Ken Gregory was born on April 26, 1950 in Atlanta, Georgia and began playing trumpet at age nine, playing in the Northside Highlander Concert Band for three years beginning in 1960. After four years of private training, during his time in high school he sat 1st chair trumpet in the concert band from 1963 to 1968. He went on to work as conductor and lead trumpeter for the Six Flags Over Georgia orchestra until 1971, then learned to play guitar, electric bass and keyboards.
Gregory started playing the nightclub circuit in 1971 for the next nine years. By the Eighties as performance venues transitioned from clubs to private parties, he partnered with an electronics technician and moved into the professional studio business.
As a composer he has been commissioned to write for Warner Bros. Films, CNN, the Weather Channel, numerous radio and television advertisers, songwriters and lyricists. He has added trombone to his arsenal of instruments and has been recorded on thousands of studio sessions and has engineered audio and MIDI programming.
He performs original compositions with his band Solid State and has been featured on some of Atlanta’s best radio stations, on PBS Television’s Jazz Atlanta, and has performed at the Montreux Jazz, Atlanta Jazz and Inman Park festivals. Trumpeter and engineer Ken Gregory continues to be active in the professional music and record business in Atlanta.
Daniel Richard Gottlieb was born in New York City on April 18, 1953. Taking lessons from Mel Lewis and Joe Morello, he graduated from the University of Miami in 1975. He became a member of the Gary Burton Quartet in 1976 with Pat Metheny, and then was one of the original members of The Pat Metheny Group from 1977–1983. Bassist Mark Egan, who was also in Metheny’s first group, teamed with Gottlieb and formed the band Elements. In 1984 he was a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra led by guitarist John McLaughlin.
Gottlieb performed or recorded with dozens of musicians not limited to Bill Evans, Branford Marsalis, Jacqui Naylor, Chick Corea, Randy Brecker, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Gerry Mulligan, Joanne Brackeen, Herbie Hancock, Hiram Bullock, Booker T and the MG’s, Hubert Laws, Lew Soloff, Jim Hall, Jimmy Haslip, Nnenna Freelon, John Scofield, Bobby McFerrin, Kenny Barron, Larry Coryell, Eddie Gómez, Mark Murphy, Miroslav Vitous, Naná Vasconcelos, Ali Ryerson, Nguyên Lê, Rufus Reid, Sting and Wayne Shorter, as well as the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, NDR Big Band, Trio, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Gil Evans Orchestra and WDR Big Band.
In 2004 he became the drummer for Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band. He has performed on over 400 albums, earned nine Grammy Award nominations and four wins, is on the faculty of the University of North Florida as a full-time Professor of Jazz Studies. Drummer Danny Gottlieb has made over ten instructional DVDs, wrote the textbook The Evolution of Jazz Drumming, and continues to perform and record.
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George Freeman was born on April 10, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. By mid-1947, the guitarist was a member of the sextet led by Johnny Griffin and Joe Morris. He supported touring musicians such as Lester Young and Charlie Parker, recording with the latter on the Savoy Records label.
The mid-1950s,saw George beginning a long association with organist Richard “Groove” Holmes, recording as a sideman and song contributor on Holmes’ World Pacific and Prestige.
After touring with Gene Ammons and Shirley Scott,
Freeman decided against any more road work and based himself in his home city. He often collaborated with his brothers, tenor saxophonists Chico and Von Freeman throughout their careers.
His debut solo album, Birth Sign in 1969 featured saxophonist Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre and organist Sonny Burke. He has worked with Ben Webster, Shirley Scott, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Criss, Buddy Rich, Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, Les McCann, Eldee Young, Harold Mabern, Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, Buddy Williams, Kurt Elling, Red Holloway, Corey Wilkes, and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. Guitarist George Freeman continues to perform and record.
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Gerry Mulligan was born Gerald Joseph Mulligan on April 6, 1927 in Queens Village, Queens, New York. His father’s career as an engineer moved them frequently through numerous cities and while less than a year old, the family moved to Marion, Ohio. Taking on a nanny to help raise the children, Lily rose became fond of Gerry and he spent time at her home and became enamored with her player piano that had amongst it collection of rolls, Fats Waller. Her home was also a boarding house for Black musicians who came through town giving him the chance to meet them..
