Jack Fallon was born on October 13, 1915 in London, Ontario, Canada and played violin before making double-bass his primary instrument at age 20. During World War II he played in a dance band in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and settled in Britain after his discharge. He joined Ted Heath’s band in 1946 and played bebop in London clubs in his spare time.
1947 saw Fallon playing with Ronnie Scott and Tommy Whittle at the Melody Maker/Columbia Jazz Rally, followed by his working with Jack Jackson, George Shearing and Django Reinhardt. Soon after playing with Reinhardt, he played in a Count Basie ensemble which also included Malcolm Mitchell and Tony Crombie, playing with both of them after leaving Basie. He went on to work together with Hoagy Carmichael and Maxine Sullivan and tour Sweden together with Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.
In the 1950s he accompanied Mary Lou Williams, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne. He was a sideman in the ensembles of Humphrey Lyttelton, Kenny Baker and Ralph Sharon, and was the house bassist at Lansdowne Studios. Working outside of jazz with blues musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White, and played with Johnny Duncan’s Blue Grass Boys. As the bass guitar became more popular, Jack became a champion and played both instruments in the latter part of his career.
He became a booker/promoter establishing the booking agency Cana Variety in 1952. Cana booked primarily jazz artists in its early stages but expanded to rock acts by the 1960s, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and was requested by the Beatles to play violin on the song Don’t Pass Me By. Bassist Jack Fallon continued to play jazz locally in London, England and in the studios into the 1990s. He published a memoir titled From the Top in 2005, and passed away on May 22, 2006 at age 90 in London, England.
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Lisle Arthur Atkinson was born on September 16, 1940 in New York City and his mother played piano, his father played bass. He began his music lessons on the violin and later switched to bass, attended the High School of Music and Art and the Manhattan School of Music .
Lisle began his career working with Freddy Cole, from 1959 to 1961. From 1962 to 1966 he accompanied Nina Simone and contributed to several of their albums with such Broadway Blues Ballads . The late Sixties saw him performing alongside Norman Simmons and Al Harewood backing Betty Carter and joined with her in 1970 at the Village Vanguard. He has performed and recorded with Michael Fleming, Milt Hinton, Richard Davis, Ron Carter, Sam Jones and with Bill Lee’s New York Bass Violin Choir.
In the early 1970s he worked with Stanley Turrentine, Wynton Kelly, Billy Taylor, Kenny Burrell, Dakota Staton, Frank Foster, Horace Parlan, Grady Tate, Howard McGhee, Johnny Hartman and Joe Williams.
In 1976 he played with Walt Dickerson and Andrew Cyrille. In the early 1980s he worked with Charles Sullivan, Nancy Wilson, Eddie Harris and played 1985 in the formation of Neo Brass Ensemble. In the second half of the 80s he played with Benny Carter in which Grover Mitchell Big Band, with Lee Konitz and in the quintet of Ernie Wilkins and Joe Newman . In 1995 he worked in a trio with Cyrille and James Newton on Good to Go with a Tribute to Bu.
Since 1971, Atkinson taught in the Jazz Mobile project. He also participated in recordings of Richard Wyands, George Coleman , Helen Humes and Hal Singer. In 1979 he recorded as a leader on Storyville Records album Bass Contrabass with Wyands and Al Harewood. Bassist Lisle Atkinson continues to perform.
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Arvell Shaw was born on September 15, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri and learned to play tuba in high school, but switched to bass soon after. In 1942 he worked with Fate Marable on the Mississippi riverboats, then served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945.
After his discharge Arvell played with Louis Armstrong’s last big band, from 1945 to 1947. He and Sid Catlettthen joined the Louis Armstrong All-Stars until 1950, when he left to study music. He returned to play with Armstrong from 1952 to 1956, and performed in the 1956 musical High Society.
Following this he worked at CBS with Russ Case, did a stint in the Teddy Wilson Trio, recorded with Red Allen in 1957 and played with Benny Goodman at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. After a few years living and performing in Europe, he played again with Goodman on a tour of Central America in 1962. From 1962–64 Shaw played again with Armstrong, and occasionally accompanied him through the end of the 1960s.
After the Sixties he mostly freelanced in New York and kept playing until his death. He recorded only once as a leader, a live concert from 1991 of his Satchmo Legacy Band. Double-bassist Arvell Shaw, who recorded with Armstrong and Wilson, passed away on December 5, 2002 in Roosevelt, New York.
