Steve Swallow was born October 4, 1940 in Fair Lawn, New York. As a child, he studied piano and trumpet before turning to the double bass at age 14. While attending a prep school, he began trying his hand in jazz improvisation. While attending Yale and studying composition he left oin 1960, settled in New York and began playing in Jimmy Guiffre’s trio with Paul Bley. By 1964 he was with Art Farmer’s quartet where he began to write and during this period his long association with Gary Burton’s various bands commenced.
The early 1970s saw Swallow switching exclusively to the five-string electric bass guitar, encouraged by his favorite drummer Roy Haynes. Along with Monk Montgomery and Bob Cranshaw was one of the firsts to do so. He was an early adopter of the high C string and use of the upper register.
In 1974-76 Steve taught at the Berklee College of Music, contributed several of his compositions to the Berklee students who assembled the first edition of The Real Book. He later recorded an album of the same name, with the picture of a well-worn, coffee-stained Real Book on the cover. By 1978 he became an essential and constant member of Carla Bley’s band and her romantic partner since the 1980s. He toured extensively with John Scofield in the early Eighties, returning to this collaboration several times over the years.
Swallow has consistently won the electric bass category in Down Beat yearly polls, both Critics’ and Readers’, since the mid-80s. His compositions have been covered by, among others, Bill Evans, Chcick Corea, Stan Getz, Gary Burton and Jim Hall, who recorded his very first tune, Eiderdown. He has performed or recorded with Don Ellis, Dave Douglas, Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca, Joe Lovano, Michael Mantler, Gary McFarland, Pat Metheny, Paul Motian, Jimmy Raney, Zoot Sims, Tore Johansen and George Russell.
Bassist Steve Swallow, who performs in the genres of cool, fusion, avant-garde, free, post-bop and hard bop jazz, has fourteen albums to his credit as a leader an co-leader and continues to perform, compose, record and tour.
More Posts: bass
Mike Clark was born on October 3, 1946 in Sacramento, California. Most noted for playing in the Headhunters band headed up by Herbie Hancock since the mid-1970s. His performance on Hancock’s 1974 Thrust album and particularly the song “Actual Proof”, is often cited as one of the finest examples of the linear funk style of drumming.
Clark was also a member of the UK jazz-fusion outfit Brand X alternating behind the kit with Phil Collins between 1978-80. He has performed with Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi, Fred Wesley, Woody Shaw, Wallace Roney, Eddie Henderson, Michael Wolff, Tony Bennett, Joe Henderson and Charlie Hunter, just to name a few.
Mike is known as one of the most sampled drummers in contemporary music and his beats have appeared on records by Prince, N.W.A., De La Soul and Janet Jackson, among others.
In addition to leading his own group, jazz, funk and fusion drummer Mike Clark is currently co-leader of a two-drummer band with Lenny White and is currently co-leading and touring with The Wolff and Clark Expedition. As an educator he continues to run clinics around the world.
More Posts: drums
Jeremy Steig was born September 23, 1942 in New York City in Greenwich Village. He studied flute in his childhood but at nineteen a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed on side and for some years afterward, he played the flute with the help of a special mouthpiece.
Starting in mainstream jazz Jeremy recorded with Bill Evans and Denny Zeitlin and then became an early force in the jazz-rock fusion experiments of the late Sixties and early 70s. He record Energy with Warren Bernhardt, Eddie Gomez and Adrian Guiliary, with a reissue of additional material featuring Jan Hammer and Gomez.
He has played flute on Peter Walker’s Rainy Day Raga, has been sampled by the Beastie Boys, performed the role of The Pied Piper in the film Shrek Forever After. He has recorded 29 albums as a leader and has performed and/or recorded with Walter Bishop Jr., Tommy Bolin, Hank Crawford, Art, Farmer, Urbie Green, Idris Muhammad, Lalo Schifrin, Johnny Winter and Paul Winter.
