Tenor Sax, b.1934, Santa Fe Province, Argentina
Leandro Barbieri better known as El Gato Barbieri (Spanish for “Barbieri the Cat”) is an Argentine jazz tenor saxophonist and composer who rose to fame during the free jazz movement in the 1960s and from his latin jazz recordings in the 1970s. Born to a family of musicians, Barbieri began playing music after hearing Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.” He played the clarinet, then the alto saxophone while teaming with Argentine pianist Lalo Schifrin in the late 1950s. By the early 1960s, while in Rome, he played tenor saxophone, also with trumpeter Don Cherry. Influenced by John Coltrane’s late recordings, as well as those from saxophonists Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders, Barbieri’s warm and gritty tone began to form that would become his trademark sound. In the late 1960s, he was fusing the musics from South America into his playing. His music score for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Last Tango in Paris earned him a Grammy Award and landed him into a record deal with Impulse! Records.
By the late 1970s he was working for A&M Records, and moved his music towards jazz-pop with albums like “Caliente” (with his best known song, Carlos Santana’s Europa).
Though he continued to record and perform into the 1980s, the death of his wife Michelle led him to withdraw from the public. He returned to recording and performing in the late 1990s, playing music that would fall into the arena of smooth jazz. For more info go to http://www.music-city.org/Gato-Barbieri/discography/
Tenor Sax, b.1932, South Bend, IN
Alto Sax, b.1927 d.1983, Pensacola, Florida,
George General Grice, Jr. was an American saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, and educator. His performing career, though notable, was very short and, in comparison to other musicians of his generation, Gryce’s work is little known.
Although primarily a jazz musician, Gryce studied composition with Alan Hovhaness and Daniel Pinkham at the Boston Conservatory following World War II and while there composed a number of symphonic compositions. During the 1950s he achieved some renown for his innovative bebop playing, his primary instrument being the alto saxophone. Among the musicians with whom Gryce performed were Thelonious Monk, Tadd Dameron, Lionel Hampton, Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, and Donald Byrd.
In the mid-1950s he converted to Islam and adopted the name Basheer Qusim. By the early 1960s he stopped using the name Gigi Gryce and, partly due to personal problems that took their toll on his financial and emotional state, withdrew from performing. During this last period of his life he taught at a series of public schools in Long Island and New York City, and the CES (Community Elementary School) 53 on 168th Street in Bronx, New York, the last school at which Gryce taught, was renamed the Basheer Qusim School in his honor. For more go to http://www.gigigryce.com/
Bass, b.1951, Birmingham, AL
Drums, b.1936, Rochester, NY
Bass, b.1941, Windischgarsten, Austria
Alto Sax, b.1941, Copenhagen, Denmark
Piano, b.1943, Marine, MN
Butch Thompson is an American jazz pianist and clarinetist best known for his ragtime and stride performances. He has created musical groups including the Butch Thompson Trio and New Orleans Jazz Originals. Thompson was born in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota and gained a wide audience when he was house pianist and bandleader for A Prairie Home Companion from 1974 to 1986. The Butch Thompson Trio was formed for the radio show in 1978, and continues to perform today. Thompson and his group maintain a close relationship with the radio program and appear regularly.
Thompson began playing piano at the early age of three, and began taking lessons at age six. At Stillwater Area High School in Stillwater Area High School, he played clarinet in the school band. In 1962, after entering the University of Minnesota, Thompson joined the Hall Brothers Jazz Band of Minneapolis. In the following years, he took time to visit New Orleans and learn from musicians there. Thompson was one of a handful on non-locals to play at the city’s Preservation Hall.
In the 1970s, Thompson’s recordings gained popularity in Europe. He toured the continent extensively in the 1970s and 1980s, both as a solo artist and as a band leader or member. Thompson has written for jazz publications and produces a radio show, Jazz Originals, for KBEM in Minneapolis. For more go to http://www.butchthompson.com/
Trumpet, b.1915 d.1985, Mayfield, KY
Drums, b.1907 d.1968, Topeka, KS
George Wettling was one of the young white Chicagoans who fell in love with jazz as a result of hearing King Oliver’s band (with Louis Armstrong on second cornet) at the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago in the early 1920s. Oliver’s drummer, Baby Dodds, made a particular and lasting impression upon Wettling.
Wettling went on to work with the big bands of Artie Shaw, Bunny Berigan, Red Norvo, Paul Whiteman, and even Harpo Marx: but he was at his best (and will be best remembered) for his work in small ‘hot’ bands led by Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, and himself. In these small bands, Wettling was able to demonstrate the arts of dynamics and responding to a particular soloist that he had learned from Baby Dodds. Towards the end of his life, Wettling (like his friend the clarinetist Pee Wee Russell) took up painting, and was much influenced by the American cubist Stuart Davis.
However, good as Wettling’s painting was he will be best remembered for his rattling, cavernous sound at the drums -especially with Eddie Condon’s bands.