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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Ken Gregory was born on April 26, 1950 in Atlanta, Georgia and began playing trumpet at age nine, playing in the Northside Highlander Concert Band for three years beginning in 1960. After four years of private training, during his time in high school he sat 1st chair trumpet in the concert band from 1963 to 1968. He went on to work as conductor and lead trumpeter for the Six Flags Over Georgia orchestra until 1971, then learned to play guitar, electric bass and keyboards.

Gregory started playing the nightclub circuit in 1971 for the next nine years. By the Eighties as performance venues transitioned from clubs to private parties, he partnered with an electronics technician and moved into the professional studio business.

As a composer he has been commissioned to write for Warner Bros. Films, CNN, the Weather Channel, numerous radio and television advertisers, songwriters and lyricists. He has added trombone to his arsenal of instruments and has been recorded on thousands of studio sessions and has engineered audio and MIDI programming.

He performs original compositions with his band Solid State and has been featured on some of Atlanta’s best radio stations, on PBS Television’s Jazz Atlanta, and has performed at the Montreux Jazz, Atlanta Jazz and Inman Park festivals. Trumpeter and engineer Ken Gregory continues to be active in the professional music and record business in Atlanta.

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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Rick Henderson was born in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1928 and studied composition while in high school and in the late 1940s played the saxophone locally. After serving in the Army from 1951 to 1953, he joined Duke Ellington’s Orchestra upon recommendation by Clark Terry.

During Ellington’s years on Capitol Records, Rick sat in the saxophone section, created arrangements, and in addition composed tunes such as Carney for the Ellington band. Leaving Ellington’s employ in 1956, he returned to Washington, where he led the Howard Theatre’s house band until 1964.

Following this he worked as an arranger and composer for jazz orchestras as well as military bands and school ensembles. Among those who used Henderson’s charts, in addition to Ellington, were Count Basie, Illinois Jacquet, and Billy Taylor. He continued to lead bands into the 1990s, including the University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble from 1977 to 1978.

Saxophonist and arranger Rick Henderson passed away of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease on May 21, 2004 in the District of Columbia.


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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Frank Strazzeri was born April 24, 1930 in Rochester, New York and began his musical journey on tenor saxophone and clarinet at age 12, switching to piano soon after. He attended the Eastman School of Music, then, in 1952, took a job as a house pianist in a Rochester nightclub. While there he accompanied visiting musicians such as Roy Eldridge and Billie Holiday.

Relocating to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1954, he performed with Sharkey Bonano and Al Hirt in a Dixieland jazz setting, though his main focus since has been bebop. He played with Charlie Ventura in 1957-58 and Woody Herman in 1959 before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1960. There he worked extensively as a studio musician on the West Coast jazz scene, and toured with Joe Williams, Maynard Ferguson, Les Brown and Elvis Presle, playing with the latter for the 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert.

Pianist Frank Strazzeri copiously recorded as a leader and played with Terry Gibbs, Herb Ellis, the Lighthouse All-Stars, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Cal Tjader, Louie Bellson, Curtis Amy, Red Mitchell, Bill Perkins, Harold Land and Chet Baker. in addition to recording copiously as a leader. He passed away at the age of 84 on May 9, 2014.

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Atlanta Jazz Festival…2011

2011 had an increased emphasis on straight-ahead jazz was by design. The festival is one of the last free music festivals that celebrates jazz in its purest form and will continue to cultivate the legacy of classic jazz.

In Piedmont Park over the Memorial Day Weekend of May 28th to the 30th, the lineup was a good collection of straight-ahead and contemporary, both young and more established stars, as well as Atlanta representation. J.C. Young Middle School Jazz Band and North Atlanta High School Jazz Band represented the Youth Jazz Band Competition winners opening each day’s festivities along with Audrey Shakir, Gerald Clayton Trio, Infinite Sound Family, Marea Alta, Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble Jazz Band, Myrna Clayton, Oliver Santana & Ellison Jazz, Neo 4, Ninety Miles featuring Stefon Harris, David Sanchez, and Christian Scott, Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread, Rialto Jazz for Kids, Rua 6, Sean Jones Quintet, Tropical Breeze, Warren Wolf Quintet and Wild Rice.

Saxophonist Mike Phillips was selected as the festival’s first-ever ambassador, Glory Foods came on as a sponsor and the GoGreen Initiative made available an iphone app allowing everyone to go paperless and get all festival information. 31 Days of Jazz continued to build its own tradition of community performances and educational workshops and neighborhood concerts were all a part of the festivities.


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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Thilo Berg was born April 23, 1959 in Dortmund, Germany and attracted attention in the 1980s, as a modern jazz drummer and big band leader. He has produced and organized more than 700 jazz, classical, R&B and soul events. Besides his own productions, he worked on large industry concerts as well as kick-off meetings and social events.

Berg completed studies as a classical percussionist with Herrmann Gschwendtner and held the position of solo timpanist and percussionist in the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra and the German  between 1981 and 2008. Having worked in various bands, in 1986 he formed his big band, performing with guest soloists such as Barbara Dennerlein, Ack van Rooyen, Jiggs Whigham, Barbara Morrison, Silvia Droste, Jim Snidero, Slide Hampton, Bob Mintzer, Art Farmer and Bill Ramsey.

Over seven year together they recorded three albums and the band saw coming through its ranks Till Brönner, Paul Heller, Peter Weniger, Ludwig Nuss, Mark Nightingale, Gerald Presencer, Martin Shaw, Hubert Nuss and Thilo Wagner.He also worked in smaller groups with Jack van Poll, Bobby Shew, Heiner Franz, John Gordon, Elaine Delmare and Curtis Fuller.

Drummer Thilo Berg founded the jazz and classical music label Mons Records in 1991, has worked as a music producer for Sony Music, BMG, Columbia and Universal, and continues to perform, record and produce.

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