Flip Phillips was born Joseph Edward Filipelli on March 26, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. In the mid-1940s, he was one of the anchors of the Woody Herman band, and also played with the Woodchoppers, a small spin-off group that Herman led. After this period he went out on his own and joined Jazz at the Philharmonic. His deep, strong and articulate playing with a very full sound contrasted him to his successors such as Stan Getz in the subsequent Herman bands.
Phillips recorded extensively for Clef Records, now Verve, in the 1940s and 1950s, including a 1949 album of small-group tracks under his leadership, with Buddy Morrow, Tommy Turk, Kai Winding, Sonny Criss, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. He accompanied Billie Holiday on her 1952 Billie Holiday Sings album. He became a frequent player at the Odessa Jazz Party in Odessa, Texas from 1971 to 1991.
Tenor saxophonist and clarinet player Flip Phillips, best known for his work with Jazz At The Philharmonic from 1946 to 1957, passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on August 17, 2001 at the age of 86.
Lonnie Hillyer was born on March 25, 1940 in Monroe, Georgia but moved with his family to Detroit at age three, and began studying music at 14 under Barry Harris. By 1960, he moved to New York City where he played with Charles Mingus, Yusef Lateef and Clifford Jarvis. His association with Mingus lasted more than a decade, performing on records such as “My Favorite Quintet” and “Let My Children Hear Music”.
In 1966, Lonnie and fellow Detroit friend Charles McPherson formed a quintet performed together during the years following. Around 1983 he and former Monk tenor saxophonist Charles Rouse formed a jazz quintet “Bebop Quintessence”, with drummer Leroy Williams, pianist Hugh Lawson and bassist Ben Brown.
Over the years of his career Hillyer performed with Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Willie Bobo, Barry Harris, Walter Davis Jr., Abbey Lincoln, Eric Dolphy and Pharoah Sanders among others.
Jazz trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer, who was strongly influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk and other bebop legends of the era, passed away of cancer on July 1, 1985 in New York City.
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King Pleasure was born Clarence Beeks on March 24, 1922 in Oakdale, Tennessee. He moved to New York City in the mid-1940s and while working as a bartender, he became a fan of bebop music. He first achieved popularity by singing the Eddie Jefferson penned vocalese classic Mood’s Mood For Love, based on a 1949 James Moody saxophone solo to “I’m In The Mood For Love”. On a night in late 1951 at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater, he won the competition and where Clarence Beeks became King Pleasure that night in Harlem.
Pleasure’s 1952 recording, featured vocalist Blossom Dearie, was his first after signing a contract with Prestige Records and is considered a jazz classic. He and Betty Carter also recorded a famous vocalese version of “Red Top”, a jazz classic penned by Kansas City’s Ben Kynard and recorded by Gene Ammons and others. Other notable recordings include “Parker’s Mood”, the year before Charlie Parker died in 1955, and Ammons’s “Hittin’ The Jug”, retitled as “Swan Blues” in 1962.
He would record with the Modern jazz Quartet, sans Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Lucky Thompson, with backup vocals by Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks along with The Three Riffs. In Los Angeles in 1960 he was recording with Teddy Edwards and Harold Land. But by this time his popularity was waning and he faded into obscurity. However, his early work influenced Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Bob Dorough, Mark Murphy, Al Jarreau, The Manhattan Transfer and others.
Jazz vocalist King Pleasure, an early master of vocalese, where a singer sings words to a famous instrumental solo passed away on March 21, 1982, three days before his 60th birthday.
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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto was born on March 23, 1948 in Niigata, Japan. He started to play the piano when he was in primary school. In junior high school, he played the trumpet. His interest in jazz began when he first heard Art Blakey’s tunes in the French movie, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”. It inspired him to return to the piano, to perfect his technique.
Yamamoto was largely self-taught as a pianist, although he did have piano lessons as a child. He attended Nihon University and as a student there, he played professionally, first as an accompanist to pop singer Micky Curtis and the Samurais touring Europe in 1967.
In 1973 Tsuyoshi formed his own band while polishing his piano skills and gleaning influence from Bobby Timmons, Wynton Kelly, Red Garland and Randy Weston. The next year, he became house pianist at Misty, a Tokyo jazz club and recorded his debut as leader.
He played major international festivals in the late 1970s. While living in New York for a year he performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Sam Jones, Billy Higgins, Sonny Stitt and Elvin Jones (his favorite drummer) among others. He has recorded fourteen albums as a leader and sideman and continues to perform and record.
Tsuyoshi Yamamoto has a very melodic technique and phrasing with a use of block chords in ballads. The composer and pianist continues to perform and record.
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Roy Haynes was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 13, 1925, and was keenly interested in jazz ever since he can remember. Primarily self-taught, he began to work locally in 1942 with musicians like guitarist Tom Brown, bandleader Sabby Lewis, and Kansas City blues-shout alto saxophonist Pete Brown. In the summer of 1945 he got a call to join bandleader Luis Russell to play for the dancers at New York’s Savoy Ballroom. When not traveling with Russell, the young drummer spent much time on Manhattan’s 52nd Street and uptown in Minton’s, the incubator of bebop.
From 1947 to 1949 Haynes was Lester Young’s drummer, worked with Bud Powell and Miles Davis in ’49, became Charlie Parker’s drummer of choice from 1949 to 1953, toured the world with Sarah Vaughan from 1954 to 1959, did numerous extended gigs with Thelonious Monk in 1959-60. Through the Sixties he performed and recorded with Eric Dolphy, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, has collaborated with Chick Corea since 1968, and with Pat Metheny during the ’90s. He’s been an active bandleader from the late ’50s to the present, featuring on his recordings Phineas Newborn, Booker Ervin, Roland Kirk, George Adams, Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Ralph Moore and Donald Harrison to name a few.
A perpetual top three drummer in the Downbeat Readers Poll Awards, he won the Best Drummer honors in 1996 (and many years since), and in that year received the prestigious French Chevalier des l’Ordres Artes et des Lettres and in 2002 his album “Birds Od A Feather” was nominated for a Grammy. Roy Haynes, percussionist, composer and bandleader nicknamed Snap Crackle, continues to compose, performer, record and tour.