Alwin Lopez Jarreau was born March 12, 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a minister/singer father and church pianist mother. He started out sing church concerts and benefits with his family and PTA meetings with his mother. He attended Ripon College where he sang with a group called the Indigos but graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and went on to earn his Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa. He then worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor in San Francisco and moonlighted with a jazz trio led by George Duke.
By 1967, Al found success with acoustic guitarist Julio Martinez and the duo became the star attraction at Gatsby’s, a small Sausalito nightclub, which ultimately guided his decision to make singing his profession. Heading south the duo hit the L.A. hotspots, appeared on Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and David Frost shows, and sang at The Improv between rising star comics like Bette Midler, Jimmie Walker and John Belushi.
Jarreau made jazz his primary occupation and in 1975 he signed with Warner Brothers dropping his critically acclaimed debut album, “We Got By”, that catapulted him to international fame and was soon followed by his second release “Glow”. He wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s television show “Moonlighting” and is also well known for his scat singing and the ability to imitate conventional guitar, bass, and percussive instrumentation.
Al was a featured vocalist on USA for Africa’s “We Are The World”, toured extensively, got his symphony program under way, performed on the Broadway production of “Grease” and signed with Verve. He has toured and performed with Joe Sample, Kathleen Battle, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Rick Braun and George Benson among others. The seven-time Grammy winner in jazz, pop and R&B categories received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He continues to tour, perform and record.
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Paul Jeffrey was born in New York City on April 8, 1933 and started learning to play the saxophone as a child. After graduating from Kingston High School in 1951, he received his B.S. in music education at Ithaca College in 1955. He spent the late 1950s touring with Illinois Jacquet, Elmo Hope, Big Maybelle, and Wynonie Harris. In 1960 Jeffrey toured the US with B.B. King, and freelanced around New York City and toured with bands led by Howard McGhee, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie.
1968 marked Paul’s first studio work as a leader, recording the “Electrifying Sounds” for Savoy Records. He toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, began working with Thelonious Monk from 1970-1975, was hired by George Wein to organize a 15-piece band for a tribute concert to Monk at Carnegie Hall in 1974 at which Monk made a surprise appearance, replacing Barry Harris on the piano.
Jeffrey also enjoyed a lasting association with Charles Mingus throughout the 1970s while making three additional studio recordings as leader on the Mainstream Records label. He also enjoyed a prolific career as an educator teaching saxophone, arranging and jazz history at Columbia University, Jersey City State College, Livingston College of Rutgers University, as jazz ensemble director at the University of Hartford, and artist in residence and director of jazz studies at Duke University; a position he held until his retirement in 2003.
He also organized the NC/Umbria Jazz Festival and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival while serving on the NC Council of the Arts and the Durham Arts Council. In 2009, tenor saxophonist and arranger Paul Jeffrey recorded a tribute to Thelonious Monk for the French label Imago Records.
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Frederick Dewayne Hubbard was born on April 7, 1938 in Indianapolis, Indiana and started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band at Arsenal Technical High School. Upon the recommendation of one-time Stan Kenton sideman, trumpeter Lee Katzman, he began studies at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of music. During his teens he played with Wes and Monk Montgomery, bassist Larry Ridley and James Spaulding.
1958 saw a 20-year old Hubbard in New York working with the likes of Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy, J. J. Johnson and Quincy Jones. Three years later in ’61 he recorded his debut as a leader, Open Sesame with Tina Brooks, McCoy Tyner, Sam Jones and Clifford Jarvis. That same year he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and for the next five years played and recorded on a succession of albums. Leaving Blakey in 1966 he formed the first of several small groups with among others Kenny Baron and Louis Hayes.
Throughout his hard bop and post bop career he recorded profusely for Blue Note, Atlantic, CTI, Columbia and a host of subsidiaries and smaller labels playing with the likes of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Oliver Nelson, Stanley Turrentine, George Benson, Richard Wyands, Eric Gale, Ron Carter, Jack DeJonette, Dexter Gordon, Curtis Fuller and the list goes on.
Freddie Hubbard, NEA Jazz Master, had an unmistakable and influential tone that greatly contributed to new perspectives for modern jazz and bebop. He passed away from a heart attack on December 29, 2008.
Horace Tapscott was born Horace Elva Tapscott in Houston, Texas, the son of a jazz musician mother on April 6, 1934. When he turned nine his family moved first to Fresno, California, eventually settling in Los Angeles. Reaching maturity at a critical time in the history of L.A. jazz, he was privy to the like of Dexter Gordon, Art Tatum and Coleman Hawkins who were playing the Central Avenue clubs in the late ‘40s.
In 1961 Horace formed the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, also known as P.A.P.A., or The Ark in 1961 and led the ensemble that included at one time or another Arthur Blythe, Stanley Crouch, Butch Morris, Wilbur Morris, David Murray and Jimmy Woods through the 1990s. In 1968 he composed and arranged saxophonist Sonny Criss’ critically acclaimed “The Birth of the New Cool”. He followed this with a decade long performance of his own works, a succession of recordings for the Nimbus label and a growing reputation and flourishing creativity that eventually leading to the recognition he deserved.
His powerful and percussive approach to playing coupled with a highly individual bop-tinged style with avant-garde leanings became somewhat of an inspiration to a new generation of L.A. based free jazz players. Horace Tapscott and his work are the subjects of the UCLA Horace Tapscott Jazz Collection. The composer and pianist passed away of lung cancer on February 27, 1999 in Los Angeles, California.
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Stanley William Turrentine was born in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 5, 1934 into a musical family. His father, Thomas Turrentine, Sr., was a saxophonist with Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans, his mother played stride piano, and his older brother Tommy Turrentine became a professional trumpet player.
Turrentine began his prolific career with blues and rhythm and blues bands, and was at first greatly influenced by Illinois Jacquet. In the 1950s, he went on to play with the groups of Lowell Fulson, Earl Bostic and at the turn of the decade with Max Roach.
1960 saw Stanley marrying organist Shirley Scott and the two frequently played and recorded together. During this decade he also started working with organist Jimmy Smith, making several soul jazz recordings both with Smith and as a leader.
By the 1970s, after his professional and personal divorce from Scott, Turrentine left hard bop and soul jazz for jazz-fusion. He signed with Creed Taylor’s CTI label and released his debut album “Sugar” that became one of his biggest successes and a seminal recording for the label. He worked with Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Bob James, Richard Tee, Idris Muhammad, Ron Carter and Eric Gale, to name a few.
In the 80s and 90s Stanley returned to soul jazz though throughout his career along with his CTI releases, he recorded for Blue Note, Fantasy, Prestige, and Impulse record labels. Tenor saxophonist, bandleader and composer Stanley Turrentine passed away from a stroke in New York City on September 12, 2000.
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