Born Keith Moore Mitchell, Red Mitchell came into this world on September 20, 1927 in New York City and was raised in New Jersey. His father loved music, his mother poetry and his first instruments were piano, alto saxophone, and clarinet. Receiving an engineering scholarship from Cornell University by 1947 he was in the Army playing bass. The next year he was in a jazz trio in New York City.
Red became known as for performing and recording with Mundell Lowe, Chubby Jackson, Charlie Ventura, Woody Herman, Red Norvo and Gerry Mulligan. After joining the West Coast jazz scene in the early 1950s in Los Angeles, California, he played with André Previn, Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Billie Holiday, Stan Seltzer, Ornette Coleman, and others. He also recorded with Gene Ammons, Chet Baker, Louis Bellson, Paul Bley, Bob Brookmeyer, Buddy Collette, Maynard Ferguson, Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Giuffre, Herbie Harper, Paul Horn, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Karin Krog, Johnny Mandel, Jack Montrose, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Perkins, Richie Kamuca, Shorty Rogers, Dick Rosmini, Pete Rugolo, George Russell, Bud Shank, Clark Terry, Magni Wentzel and Pierre Strom.
He also worked as a bassist in the TV and film studios, occasionally appearing on screen and in the documentaries about Tal Farlow and Zoot Sims. Saxophonist Harold Land and Mitchell founded and co-led a quintet in the early 1960s. In 1966, Red began tuning his bass in fifths like the violin and his tuning method opened up many possibilities for bassists. Moving to Stockholm, Sweden in 1968, He won a Swedish Grammy Award in 1986 and again in 1991 for his recorded performances as a pianist, bassist, and vocalist, and for his compositions and poetic song lyrics.
During this period, Red performed and/or recorded with Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Ben Webster, Bill Mays, Warne Marsh, Jimmy Rowles, Phil Woods, Putte Wickman and collaborated in duos, most notably with pianist Roger Kellaway after the mid-1980s among others.
Returning to the United States and settling in Salem, Oregon, double bassist, pianist, composer, lyricist and poet Red Mitchell left three dozen albums as a leader and another sixty-six before passing away at age 65 on November 8, 1992.
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Lol Coxhill was born George Lowen Coxhill on September 19, 1932 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. Growing up in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire he bought his first saxophone in 1947 at 15. After national service he became a busy semi-professional musician, touring US airbases with Denzil Bailey’s Afro-Cubists and the Graham Fleming Combo.
The 1960s saw Lol playing with Rufus Thomas, Mose Allison, Otis Spann, and Champion Jack Dupree. He also developed his practice of playing unaccompanied solo saxophone, often busking in informal performance situations. He performed mostly as a sideman or as an equal collaborator, rather than a conventional leader with a trio or quartet. Instead he had many intermittent but long-lasting collaborations with like-minded musicians.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a member of the Canterbury scene bands Carol Grimes and Delivery and then Kevin Ayers and the Whole World. He became known for his solo playing and for duets with pianist Steve Miller and guitarist G. F. Fitzgerald. Coxhill collaborated with Mike Oldfield, Morgan Fisher, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath and its musical descendant The Dedication Orchestra, Django Bates, the Damned, Hugh Metcalfe, Derek Bailey and performance art group Welfare State among numerous others.
He often worked in small collaborative groups with semi-humorous names Typically these bands performed a mix of free improvisation interspersed with ballroom dance tunes and popular songs. There was a humor in his music though the free playing was not intended as a joke. He performed at the Bracknell Jazz Festival, and following a performance at Bracknell he recorded the melodramatic monologue Murder in the Air.
Soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, who also played the sopranino saxophone and was a free improviser and raconteur, passed away on July 10, 2012.
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Frank Socolow wa born on September 18, 1923 in New York City and began his career in the early 40s playing in swing bands led by Georgie Auld, Ted Fio Rito, Roy Stevens, Van Alexander and Shep Fields. In 1944 he landed the first of three stints that spanned into the late Fifties with the Boyd Raeburn Orchestra and recording a number of records.
1945 saw Frank recording his first of two sessions as a leader with Freddie Webster and a young Bud Powell for Duke Records. He would go on to join Buddy Rich’s short-lived big band, toured Scandinavia 1947-48 with Chubby Jackson, then joined Artie Shaw’s big band 1949-50. Throughout the late 40s and the 50s he recorded with a wide variety of artists including Johnny Bothwell, Charlie Ventura, Gene Krupa, Sal Salvador, Maynard Ferguson, Terry Gibbs, Phil Woods, Cecil Payne, Manny Albam, Hal McKusick, Johnny Richards, Bill Russo, Joe Morello, and Bobby Scott.
His second record session as leader and only full album release, Sounds by Socolow, came in 1956 for Bethlehem Records, with arrangements by Bill Holman, Manny Albam, and Sal Salvador, the latter also contributing guitar. Tenor saxophonist and oboist Frank Socolow passed away on April 30, 1981 in New york City.
Curtis Peagler was born September 17, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio and in his childhood his playing on the alto saxophone was influenced by Charlie Parker, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson and Louis Jordan . At the age of 13 he started playing the C-Melody-Saxophone and played alto with the Sons of Rhythm as well as with Territory Bands.
Prior to being drafted into the Army in 1953 Curtis was a member of the backing band of the singer Big Maybelle. After his release from the army in 1955 he studied for two years at the Cincinnati Conservatory and played there with local bands.
In 1959/60 he recorded with Eddie Lockjaw Davis on his first recording for Prestige titled Disciples Blues. Peagler then recorded with Lem Winchester and performed and recorded with his band Modern Jazz Disciples, on the Columbia label. In 1962 he moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked as a freelance musician, and then played in 1966-1967. By 1969 he was accompanying Ray Charles and Big Black.
Between 1971 and 1978 he went on tour with the Count Basie Band and accompanied Ella Fitzgerald . Curtis then settled in Los Angeles and founded the label Sea Pea Records, recording with his own groups and playing on albums for Pablo Records with Harry Sweets Edison and Big Joe Turner. He played with Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham’s Sweet Baby Blues Band in the mid-1980s, playing the Concord label’s swing band on several albums. In 1989, he worked with Jimmy Smith, in 1990 with Freddie Redd, and he recorded in 1999 on Frank Wess ‘s Concord album Entre Nous. Alto and tenor saxophonist Curtis Peagler passed away of heart trouble on December 19, 1992 in Los Angeles, California.
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Jay Cameron was born on September 14, 1928 in New York City and began as an alto saxophonist only to later record with bass and B-flat clarinet and baritone saxophone.
He began his career in the early 1940s in Hollywood with Ike Carpenter‘s band, with whom he played until 1947. He moved to Europe near the end of the decade and played with Rex Stewart, Bill Coleman, Roy Haynes and Henri Renaud in France and Italy. In the early 1950s Cameron gigged around Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia and by 1955 he played steadily in Paris, France with a band that included Bobby Jaspar, Barney Wilen and Jean-Louis Chautemps.
Returning to the United States in 1956, Jay played in bands led by Woody Herman and Slide Hampton as well as collaborations with Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Candido Camero, Bill Barron, André Hodeir, Hal McKusick, and Les and Larry Elgart.
He was the leader of the International Sax Band and the Third Herdsmen. And in the late 1960s he toured with Paul Winter. He continued to be an active musician and advocate for jazz programming and education throughout his life. Baritone saxophonist and reed player Jay Cameron passed away on March 20, 2001 in San Diego, California.