Bass, b.1966, Mie, Japan
Drums, b.1961, New York, NY, As a freelancer, Ascione has fired up plenty of jazz combos and big bands, and also performed with pop/rock stars Noel Redding (former bassist to Jimi Hendrix), Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan), and Dr. John. Last year, Ascione toured with the Horde Festival, playing in a power rock trio with guitarist Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors). Of such gigs, Ascione says, “There’s not a hint of ding-ding-da-ding in the room. All of this is bash-crash, and I have to wear earplugs and tape my hands, otherwise they fall apart.” The drummer has appeared on nearly 60 albums as sideman, but few as leader. On his recent Arbors label debut as leader, Post No Bills, Ascione’s tasteful chops enkindle his well-chosen sidekicks — pianist Dave LaLama and bassist Tim Givens, and guests Jerry Weldon (tenor sax) and Ron Affif (guitar). They understand Ascione’s penchant for polyrhythms and odd-metered tunes, and deftly sail together through American Songbook gems and add dash to jazz standards. Ascione grew up in a musical family and began playing drums at age 2. His parents were impressed that he could keep a beat at a young age and bought him his first drum set at age 4. He was playing professionally by the time he was 12 and, as a teenager, served as a roadie for Buddy Rich. Growing up, he initially listened to pop music. “But as soon as I learned the drum part, I got bored,” he says. “Then I started hearing Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, and Jo Jones and jazz drummers who kept things a little more interesting for me.” While Ascione enjoys the challenge of improvised music, he doesn’t wish to be labeled solely as a jazz drummer. (He doesn’t want to be considered as a jack-of-all-trades, either.) Still, his playing is unique. Ascione heightens his dazzling polyrhythmic style with an enhanced traps setup. He adds a left-foot Gajate pedal that fires a bracket-mounted cowbell, and, in addition to his left-mounted high-hat cymbal, uses a right-mounted X-hat cymbal. As an Endorsee of GMS Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, and Promark sticks, Joe is also very involved with the education and musical cultivation of today’s youth giving workshops, clinics, and master classes with whom he shares his experiences.
Cornet, b.1944, Paris, France
Band leader, b.1912 d.2001, Reinerton, PA, the Band of Renown are a big band that began in the big band era of the late 1930s and now performs under the direction of his son Les Brown, Jr. “Les Brown and the Band of Renown” brought Doris Day into prominence with their recording of “Sentimental Journey” in 1945. The release of “Sentimental Journey” coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans. They had nine other number-one hit songs, including “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with Bob Hope on radio, stage and TV for almost fifty years. They did 18 USO Tours for American troops around the world, and entertained over three million. Before the Super Bowls were televised, the Bob Hope Christmas Specials were the highest-rated programs in television history. Tony Bennett was “discovered” by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Les and the Band. The first feature length film that Les and the band apperared in, was the war-time movie “Seven Days Leave” starring Victor Mature and Lucille Ball. “Rock-A-Billy Baby”, a low budget 1957 film, was the Band of Renown’s second movie and in 1963, they appeared in Jerry Lewis’ comedy The Nutty Professor. Les Brown and the Band were also the ‘house band’ for the Dean Martin Variety Show, which ran for ten seasons, and for the Steve Allen show. Les Brown and the Band of Renown performed with virtually every major performer of their time, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat “King” Cole. Les Brown went to college at Duke University from 1932-1936. He played in and then led the Duke Blue Devils band as they performed on Duke’s campus and up and down the east coast. Brown took the Duke Blue Devils on a one year three month tour after he graduated in 1936. At the end of the tour “the boys went back to school” and Brown went to New York where in 1938 he formed the band that would become the Band of Renown. Les Brown Sr. is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Trumpet, b.1925, Chicago, IL
Clarinet, b.1904 d.1973, Little Rock, AR
Drums, b.1945, Sidney, NY
Trumpet, Composer, b.1924, Cleveland, OH
Bass, b.1900 d.1964, Pittsburgh, PA
impresario, conductor, record producer, musical arranger, Academy Award-winning film composer, trumpeter, b.1933, Chicago, IL, he eldest son of Sarah Frances (nee Wells), an apartment complex manager and bank executive who suffered from schizophrenia, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter. His mother is a descendant of Mary Belle Lanier, the out of wedlock daughter of James Balance Lanier (second cousin four times removed of George Washington and first cousin of the maternal grandfather of John McCain) by an unknown African American woman. Jones is also of, Welsh, and West African/Central African ancestry (for the 2006 PBS television program African American Lives he had his DNA tested; the test showed him to be of Tikar descent). Jones discovered music in grade school and took up the trumpet. When he was 10, his family moved to Seattle, Washington; there he attended Garfield High School. In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Schillinger House in Boston. However, he abandoned his studies when he received an offer to tour as a trumpeter with the bandleader Lionel Hampton. While Jones was on the road with Hampton, he displayed a gift for arranging songs. Jones relocated to New York City, where he received a number of freelance commissions arranging songs for artists like Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and his old friend Ray Charles.
Vocal, Accordion, b.1911 d.1975, Paterson, NJ
Vocal, b.1932, Syracuse, NY, He is most noted for his definitive and unique vocalese and vocal improvisations with both melody and lyrics. He is the recipient of the 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001 Down Beat magazine readers jazz poll for Best Male Vocalist of the Year and is also the recipient of six Grammy award nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Performance. He is also famous for his original lyrics to the jazz classics Stolen Moments and Red Clay.
Violin, 1921 d.1971, Oslo, Norway
Drums, b.1940, Helsinki, Finland
Organ, b.1934 d.2002, Philadelphia, PA, She had been an admirer of Jimmy Smith and over time would play piano and trumpet before moving to the Hammond organ. The organ would be her main instrument, but on occasion she still played piano. In the 1950s she became known for her work with saxophone player Eddie Davis, particularly the song “In the Kitchen.” She was married to Stanley Turrentine in the 1960s and the collaboration proved musically fruitful. In the 1980s she became a jazz educator of merit. She died of heart failure in 2002 and it is believed this had been hastened by the diet drug fen-phen.