Didier Levallet was born in Arcy-sur-Cure, France on July 19, 1944 and is a self-taught bassist. He made his professional debut in Paris in 1969 working with the likes of Ted Curson, Johnny Griffin, Kenny Clarke, Mal Waldron, Hank Mobley, Steve Lacy, Harry Beckett and Didier Lockwood.
Didier worked with the free-jazz quartet Perception through the 70s and toured the United States with tenor saxophonist Byard Lancaster from 1974 to 1976. He also led Confluence, a group based on strings and percussion only. By the early Eighties he was playing with Frank Lowe, Archie Shepp, Mike Westbrook’s Concert Band and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath as well as the Double Quartet with Tony Oxley.
Levallet is a prolific composer who combines free-improvisation and structure coherently. He works within four bands – the Quintet, a 12-piece band, Swing Strings System with seven string players plus drums and a trio with violinist Dominique Pifarely and guitarist Gérard Marais. In 1976, he founded ADMI, the Association pour la Developement de la Musique Improvise.
He was a former Director of the French National Jazz Orchestra from 1997 to 2000 and serves as an educator at the L’École Nationale de Musique in Angoulême. Double bassist, composer, arranger and leader Didier Levallet regularly hold workshops and music concerts in Cluny, France.
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Roy Babbington was born July 8, 1940 in Kempston, Bedfordshire, England. He started his musical career in 1958, playing double bass in local jazz bands and at the age of 17 he took up the post of double bass, doubling on electric guitar with The Leslie Thorp Orchestra at the Aberdeen Beach Ballroom. While there he honed his sight reading skills and after a move to London in 1969, he joined the band Delivery, one of the side roots of the Canterbury scene with Phil Miller, Pip Pyle and Lol Coxhill.
Babbington began to work as a session musician with jazz/fusion musicians like Michael Gibbs and The Keith Tippett Group with Elton Dean. He was part of the recording session on their album Dedicated To You But You Weren’t Listening in 1970, Tippett’s big band project Centipede in ‘71 and Dean’s album Just Us. Post Delivery in 1971 after Carol Grimes’ album Fools Meeting, he joined the group Nucleus.
He would go on to perform and record with Alexis Korner, Harvey Andrews, Mike d’Abo, Chris Spedding and as a part time member of the bands Schunge, Solid Gold Cadillac, Ovary Lodge and Soft Machine. Remaining active on the UK jazz scene he played with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, Intercontinental Express, various bands led by pianist Stan Tracey and sat in on the album session Welcome to the Cruise by Judie Tzuke.
By the 1980s and 90s, Roy returned to his roots playing the double bass and pure jazz, so much, he became affectionately known by the musical community as the Jazz Handbrake. He also worked with Elvis Costello, Carol Grimes, Mose Allison and the BBC Big Band. Since 2008, bassist Roy Babbington, who has played big band and fusion jazz, continues to perform with Soft Machine Legacy, replacing Hugh Hopper as their electric bassist in 2009.
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Stanley Clarke was born on June 30, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the bass as a schoolboy when he arrived late on the day instruments were distributed to students and acoustic bass was one of the few remaining selections. Graduating from Roxborough High School he attended the Philadelphia Musical Academy from which he graduated in 1971.
Moving to New York City he found work with Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Dexter Gordon, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Pharoah Sanders, Gil Evans and Stan Getz.
During the 1970s Clarke turned to jazz fusion joining Chick Corea and Return to Forever and started his solo career released a number of albums under his own name, his best known solo albums being School Days, Stanley Clarke and Journey to Love.
Stanley began scoring for TV and film for shows like A Man Called Hawk, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Soul Food. Boyz n the Hood, Tina Turner What’s Love Got to Do With It, Passenger 57, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, Panther, The Five Heartbeats, Book of Love, Little Big League, and Romeo Must Die and The Transporter.
Clarke formed Animal Logic with rock drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police, and singer-songwriter Deborah Holland. He went on to collaborate with Jeff Beck, Ron Wood’s New Barbarians, Clarke/Duke Project with George Duke, Miroslav Vitouš, a group with Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Najee & Deron Johnson, The Rite of Strings with Jean-Luc Ponty and Al Di Meola and Vertu’ with Lenny White and Richie Kotzen.
He has been honored with Bass Player magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, has won a Grammy Award, was the first Rolling Stone magazine “Jazzman of the Year”, won “Best Bassist” from Playboy magazine for 10 straight years, and received the Key to the city of Philadelphia, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was featured in Los Angeles magazine as one of the 50 most influential people. Acoustic and electric bassist Stanley Clarke continues to compose for TV and film while performing, recording and touring with his band,
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Albert “Alby” Cullaz was born on June 25, 1941 in Paris, France, the son of jazz music critic Maurice Cullaz and brother of guitarist Pierre Cullaz. He made his professional debut in 1963 as a member of the Johnny Griffin Quartet.
For many years Alby led a trio with Michel Graillier and Simon Goubert before becoming a sought after sideman. He worked with Joe Albany, Jean-Luc Ponty, Aldo Romano, Michel Graillier, Hank Mobley , René Thomas, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Lee Konitaz, Eddy Louiss, Art Taylor, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Clarke, Guy Lafitte, François Chassagnite, André Condouant, Raymond Fol, Steve Grossman, Rene Urtreger, Jacques & Micheline Pelzer, Sonny Grey, Philly Joe Jones and Chet Baker among others.
He was awarded the prize in 1972 Django Reinhardt Academy award and in 1973 he was received the Prix Django Reinhardt. Contra-bassist Alby Cullaz passed away at the age of 56 on February 8, 1998 after a long illness.
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Chuck Berghofer was born Charles Curtis Berghofer on June 14, 1937 in Denver, Colorado. His interest in music began early coming from his grandfather who played with John Philip Sousa and his uncle who played tuba with the St. Louis Symphony. At eight he played trum and tuba in grade school until settling on the bass at the age of eighteen.
As a young adult he began venturing out to jazz clubs, gained an admiration to Ralph Peña and convinced him to take him on as a student. Berghofer played in high school trumpet and tuba and moved at eighteen to the double bass. Heavily influenced by Leroy Vinnegar, Paul Chambers and Ray Brown, he also admired the work of Scott LaFaro.
He went on to play with the Skinnay Ennis Orchestra, then joined Bobby Troup, Pete Jolly, Nick Martinis, Shelly Manne, Jack Sheldon, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Philly Joe Jones and was a member of the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra.
He had a lengthy career in film, Berghofer, was also quite accomplished as a house jazz musician forming a semi-regular house band at Donte’s in Los Angeles with pianist Frank Strazzeri and drummer Nick Ceroli. They played with Roger Kellaway, Larry Bunker, Zoot Sims, Ray Charles, Bob Cooper, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Peggy Lee, Shelly Manne, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Frank Rosolino, Carmen McRae, Seth MacFarlane, Barbra Streisand, Glen Campbell, Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra. Double bassist Chuck Berghofer continues to perform and record.
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