Warren Harding “Sonny” Sharrock was born on August 27, 1940 in Ossining, New York. His first love as a child was the saxophone after hearing John Coltrane play on Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue. Unfortunately asthma prevented him from the course so he began playing the guitar. By the time he was a teenager, he started singing in doo-wop groups.
By the late 60s he was collaborating with Pharoah Sanders and Alexander Solla during the first wave of free jazz. He made his recording debut on the 1966 Sanders album Tauhid. Sharrock performed with flautist Herbie Mann, made an un-credited guest appearance on Miles Davis’s project A Tribute To Jack Johnson and the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions, arguably his most famous cameo. He recorded three albums as a leader in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s: Black Woman, Monkey-Pockie-Boo, and an album his wife Linda titled Paradise.
Sonny semi-retired for much of the 1970s, got divorced, got divorced, and worked as a chauffeur and caretaker for mentally challenged children. He returned at the urging Bill Laswell in 1981 and recorded Laswell’s project Memory Serves. He went on to work on the punk/jazz session with the band Last Exit, and during the late 1980s, he recorded and performed extensively with the New York-based improvising band Machine Gun, as well as leading his own bands.
Sharrock flourished with Laswell’s help, performing together, as well as producing his albums such as his solo project Guitar, the metal-influenced Seize the Rainbow, and the well-received Ask the Ages where he featured Pharoah Sanders and Elvin Jones. He would go on to compose the soundtrack for the Cartoon Network program Space Ghost Coast To Coast, recording a total of twelve albums as a leader and six with Last Exit. He would perform and record as a sideman with Ginger Baker, Don Cherry, Pheeroah akLaff, Roy Ayers, Brute Force, and Wayne Shorter among others.
On May 26, 1994 guitarist Sonny Sharrock died unexpectedly of a heart attack in his hometown of Ossining, just as he was on the verge of signing the first major label deal in his entire career. He was 53.
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Eldad Tarmu was born on August 26, 1960 in Los Angeles, California where he began studying drums and percussion. Upon graduating from Tel Aviv University in Israel, he returned to the States and got a master degree in Afro-Latin music from California State University Los Angeles and a master degree in Classical composition from Stony Brook University in New York.
Tarmu established a partnership in 2006 with the American Cultural Centre in Bucharest to improve cultural ties between Romania and the United States and promote American music.]
Eldad has recorded and performed with Poncho Sanchez, Ernie Watts, Taj Mahal, Cybil Shepherd, Freddie Hubbsrd, Billy Higgins, Frank Morgan, and Ron Affif just to name a few. He has performed in over twenty-five countries around the world in various festivals and concert tours, recorded seven albums with his latest mixing jazz, Middle Eastern and strings with chamber ensemble arrangements.
Along with performing vibraphonist Eldad Tarmu keeps his education hat ready as a professor teaching World Music Studies, Intro to Music and African-American Music at Hudson County Community College. In addition he has developed a Latin American Music Studies course for the college and also reaches at SUNY Stony Brook Manhattan. He holds clinics and workshops at festivals and music camps worldwide.
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Keith Tippett was born Keith Graham Tippetts on August 25, 1947 in Bristol, England. He attended Greenway Boys Secondary Modern School in Southmead where he studied piano and formed his first jazz band called The KT7 whilst still at school, performing numbers popular at the time by The Temperance Seven. In the late 1960s, he led a sextet with saxophonist Elton Deanon, trumpeter Mark Charig and Nick Evanson on trombone.
By the early Seventies, Tippett formed the big band Centipede that brought together much of a generation of young British jazz and rock musicians. As well as performing some concerts, limited economically by the size of the band, they recorded one double-album, Septober Energy.
Keith, along with Harry Miller and Louis Moholo, put together a formidable rhythm section at the centre of some the most exciting combinations in the country, including the Elton Dean Quartet and the Elton Dean Ninesense. Around the same time, he was also in the vicinity of King Crimson and contributed piano to several of their records and appeared with them on Top of the Pops. His own groups, such as Ovary Lodge, leaned towards a more contemplative form of European free improvisation.
Pianist and composer Keith Tippett has recorded and performed on over 100 albums in variety of settings including duets with Stan Tracey, his wife Julie Tippetts, and solo performances. He continues to perform with the improvising ensemble Mujician and Work in Progress.
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Mimi Fox was born of August 24th in New York City and started playing drums at nine and guitar when she was ten. She was inspired by a wide variety of music in her house from show tunes, classical, Dixieland, Motown pop, folk, and R&B. By fourteen she bought her first jazz album, John Coltrane’s classic Giant Steps and her course of her musical life changed. She began touring right out of high school and eventually settled in the San Francisco Bay area where she became a sought after player.
Fox has performed and recorded with Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, Charlie Hunter, Mundell Lowe, Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, Houston Person, Don Lanphere, Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall, Kevin Mahogany, Janis Siegel, Joey DeFrancesco, Barbara Denerlein, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Stevie Wonder and John Sebastian and the list continues to grow.
Mimi has been named a winner in 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic’s polls, hit #23 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart, recognized by the IAJE for her outstanding service to jazz education, has released ten albums as a leader, published several instructional books and interactive CD-Roms.
As a composer she has written and performed original scores for orchestras, documentary films and dance projects. As an educator she teaches master classes worldwide, is currently the Chair of the Guitar Department, a faculty advisor and instructor at the Jazz School for Musical Study and Performance in Berkeley, California. Guitarist Mimi Fox continues to composer, record, teach and perform at festivals around the world.
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Anita Wardell, born August 23, 1961 is an English jazz singer born in Guildford, Surrey, England and from age 12 was raised in Australia. In due time she completed a four-year performance course in jazz and improvised music at Adelaide University. She began singing professionally and appeared at jazz festivals with Richie Cole, James Morrison and Don Burrows, with whom she later sang on tracks on two albums.
1989 saw Anita returning to the UK where she studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In the early 90s Wardell worked extensively in Europe and also visited the USA, singing at festivals in San José, Edinburgh and in Finland. She formed a close working relationship with John Stevens, performing drums/voice duos, and recording together in 1994.
Her debut album as a leader was a duet project titled Notes with pianist Liam Noble that allows her to exhibit her rich expressive and agile voice on standards but also her scat skills on bebop classics. Her sophomore project Kinda Blue came in 2008 and her third, The Road, was released in 2013 on the Specific Jazz label.
Wardell has won the BBC Best Jazz Award, and is noted for her vocalized rendition of Lee Morgan’s solo from Moanin’. An educator at heart, she teaches annual jazz course in Loire, France and continues to perform, record and tour.
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