way” –older musicians helping younger musicians. Anderson’s playing set a high standard for aspiring musicians, especially pianists but also others instrumentalists as the example of saxophonists Geroge Benson and Thomas Bowles. Twenty-year old saxophonist George Benson worked with “Willie Anderson and his Four Sharps” at the Parrot Lounge in the fall of 1949. Benson credits Anderson with teaching him how play jazz. “That’s how I really learned how to play, listening to him six nights a week… that’s how I learned to improvise. He was one of the greatest piano players in the country…he played better than Tommy (Flanagan)…at that time…Willie A was just a natural. On the otre hand, the excellentbaritone sax man Thomas H. “Beans” Bowles encountered Anderson at a jam session. Bowles, then in his early twenties, was, by his own admission, a “bad player”. Musicians would leave the bandstand when he approached, but Willie Anderson stayed. “He said, ‘Slim, play B-flat, then E-flat,’ and he took me through 2-3 songs on stage and said, ‘Go home and practice.’ Best thing ever happened to me.” He taught many a beginner how to navigate the tricky waters of improvisation as the following examples illustrate. PianistCharles Boles  put it this way.“Pianists like Willie Anderson and Bu Bu Turner put the fear of God into you, especially if you were just starting out. They were amazing musicians.”Pianist Kenn Cox heard Anderson when Kenn was fifteen years old. Kenn was “fascinated with his playing,” and wanted to take lessons from Anderson. “The guys told me to go over to his house and take a bottle of his favorite wine…I spent the afternoon with him. Being a holdover from the swing era, he thought of the left hand a lot differently from the latter-day pianists. He showed me some things about stride piano, a “cheat” guide. He wasn’t quite Tatum-ish, more like Garner. I actually thought of him more like Nat King Cole.”

          Detroit had several active record companies in the late 1940s, so it’s not surprising that the Willie Anderson trio made some records. They cut two titles for Fortune around 1947-48 and four titles for Jamboree, a New York City based label, around the same time.39

          Anderson may have gone to Manhattan to record but the trip was a washout. “(Willie) went to New York City, once, for a week,” says his sister, Bernice. “There was supposed to be something organized there for him but it didn’t happen.” The frenetic pace of Manhattan must have been a real shock to a shy person like Willie Anderson. Detroit was, and still is, a big small town that has a down-home quality to it.

        Anderson’s trio clearly reflects the influence of Nat King Cole’s group. Anderson’s trio was criticized for their overt Cole connection in a Michigan Chronicle review of Randle’s December 1944 concert. But theses critics were unjust because even if there are echoes of Nat Cole and even of Erroll Garner but the sound and style are Willie Anderson’s.

Drummer Milford Davis of rock‘n roll Milford Trio, late 1960s,  hired Anderson and Burrell for a job. Billy Burrell, a fine bassist,played the amplified instrument with taste and restraint.Anderson was very much a jazz purist and did not like rock‘n roll.  By 1967 Billy Burrell switched to electric bass on some of their gigs, and Anderson occasionally played electric piano.

        In 1960s it may be that Willie Anderson’s style, though beautifully developed and executed, was considered old fashioned and therefore ignored. Record companies generally don’t stray far from the “latest thing”.

         Willie A’s longtime friend Al Martin brought his bass and his tape recorder to Anderson’s house around 1969. The two musicians had a conversation through their instruments.

         Anderson suffered from an unidentified illness that kept him off the scene in the mid 1960s. When veteran jazz deejay and promoter Ed Love sponsored a tribute to Anderson in the late 1960s, Detroit’s jazz community turned out in forceAndersonplayed and impressed all of the musicians present with his silvery swinging improvisations.

        A regular smoker who also drank strong spirits or wine everyday, Anderson felt ill the last year of his lifeNever one to complain, he put up with the sickness as long as he could before seeking medical attention. His Doctor put him in the hospital immediately but it was too late for Willie A. He succumbed to cancer of the tongue in 1971, at age 47,following a week’s stay in the hospital.

        His death was so inconspicuous as his life. He had chosen to stay quiet in Detroit and not to move with Gillespie, Hawkins, the singer Billy Eckstine (“black Sinatra”) or even with bandleader Benny Goodman.

        Flanagan, one the most famous of Detroit pianists,  said Anderson “played with facility like Tatum” and remembered Anderson’s recording of “The Man I Love” fifty years after he made it. Randle, who lived in the thick of Detroit’s burgeoning jazz scene, was ecstatic about Anderson. “I mean, I Loved Willie A! He was the best piano player in Detroit.” 

Most of his recordings are  included in a forthcoming CD compilation on Uptown Records – Detroit Jazz Before Motown, 1945–53: Rare and previously unissued recordings featuring Wardell Gray, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Willie Anderson and others. Lars and I hope a worldwide audience will hear and appreciate Willie Anderson. He deserves a place in the pantheon of great Detroit pianists.


112-Willie the Lion Smith (1893-1973)

            Willie “The Lion” Smith was one of the fathers of the stride piano style usually grouped with James P. Johnson and Thomas “Fats” Waller as the three greatest practitioners of the genre from its Golden Age, c. 1920–1943..  He was the first musical director ofMamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds. He was the pianist on Crazy Blues, the first Blues record released in 1920. Smith was a major influence on Duke Ellington.

