Piano, b.1932, Montreal, Que., Canada – He is a free jazz pianist born in Montreal, Canada in 1932 and long resident in the USA. His music characteristically features strong senses both of melodic voicing and space.
As well as being a distinctive and innovative musician himself, he has worked with a number of important musicians at key points.
In 1957, he played with Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman in California.
In the early 1960s he was part of the Jimmy Giuffre 3, a drummerless clarinet, piano and bass trio with bassist Steve Swallow. The quiet understatement of this music makes it possible to overlook its degree of innovation. As well as a repertoire introducing compositions by Carla Bley, the group’s music moved towards free improvisation based on close empathy.
In 1964 Bley was instrumental in the formation of the Jazz Composers Guild – a co-operative organisation which brought together many of the most radical musicians in New York.
Bley had long been interested in expanding the palette of his music using unconventional sounds (such as playing directly on the piano-strings). It was therefore consistent that he took an interest in new electronic possibilities appearing in the late 1960s. He pioneered the use of Moog synthesizers, performing with them before a live audience for the first time.
This led into a period of the Bley-Peacock Synthesizer Show, a group where he worked with songwriter Annette Peacock on bass and vocals.
Subsequently Bley returned to a predominant focus on the piano itself.
During the 1970s, Bley, in partnership with videographer Carol Goss, was responsible for an important multi-media initiative, Improvising Artists Inc which issued important LPs and videos documenting the early group with Ornette Coleman, solo piano recordings by Sun Ra and other works of free jazz.
Bley and Goss are credited in a Billboard Magazine cover story with the first “music video” as a result of the recorded and live performance collaborations they produced with jazz musicians and video artists.
Bley was an important influence on Keith Jarrett.
Andrew Charles Cyrille
Jazz drummer b.1939, Brooklyn, NY – He joined the Cecil Taylor unit in the mid-sixties for about 10 years and eventually went on to do drum duos with Milford Graves. In addition to recording as a bandleader, he has recorded and/or performed with musicians like David Murray, Irene Schweizer, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Butch Morris and Reggie Workman among others.
Trumpet, b.1945, New Orleans, LA
Trumpet, brother of drummer Joe, b.1945, Mount Morris, NY
Flute, b.1939, Houston, TX – Hubert Laws is a flautist with a 30-year career in jazz, classical and other music genres, He has released more than 20 albums and DVD’s under his own name, and appearances on dozens more. Among the many artists he played and recorded with are Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, James Moody, Sergio Mendes, Bob James, Carly Simon, George Benson, Clark Terry, and J.J. Johnson. He is generally regarded as one of the world’s top flautists.
Arranger, Trumpet, b.1916 d.2004, Pittsburgh, PA – William E. May, better known as Billy May (10 November 1916 – 22 January 2004) was a United States composer, arranger and musician. He died of heart failure at the age of 87 in his home in San Juan Capistrano, California.
One of May’s most popular compositions was the theme music of the Naked City television series in the early 1960s, “Somewhere in the Night”.
At Capitol, May wrote arrangements for many top artists. These included Frank Sinatra on the albums Come Fly With Me, Come Dance With Me and Come Swing With Me; Nat King Cole on the albums Just One Of Those Things and Let’s Face The Music!, as well as numerous singles (all his work with Cole being packaged later on the 2CD set The Billy May Sessions); Stan Freberg, with whom he was a longtime collaborator, featuring on many of the artist’s comedy recordings; Peggy Lee on the album Pretty Eyes; Vic Damone on the albums The Lively Ones and Strange Enchantment; Jeri Southern on the album Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter; Keely Smith on the album Politely and on a duet single, “Nothing In Common”/”How Are Ya Fixed For Love?”, with Sinatra; Bobby Darin on the album Oh! Look At Me Now; Nancy Wilson on the albums Like In Love, Something Wonderful, Tender Loving Care, Nancy – Naturally! and various tracks from the albums Just For Now and Lush Life; Matt Monro on several tracks from the album These Years; and Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney on the album That Travelin’ Two-Beat.
The Crosby-Clooney collaboration was a sequel to their earlier album on RCA Records, Fancy Meeting You Here, also arranged by May.
May’s other non-Capitol work included another Bing Crosby duet album, this time with Louis Armstrong, entitled Bing & Satchmo; a further duet album twinning Bobby Darin with Johnny Mercer, called Two Of A Kind; the sixth in Ella Fitzgerald’s acclaimed series of Song Books for Verve Records, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook; Mel Torme’s Latin-flavoured album ¡Ole Torme!; the early Jack Jones album Shall We Dance?; one solitary session with Sarah Vaughan for Roulette Records in 1960, to record the single The Green Leaves of Summer and three other tracks; and two more albums with Keely Smith, recorded nearly forty years apart – CheroKeely Swings from 1962 and Keely Sings Sinatra, one of May’s last pieces of work, from 2001.
After Sinatra left Capitol to start his own label, Reprise Records, May continued to provide arrangements for him, off and on, for nearly thirty more years, working on the albums Sinatra Swings, Francis A. and Edward K. (with Duke Ellington) and Trilogy 1: The Past, as well as the chart for what is thought to be Sinatra’s last ever solo recording, “Cry Me A River” (1988), which was eventually released on the 20 CD Box Set Frank Sinatra – The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. In addition, May was the natural choice to arrange Sinatra’s knockabout duet with Sammy Davis Jr., “Me And My Shadow”, which was a hit single on both sides of the Atlantic in 1962, whilst he also contributed to Sinatra’s ambitious “Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre” project, providing a few arrangements for three of its four albums, South Pacific, Kiss Me Kate and Guys And Dolls, May’s charts being variously performed by Sinatra, Davis, Crosby, Dean Martin, Jo Stafford and Lou Monte and yielding a perennial Sinatra concert favourite, “Luck Be A Lady” from Guys And Dolls.
May’s charts often featured brisk tempos and intricate brass parts. One distinctive feature of his style is his frequent use of trumpet mute devices; another, a saxophone glissando, is widely known as his “slurping saxes”. However, May was also an accomplished writer in slower tempos, sometimes using string arrangements. Good examples of this aspect of his work include his brass chart for “These Foolish Things” on the Cole album Just One Of Those Things and his string arrangement of “April In Paris” on Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me album.
His website is at http://www.hubertlaws.com/
Tenor Sax, b.1934, Florence, SC – He is an American jazz tenor saxophonist and record producer. Although he has performed in the hard bop and swing genres, he is most experienced in and best known for his work in soul jazz. Person is also known for his distinctive sassy sound and his expressive style of playing. He received the Eubie Blake Jazz Award in 1982.
Contrary to popular belief, he was never married to the late singer Etta Jones, but did spend many years as her musical partner, recording, performing and touring.
He grew up in Florence, S.C., studied at the state college there, was later named to the school’s Hall of Fame in 1999, and continued his studies at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, CT. Earlier, in the U.S. Air Force, he played with Don Ellis, Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton, and Leo Wright.
He has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and more.
Tenor Sax, b.1965, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – He is a well-known jazz saxophonist with several albums.
Born November 10, 1965 in Fairborn, Ohio, Mark was raised in Southern California. His original intention to become a commercial artist gave way to his love of music. In elementary school he played the clarinet, followed by the alto sax and then the tenor in high school. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1990 before moving to New York. Today, he performs, but also teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.
An unofficial website is at http://www.markturner.com/music/mark_turner_sax_player.htm