William Hooker was born on June 18, 1946 in New Britain, Connecticut. He began his music education singing in the church choir before receiving private drum lessons from the age of 10. He training continued as he played in the Nathan Hale Junior High, New Britain High School and Central Connecticut State College bands.
Starting off playing in rock and roll bands it wasn’t until he was sixteen that he got into jazz, learning standards from an older musician who taught him the essentials of leading a band. During his college years he listened to as many records and live performances as he could, gaining a wealth of knowledge. He also was a member of an organ trio as he matriculated through college and has since performed as a leader of many ensembles in San Francisco, California and New York City, leaning towards avant-garde, improvised and new music.
He has performed or recorded with Billy Bang, Thurston Moore, David Murray, David S. Ware, William Parker, Melvin Gibbs, Donald Miller, DJ Olive, Elliott Sharp, Malachi Thompson, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, DJ Spooky, Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, Mark Hennen, Steven Bernstein, Roy Nathanson, Jason Hwang, Dave Soldier, Sabir Mateen, Glenn Spearman, Joseph Celli, Ellen Christi, Liudas Mockūnas, among many others.
Lauded by Downbeat, The Wire and the San Francisco Chronicle as an inspired and fluent drummer who gives long performances of consistent energy and is a kingpin of the free jazz world, drummer and composer William Hooker continues to perform, compose and record.
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Ted Daniel was born June 4, 1943 in Ossining, New York and studied trumpet in elementary school. He began his professional career playing local gigs with his childhood friend, guitarist Sonny Sharrock. He briefly attended Berklee School of Music and Southern Illinois University, before a tour of duty with U.S. Army Bands. After his discharge from the Army, Daniel attended Central State College in Ohio, on a full music scholarship, where he met and studied with Dr. Makanda Ken McIntyre. After a year, Daniel returned to New York City and eventually received a bachelor of music degree in theory and composition from the City College of New York.
Beginning his recording career while studying in Ohio he returned briefly to New York to record Sonny Sharrock’s first album Black Woman. His second recording was with the band Brute Force that he co-led with his brother, Richard. The recording was titled Brute Force on the Embryo label and was produced by Herbie Mann. Since then, Daniel has participated in more than 30 published recordings with such artists as: Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Andrew Cyrille, Sam Rivers, Billy Bang, Tatsuya Nakamura and Henry Threadgill.
Daniel has produced three albums under his own name: The Ted Daniel Sextet on Ujamaa Records, Tapestry on Sun Records, and In The Beginning on Altura recordings. This recording features a twelve-piece ensemble including such artist as Oliver Lake, Arthur Blythe, Charles Tyler and David Murray. Eventually this ensemble evolved into a larger group called “Energy”.
As an educator Ted has held workshops at Amherst College, Bennington College, Williams College and the University of Hosei in Tokyo, Japan. He has also conducted a seminar in Madrid, Spain, as well as work in his community conducting summer music workshops for high and college age students.
Daniel has received a NEA compositional grant, was awarded Talent Deserving Wider Recognition from Downbeat Magazine. Presently, trumpeter Ted Daniel is writing and performing with his new group, the International Brass and Membrane Corporation (IBMC).
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Harry Beckett was born Harold Winston Beckett on May 30, 1935 in Bridgetown, Saint Michael, Barbados and learned to play music in a Salvation Army band. Moving to the United Kingdom in 1954, he already had an international reputation and in 1961, he played with Charles Mingus in the film All Night Long. The 1960s saw Harry working and recording as a member of bassist and composer Graham Collier. By 1970 he was leading his own groups and recording for Philips, RCA and Ogun Records among other labels.
He was a key figure of important groups in the British free jazz/improvised music scene, including Ian Carr’s Nucleus, the Brotherhood of Breath and The Dedication Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, London Improvisers Orchestra, John Surman’s Octet, Django Bates, Ronnie Scott’s Quintet, Kathy Stobart, Charlie Watts, Stan Tracey’s Big Band and Octet, and Elton Dean’s Ninesense.
He has also recorded with Keef Hartley, Jah Wobble, David Sylvian, Barry Guy/The London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, Oliver Nelson and David Murray. Not limiting himself to jazz , Beckett toured abroad with Johnny Dyani, Chris McGregor, Keith Tippett, John Tchicai, Joachim Kühn, Dudu Pukwana’s Zila, George Gruntz’s Bands, Belgian quintet The Wrong Object, Pierre Dørge’s New Jungle Band and Annie Whitehead’s Robert Wyatt project, Soupsongs, which also featured Phil Manzanera and Julie Tippetts, among other jazz and rock luminaries.
In 1972 he won the Melody Maker Jazz Poll as Top Trumpeter in Britain and was a member of the Orchestre National de Jazz between 1997 and 2000. His dub-oriented album, The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett, was released on On-U Sound in 2008. Trumpeter and flugelhornist and composer Harry Beckett passed away on July 22, 2010 after suffering a stroke.
Phil Ranelin was born May 25, 1939 in Indianapolis, Indiana and lived in New York City before moving to Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s. He worked as a session musician on many Motown recordings, including with Stevie Wonder.
In 1971, he and Wendell Harrison formed a group called The Tribe, which was an avant-garde jazz ensemble devoted to black consciousness. Alongside it he co-founded Tribe Records. He released several albums as a leader in the 1970s, and continued with The Tribe project until 1978. Following this, Ranelin worked with Freddie Hubbard, Freddie Redd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers..
Working for the most part locally around Detroit in the following decades, Phil did not find widespread acceptance among jazz aficionados. He did, however, eventually gain the attention of rare groove collectors who became increasingly interested in his work. As a result, Tortoise drummer John McEntire remastered some of his older material and re-released it on Hefty Records. He also recorded on Lifeforce, Wide Hive and Rebirth record labels.
Trombonist Phil Ranelin continues to perform, compose, and record.
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Connie Crothers was born on May 2, 1941 in Palo Alto, California and began studying classical piano at age 9. She went on to major in music and composition at the University of California at Berkeley. While matriculating her teachers put less emphasis on emotional expression and more on procedure, structure and compositional rigor, which did not find a likeable place in her mind.
She subsequently became a student of pianist Lennie Tristano. After Tristano’s death in November 1978, she founded the Lennie Jazz Foundation and recorded a memorial concert album in his honor.
Her debut recording Perception was released in 1974 on the Steeplechase label. She went on to record another twenty albums as a leader over the course of her career and four as a sidewoman. In 1982 she recorded the album Swish with drummer Max Roach for New Artists Records, a label she and Roach founded. She also recorded in groups with, among others, Bud Tristano, Linda Satin, Richard Tabnik and Cameron Brown.
Pianist Connie Crothers, who mainly played in the avant-garde and free jazz genres, passed away of lung cancer in Manhattan, New York City on August 13, 2016.
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