Jack Fallon was born on October 13, 1915 in London, Ontario, Canada and played violin before making double-bass his primary instrument at age 20. During World War II he played in a dance band in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and settled in Britain after his discharge. He joined Ted Heath’s band in 1946 and played bebop in London clubs in his spare time.
1947 saw Fallon playing with Ronnie Scott and Tommy Whittle at the Melody Maker/Columbia Jazz Rally, followed by his working with Jack Jackson, George Shearing and Django Reinhardt. Soon after playing with Reinhardt, he played in a Count Basie ensemble which also included Malcolm Mitchell and Tony Crombie, playing with both of them after leaving Basie. He went on to work together with Hoagy Carmichael and Maxine Sullivan and tour Sweden together with Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.
In the 1950s he accompanied Mary Lou Williams, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne. He was a sideman in the ensembles of Humphrey Lyttelton, Kenny Baker and Ralph Sharon, and was the house bassist at Lansdowne Studios. Working outside of jazz with blues musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White, and played with Johnny Duncan’s Blue Grass Boys. As the bass guitar became more popular, Jack became a champion and played both instruments in the latter part of his career.
He became a booker/promoter establishing the booking agency Cana Variety in 1952. Cana booked primarily jazz artists in its early stages but expanded to rock acts by the 1960s, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and was requested by the Beatles to play violin on the song Don’t Pass Me By. Bassist Jack Fallon continued to play jazz locally in London, England and in the studios into the 1990s. He published a memoir titled From the Top in 2005, and passed away on May 22, 2006 at age 90 in London, England.
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Teddy Brannon was born Humphrey Brannon on September 27, 1916 in Moultrie, Georgia. He began learning piano at age nine and played in dance bands in high school while working locally in Newark, New Jersey nightclubs from 1937 – 1942.
Between 1942 to 1945 he was a member of Benny Carter’s ensemble, after which he freelanced on 52nd Street in New York City. The 1950s and 1960s saw Brannon working in the studios with doo wop groups and though he never recorded as a leader, he recorded as a leader with his orchestra in the late Forties and played extensively in the jazz idiom with but not limited to Don Byas, Roy Eldridge, Buddy Rich, Bennie Green, Johnny Hodges, Jonah Jones, Don Newcomb and Illinois Jacquet.
An accomplished accompanied he performed and recorded with such singers as Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, Billie Holiday, and Babs Gonzales, who was Brannon’s cousin. Pianist Teddy Brannon passed away on February 24, 1989 in Newark, New Jersey.
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Elvira “Vi” Redd was born September 20, 1928 in Los Angeles, California to New Orleans drummers and Clef Club co-founder Alton Redd. She was deeply influenced during her formative years by her father, who was one of the leading figures on the Central Avenue jazz scene, as well as her other important musical mentor, her paternal great aunt Alma Hightower.
After working for the Board of Education from 1957 to 1960, Redd returned to jazz. She played in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1962, toured with Earl Hines in 1964 and led a group in San Francisco, California in the mid-1960s with her husband, drummer Richie Goldberg. During this time Vi also worked with Max Roach.
She toured as far as Japan, London, that included an unprecedented 10 weeks at Ronnie Scott’s, Sweden, Spain and Paris. In 1969, she settled back in Los Angeles where she played locally while also working as an educator. She recorded albums as a leader for United Artists and Atco and her 1963 album Lady Soul features Bill Perkins, Jennell Hawkins, Barney Kessel, Leroy Vinnegar, Leroy Harrison,Dick Hyman, Paul Griffin, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ben Tucker and Dave Bailey, with liner notes by Leonard Feather. She also performed with Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Linda Hopkins, Marian McPartland, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon.
A graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, she earned a teaching certificate from University of Southern California. She taught and lectured for many years from the ’70s onward upon returning to Los Angeles. She served on the music advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Arts in the late 1970s. In 1989 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society. In 2001 she received the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award from the Kennedy Center. Bebop, hard bop and post bop alto saxophonist, vocalist and educator Vi Redd remained active, performing and recording until 2010. She is 87 years old.
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Otis “Candy” Finch Jr. was born on September 5, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan. He is presumed to be the son of saxophonist Otis Finch Sr. , who performed with John Lee Hooker and the Boogie Ramblers. Learning to play drums as a child he went on to perform and record in the 1960s in trio and quartet settings with among others Shirley Scott, Stanley Turrentine during the Blue Note years, and with John Patton, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Billy Mitchell and Dave Burns.
With Turrentine he recorded from 1962 and 1964 at Blue Note with Bob Cranshaw, Blue Mitchell, Curtis Fuller, Herbie Hancock, Herbie Lewis and Les McCann. In 1967 he accompanied Dizzy Gillespie on the Impulse! album Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac. The following year he joined Dizzy’s Reunion Big Band and performed with them at the Berlin Jazz Festival. He is a modern style swing drummer and was active in the 1960s and 1970s.
Bebop and swing drummer Candy Finch passed away on July 13, 1982 in Seattle, Washington. He was never recorded as a leader.
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Ernie Henry was born on September 3, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He played in the late 1940s with Tadd Dameron, Fats Navarro, Charlie Ventura, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie. From 1950 to 1952 he was in the band of Illinois Jacquet.
After a few years in the shadows, in the 1950s he returned to play with Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Kenny Dorham, Kenny Drew, Wynton Kelly, Wilbur Ware, Matthew Gee, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones and Gillespie again in 1956.
He recorded four albums as a leader for the Riverside label shortly before his death Presenting Ernie Henry, Seven Standards and a Blues, Last Chorus and 2 Horns / 2 Rhythm.
Alto saxophonist Ernie Henry passed away of a heroin overdose at the age of 31 on December 29, 1957 in New York City.
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