Mark Sherman was born April 17, 1957 in Manhattan, New York City to a Juillliard trained soprano mother who performed with the Cleveland and Boston symphonies, so it was natural that he studied classical piano as a child.
Sherman graduated from The High School of Music and in 1975, then went on to study classical percussion at Juilliard. He performed in ensembles under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Sir George Solti, Zubin Mehta and Herbert Von Karajan. While there he would jam regularly with Wynton Marsalis. During the course of his career, Sherman also studied with Elvin Jones, Rohland Kohloff, Justin Diccocco, Roland Hanna and Jackie Byard among others.
While still in his teens, Mark played drums in a trio with pianist Kenny Kirkland who he introduced to Wynton. At 21, he began working on Broadway and in New York’s active studio scene, playing percussion, piano, drums and vibraphone. In 1980 he released his first album Fulcrum Point on Unisphere records. The decade saw him in studio working on commercial jingles.
Sherman spent a lot of his time in the studio in the 1980s, working on commercial jingles. Pianist Mike Renzi took him under his wing, connecting him with Peggy Lee and other singers performing with Lee, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lena Horne and Ruth Brown. In 1986 he signed with Columbia Records and released his major label debut, A New Balance.
He continued to perform with Peggy Lee in the early 1990s, began a seven-year playing relationship with Larry Coryell, became an active studio musician, and played on numerous films and Broadway soundtracks. Reemerging as a leader playing vibraphone, he also continued his active career as a sideman, recording with Capathia Jenkins, Jennifer Holiday, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Minnelli and others.
Sherman continued to release his own albums on Miles High Records, won the Rising Star (Vibes) category in the Down Beat Critics Poll in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and has been a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Vibraphonist, pianist and drummer Mark Sherman is currently on the faculty of Juilliard jazz program, New Jersey City University and the New York Jazz Workshop.
Henry Mancini was born Enrico Nicola Mancini on April 16, 1924 in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio and was raised in the steel town of West Aliquippa near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began piccolo lessons at age eight, by 12 began piano lessons and played flute in the Aliquippa Italian immigrant band, “Sons of Italy”. After graduating from high school he went to Juilliard School of Music and after one year of study was drafted into the Army, where in 1945 was part of the liberation force of a southern Germany concentration camp.
After the war years Mancini entered the music industry as a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Orchestra. He went on to broaden his skills in composition, counterpoint, harmony and orchestration during subsequent studies. By 1952 he joined the Universal Pictures music department and over the next six years contributed music to over 100 movies, most notably The Glenn Miller Story, The Benny Goodman Story, Touch of Evil and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was also during this period that he wrote his first hit single for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians titled I Won’t Let You Out of My Heart.
Henry left Universal International to work as an independent composer and arranger in 1958 and soon scored the television series Peter for writer and producer Blake Edwards. This was the genesis of a relationship in which Edwards and Mancini collaborated on 30 films over 35 years and was one of several pioneers introducing jazz elements in the late romantic orchestral film and TV scoring prevalent at the time.
Mancini’s scored film songs Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses, The Pink Panther, A Time For Us, Baby Elephant Walk, and the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet as well as many TV shows and movies such as the Thorn Birds, Peter Gunn and Remington Steele. Among his many singers he worked with frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Julie London, Peggy Lee among a host of others. He recorded over 90 albums, eight certified gold by the RIAA, a twenty-year contract with RCA that culminated in 60 commercial albums. Many of his songs have become jazz standards, most notably, Charade, Moment To Moment, Two For The Road, Love Story, Slow Hot Wind, Moonlight Sonata, The Pink Panther, The Days of Wine and Roses and Moon River.
Composer, arranger and conductor Henry Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California on June 14, 1994. He was working at the time on the Broadway stage version of Victor/Victoria, which he never saw on stage. Mancini was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys, winning 20; nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning four; won a Golden Globe Award, nominated for two Emmys, was posthumously Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and honored with a 37 cent postage stamp in 2004.
The Film: They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
The Year: 1970
The Director: Gordon Douglas
The Stars: Sidney Poitier, Martin Landau, Barbara McNair, Anthony Zerbe, Edward Asner, Beverly Todd
The Music: Composed by Quincy Jones
The Story: Detective Virgil Tibbs, now a lieutenant with the San Francisco police, is assigned to investigate the murder of a prostitute. A prime suspect is Rev. Logan Sharpe, a liberal street preacher and political organizer, who insists to Tibbs that he was merely visiting the hooker in a professional capacity, advising her spiritually. Tibbs questions a janitor from the victim’s building, Mealie, as well as another man, Woody Garfield, who might have been the woman’s pimp. Suspicion falls on a man named Rice Weedon, who takes umbrage and is shot by Tibbs in self-defense. Tibbs concludes that Sharpe really must be the culprit. Sharpe confesses but requests Tibbs give him some time to complete his work on one last political issue. Told this wouldn’t be possible, Sharpe takes his own life.
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Hassan A. Shakur, born J.J. Wiggins on April 15, 1956 in Los Angeles, California, is the son of pianist Gerald Wiggins. He learned to play bass standing on a chair at age four and with his father as a guide developed a high sensitivity and wide range of expression in jazz.
By age twelve he became the bassist for the Craig Hundley Trio, appearing on television shows, such as, the Today show, Johnny Carson, Jonathan Winters, Ted Mack Amateur Hour and the Della Reese show. The Trio recorded an album for World Pacific Records. At eighteen, he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington and to this day continues to perform with the Orchestra.
Shakur has performed with not only his father but Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Billy Eckstein, Al Grey, Sarah Vaughn, Joe Williams, Pearl Bailey, Louie Bellson, Herb Ellis and many others. He was bassist for the Broadway show “Me and Bessie” with Linda Hopkins, “Black and Blue” with Ruth Brown and Linda Hopkins, and the Duke Ellington shows “Sophisticated Ladies” and “Queenie Pie”.
Hassan is a longtime member of the Bill Easley Quartet, recording several albums, and also performs regularly with Monty Alexander on tours in the United States, Europe and Japan. He is a favorite on the cruise lines and has played Montreux, Kool, North Sea Nice, Concord, Hollywood Bowl and Saratoga jazz festivals.
He is adept at playing several instruments but Hassan Shakur’s remarkable technique, flexibility and talent for creating improvisational styles on the bass that are uniquely identifiable with him as a musician.
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Coco Rouzier was born on April 14, 1966 in Washington, DC and began singing as a child by imitating the sounds that came from her mother. She sang in the Concert Choir at Kelly Miller Jr. High School taught her harmony. While working summers in musical theater she learned acting and subsequent immersion into cabaret taught her to and learned to connect intimately with the audience.
While at Howard University, Rouzier won the amateur singing contest and that led her straight to the Apollo Theater in New York City where she performed on “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”. New York City become her home, where she discovered jazz and started to swing with The Jerry Kravat NY Orchestra, now called Tribeca Rhythm.
Coco’s performances have garnered her the labels of a Jazz Diva in France, the Soulful Swinging Songstress in America, and The Jewel in China. She has performed in Norway on some of stages her heroes stood decades before. As yet she has not led her own recording session to showcase her own style she has developed and for the past 15 years. Vocalist Coco Rouzier continues to perform for audiences around the world with a blend of straight-ahead swing, blues and old-school soul.
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