During a family move to Kalamazoo, Michigan he took up the clarinet in the Catholic school’s orchestra and made an attempt to arrange the Richard Rodgers song Lover. By 14 he was in Reading, Pennsylvania studying clarinet with dance-band musician Sammy Correnti, who encouraged his arranging. During this period Mulligan began professionally playing the saxophone in dance bands in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was the family’s next move.
He attended the West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, organized a school big band, and wrote arrangements and by 16 was selling arrangements to local radio station WCAU. Dropping out of high school during his senior year he worked with a touring band Tommy Tucker, picking up a $100.00 a week for two or three arrangements.
A move to New York City in 1946 saw Gerry joining the arranging staff on Gene Krupa’s bebop-tinged band pumping out arrangements of Birdhouse, Disc Jockey Jump and How High the Moon” that quoted Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology” as a countermelody. He began arranging for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, along with Gil Evans and occasionally sitting in as a member of the reed section.
In September 1948, Miles Davis formed a nine-piece band that featured arrangements by Mulligan, Evans and John Lewis that ended up on the Capitol Records album, titled Birth of the Cool. The band initially consisted of Davis on trumpet, Mulligan on baritone saxophone, trombonist Mike Zwerin, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, Junior Collins on French horn, tubist Bill Barber, pianist John Lewis, bassist Al McKibbon and drummer Max Roach. The Davis nonet has been judged by history as one of the most influential groups in jazz history, creating a sound that, despite its East Coast origins, became known as West Coast Jazz.
Throughout the late Forties and early Fifties he worked with Davis, George Auld, Chubby Jackson and led his debut as a leader with Mulligan Plays Mulligan. By 1952 he was moving to Los Angeles, California and arranging for Stan Kenton and getting a recording contract with Pacific Jazz Records. These sessions enlisted trumpeter Chet Baker as part of his pianoless quartet that included bassist Bob Whitlock and Chico Hamilton on drums.
Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer would replace Baker, and Mulligan and Brookmeyer both occasionally play piano, would enlist Jon Eardley, Art Farmer, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Lee Konitz and Annie Ross. He performed as a soloist or sideman with Paul Desmond, Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Witherspoon, André Previn, Billie Holiday, Marian McPartland, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, Fletcher Henderson, Manny Albam, Quincy Jones, Kai Winding and Dave Brubeck, to name a few. Mulligan appeared in Art Kane’s A Great Day in Harlem portrait of 57 major jazz musicians taken in August 1958.
Gerry appeared in the films Follow That Music, I Want to Live!, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, The Rat Race, The Subterraneans and Bells Are Ringing and wrote music for A Thousand Clowns, Luv, La Menace, and Les Petites galères and I’m Not Rappaport.
Baritone saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger Gerry Mulligan passed away on January 20, 1996 in Darien, Connecticut at the age of 68, following complications from knee surgery. He had won numerous awards not limited to Down Beat Poll Winners, Kennedy Center Honors, and a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Big Band for Walk on the Water.
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Eric Kloss was born on April 3, 1949 in Greenville, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Blind from birth he attended the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind, which was run by his father. At 10 he started learning to play the alto saxophone, and two years later he was playing in nightclubs with professional musicians such as Bobby Negri, Charles Bell, and Sonny Stitt. By the age of 16 he had recorded his debut album, Introducing Eric Kloss on the Prestige label in 1965 with Don Patterson and Pat Martino.
His third album as a leader saw him enlist the talents of musicians over twice his age: Jaki Byard, Richard Davis, and Alan Dawson. He continued recording and performing while a student at Duquesne University and being a fan of Elvis Presley and the Ventures, Kloss was attracted to the growth of jazz fusion in the 1960s and ’70s. He would eventually play with fusion musicians Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette.
Eric also collaborated with Richie Cole and Gil Goldstein, and did sessions with Cedar Walton, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Booker Ervin, Barry Miles, and Terry Silverlight.
In the 1980s, he taught at Rutgers University, then Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon. He collaborated with his vocalist wife Candee in a group called Quiet Fire. Alto saxophonist Eric Kloss has performed and recorded rarely since the 1980s due to health problems.
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