Edward Davis was born on March 2, 1922 in New York City. He was known to his friends, peers, jazz enthusiasts and aficionados by his nickname “Lockjaw” and became one of the pre-eminent jazz saxophonists of the 20th century.
In the early to mid-forties he played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Louis Armstrong and Cont Basie. By 1946 he was leading his own band “Eddie Davis and His Beboppers” that housed Fats Navarro, Al Haig, Huey Long, Gene Ramey and Denzil Best.
In the 50’s he teamed with Sonny Stitt, from 1960 to ’62 he co-led a quintet with Johnny Griffin, and he and Griffin performed as part of the Kenny Clarke-Franz Boland Big Band. Davis recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, collaborated with Shirley Scott and played off and on with Count Basie’s Orchestra in the early 70’s.
In his later years he played with Harry “Sweets” Edison and remained busy as a soloist until his death on November 3, 1986 at the age of 64. Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis performed within the jazz genres swing, bop, hard bop, Latin and soul jazz.
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Chano Pozo was born Luciano Pozo Gonales was born in Havana Cuba on January 7, 1915 and Chano showed an early interest in drumming, gaining his musical background performing ably in Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies in which drumming was a key element.
Growing up in poverty in the foul and dangerous area of El Africa solar where even the police feared to tread, By 13 he was in reformatory learning to read and write, study auto repair and hone his already exceptional drumming skill. Upon his release and during a series of lackluster jobs he composed music. His reputation grew among the people each year for the compositions he wrote for carnival and he quickly became the most sought after rumbero in Cuba.
At the beginning of 1947 Pozo moved to New York City with the encouragement of Miguelito Valdes with who he recorded along with Arsenio Rodriguez, Carlos Vidal Bolado and Jose Mangual. By September he was a featured performer with Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band at Carnegie Hall and subsequently on a European tour. Their most notable material was ‘Cubana Be, Cubana Bop, Tin Tin Deo and Manteca, the latter two co-written by Pozo.
A conguero, percussionist, singer, dancer and composer, Chano became one of the founding fathers of Latin jazz, which was essentially a blend of bebop and Cuban folk music. Chano Pozo, a hot-tempered Cuban, was killed in a Harlem bar, a little more than a month shy of his 34th birthday on December 2, 1948.
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Eddie Palmieri was born of Puerto Rican parentage on December 15, 1936 in Bronx, New York and when he was only 8 years old, he would musically accompany his older brother Charlie and together they entered and participated in many talent contests
Palmieri continued his education in the city’s public school system where he was constantly exposed to music, specifically jazz. He took piano lessons and performed at Carnegie Hall when he was 11 years old. Influenced by Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner and inspired by his brother he formed his own band in 1950 at age 14.
In 1961, Palmieri formed the band Conjunto La Perfecta, featuring legendary singer Ismael Quintana and replaced the traditional violins with trombones to create a more robust sound by including a touch of jazz in his recordings and incorporating a popular Cuban rhythm known as mozambique.
Eddie disbanded the band in 1968 but three years later was recording with his brother and in 1974 was the first Latin musician to win a Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording with The Sun of Latin Music. Through the Eighties he continued performing and recording, winning two Grammys for his Palo Pa Rumba and Solito albums.
In the 1990s Palmieri was part of various concerts and recordings with the Fania All-Stars and the Tico All-Stars; he introduced La India with the production of Llego La India via Eddie Palmieri released in 1992. In 2000, Palmieri announced his retirement from the world of music. He recorded Masterpiece with Tito Puente, won 2 Grammys and was also named the “Outstanding Producer of the Year” by the National Foundation of Popular Culture. Palmieri has won a total of 9 Grammy Awards in his career, most recently for his 2006 album with Brian Lynch – Simpatico.
Palmieri teamed up with longtime trumpeter and band member Brian Lynch, has worked with Phil Woods, Lila Downs, Donald Harrison, Conrad Herwig, Gregory Tardy, Edsel Gomez and Rubén Rodríguez among others. With more than three-dozen albums to his credit he continues to perform and tour.
Rubén González was born on May 26, 1919 in Santa Clara, Cuba. He learned to play piano at the music high school of Cienfuegos. He studied medicine for a time, abandoned it due to financial difficulties and began playing with groups in Las Villas. In 1940, he moved to Havana, where he played in the charangas of Paulina Álvarez and Paulín, with Arsenio Rodríguez, Kubavana and Senén Suárez and in the big bands Siboney and Riverside.
By 1943, he released his first recording with Arsenio Rodriguez and during the 50s he served as a member of the Orquesta America, Orquesta de Enrique Jorrin and CMQ. Between 1957 and 1961, he worked in Venezuela but very soon he became known in Cuba and other parts of Latin America. In the early 1960s Rubén became the pianist for the Orquesta de Enrique Jorrín for 25 years, took over leadership after Jorrín’s death in 1987, but retired soon after.
It wasn’t until a meeting with Ry Cooder that González came out of retirement, recorded his first solo album in years and became a part of the Buena Vista Social Club with a host of veteran Cuban musician whose fame became worldwide.
Pianist Ruben González’s last public appearances were in Mexico and Cuba in 2002 and the next year the pianist passed away on December 8, 2003 at age 84.
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Pablo Aslan was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 5, 1962 and began playing bass in his youth. He received his music education at University of California – Santa Cruz, CalArts and UCLA, and in the 90’s in the clubs of New York.
Pablo has led several groups like New York Buenos Aires Connection, Avantango, and New York Tango Trio, which included musicians such as the late Thomas Chapin, pianist Ethan Iverson (now of The Bad Plus), drummer Kenny Wollesen, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and bandoneonists Raul Jaurena and Tito Castro.
Aslan has worked with Yo Yo Ma, Lalo Schifrin, Pablo Ziegler, Osvaldo Golijov, Arturo O’Farrill, Emilio Solla and Fernando Otero. In 2009 he released “Tango Grill” that was nominated for both a Grammy and Latin Grammy. He has collaborated with Paquito D’Rivera, “Tango Jazz” Live at Jazz @ Lincoln Center” and also for a tribute to tango master Astor Piazzolla on the 90th anniversary of his birth. Bassist Pablo Aslan continues to champion the fusion of jazz and tango as he records, performs and tours.
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