Saul “Sonny” Berman was born on April 21, 1925 in New Haven, Connecticut. He began touring at age sixteen and went on to work with Louis Prima, Harry James and Benny Goodman but is perhaps best known for his later work with Woody Herman.
Berman was distinguished by his passionate and innovative soloing and his versatility of tone, ranging from bold and emotional to sweetly muted. He also had a sense of humor which often made its way into a playfulness and joyfulness found in his solo work.
Trumpeter Sonny Berman died at the age of 21 in New York City from a drug overdose on January 16, 1947.
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Theodore “Wingie” Carpenter was born on April 15, 1898 in St. Louis, Missouri. He lost his left arm as the result of an accident during his early teens, with the amputation performed by a noted surgeon who was an uncle of jazz musician Doc Cheatham. Sometime later, he took up the trumpet and by 1920 he was working in traveling carnival shows, and in 1921 he toured with Herbert’s Minstrel Band.
By 1926 he had settled in Cincinnati, Ohio and worked with Wes Helvey, Clarence Paige, Zack Whyte, and Speed Webb. In 1927, Wingie played in Buffalo, New York, with Eugene Primus. Off and on from late 1926 through 1928, he was featured on the Whitman Sisters’ Show with pianist Troy Snapp’s band.
During the early 1930s the trumpeter was featured with Smiling Boy Steward’s Celery City Serenaders and another Florida band led by Bill Lacey. In the mid-1930s, he became a touring regular with bandleaders including Jack Ellis, Dick Bunch, and Jesse Stone. By the late 1930s, Carpenter settled in New York City, where he worked with Skeets Tolbert and Fitz Weston.
From 1939 on, Wingie worked as the leader of his own band through the 1960s, playing occasional dance dates and working for periods at well-known clubs such as The Black Cat, The New Capitol, Tony Pastor’s The Yeah Man, and other venues. He composed several works not limited to Look Out Papa Don’t You Bend Down, Preachin’ Trumpet Blues, Put Me Back In The Alley, Rhythm of The Dishes and Pans, and Team Up.
Trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader Wingie Carpenter, who was one of several one-armed trumpeters who worked in the music business, including similarly nicknamed Wingy Manone, passed away on July 21, 1975 in New York City.
Pat LaBarbera was born Pascel Emmanuel LaBarbera on April 7, 1944 in Mt. Morris, New York. He began as a soloist in Buddy Rich bands from 1967–1973 and went on to work with Elvin Jones in 1975 and touring Europe with him in 1979. While working with Rich, he was also working in groups led by Woody Herman and Louie Bellson, as well as playing with Carlos Santana.
He moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1974 and is a on the faculty at Humber College. LaBarbera has played a major role in the development of a generation of Canadian saxophonists. He has released a handful of albums as a leader since 1975 and another two-dozen as a sideman. In 2000, he won a Juno Award for Best Traditional Instrumental Jazz Album for Deep in a Dream.
He is the brother of trumpeter John LaBarbera with who he is a part of his big band, and drummer Joe LaBarbera and worked with the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, Denny Christianson, Jan Jarczyk. Tenor, alto and soprano saxophonist, clarinetist, and flautist Pat LaBarbera continues to teach, perform and record.
Archie Semple was born Archibald Stuart Nisbet Semple on March 31, 1928 in Edinburgh, Scotland and played locally in Edinburgh at the start of his career, often with his trumpeter brother John.
Semple led several of his own bands before joining Mick Mulligan in 1952. He then worked with Freddy Randall in 1953-54, Roy Crimmins and Alex Welsh from 1955 to 1963, becoming one of Welsh’s most important sidemen.
He recorded as a leader in the late 1950s and early 1960s as well, but retired due to an encroaching drinking problem that led to health issues in the middle of the decade.
A very distinctive player with a rich and quirky musical imagination, Semple was one of the most strikingly individualistic musicians to emerge from the sometimes predictable British trad scene. His presence in the already formidable Welsh band helped to create much memorable music.
Clarinetist Archie Semple, whose influences included Edmond Hall and Pee Wee Russell passed away on January 26, 1974 in London, England.
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Allan Ganley was born on March 11, 1931 in Tolworth, Surrey, England and was a self-taught drummer. In the early 1950s Ganley played in the dance band led by Bert Ambrose. In 1953 he came to prominence as a member of Johnny Dankworth’s band, then the most popular modern jazz group in the UK. Throughout the 1950s, he worked with pianist Derek Smith, Dizzy Reece, clarinettist Vic Ash, Ronnie Scott and with visiting American musicians. Towards the end of the decade he was co-leader with Ronnie Ross of a small group known as the Jazzmakers.
By the early 1960s, Ganley was often performing with Tubby Hayes, with his small groups or occasionally assembling a big band. He was the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and played with numerous Americans including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Jim Hall, Freddie Hubbard and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. By the early 1970s he took time out to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, then returned to the UK to form and lead a big band, which he maintained sporadically for ten years.
Throughout the Seventies and ’80s and Nineties, Allan appeared on many broadcasts and recording dates, playing jazz and effortlessly slipping from traditional to post-bop to big band to mainstream, all the while swinging with great subtlety. He accompanied pianists as different as Teddy Wilson and Al Haig and for singers from Carol Kidd to Blossom Dearie.
As an arranger, he provided charts for many leading British jazzmen and for the BBC Radio Big Band, thus enhancing the enormous yet understated contribution he made to the British jazz scene over the years. Drummer and arranger Allan Ganley passed away on March 29, 2008.
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