Theodore Malcolm Nash was born on October 31, 1922 in the Boston suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts. His goal was to become a classical flutist until he began playing saxophone in his early teens. His professional career began when he went on the road with a succession of dance bands, landing the solo tenor chair with the Les Brown band in 1944 where he rapidly made a name for himself.
His playing was notable for his mastery of the extreme altissimo register of the saxophone. He authored Ted Nash’s Studies in High Harmonics for Tenor and Alto Saxophone published in 1946, that is still in print.
In the late 1940s Ted became part of the thriving Hollywood movie and television recording industry. In 1956 he recorded with Paul Weston’s orchestra the hit album Day by Day, with vocals by his former colleague and close friend, Doris Day.
He was featured on The Music from Peter Gunn soundtrack album performing the bluesy, high-energy alto sax solo on the theme as well as the wistful alto sax solo on the second bridge of Dreamsville. Henry Mancini composed The Brothers Go to Mother’s from Peter Gunn as a feature for Ted and and his trombonist Dick.
From the mid 50s through the end of the Sixties he recorded sixteen albums with Georgie Auld. Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Pete Rugolo, Lalo Schifrin. Saxophone, flute and clarinet Ted Nash, who was a first-call session musician in the Hollywood recording studios, passed away on May 12, 2011.
Rozanne Levine was born October 19, 1945 in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. She studied clarinet and guitar as a youth, performing with the school orchestra as a clarinetist. She went on to matriculate through the New York University College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in Psychology. During the same period she took clarinet lessons with Perry Robinson.
By the end of the 1970s she was clarinetist in William Parker’s and Patricia Nicholson Parker ‘s Centering Music / Dance Ensemble. Since the early 1980s, she has also worked with saxophonist Mark Whitecage in his Glass House Ensemble. In 1993 she again joined William Parker and became a member of the Improvisors Collective. At the same time, she founded her group, Christal Clarinets, with Perry Robinson, Anthony Braxton and Joe Fonda.
Levine also worked with Jemeel Moondoc, Theo Jörgensmann, Steve Swell, Gerry Hemingway, Billy Bang, Polly Bradfield, Tristan Honsinger, Dennis Charles, Charles Brackeen, Jemeel Moondoc among others. In the duo RoMarkable with Mark Whitcage, she improvises to his sound sculptures. She composes chakra tuning for her ensemble and uses her own photographs as a starting point for collective imprints. In 1989, she received the commission Grant From The Painted Bride Art Center for her musical and photographic work.
Improvisational clarinetist, composer and photographer Rozanne Levine passed away on June 18, 2013.
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William Overton Smith was born on September 22, 1926 in Sacramento, California and grew up in Oakland, California, where he began playing clarinet at the age of ten. He put together a jazz group to play for dances at 13, and at the age of 15 he joined the Oakland Symphony. Idolizing Benny Goodman, after high school he completed a brief cross-country tour with a dance band that ended his romance for the life of a traveling jazz musician. He gave two weeks’ notice when the band reached Washington, D.C. and encouraged by an older band member to get the best education he could, he headed to New York.
Beginning his formal music studies at the Juilliard School of Music, he played New York jazz clubs like Kelly’s Stables at night. However, uninspired by the Juilliard faculty, he returned to California and at Mills College he met pianist Dave Brubeck, and became a member of the Dave Brubeck Octet, and later occasionally subbed for saxophonist Paul Desmond in the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Winning the Prix de Paris presented Smith the opportunity for two years of study at the Paris Conservatory, and in 1957, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome and spent six years in that city. He has since received numerous other awards, including two Guggenheim grants.
As an educator at the University of Southern California, he began a thirty-year career at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he taught music composition and performance. He co-led the forward-thinking Contemporary Group, first with Robert Suderburg and then with trombonist Stuart Dempster, from 1966 to 1997 and at 91 clarinetist Bill Smith is currently professor emeritus.
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Jay Cameron was born on September 14, 1928 in New York City and began as an alto saxophonist only to later record with bass and B-flat clarinet and baritone saxophone.
He began his career in the early 1940s in Hollywood with Ike Carpenter‘s band, with whom he played until 1947. He moved to Europe near the end of the decade and played with Rex Stewart, Bill Coleman, Roy Haynes and Henri Renaud in France and Italy. In the early 1950s Cameron gigged around Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia and by 1955 he played steadily in Paris, France with a band that included Bobby Jaspar, Barney Wilen and Jean-Louis Chautemps.
Returning to the United States in 1956, Jay played in bands led by Woody Herman and Slide Hampton as well as collaborations with Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Candido Camero, Bill Barron, André Hodeir, Hal McKusick, and Les and Larry Elgart.
He was the leader of the International Sax Band and the Third Herdsmen. And in the late 1960s he toured with Paul Winter. He continued to be an active musician and advocate for jazz programming and education throughout his life. Baritone saxophonist and reed player Jay Cameron passed away on March 20, 2001 in San Diego, California.
Putte Wickman was born Hans Olof Wickman on September 10, 1924 in Falun, Sweden and grew up in Borlänge, Sweden, where his parents hoped he would become a lawyer. He nagged them to allow him to go to high school in Stockholm. Arriving in the capital at 15 not knowing what jazz was, and not having access to a piano his mother gave him a clarinet and by then he had started to hang out with those with jazz records.
With Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman as his role models by 1944, he had already turned to music full-time. He was taken on as band leader at Stockholm’s Nalen and in 1945 the newly founded Swedish newspaper Expressen described him as the country’s foremost clarinet player.
For eleven years Putte led his own band at Nalen and during the 1960s he ran the big band at Gröna Lund, and at Puttes, the club he part-owned, at Hornstull in Stockholm. He gave church performances and concerts yearly and stayed active until shortly before his death. In 1994, Wickman received the Illis Quorum gold medal, the highest award that can be conferred upon an individual Swedish citizen by the Government of Sweden.
Clarinetist Putte Wickman, who considered himself self-taught having never taken a classes on the instrument and a member of the Royal Swedish Musical Academy, passed away on 14 February 2006 in Grycksbo, Sweden.
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