Bobby Short was born Robert Waltrip Short on September 15, 1924 in Danville, Illinois. With his mother’s permission he left home for Chicago and began performing as a busker at the age of eleven.
He started working in clubs in the 1940s and in 1968 he was offered a two-week stint at the Café Carlyle in New York City’s Carlyle Hotel, a relationship that lasted until 2004. His seemingly effortless elegance and vocal phrasing were perfected at the feet of Mabel Mercer and Ethel Waters. Bobby’s presentation of unknown songs worth knowing and his infectious good cheer made him tremendously popular and earned him great respect.
He became best known for his interpretations of songs composed by Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Noel Coward and the Gershwin brothers but was equally adept at championing the works of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Andy Razaf, Fats Waller and Bessie Smith.
Bobby Short, the pianist and cabaret singer, recorded 22 albums from 1955 to 2001, appeared in ten movies and 3 television shows and who was instrumental in spearheading the construction of the Ellington Memorial in his beloved New York City, passed away on March 21, 2005.
Oliver Lake was born in Marianna, Arkansas on September 14, 1942 but was raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He began playing percussion followed by alto saxophone. His piercing, bluesy, biting sound is his trademark and his explosive unpredictable solos are akin to Eric Dolphy.
During the 1960s Oliver taught school, worked in several contexts around St. Louis and led along with Julius Hemphill and Charles “Bobo” Shaw, BAG, the Black Artists Group.
In 1972 Lake moved to Paris for two years working with his colleagues from BAG, returned to New York and immersed himself into the then burgeoning jazz loft scene.
By 1977 he co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet with David Murray, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett. Over the next two decades the group crossed over to new audiences, in part, due to their late 80s albums of Ellington and popular R&B tunes. Lake has recorded for Freedom, Black Saint, and Black Lion, Novus, Gramavision, Blue Heron Gazell, Soul Note and other record labels.
Oliver Lake, alto and soprano saxophonist, flutist whose mainstay in the avant-garde and free jazz realm continues to create, perform, record and tour as a member of the WSQ and as a leader.
Riz Ortolani and Nino Oliviero composed the theme song More that found its place in the pantheon of jazz classics. It was a part of the score for the 1962 film Mondo Cane. The film title translates to Dog’s World, or as the soundtrack album states, “a world gone to the dogs”.
Some melodies are used repeatedly, in different styles, each named for the part of the movie where the music is used. Of the 15 music tracks on the soundtrack album, one melody is presented 6 times, another melody 2 times. The melody which became known as “More” is presented 4 times, named “Life Savers Girls”, “The Last Fight/L’Ultimo Volo”, “Models In Blue/Modelle in Blu”, “Repabhan Street/Repabhan Strasse”, in styles ranging from lush to march and 3/4 waltz.
Originally composed as an instrumental and titled “Ti guarderò nel cuore”, lyrics were later provided by Marcello Ciorciolini, which were adapted into English by Norman Newell. At that point, “Theme from Mondo Cane” became “More” (not to be confused with an earlier pop song of the same name).
The Story: The movie Mondo Cane is filmed as a documentary and uses a variety of music to accompany various segments. The film uses a series of stories that take place in different cities around the world, i.e. dog pound, Rudolph Valentino statue, bikini-clad girls wooing sailors, pigs being slaughtered, and a manhunt among various others.
Chu Berry was born Leon Brown Berry on September 13, 1908 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Following in his piano playing stepsister’s footprints, Chu became interested in music at an early age, playing alto saxophone at first with local bands. It wasn’t until he heard Coleman Hawkins was he inspired to take up the tenor.
Most of Berry’s abbreviated career was spent in the sax sections of major swing bands of Sammy Stewart, Benny Carter, Teddy Hill, Fletcher Henderson and Cab Calloway. He recorded with Count Basie, Bessie Smith, Mildred Bailey, The Chocolate Dandies, Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton among others.
Although Berry based his style on Hawkins’ playing, the older man regarded Berry as his equal, saying, “‘Chu’ was about the best.” His mastery of advanced harmony and his smoothly-flowing solos on up-tempo tunes influenced such young innovators as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and Chu was one of the jazz musicians who took part in the jam sessions at Minton’s Playhouse in New York that led to the development of bebop.
Collaborating with lyricist Andy Razaf, he composed “Christopher Columbus”, a tune that was the last important hit recording of the Fletcher Henderson orchestra. From 1937 to 1941 he would be associated with Cab Calloway until his death from complications stemming from a car accident. On October 30, 1941, tenor saxophonist Chu Berry passed away. He was just 33 years old. Author Jack Kerouac immortalized him in the beginning of his novella “The Subterraneans”.
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Brian Lynch was born September 12, 1956 in Urbana, Illinois but grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The young trumpeter apprenticed with pianist Buddy Montgomery and organist Melvin Rhyne while earning a degree from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. While living in San Diego 1980-81, he gained further valuable experience in the group of alto master Charles McPherson.
Moving to New York in late 1981 Brian was soon hired by Bill Kirchner, performing and recording with Kirchner’s nonet, then Horace Silver, and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra while simultaneously on the Latin scene with salsa bandleader Angel Canales, Hector LaVoe and Eddie Palmieri. By 1988 he was a part of the final edition of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers followed by Phil Woods and Benny Golson.
In recent years Lynch has worked with the Buena Vista Social Club, co-led bands and Latin sessions with Conrad Herwig, with Eddie Palmieri won best Latin Jazz Album of the Year Grammy for Simpatico, has immersed himself in the Afro-Cuban culture with “Spheres of Influence” collaborating with the likes of Edsel Gomez, Luis Perdomo, Robby Ameen, Ernesto Simpson, Richie Flores and Pedro Martinez to name a few.
As an educator he is a faculty member at the University of Miami, New York University and the North Netherlands Conservatory, has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Eastman School of Music, Dartmouth College, University of North Texas and Columbia University among others. Trumpeter Brian Lynch continues to perform, record and tour worldwide.
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