Dave Grusin was born Robert David Grusin on June 26, 1934 in Littleton, Colorado to pianist mother and violinist father who emigrated from Riga, Latvia. He went on to study music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and received his degree in 1956.
He produced his first single Subways Are for Sleeping in 1962 and his first film score for Divorce American Style five years later. He would go on to score Winning, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Midnight Man and Three Days of the Condor, The Graduate, The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Mulholland Falls and The Goonies. He has been nominated six times for Academy Awards for his scoring and in 1988, he won an Oscar for Best Original Score for The Milagro Beanfield War.
In 1978 he had started GRP Records with his business partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. He also composed the original opening fanfare for TriStar Pictures film studio. Through the end of the century he continued to score films, television theme songs and episode music.
From 2000 through 2011, Dave concentrated on composing classical and jazz compositions, touring and recording with collaborators, including guitarist Lee Ritenour, with whom he was nominated three times and won a Grammy for the album Harlequin. won a Grammy Award in 1985.
Throughout his career he has conducted the Andy Williams Show orchestra, was musical director and arranger for the Catarina Valente TV show, lived in Amsterdam, received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and the University of Colorado, College of Music. Pianist, composer, arranger and producer Dave Grusin has and continues to collaborate with James Taylor, Renée Fleming, Paul Simon, Sérgio Mendes, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Billy Joel, Dave Valentin and Sadao Watanabe, among others.
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John Parker was born on June 24, 1928 in Queens, New York and began playing jazz trumpet at the age of 16 while attending Flushing High School. Encouraged by the bassist George Duvivier in the late Forties, he began playing in the jazz clubs on Manhattan’s W. 52nd Street where Dixieland, swing and bebop combos held court. It was on 52nd St. that drummer Zooty Singleton nicknamed him Tasty because of his tasty solos.
During the early 1950s, John, who was no relation to the Charlie Parker, began traveling with the Rhythm & Blues band of Roosevelt Sykes. He also played with trumpeter and composer Sy Oliver and vocalist Etta Jones. He also stepped in for trumpeter Cat Anderson in the Duke Ellington band. He would go on to play with Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk.
The 1970s saw Parker playing with pianist Brooks Kerr and drummer Sonny Greer in Manhattan venues including the Algonquin Hotel. Over the last 20 years, when Parker was living at Westbeth Artists Community with his wife, the late writer Leslie Gourse, he became a regular at Arthur’s Tavern and played New York City clubs in Little Italy and Chelsea.
Trumpeter John “Tasty” Parker, who never recorded as a leader and had been suffering from emphysema, passed away on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 78.
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Lem Davis was born Lemuel A. Davis on June 22, 1914 in Tampa, Florida. His career began in the 1940s during the small jazz combo era with pianist Nat Jaffe. He became best known for playing with the Coleman Hawkins Septet as well as Eddie Heywood and Rex Stewart and a variety of jazz groups.
After recording with jazz vocalist Billie Holiday as a member of Heywood’s band in 1944, Davis went on to record with John Kirby, Joe Thomas, and Eddie Safranski. Although he reached his apex in the 1940s, Davis continued to perform in the New York area during the 1950s , leading his own band featuring Emmett Berry on trumpet, trombonist Vic Dickerson and pianist Dodo Marmarosa.
By 1953 Lem appeared soloing on Buck Clayton’s Huckle-buck recording. He continued to play in New York City throughout the 1950s, but as bebop surpassed swing in popularity, he recorded little thereafter.
Unable to make the transition from swing to bebop, he faded into obscurity. Swing and jazz alto saxophonist Lem Davis passed away on January 16, 1970 in New York City.
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Philip Francis Bates was born June 19, 1931 in Brixton, London. After playing bass on regular gigs at London’s 51 Club with Harry Klein and Vic Ash throughout 1956, he joined The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. After the Couriers disbanded,
Bates went on tour with Sarah Vaughan and played with the Lennie Metcalfe Band on the Cunard liner the RMS Mauretania. By the early 1960s he was working with Johnny Dankworth and Ronnie Ross, among others, before joining Dick Morrissey’s Quartet from 1962 until 1968. During that period he also played with the Harry South Big Band, as did the other members of the quartet, and with the Tony Kinsey Quintet.
In 1968 he played briefly again with Tubby Hayes and from 1968 on, he worked as a session musician, accompanying visiting American musicians such as Sonny Stitt, Jimmy Witherspoon, Judy Collins and Tom Paxton. He spent five years touring Europe with Stéphane Grappelli in the late 1970s and in the Eighties and 1990s he led his own trio. At 86, double bassist Phil Bates seldom performs, if at all.
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Alex “Sasha” Sipiagin was born June 11, 1967 in Yaroslavl, Russia and began learning to play the trumpet at the age of twelve. He studied at the Moscow Music Institute and the Gnessin Conservatory in Moscow where he received his Baccalaureate. In 1990 he competed in the International Louis Armstrong Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute in Washington, D.C. winning top honors. Moving from Russia to the United States in 1991 and began his career shortly thereafter.
His first gigs were with the Gil Evans Band and George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band and soon became a favored player for various bands including the Gil Goldstein’s Zebra Coast Orchestra, drummer Bob Moses’ band Mozamba, the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Orchestra, the Dave Holland Big Band, Sextet and Octet groups.
He has recorded and performed with Michael Brecker, Mulgrew Miller, Eric Clapton, Dr.John, Aaron Neville, Elvis Costello, Michael Franks, Dave Sanborn, Deborah Cox, legendary producer Phil Ramone and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among others. Alex has recorded fifteen albums as a leader, for the most part on the Criss Cross Jazz label.
He is a founding member of the collective Opus 5, along with Seamus Blake, David Kikoski, Boris Kozlov and Donald Edwards. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Alex Sipiagin, who teaches at the Groningen Prince Claus Conservatory, Academy of Music, Basel, Switzerland as well steady professorship at NYU and continues to compose, perform and record.