            William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith, nicknamed “The Lion”, was born in Goshen, New York. In his memoir he reports that his father, Frank Bertholoff, was Jewish. Willie’s mother, Ida Oliver, was a banjo player and had been in Primrose and West minstrel shows. His mother threw  Frank out of the house when “The Lion” was two years old. According to Ida, “Frank Bertholoff was a light-skinned playboy who loved his liquor, girls, and gambling.” When his father died in 1901, his mother married John SmithThe surname Smith was added to that of “The Lion” at age 3He grew up living at 76 Academy Street in Newark (NY).

           The cries from the pigs brought forth an emotional excitement  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. It was another weird but musical sound that I can still hear in my head. The squeaks, the squeals, the dipping them in hot water, they put them on a hook, take off the head, the legs, going down an aisle—I hear it on an oboe. That’s what you hear in a symphony: destruction, war, peace, beauty, all mixed.

        His stepfather got a new job at Crucible Steel Company, across the Passaic River in Harrison, New Jersey.

          He attended the Baxter School, rumored to be a school for bad children and he was transferred to Morton School, and years later to Barringer High School (then known as Newark High School).

          When Willie was about six, he went downstairs to the basement of his Academy Street home and found the organ his mother used to play. It was not in good shape, and nearly half of the keys were missing. After his mother discovered his interest in the instrument, she taught him the melodies she knew. One of the first songs he learned was Home! Sweet Home!His uncle Rob, who was a bass singer and ran his own quartet, would teach Willie how to dance.

         In an effort to get the attention of the ladies, he attempted sports including swimming, skating, track, basketball, sledding, cycling, and boxing.  Prizefighting was the sport he was most interested in and he began to visit the night clubs…”.

         His friend Louis Moss later became known as “Big Sue” and owned a saloon in Tenderloin, Manhattan. Willie says he used to help him out by playing piano in his back room.

Willie got a job at Hauseman’s Footwear store shining shoes and running errands, where he was paid five dollars a week.  Willie bought a piano with the money. He would play songs he heard in the clubs, including Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin.

           By the early 1910s he was playing in New York City and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

            Around 1915, he married Blanche Merrill (née Howard), a song writer and lyricist who wrote a number of songs and lyrics for Broadway shows from about 1912 to 1925, particularly for Fanny Brice. Smith and Merrill are thought to have separated before Smith joined the army in 1917. Smith served in World War I, where he saw action in France, and played drum ¡!!!!!!! with the African-American regimental band led by Tim Brymn. Legend has it that his nickname “The Lion” came from his reported bravery while serving as a heavy artillery gunner. He was a decorated veteran of the 350th Field Artillery, a regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers.

          He returned to working in Harlem clubs and in rent parties, where Smith and his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller developed a new, more sophisticated piano style later called “stride.”

He worked for decades, often as a soloist, sometimes   accompanying blues singers such as Mamie Smith.

          He influenced clearly the music of Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw. Ellington demonstrated his admiration when composing and recording the highly regarded “Portrait of the Lion” in 1939. The list of his followers/students included moreover such notable names as Mel PowellBrooks Kerr, and Mike Lipskin. With the latter, he made two albums: a two-LP set of playing and reminiscences, The Memoirs of Willie the Lion Smith, done in 1965, and an album of solos and duets from 1971: California Here I Come, which coincided with Mike’s relocation from New York to Marin County.

          He influenced also to George Gershwin but this last was not a jazz musician!!! just a big composer of American music adapted later to jazz for many greats jazz composers/arrangers and players!!!!!.

     In the 1940s the music of Willie “The Lion” Smith found appreciation with a wider audience, and he toured North America and Europe up to 1971.

    Willie “The Lion” Smith died in New York City in 1973, at the age of 79.  Ellington said: “Willie The Lion was the greatest influence of all the great jazz piano players who have come along. He has a beat that stays in the mind.”

      In his later years, he received frequent honors for his life’s work including a Willie “The Lion” Smith Day in Newark, New Jersey. Orange County (NY) Executive Edward Diana issued a proclamation declaring September 18 Willie “The Lion” Smith Day in Orange County, the date of the first Goshen Jazz Festival.


113-Winton Kelly (1931 –1971) (was dead with 39!!!)

       A  Jamaican American, firstly bassist and later jazz pianist and composer. He is known for his lively, blues-based playing and as one of the finest accompanists in jazz. One of the pianists preferred of Miles Davis and the favourite of Wes Montgomery among othersBassist Marcus Miller is a cousin of Kelly’s, as are rapper Foxy Brown, and pianist Randy Weston.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Kelly was born in BrooklynNew York. He began playing the piano at the age of four, but did not receive much formal training in music.He attended The High School of Music & Artand the Metropolitan Vocational High School in New York, but “They wouldn’t give us piano, so I fooled around with the bass !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and studied theory.”

Kelly started his professional career in 1943 (with 12 years), initially as a member of R&B groups.  Around this time he also played organ in local churches.

