Don Elliott was born October 21, 1926 in Somerville, New Jersey and played mellophone in his high school band and played trumpet for an army band. After study at the University of Miami he added vibraphone to the list and recorded with Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich before forming his own band.
From 1953 to 1960 he won the DownBeat readers poll several times for miscellaneous instrument-mellophone. Known as the “Human Instrument”, Don additionally performed jazz as a vocalist, trombonist, flugelhornist and percussionist. He pioneered the art of multitrack recording, composed countless prize-winning advertising jingles, prepared film scores, and built a thriving production company.
Elliott scored several Broadway productions including James Thurber’s The Beast in Me and A Thurber Carnival, in the latter of which he performed with his quartet. He also provided one of the voices for the novelty jazz duo the Nutty Squirrels. He lent his vocal talents to such motion picture soundtracks as The Getaway starring Steve McQueen, $ (Dollars) starring Warren Beatty, and The Hot Rock starring Robert Redford, as well as composing the score to The Happy Hooker starring Lynn Redgrave.
Elliott owned and operated one of the very first multitrack recording studios in New York City and in Weston, Connecticut and recorded over 60 albums and 5,000 advertising jingles throughout his career. A longtime associate of Quincy Jones, he contributed vocal work to many of Jones’ film scores. As sideman he performed and recorded with Phil Bodner, Miles Davis, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, Paul Desmond, Billy Taylor, Billy Eckstine, Bill Evans, Urbie Green, Michel Legrand, George Shearing, Marty Bell, Bob Corwin, Louis Bellson and Mundell Lowe among others.
Trumpeter, vibraphonist, vocalist, and mellophone player Don Elliott, whose recording Calypso Jazz is considered by some jazz enthusiasts to be one of the definitive calypso jazz albums, passed away of cancer on July 5, 1984 in Weston, Connecticut.
Noël Chiboust was born on October 14, 1909 in Thorigny-sur-Marne , Département Seine-et-Marne, France. He began his career as a violinist with Ray Ventura and during the early Thirties played trumpet in the Michel Warlop Orchestra. By 1936 he was involved in the concert series la semaine à Paris, by the Hot Club de France. At this time in his career he also joined the André Ekyan Orchestra until 1938, then played in the Swing Band of Philippe Brun followed by an early 1940s stint with Alix Combelle.
Around the mid 1930s he recorded with Django Reinhardt , Stéphane Grappelli , Bill Coleman and Coleman Hawkins, joined Eddie Brunner in 1938 at Cabaret Bagatelle. The late 1930s saw him giving up the trumpet and joining the tenor saxophone and clarinet sections when he joined the Marcel Bianchi Orchestra.
From 1940 he recorded under his own name for the French label Swing releasing a few 78s. Starting in 1944 he performed with an orchestral cast including Hubert Rostaing, and with Jack Diéval and Lucien Simoen at Club Schubert. From 1947 to 1950 he had an engagement at Cabaret le Drap d’Or.
He turned his attention to popular music as well as the rock and roll to and by 1959 released several EPs and singles for Polydor Records with songs like Telstar, Dynamite Charleston and Yes Sir That’s My Baby.
Trumpeter, tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, composer and band leader in the field the swing and popular music era Noël Chiboust passed away on January 17, 1994.
Born Martin Flachsenhaar, Jr. in New York City on October 7, 1924, Marty Flax played flute, clarinet and trombone in addition to baritone saxophone. He was a mainstay in the bands of Louis Jordan, Dizzy Gillespie, Perez Prado, and Tito Puente. He was also a member of the bands that performed on the soundtracks composed by Raymond Scott.
Marty worked with Les Elgart and Claude Thornhill in the late 1950s, then with Quincy Jones, Melba Liston and Gillespie, including on the State Department tours of the Middle East and South America.
Early in the 1960s he again toured South America with the Woody Herman Orchestra. When not on tour he led a house band at the Cafe Society and worked with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Buddy Rich recording on the Reprise, Norgran and Verve labels.
Baritone saxophonist Marty Flax, a consummate sideman and bandleader who never recorded under his own name, passed away on July 3, 1972.
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Teddy Brannon was born Humphrey Brannon on September 27, 1916 in Moultrie, Georgia. He began learning piano at age nine and played in dance bands in high school while working locally in Newark, New Jersey nightclubs from 1937 – 1942.
Between 1942 to 1945 he was a member of Benny Carter’s ensemble, after which he freelanced on 52nd Street in New York City. The 1950s and 1960s saw Brannon working in the studios with doo wop groups and though he never recorded as a leader, he recorded as a leader with his orchestra in the late Forties and played extensively in the jazz idiom with but not limited to Don Byas, Roy Eldridge, Buddy Rich, Bennie Green, Johnny Hodges, Jonah Jones, Don Newcomb and Illinois Jacquet.
An accomplished accompanied he performed and recorded with such singers as Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, Billie Holiday, and Babs Gonzales, who was Brannon’s cousin. Pianist Teddy Brannon passed away on February 24, 1989 in Newark, New Jersey.
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Otis “Candy” Finch Jr. was born on September 5, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan. He is presumed to be the son of saxophonist Otis Finch Sr. , who performed with John Lee Hooker and the Boogie Ramblers. Learning to play drums as a child he went on to perform and record in the 1960s in trio and quartet settings with among others Shirley Scott, Stanley Turrentine during the Blue Note years, and with John Patton, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Billy Mitchell and Dave Burns.
With Turrentine he recorded from 1962 and 1964 at Blue Note with Bob Cranshaw, Blue Mitchell, Curtis Fuller, Herbie Hancock, Herbie Lewis and Les McCann. In 1967 he accompanied Dizzy Gillespie on the Impulse! album Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac. The following year he joined Dizzy’s Reunion Big Band and performed with them at the Berlin Jazz Festival. He is a modern style swing drummer and was active in the 1960s and 1970s.
Bebop and swing drummer Candy Finch passed away on July 13, 1982 in Seattle, Washington. He was never recorded as a leader.
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