Dudley Stuart John Moore was born on April 19, 1935 in London, England. Notably short in stature and born with clubfeet he was the butt of children’s jokes. He became a choirboy at the age of six and by eleven he earned a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music where he took up harpsichord, organ, violin, musical theory and composition. He rapidly developed into a highly talented pianist and organist and was playing the pipe organ at local church weddings by the age of 14. He attended Dagenham County High School where he received musical tuition from a dedicated teacher, Peter Cork, who would also become a lifelong friend and confidant.
Moore’s musical talent won him an organ scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford and it was during his university years that he developed a love of jazz. He soon became an accomplished pianist and composer and began working with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. During the 1960s he formed the Dudley Moore Trio, with drummer Chris Karan and bassist Pete McGurk. Moore’s admitted principal musical influences were Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner. Mastering the latter’s cadence he recorded songs like Baubles, Bangles and Beads, My Blue Heaven, Indiana and Autumn Leaves among others. The trio performed regularly on British television, made numerous recordings and had a long-running residency at Peter Cook’s London nightclub, The Establishment.
Moore became an American household name in his role as Arthur but as his star waned he opted to concentrate on the piano, continuing to work as a composer and pianist, writing scores for a number of films and giving piano concerts. Moore co-owned the fashionable restaurant 72 Market Street OysterBar & Grill in Venice, California and played the piano whenever he was there.
In June 2001, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Pianist, composer, actor and comedian Dudley Moore passed away on March 27, 2002 as a result of pneumonia, secondary to immobility caused by progressive supranuclear palsy in Plainfield, New Jersey.
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Over The Rainbow is a jazz classic taken from the 1939 American musical fantasy film The Wizard of Oz. It was the most commercially successful adaptation of the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The film stars Judy Garland, Terry the Dog as Toto, Ray bolger, Jack Halsy, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick, Pat Walshe as the leader of the flying monkeys and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.
The Story: Dorothy is bored and her aunt, uncle and farmhands are too busy to pay attention to her so she runs off. Meeting carny mystic Professor Marvel who tells her fortune and convinces her to return home. Arriving home during a tornado she is knocked unconscious and she imagines the house being blown up into the funnel and ends up landing in Oz atop a wicked witch. Traveling from Munchkin Land to the Emerald City to see the Wizard, Dorothy encounters a scarecrow, a tin man, a cowardly lion, flying monkeys, talking trees and poppy fields. She meets the Wizard, kills the wicked witch and discovers home is all about just believing.
James Edward Rowser was born on April 18, 1926 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a professional jazz bassist he played with Philly Joe Jones from 1954, with Dinah Washington in 1956-57 and from 1957 to 1959 with Maynard Ferguson, as well as Red Garland.
By 1963 he was touring Mexico with Benny Goodman and followed with a stint in 1964 accompanying Friedrich Guida in South America. He would go onto play out the decade with Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Les McCann, with whom he recorded frequently.
The consummate sideman, bassist Jimmy Rowser can list 97 recording sessions to his name. He has played or recorded with Ray Bryant, Yusef Lateef, Junior Mance, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Illinois Jacquet, Hilton ruiz, Eddie Harris, Cannonball Adderley, Herb Ellis, Sonny Criss, Ben Riley and Albert “Tootie” Heath.
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Mark Sherman was born April 17, 1957 in Manhattan, New York City to a Juillliard trained soprano mother who performed with the Cleveland and Boston symphonies, so it was natural that he studied classical piano as a child.
Sherman graduated from The High School of Music and in 1975, then went on to study classical percussion at Juilliard. He performed in ensembles under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Sir George Solti, Zubin Mehta and Herbert Von Karajan. While there he would jam regularly with Wynton Marsalis. During the course of his career, Sherman also studied with Elvin Jones, Rohland Kohloff, Justin Diccocco, Roland Hanna and Jackie Byard among others.
While still in his teens, Mark played drums in a trio with pianist Kenny Kirkland who he introduced to Wynton. At 21, he began working on Broadway and in New York’s active studio scene, playing percussion, piano, drums and vibraphone. In 1980 he released his first album Fulcrum Point on Unisphere records. The decade saw him in studio working on commercial jingles.
Sherman spent a lot of his time in the studio in the 1980s, working on commercial jingles. Pianist Mike Renzi took him under his wing, connecting him with Peggy Lee and other singers performing with Lee, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lena Horne and Ruth Brown. In 1986 he signed with Columbia Records and released his major label debut, A New Balance.
He continued to perform with Peggy Lee in the early 1990s, began a seven-year playing relationship with Larry Coryell, became an active studio musician, and played on numerous films and Broadway soundtracks. Reemerging as a leader playing vibraphone, he also continued his active career as a sideman, recording with Capathia Jenkins, Jennifer Holiday, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Minnelli and others.
Sherman continued to release his own albums on Miles High Records, won the Rising Star (Vibes) category in the Down Beat Critics Poll in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and has been a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Vibraphonist, pianist and drummer Mark Sherman is currently on the faculty of Juilliard jazz program, New Jersey City University and the New York Jazz Workshop.
Henry Mancini was born Enrico Nicola Mancini on April 16, 1924 in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio and was raised in the steel town of West Aliquippa near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began piccolo lessons at age eight, by 12 began piano lessons and played flute in the Aliquippa Italian immigrant band, “Sons of Italy”. After graduating from high school he went to Juilliard School of Music and after one year of study was drafted into the Army, where in 1945 was part of the liberation force of a southern Germany concentration camp.
After the war years Mancini entered the music industry as a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Orchestra. He went on to broaden his skills in composition, counterpoint, harmony and orchestration during subsequent studies. By 1952 he joined the Universal Pictures music department and over the next six years contributed music to over 100 movies, most notably The Glenn Miller Story, The Benny Goodman Story, Touch of Evil and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was also during this period that he wrote his first hit single for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians titled I Won’t Let You Out of My Heart.
Henry left Universal International to work as an independent composer and arranger in 1958 and soon scored the television series Peter for writer and producer Blake Edwards. This was the genesis of a relationship in which Edwards and Mancini collaborated on 30 films over 35 years and was one of several pioneers introducing jazz elements in the late romantic orchestral film and TV scoring prevalent at the time.
Mancini’s scored film songs Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses, The Pink Panther, A Time For Us, Baby Elephant Walk, and the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet as well as many TV shows and movies such as the Thorn Birds, Peter Gunn and Remington Steele. Among his many singers he worked with frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Julie London, Peggy Lee among a host of others. He recorded over 90 albums, eight certified gold by the RIAA, a twenty-year contract with RCA that culminated in 60 commercial albums. Many of his songs have become jazz standards, most notably, Charade, Moment To Moment, Two For The Road, Love Story, Slow Hot Wind, Moonlight Sonata, The Pink Panther, The Days of Wine and Roses and Moon River.
Composer, arranger and conductor Henry Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California on June 14, 1994. He was working at the time on the Broadway stage version of Victor/Victoria, which he never saw on stage. Mancini was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys, winning 20; nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning four; won a Golden Globe Award, nominated for two Emmys, was posthumously Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and honored with a 37 cent postage stamp in 2004.