At the age of 15, Kelly toured the Caribbean as part of Ray Abrams’ R&B band.

Influences: Kelly’s main influence was Bud Powell and Teddy Wilson

Kelly made his recording debut aged 16, playing on saxophonist Hal Singer‘s 1948 “Cornbread”,which became a Billboard R&B chart-topping hit.

In the following year, Kelly recorded with vocalist Babs Gonzalesthese tracks included his first recorded solos.

Piano Interpretations was a trio album that was Kelly’s recording debut as leader in 1951. Around the time he started to become better known as accompanist to singer Dinah Washingtonand as a member of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie‘s band.

This progress was interrupted by two years in the army. Kelly was part of a Third Army traveling show. He recruited fellow draftee and future jazz pianist Duke Pearson into the show. By April 1954 Kelly was “Private First Class Wynton Kelly”, musical director of the show. He ended his military service with a music performance for an audience of 10,000 in the Chastain Memorial Park Amphitheater in Atlanta, Georgia.  Kelly was released from the military after two years,following which he worked on and off with Washington and Gillespie again.

Kelly was also part of Charles Mingus‘ group for a tour of Washington DC, California, and Vancouver in late 1956 to early 1957.He left Mingus to rejoin Gillespie, who led a big band that toured Canada and the southern United States. In that years he played with other leaders and was sideman of famous instrumentalists such as: John ColtraneRoland KirkWes MontgomeryJohnny Griffin and Sonny Rollins, and vocalists Betty Carter andBillie HolidayIn 1956, Kelly recorded with vocalist Billie Holidayincluding for the original version of her song “Lady Sings the Blues,as well as for the Blue Note debuts of saxophonists  and Sonny RollinsIn 1957 Kelly made a rare appearance playing bass!!!!!, for one track of vocalist Abbey LincolnThat’s Him!, after the regular bassist, Paul Chambers, became drunk and fell asleep in the studio.

       Early in 1958, Kelly recorded his second album as leader, the quartet Piano, more than six years after his first. In the same year, he played for recordings led by, among others, vocalist Betty Carter, and made the first of several appearances on albums led by Julian “Cannonball” AdderleyBlue Mitchell, and Hank Mobley.

       Kelly attracted the most attention as part of trumpeter Miles Davis‘ band. from 1959 to 1963, including an appearance on the trumpeter’s Kind of Blue, In 1959 Kelly came to replace Red Garland on piano. Garland was invariably late to arrive for their club performances; “One night, Wynton was there when we started and Miles asked him to sit in. When Red came, Wynton was playing. Miles told Red, ‘Wynton’s got the gig.’ Just like that.” Kelly stayed with the trumpeter until March 1963, appearing on the studio albums Kind of Blue (often mentioned as the best-selling jazz album ever !!!!!!!!!)  and Someday My Prince Will Come, as well as on numerous concert recordings.  Respect to Kind of Blue (1959), though Kelly was Davis’ regular pianist, the trumpeter had planned his album with Bill Evans in mind, so “Freddie Freeloader” was the only piece !!!!!! that Kelly played.

           Fellow pianist McCoy Tyner commented on Kelly’s playing with Davis: “His harmonic colorations were very beautifulBut I think above all it was his ability to swingJohn Coltrane used to mention that. Miles used to get off the bandstand and just look at Wynton with admiration, because he really held the group together.”

In February 1959, when in Chicago for performances with Davis, Kelly was pianist on Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago, and  in a quintet containing Wayne Shorter.Kelly also recorded with Coltraneincluding for one track, “Naima“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

In 1961 Kelly made his first recording with guitarist Wes Montgomery.

         After leaving Davis in 1963, Kelly played with his own trio with two ex-players of Miles Davis, the trumpeter Elmer Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb

         In the summer of 1965 they joined Montgomery on a tour of the US that included an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, and a club recording released as the Kelly co-led Smokin’ at the Half Note.

Kelly, who was prone to epilepsy, died in 1971, in a hotel room in Toronto, Canada following a seizure, aged 39 !!!!!!. He had travelled there from New York to play in a club with drummer George Reed and vocalist Herb Marshall. Kelly drank a lot; saxophonist Jimmy Heath described him as “an alcoholic” who “could control his drinking” and not let his playing be affected by it.

A memorial concert was held on June 28 in New York and featured numerous well-known musicians of the period.

       Kelly played “with a crisp, leaping rhythmic blues approach that generated intense excitement”, wrote The Washington Post’s obituaristThe Rough Guide to Jazz stated that Kelly “combined boppish lines and bluesy interpolationsbut with a taut sense of timing quite unlike anyone else except his many imitators“.

Several commentators have rated Kelly the best accompanist in jazz, including critic Ray Comiskey and music educator Mark Levine. Drummer Philly Joe Jones said that, as an accompanist, Kelly “puts down flowers behind a soloist”.

Kelly’s style of playing has been an influence on numerous pianists, beginning in the 1960s. Among those to cite him directly as an influence are Monty AlexanderChick CoreaBrad Mehldau, and Chucho Valdés. Pianists Dan Nimmer and Willie Pickens have recorded tribute album to Kelly.

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