Buddy Jones was born Burgher Jones on February 17, 1924 in Hope, Arkansas and learned to play piano as a child. At the age of seventeen he went to study at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he met Charlie Parker. Under Parker’s influence, he opted for a career as a musician and studied bass during his time in the Navy.
After his discharge Buddy worked with Charlie Ventura in 1947 and then moved to Los Angeles, California where he played in smaller jazz bands. In 1949 he played with Joe Venuti as well as the Ina Ray Hutton Orchestra.
1950 saw Jones moving to New York City and working with Elliot Lawrence, whose arrangements were written by Al Cohn, among others . He also played with Buddy DeFranco, Zoot Sims, Gene Williams and the Lennie Tristano Quintet. Subsequently, he was employed as a student at CBS in New York from 1952 to 1964 , played on Jack Sterling’s morning radio show and studios with Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra , as well as on tours with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey .
As a sideman Buddy performed on recording session led by Al Porcino, Stan Getz, Johnny Richards, Red Rodney, Jimmy Knepper, Porky Cohen, Don Lanphere, Gene Roland, Tiny Kahn, Joe Newman, Billy Byers, Osy Johnson, Manny Albam, Johnny Carrie, Thad Jones, Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Urbie Green, Bernie Glow, Conte Candoli, Ernie Royal, Hank Jones, Ernie Wilkins and many more.
Clint Eastwood enlisted his talents for the on the Charlie Parker biopic Bird in 1988, working alongside composer Lennie Niehaus as musical consultant. In 1996 he was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame. Bassist Buddy Jones, never led a recording session and passed away on June 9, 2000 in Carmel Valley, California.
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Benny Barth was born February 16, 1929 in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a child he was steeped in high school concerts, marching bands and orchestras and along with his Uncle Ben would go to the Indiana Rooftop Ballroom to hear jazz and big band as well as witnessing battles between the large ensembles of Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich.
He attended the Shortridge High School in his hometown and was a member of the Indiana Avenue jazz scene. After his graduation from Butler University , he moved to the West Coast where he worked with Conte Candoli and Lennie Niehaus.
He also worked as a session musician on numerous jazz albums and film scores. From 1957 to 1961 he was a member of The Mastersounds and recorded 12 albums playing with vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery, his brother bassist Monk Montgomery and Richie Crabtree on piano. He later became the house drummer for three years in San Francisco’s Club Hungi I. Barth would be a contributor to the album Drums on Fire, created together with Art Blakey and Chico Hamilton. He recorded with Wes Montgomery, Joe Venuti, Ben Webster, Jimmy Witherspoon, Pearl Bailey, Joe Williams, George Barnes and Mel Tormé.
In 1976, he accompanied Helen Hume on her album Deed I Do and appeared on some of the Vince Guaraldi recordings of the music for the television series Peanuts. Now at 87, drummer Benny Barth continued to play into the new millennium while mentoring young students.
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Hans Koller was born February 12, 1921 in Vienna, Austria. He attended the University of Vienna from 1936 to 1939 and served in the armed forces from 1940 to 1946. Following World War II he returned home and played with the Hot Club of Vienna.
Emigrating to Germany in 1950, Hans formed a small ensemble there. During the decade of the Fifties he played with Freddie Brocksieper, Albert Mangelsdorff, Jutta Hipp, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Russo, Lee Konitz, Stan Kenton, Eddie Sauter, Benny Goodman, Attila Zoller, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke, Zoot Sims and Jimmy Pratt.
From 1958 to 1965 he directed the jazz workshops of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, Germany before returning to Vienna in 1970. Soon after his return he formed his own ensemble, Free Sound, and later that decade he worked with the International Brass Company. In addition to playing and bandleading, Koller also composed; among his original works are a 1968 ballet titled New York City.
Tenor saxophonist and bandleader Hans Koller, who was also a recognized abstract painter, passed away on December 21, 2003 in his hometown of Vienna.
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Bob Carter was born Robert Kahakalau on February 11, 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut and learned to lay the bass and guitar from his father, a vaudeville performer of Hawaiian heritage. He played in local orchestras from 1937 to 1940, toured from 1940 to 1942 and worked with his own trio in Boston, Massachusetts in 1944.
By 1944 he was working in various groups on New York City’s 52nd Street with Tony Scott, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Stuff Smith and Charlie Shavers among others. Following time spent playing bebop with Allen Eager and Max Roach in 1946, he worked with Charlie Ventura from 1947 to 1949 and again in 1953-54. Between the Ventura stints he played with Benny Goodman in 1949-50.
In 1953, he also worked with jazz guitarist Johnny Smith and appeared on the albums Jazz at NBC and The Johnny Smith Quintet Featuring Stan Getz.
After his second stint with Ventura he studied composition with Wesley LaViolette and later that decade his arrangements were used by Red Norvo, Bob Harrington, and Shelly Manne. He spent two years in Hawaii beginning in 1957, then returned to New York in 1959, where he played with Bobby Hackett. In the early 1960s, he worked in Germany in the Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra. He did little playing after the end of the Sixties decade.
Bassist and arranger Bob Carter passed away in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 1, 1993 at the age of 71.
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Joseph George Dodge was born on February 9, 1922 in Monroe, Wisconsin and was raised and grew up in San Francisco, California. He initially studied to be a symphonic percussionist, and like many young drummers of his generation, he was primarily influenced by Gene Krupa, Jo Jones, Jimmy Crawford and Shelly Manne, gathering different sources of inspiration that helped him to create his own creative style.
During World War II, Dodge fulfilled his military duties from 1942 until 1945 playing drums in the Coast Artillery band, where he met tenor saxophonist Dave van Kriedt, who introduced him to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. After his discharge in 1946 he worked in several dixieland groups and dance bands around the Bay area.
In 1950, becoming tired of road touring and economic instability took a job working in a bank but still kept in touch with Desmond, who arranged for him to play a Brubeck engagement as a temporary replacement for drummer Cal Tjader. The Brubeck octet was steady playing at the San Francisco Opera House, and opened for Nat King Cole and Woody Herman.
A few years later, Desmond again recommended Joe to Brubeck and he joined the quartet as Brubeck’s regular drummer. During his tenure he helped to record five successful albums between 1953 and 1956. During the same period, he was featured in two albums with different formats directed by Desmond.
By late 1956, Dodge was worn down again by the travel and intense schedule with the quartet and wanted to spend more time with his family. He then told Brubeck it was time to look for another drummer and took a day job in San Francisco. In 1957 he was offered a transitory position with Stan Kenton but again declined and from 1958 until he retired in 1981, he would combine working in the liquor business with evening musical engagements. Never losing touch with Desmond or Brubeck, he would play at the latter’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1992. Drummer Joe Dodge passed away on August 18, 2004 in Lake Elsinore, California at the age of 82.
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