Frank Socolow wa born on September 18, 1923 in New York City and began his career in the early 40s playing in swing bands led by Georgie Auld, Ted Fio Rito, Roy Stevens, Van Alexander and Shep Fields. In 1944 he landed the first of three stints that spanned into the late Fifties with the Boyd Raeburn Orchestra and recording a number of records.
1945 saw Frank recording his first of two sessions as a leader with Freddie Webster and a young Bud Powell for Duke Records. He would go on to join Buddy Rich’s short-lived big band, toured Scandinavia 1947-48 with Chubby Jackson, then joined Artie Shaw’s big band 1949-50. Throughout the late 40s and the 50s he recorded with a wide variety of artists including Johnny Bothwell, Charlie Ventura, Gene Krupa, Sal Salvador, Maynard Ferguson, Terry Gibbs, Phil Woods, Cecil Payne, Manny Albam, Hal McKusick, Johnny Richards, Bill Russo, Joe Morello, and Bobby Scott.
His second record session as leader and only full album release, Sounds by Socolow, came in 1956 for Bethlehem Records, with arrangements by Bill Holman, Manny Albam, and Sal Salvador, the latter also contributing guitar. Tenor saxophonist and oboist Frank Socolow passed away on April 30, 1981 in New york City.
Ram Ramirez was born Roger J. Ramirez on September 15, 1913 in San Juan, Puerto Rico and grew up in New York City. He started learning piano when he was eight and was a professional five years later. In the early Thirties he worked with the Louisiana Stompers, Monette Moore , Rex Stewart, the Spirits of Rhythm and Willie Bryant.
Traveling to Europe with Bobby Martin’s group from 1937 to 1939, when Ramirez returned to New York City and had his own band before working with Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Newton and Charlie Barnet in the Forties. After a second stint with Newton, he played with the John Kirby Sextet in 1944.
Ram mostly led his own trio from the mid-1940’s on and began doubling on organ in 1953. Active into the 1970’s. playing with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band at the end of the decade. He became semi-active in the 1980’s and never gaining much fame except among knowledgeable musicians in the swing, bop and trad settings.
Through the years he led sessions for Gotham, Super Disc, Black & Blue, RCA and Master Jazz. He also played with Helen Humes, Putney Dandridge, John Kirby, Ike Quebec, Rex Stewart, Annie Ross, King Pleasure and Duke Ellington’s Small groups. Pianist and composer Ram Ramirez, best known as a co-writer of the classic song Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?, passed away on January 11, 1994 in Queens, New York.
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Jay Cameron was born on September 14, 1928 in New York City and began as an alto saxophonist only to later record with bass and B-flat clarinet and baritone saxophone.
He began his career in the early 1940s in Hollywood with Ike Carpenter‘s band, with whom he played until 1947. He moved to Europe near the end of the decade and played with Rex Stewart, Bill Coleman, Roy Haynes and Henri Renaud in France and Italy. In the early 1950s Cameron gigged around Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia and by 1955 he played steadily in Paris, France with a band that included Bobby Jaspar, Barney Wilen and Jean-Louis Chautemps.
Returning to the United States in 1956, Jay played in bands led by Woody Herman and Slide Hampton as well as collaborations with Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Candido Camero, Bill Barron, André Hodeir, Hal McKusick, and Les and Larry Elgart.
He was the leader of the International Sax Band and the Third Herdsmen. And in the late 1960s he toured with Paul Winter. He continued to be an active musician and advocate for jazz programming and education throughout his life. Baritone saxophonist and reed player Jay Cameron passed away on March 20, 2001 in San Diego, California.
John Malachi was born on September 6, 1919 in Red Springs, North Carolina and grew up in Durham, North Carolina. At the age of ten he moved with his family to Washington, D.C., and was a self-taught musician.
Malachi was a member of the Billy Eckstine Bebop Orchestra in 1944 for a year and then again in 1947. He worked with Illinois Jacquet in 1948, Louis Jordan in 1951, and a series of singers including Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Al Hibbler, and Joe Williams.
Opting out of the traveling life of the touring jazz musician in the 1960s, he lived approximately the last decade and a half of his life in Washington, D.C. freelancing, playing with touring bands and artists when they stopped in the city, and leading music workshops at clubs like Jimmy MacPhail’s Gold Room and Bill Harris’s Pig’s Foot. Malachi’s generosity towards younger musicians was legendary. His workshops with young musicians was referred to as The University of John Malachi.
He is credited with creating the nickname “Sassy” for Sarah Vaughan, with whom he worked with the Eckstine Orchestra and later directly with her. Pianist John Malachi, who was fond of categorizing jazz pianists into acrobats and poets, and considered himself among the latter, passed away on February 11, 1987 at the age of 67 in Washington, DC.
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Gilbert Bibi Rovère was born on August 29, 1939 in Toulon, France and grew up in Nice, where he also attended the Conservatory beginning in 1954. He became part of the jazz scene there and for 17 years played the San Remo Festival.
In 1956, a move to Paris saw him working in the jazz clubs and by 1957 he started playing the double bass with Barney Wilen. Over the coming years he accompanied Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins and Billie Holiday with Mal Waldron. Between 1962 and 1974 he was always part of the combos of Martial Solal and between 1962 to ‘63 he joined Bud Powell, Kenny Drew, Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon and Kenny Clarke.
During the Sixties Bibi went on to play with Art Simmons and Jean-Luc Ponty on his first album Jazz Longplaying. He also worked with the Swingle Singers, René Thomas and Cannonball Adderley. In 1966 he received the Prix Django Reinhardt.
During the Seventies he accompanied Al Haig on his album Invitation and in 1978 he retired from the music industry only to become re-active eight years later, performing with Bud Shank and Jackie McLean. In 1990 he played on Steve Grossman’s album My Second Prime.
On March 13, 2007 double bass and violincello player Bibi Rovère passed away in Menton on the French Riviera.