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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George “Buster” Cooper was born on April 4, 1929 in St. Petersburg, Florida and took up the trombone. He played in a Texas territory band with Nat Towles in the late 1940s, and gigged with Lionel Hampton in 1953.
During the mid-1950s he played in the house band at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in New York City followed by playing with Benny Goodman. By the late 1950s, he and his brother Steve had formed The Cooper Brothers Band but by the early Sixties through the decade Buster was a trombone fixture in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra.
In 1973 he moved to Los Angeles and played in various jazz orchestras there over the next several decades; among them were “The Juggernaut” and “Bill Berry’s L.A. Band”.
Over the course of his career, Buster Cooper, the extroverted trombonist with a witty style that often involved hitting repeated, humorous high notes at the conclusion of a song never recorded as a leader until he paired with trombonist Thurman Green and released E-Bone-ix in 1997. At 85 years, he currently leads the Buster Cooper Trio, playing The Garden Restaurant in his hometown of St. Petersburg.
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Harold Vick was born on April 3, 1936 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. His uncle, reed player Prince Robinson gave him a clarinet when he was thirteen and two years later he switched to the tenor saxophone. He rose to prominence playing with organ combos in the mid-60s performing and recording with Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Big John Patton among others.
During this period in his career Harold also performed and recorded as a leader releasing eight albums between 1963 and 1977. He would work with the likes of Blue Mitchell, Ben Dixon, John Patton, Bobby Hutcherson, Walter Bishop Jr., Grady Tate and Teddy Charles, just to name a few. Also working as a sideman he performed and recorded with Grant Green, Shirley Scott, Nat Adderley, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Mercer Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Taylor, Donald Byrd, Horace Silver, Ray Charles and Gene Ammons.
He played in films such as “Stardust Memories” and “Cotton Club”, in which he played a musician. He also was in the Spike Lee film “School Days” and was featured on the soundtrack for “She’s Gotta Have It”.
Harold Vick, tenor saxophonist and flautist in the hard bop and soul jazz genres passed away on November 13, 1987.