Horacee Arnold was born Horace Emmanuel Arnold on September 25, 1937 in Wayland, Kentucky. The drummer first began playing in 1957 in Los Angeles, California while holding down a position in the Coast Guard. It was in 1959, he began performing as “Horacee” when he joined the David Baker big band, and also played with Roland Kirk and Charles Mingus that year. In 1960 he became the drummer in a trio with Cecil McBee and Kirk Lightsey.
By the 1960s he was working with pianist and composer Hasaan Ibn Ali and Henry Grimes, and in 1964 with The Bud Powell Trio at Birdland. Horace also performed as part of the Alvin Ailey American Dance company on a tour of Asia. The late Sixties saw him performing with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba.
Continuing his education Arnold studied composition under Heiner Stadler, Hy Gubenick, and classical guitar with Ralph Towner. In 1967 he founded his own ensemble, The Here and Now Company, with Sam Rivers, Karl Berger, Joe Farrell, and Robin Kenyatta in tow.
The 1970s was when Arnold became one of the best-known jazz fusion drummers, playing and recording with Return to Forever, Stan Getz, Archie Shepp and Billy Harper. During this period of his career he released two of his own solo albums. He later formed a three-ensemble called Colloquium III with Billy Hart and Freddie Waits.
In the 1980s Arnold became an educator conducting workshops at the New York Drummers’ Collective and a professor at William Paterson College in New Jersey. He worked as a session musician and played with Kenny Burrell. He formed a trio that featured Dave Friedman and Anthony Cox.
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John Wallace Carter was born on September 24, 1929 in Fort Worth, Texas and attended I.M. Terrell High School. He played music with schoolmates Ornette Coleman and Charles Moffett in the 1940s.
From 1961, he was based mainly on the West Coast, where he met Bobby Bradford in 1965 and went on to work together on a number of projects, most notably the New Jazz Art Ensemble. He also played with Hampton Hawes and Harold Land. In the Seventies he became well known for his extraordinary solo concerts.
At New Jazz Festival Moers 1979 he and the German clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann performed for three days. This catapulted him to garnering wide recognition from around the world. He and Jörgensmann met again in 1984. The program of the Berlin Jazz Fest was built around the clarinet and after Carter’s solo performance, he and Jörgensmann also played together.
Between 1982 and 1990 Carter composed and recorded Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, five albums focused on African Americans and their history. The complete set was acclaimed by jazz critics as containing some of the best releases of the 1980s.
A clarinet quartet with Perry Robinson, Jörgensmann and Eckard Koltermann was planned for 1991, but Carter did not recover from a nonmalignant tumor. Later that same year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.
He recorded fourteen albums as a leader on the Black Saint, Flying Dutchman, Revelation, Dark Tree, Emanem, and Gramavision record labels. As a sideman he recorded with Horace Tapscott, Vinny Golia, and the Clarinet Summit. Clarinetist, saxophonist and flutist John Carter passed away on March 31, 1991.
Bill Tole was born on September 23, 1937 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was a high school band director, trombonist and pianist, his mother a music teacher, played piano and performed as a vocalist. Graduating from Duquesne University School of Music, he auditioned for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, went on tour and then joined the Air Force dance band, The Airmen of Note. He was solo trombonist and assistant leader for four years.
Moving to New York City in the 1960s he played with Broadway shows, headliners artists, club dates and recording during the studio’s prime years. Afterwards, he moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and recorded albums, commercials, television and movies. His career took a turn when a producer put out a casting call for a trombonist to portray Tommy Dorsey in a film starring Liza Minelli and Robert Deniro. They realized their luck with Tole who understood the era of music, professionally played trombone and had his own big band for the movie. He played as sweet as Dorsey, looked the part of the character and his band recorded their version of the soundtrack of New York, New York after the film was completed.
Bill has worked with Ray Anthony, Tex Beneke, Louis Bellson, Les Brown, Bob Crosby, Harry James, Quincy Jones, Nelson Riddle and Si Zentner as well as vocalists Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey and Tony Martin, to name a few.
Trombonist Bill Tole, very much in demand, continues to perform, record and tour as a soloist, teacher and clinician across the globe.
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Rio De Gregori was born on September 22, 1919 in Zurich, Switzerland. He began taking classical piano lessons at the age of seven and at fourteen he began buying records by Duke Ellington and other jazz musicians. Although his parents wanted to make him a classical pianist, his interest were leaning towards jazz.
Rio first played with Willie Mac Allen in 1939, then with James Boucher, The Lanigiros, Jo Grandjean and René Weiss during the early to mid Forties. He was with the big band of Fred Böhler until 1945 when he founded his own dance orchestra bringing with him some of the best Swiss jazz musicians, Stuff Combe, Bob Jaquillard, Jean Pierre Dupuis, Luc Hoffmann, Raoul Schmassmann and Kurt Weil. He also featured Glyn Paque as a guest soloist.
He disbanded his big band and worked in a trio setting or as a soloist. Performing in Ascona, Switzerland, he met vocalist Suzanne Doucet and composed and arranged for her. Moving to Munich, Germany De Gregori played under the name Rio Gregory and opened a nightclub.
Because of his harmonious flair De Gregori enjoyed an excellent reputation as a pianist recordings. As an arranger he was commissioned by Fred Böhler and other orchestral conductors. He recorded four albums as a leader over the course of his career. Pianist and vocalist Rio De Gregori passed away on May 22, 1987 in Munich, Germany.
Elvira “Vi” Redd was born September 20, 1928 in Los Angeles, California to New Orleans drummers and Clef Club co-founder Alton Redd. She was deeply influenced during her formative years by her father, who was one of the leading figures on the Central Avenue jazz scene, as well as her other important musical mentor, her paternal great aunt Alma Hightower.
After working for the Board of Education from 1957 to 1960, Redd returned to jazz. She played in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1962, toured with Earl Hines in 1964 and led a group in San Francisco, California in the mid-1960s with her husband, drummer Richie Goldberg. During this time Vi also worked with Max Roach.
She toured as far as Japan, London, that included an unprecedented 10 weeks at Ronnie Scott’s, Sweden, Spain and Paris. In 1969, she settled back in Los Angeles where she played locally while also working as an educator. She recorded albums as a leader for United Artists and Atco and her 1963 album Lady Soul features Bill Perkins, Jennell Hawkins, Barney Kessel, Leroy Vinnegar, Leroy Harrison,Dick Hyman, Paul Griffin, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ben Tucker and Dave Bailey, with liner notes by Leonard Feather. She also performed with Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Linda Hopkins, Marian McPartland, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon.
A graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, she earned a teaching certificate from University of Southern California. She taught and lectured for many years from the ’70s onward upon returning to Los Angeles. She served on the music advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Arts in the late 1970s. In 1989 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society. In 2001 she received the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award from the Kennedy Center. Bebop, hard bop and post bop alto saxophonist, vocalist and educator Vi Redd remained active, performing and recording until 2010. She is 87 years old.
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