Steve Kuhn was born on March 24, 1938 in Brooklyn, New York City and began studying piano at the age of five. He studied under Boston, Massachusetts piano teacher Margaret Chaloff, mother of jazz baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff. She taught him the Russian style of piano playing and at an early age he began improvising classical music.
As a teenager Steve appeared in jazz clubs in the Boston area with Coleman Hawkins, Vic Dickenson, Chet Baker, and Serge Chaloff. After graduating from Harvard University, he attended the Lenox School of Music where he became associated with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, and Gary McFarland. His professors included Bill Evans, George Russell, Gunther Schuller, and the members of the Modern Jazz Quartet. This experience with some of the most forward-thinking innovators of jazz improvisation and composition culminated with his joining trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s group for an extended time and for a brief time in John Coltrane’s quartet at New York’s Jazz Gallery club.
Kuhn has appeared or recorded with Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Oliver Nelson, Gary McFarland, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, Scott LaFaro, Harvie Swartz, Pete LaRoca, Sheila Jordan, Billy Drummond, David Finck, and Miroslav Vitous. In 1967 he moved to Stockholm, Sweden where he worked with his own trio throughout Europe until 1971. Moving back to New York City he formed a quartet while continuing to play European gigs and appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival.
Known as an avant-garde pianist in his early career, he was associated with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca during the Sixties that produced several notable recordings. He was part of the quartet on the landmark recording Sound Pieces led by saxophonist, composer, and arranger Oliver Nelson with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Grady Tate. Among other critically acclaimed recordings there was The October Suite composed by Gary McFarland for Kuhn and an ensemble which included strings, woodwinds, and reeds.
For decades he has led all-star trios that have included such players as bassists Ron Carter and David Finck, and with drummers Al Foster, Jack DeJohnette, and Joey Baron. Pianist Steve Kuhn is the composer of the jazz standard The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers, has recorded several live albums at New York City jazz clubs and continues to lead a trio and compose.
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They gathered in Piedmont Park over Memorial Day for a weekend of jazz, barbecue, camaraderie and sunshine as they laid blankets and chairs on the lawn in front of the big stage. It was May 25th when the festivities began and they continued until the last note on May 27, 2002. It was not unusual, as a matter-of-fact, it became a common occurrence to see many festival participants in the commemorative T-shirts that were produced over the years. Celebrating the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the city produced an exhibit of the commemorative posters to mark the 25th anniversary.
This year was no less remarkable than the past years and in continuing the tradition jazz fans were given the opportunity to enjoy the talents of the Abbey Lincoln Quartet, Abebi Stafford, Bebel Gilberto, Ben Allison’s New Quartet, Carlos Washington & the Giant People Ensemble, D.D. Jackson Trio, Dan Baraszu, Darren Winters Ensemble, Dennis Springer, Ficciones, Jack West & Curvature, Jimmy Scott, Joshua Redman with Brian Blade & Sam Yahel, Living Daylights Trans-Atlantic, Lizz Wright, Marea Alta, Michel Camilo Trio, Miguel Romero, Mike Blackburn Trio, Mike Kelly, Moment’s Notice, Momentum, New Power Trio, Orquestra Nova Sound, Project Logic featuring DJ Logic, Ray Charles, Rio Negro, Ronny Jordan, Roy Haynes’ Birds of a Feather featuring Kenny Garrett, Nicholas Payton, John Patitucci & Dave Kikoski, Takana Miyamoto, Tommie Macon & the Gentlemen of Jazz, Winard Harper, Woody Williams Rhythmodics, World Mambo Mission, Xpressions, and Yusef Sharif
This year’s celebration of free jazz would not have been possible without the sponsorship and support of Anheuser-Busch, Publix Supermarkets Charities, Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Wyndham Midtown Atlanta, AT&T, MARTA, JazzTimes, Atlanta Magazine, Rolling Out, Creative Loafing, Mundo Hispanico, WSB-TV, WABE-PBA, WCLK 91.9 FM, WJZZ, WVEE/V103 FM, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Atlanta Livery Company.
