Addison Farmer was born August 21, 1928 an hour after his twin brother, in Council Bluffs, Iowa reportedly at 2201 Fourth Avenue. Their parents divorced when the boys were four, and their steelworker father was killed in a work accident not long after this. He moved with his grandfather, grandmother, mother, brother and sister to Phoenix, Arizona when he was four.
Addison and his brother moved to Los Angeles, California in 1945 and attended the music-oriented Jefferson High School, where they got music instruction and met other developing musicians such as Sonny Criss, Ernie Andrews, Big Jay McNeely, and Ed Thigpen. They brothers earned money by working in a cold-storage warehouse and by playing professionally. He went on to take bass lessons from Fred Zimmermann, and studied at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.
By late 1945, Farmer was with Johnny Alston and His Orchestra recording for the Bihari Brothers’ Modern Music label, backing Jeanne De Metz. Shortly afterwards he recorded on the Blue Moon label with Al “Cake” Wichard and King Fleming and worked with Teddy Edwards’s band. He played and recorded in several groups with his brother and in ensembles led by Benny Golson, Gigi Gryce, Mose Allison, Jay McShann, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Bob Brookmeyer, curtis Fuller, Hampton Hawes, Curtis Fuller, Stan Getz, Teo Macero, Sahib Shihab, Mal Waldron and Miles Davis.
Bassist Addison Farmer recorded extensively for the jazz label Prestige before passing away suddenly from bed death on February, 20, 1963 in New York City at the age of 34.
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John Lee Clayton Jr. was born on August 20, 1952 in Venice, California. He began seriously undertaking the study of double bass at age 16, studying with bassist Ray Brown. By age 19, he had become a bassist on Henry Mancini’s television series The Mancini Generation. He later graduated in 1975 from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a degree in bass performance.
He toured with the Monty Alexander Trio and the Count Basie Orchestra before becoming the principal bass in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the Netherlands. Returning to the States after five years and moved towards jazz and jazz composition. Shortly after his return he founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with his saxophonist brother Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. He and his brother also founded The Clayton Brothers which has featured instrumentalists such as Bill Cunliffe and Terell Stafford.
Clayton has composed and/or arranged for The Count Basie Orchestra, Diana Krall, Whitney Houston, Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Ernestine Anderson, Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Till Bronner, and The Tonight Show Band. He won a Grammy for Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” (Queen Latifah) and was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group for Brother To Brother by The Clayton Brothers.
From 1999 to 2001 he served as Artistic Director of the Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic program at the Hollywood Bowl, has conducted the All-Alaska Jazz Band and and has been president over the International Society of Bassists. In addition to performing, bassist John Clayton currently serves as Artistic Director for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Sarasota Jazz Festival, Santa Fe Jazz Party, Jazz Port Townsend Summer Workshop, and Vail Jazz Workshop. He is also an educator, teaching at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
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Peter Leitch was born August 19, 1944 in Montreal, Canada. He has recorded seventeen albums as a leader and was a sideman with Oscar Peterson, Woody Shaw and Dominique Eade. He performed with Kirk Lightsey, Rufus Reid, Al Grey, Jeri Brown, Pepper Adams and Pete Yellin.
During his career he was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album of the Year. He has written an autobiography, Off the Books, giving a real, raw, look at the life of a musician playing creative music. In addition to his music he became a very talented photographer with a number of exhibitions of his work.
Prior to his retirement due to medical issues on July 21, 2015, guitarist Peter Leitch was an educator who taught privately for a number of years.
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Bill Dowdy was born August 15, 1932 in Osceola, Arkansas but his family moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan when he was six months old. At a young age he would beat on things as if he were playing the drums, an indication of his future musical career. It was in high school that he learned to play the piano and the drums and in 1949 had a group called Club 49 Trio that group played on the radio in Chicago.
After Dowdy started his own music group, he moved to Battle Creek, Michigan and joined a band before being drafted by the Army. After his discharge he landed in Chicago and took private lessons to improve his musical skills. Over time he became a professional drummer, playing with many blues bands. He continued traveling from New York City to Los Angeles, California to Canada and the South.
Bill joined the jazz trio, The Three Sounds and recorded over ten jazz albums from the 1950s through the early 1970s. He also played with Lester Young, Lou Donaldson, Nat Adderley, Johnny Griffin, Anita O’Day and Sonny Stitt among others.
Drummer, bandleader and teacher Bill Dowdy, whose idols included Gene Krupa, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, and Tony Williams, passed away on May 12, 2017.
Jerry Tachoir was born August 7, 1955 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. A chance meeting with Gary Burton led to him matriculating through Berklee College of Music, studying with Burton and graduating summa cum laude in 1976.
Tachoir has been nominated for a Grammy, released several albums with his band, the Group Tachoir, and as an educator he has taught privately for over a quarter of a century, held clinics and master classes and authored A Contemporary Mallet Method: An Approach to the Vibraphone and Marimba,
He has released an instructional vibraphone video titled Master Study Series and the Vibraphone Vol. I and II. Vibraphone and marimba player Jerry Tachoir has led his quartet for twenty-five years throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, and continues to compose, record and tour.