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Charles Edward Haden was born on August 6, 1937 in Shenandoah, Iowa into a musical family who performed on the Haden Family radio show. He made his professional debut as a singer on the radio show when he was just two years old. He continued singing with his family until he was 15 but a bulbar form of polio affecting his throat and facial muscles sidelined him but a year earlier he had become interested in jazz after hearing Charlie Parker and Stan Kenton in concert.
Recovering from his bout with polio, Charlie began concentrating on the bass and soon set his sights on moving to Los Angeles, California to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz musician and in 1957 he realized his dream turning down a full scholarship at Oberlin College, which had no established jazz program at the time and attended Westlake College of Music.] His first recordings were made that year with Paul Bley, with whom he worked until 1959. He also played with Art Pepper for four weeks in 1957, and from 1958 to 1959, with Hampton Hawes whom he met through his friendship with bassist Red Mitchell and for a time shared an apartment with the bassist Scott LaFaro.
In May 1959, he recorded his first album with the Ornette Coleman Quartet, the seminal The Shape of Jazz to Come. Later that year, the Ornette Coleman Quartet moved to New York City, secured a six-week residency at the Five Spot Café that would represent the beginnings of free or avant-garde jazz.
By 1960, Haden’s narcotics addiction forced him to leave Coleman’s band, go into rehabilitation in 1963 in California, met his first wife and moved to the Upper West Side of New York City. He resumed his career in 1964, working with John Handy, Denny Zeitlin’s trio, performed with Archie Shepp in California and Europe and freelanced with Henry “Red” Allen, Pee Wee Russell, Attila Zoller, Bobby Timmons, Tony Scott, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Roswell Rudd, and returned to Ornette Coleman’s group in 1967.
Charlie went on to work with Keith Jarrett’s trio and his American Quartet, organized the collective Old and New Dreams, which consisted of Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, and Ed Blackwell from Coleman’s band. He founded his first band, the Liberation Music Orchestra at the height of the Vietnam War, working with arranger Carla Bley, exploring free jazz and political music. The original lineup consisted of Haden and Bley and Gato Barbieri, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, Don Cherry, Andrew Cyrille, Mike Mantler, Roswell Rudd, Bob Northern, Howard Johnson and Sam Brown.
Over the course of his half-century career he established the Jazz Studies Program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, been honored as Jazz Educator of the Year and as a leader has won several Grammy Awards, recorded forty-six albums as well as 134 albums as a sideman with Geri Allen, Ray Anderson, Ginger Baker, Bill Frisell, Kenny Barron, Beck, Paul Bley, Jane Ira Bloom, Michael Brecker, Henry Butler, Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Robert Downey Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, Tom Harrell, Joe Henderson, Fred Hersch, Laurence Hobgood, Rickie Lee Jones, Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, David Liebman, Abbey Lincoln, Helen Merrill, Pat Metheny, Bheki Mseleku, Yoko Ono, Joe Pass, Enrico Pieranunzi, Joshua Redman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John Scofield, Wadada Leo Smith, Ringo Starr and Masahiko Togashi.
Double bassist, bandleader, composer, educator and NEA Jazz Master Charlie Haden, who revolutionized the harmonic concept of bass playing in jazz passed away in Los Angeles, California on July 11, 2014, at the age of 76 after suffering from effects of post-polio syndrome and complications from liver disease.
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Jan Jankeje was born January Jankeje on July 30, 1950 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia and studied and played the bass since childhood. He emigrated to Germany in 1968 and has since lived in the Stuttgart area.
He has worked with Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Eugen Cicero, Al Casey, Benny Waters, Attila Zoller, George Wein, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Horst Jankowski, Oscar Klein and Jaco Pastorius among others. He has toured with Dieter Bihlmaier and with Hans-Jürgen Bock Ragtime Specht Groove.
He founded his own record company Jazz Point Records with his wife Gerti Jankejova and has recorded as a leader as well as Biréli Lagrènes , with whom he worked eight years from 1979. He also worked as a studio musician recording live recordings with Jaco Pastorius.
With Bernd Marquart he founded in 1988 the Jazz Jokers, debuting the same year with a CD, international touring and festivals. He also played gypsy jazz with Wedeli Köhler, Diz Dizley and Manno Guttenberger. He wrote the song First Tango for Jeanne Moreau in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s last film Querelle. Bassist, composer, producer and bandleader Jan Jankeje continues to perform, record and tour.
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