Albert Aarons was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 23, 1932 and graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Remaining in Detroit he began gaining attention as a trumpeter in 1956 and started working with Yusef Lateef and pianist Barry Harris in the latter part of that decade. After a period playing with jazz organist Wild Bill Davis, he went on to play trumpet in the Count Basie Orchestra from 1961 to 1969.
In the Seventies Aarons worked as a sideman for singers Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, worked with saxophonist Gene Ammons and was a contributor to jazz fusion, playing on School Days with Stanley Clarke. He appeared with Snooky Young on the classic 1976 album Bobby Bland and B. B. King Together Again…Live.
He also worked with Brass Fever, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Harris, Gene Harris, Milt Jackson, Carmen McRae, Zoot Sims with the Benny Carter Orchestra, Frank Wess and Gerald Wilson. Trumpeter Al Aarons passed away on November 17, 2015 in Laguna Woods, California at age 83.
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Fred Anderson was born on March 22, 1929 in Monroe, Louisiana and learned to play the saxophone by himself when he was a teenager. Moving with his family to Evanston, Illinois in the 1940s he studied music formally at the Roy Knapp Conservatory in Chicago, Illinois and had a private teacher for a short time.
He was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and an important member of the musical collective. In the early 1960s Fred formed his own group and performed his original compositions with drummer Vernon Thomas, bassist Bill Fletcher, and his partner for many years, trumpeter Billy Brimfield.
During this period he recorded several notable avant garde albums as a sideman with saxophonist Joseph Jarman, As If It Were the Seasons and Song For which included one of his composition Little Fox Run. By 1972 he put together the Fred Anderson Sextet, with trombonist George Lewis, reedist Douglas Ewart, bassist Felix Blackman, drummer Hamid Drake and Iqua Colson on vocals. Throughout the Seventies he toured Europe, recorded in Austria, and recorded his first record as leader, Another Place in Germany.
He opened the short-lived performance-workshop space Birdhouse in honor of Charlie Parker, and in 1983 took over ownership of the Velvet Lounge in Chicago, which quickly became a center for the city’s jazz and experimental music scenes. The club expanded and relocated in the summer of 2006. Before that, his eclectic Beehive bar in west Chicago was a draw where musicians from around the world drank beer and played, mostly for each other.
Though remaining active as a performer, Anderson rarely recorded for about a decade beginning in the mid-1980s but by the Nineties he resumed a more active recording schedule, both as a solo artist, and as a collaborator with younger performers. He mentored a host of young musicians not limited to Hamid Drake, Harrison Bankhead, David Boykin, Nicole Mitchell, Justin Dillard, Aaron Getsug, Josh Abrams, Fred Jackson, Jr., George Lewis, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Isaiah Sharkey, and Isaiah Spencer.
Chicago avant-garde tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, who was rooted in the swing and hard bop idioms but incorporated innovations from free jazz, passed away on June 24, 2010.
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Edward Soph was born on March 21, 1945, in Coronado, California and was raised in Houston, Texas. In 1963 he e enrolled at North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas, as a music major, but switched his concentration to English during his sophomore year. While at UNT, he performed with the One O’Clock Lab Band, as well as summer tenures with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Stan Kenton. Graduating in 1968 he joined Woody Herman upon a recommendation from Cannonball Adderley.
Moving to New York City in 1971, Ed began performing and recording freelance with the bands of Clark Terry, Bill Watrous and Woody Herman, Bill Evans, Marvin Stamm, Randy Brecker, Joe Henderson, Pat LaBarbera, Bill Mays, Cedar Walton, Dave Liebman, Chris Potter, Carl Fontana and Slide Hampton, among others.
As an educator Soph pursued a teaching career on the faculty at The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshops, The National Stage Band Camps and The University of Bridgeport. Returning to Texas in 1987 he is currently a Professor in the Jazz Studies and Performance divisions of the College of Music at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Some of his students have been Ari Hoenig, Keith Carlock, Joel Rosenblatt, Jason Sutter and Dave Weckl.
Drummer Ed Soph is currently an Artist Clinician for Yamaha Corporation, the Avedis Zildjian Company, Evans Drumheads and Innovative Percussion. He continues to perform and record.
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