Flautist Jeremy Steig, who plays the entire battery of the flute family of instruments from piccolo to bass flute continues to perform, record, compose and tour.
More Posts: flute
Graham Haynes was born September 16, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York the son of drummer Roy Haynes. With aspirations to push jazz beyond its traditional boundaries, his first foray into electronic music came in 1979 with meeting alto saxophonist Steve Coleman. Together, they formed a band called Five Elements, which launched the influential group of improvisers called M-Base Collective.
With the formation of his own ensemble, Graham Haynes and No Image and subsequent release of What Time It Be?, he spent much of the Eighties studying a wide range of African, Arabic and South Asian Music. Then in 1990 a move to France incorporated these far-off influences into his next two releases, Nocturne Parisian and The Griot’s Footsteps.
Haynes returned to New York City in 1993, took advantage of the flourishing Hip-Hop scene and released the sample heavy album Transition. He recorded another hybridized album in 1996, Tones For The 21st Century, then discovered drum ‘n’ bass and began working with some of the genres finest DJs and producers in London and the U.S. This manifested in the 2000 release of BPM, a fusion of drum n’ bass beats with the classical music of Richard Wagner.
Over the years, Haynes has kept busy with several critically acclaimed multimedia projects, composing scores for films Flag Wars and The Promise, and as a lecturer at New York University. He received two nominations for the Alpert Award For The Arts.
He has collaborated with his father, Cassandra Wilson, Jaki Byard, Uri Caine, Vernon Reid, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, The Roots, David Murray, George Adams, Ed Blackwell, Bill Laswell, Steve Williamson and Bill Dixon to name a few. With ten albums under his belt, cornetist, trumpeter and composer Graham Haynes continues to push the envelope in his performance, recording and composing.
Horace Silver was born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva on September 2, 1928 in Norwalk, Connecticut to a mother from Connecticut and a father from Maio, Cape Verde. He began playing the piano as a child, receiving classical music lessons and Cape Verde folk music from his father. When he turned 11 he became interested in becoming a musician, after hearing the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.
From ninth grade Silver played tenor saxophone in the Norwalk High School band and orchestra, influenced by Lester Young. He played gigs locally on both instruments while still at school and around 1946 he moved to Hartford, Connecticut, taking a regular job as house pianist in a nightclub. His big break came around 1950, backing saxophonist Stan Getz at a Hartford club. Liking what he heard, Getz took Silver’s band on the road. With Getz he made his recording debut on the Stan Getz Quartet album, along with bassist Joe Calloway and drummer Walter Bolden.
The following year Horace left Getz, moving to New York City and worked at Birdland on Monday nights. During that year, he met the executives of Blue Note Records, eventually signed with them, and remained there until 1980. He also co-founded the Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey.
From 1951 he free-lanced around New York, recorded mostly his own compositions with his trio, featuring Blakey on drums and Gene Ramey, Curly Russell or Percy Heath on bass. Throughout his career he would record with Clifford Brown, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Junior Cook, Blue Mitchell, Louis Hayes, Carmell Jones, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Tyrone Washington, Michael and Randy Brecker, Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Donald Byrd and Miles Davis All Stars.
He music reflected the social and cultural upheavals of the 60s and 70s as he briefly played electric piano and including lyrics in his compositions, and his interested in spiritualism also came into his music.
He received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, recorded his final studio session in 1998 titled Jazz Has A Sense of Humor, was awarded the President’s Merit Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, penned his autobiography Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty: The Autobiography of Horace Silver and published by University of California Press, and many of his compositions have become jazz standards.
Horace Silver, whose early influences were Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Nat King Cole and Thelonious Monk, and who and influence for Bobby Timmons, Le McCann, Ramsey Lewis and Cecil Taylor, passed away of natural causes in New Rochelle, New York on June 18, 2014. The pianist and composer known for his distinctive playing style and pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop, featured surprising tempo shifts from aggressively percussive to lushly romantic merged with funk long before that word could be used in polite company.
More Posts: piano