Walter Dewey Redman was born May 17, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended I.M. Terrell High School and played saxophone in the school band with Ornette Coleman, Prince Lasha and Charles Moffett. After high school he briefly enrolled in the electrical engineering program at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but became disillusioned with the program and returned home to Texas. In 1953, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts from Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University and while attending switched from clarinet to alto saxophone, eventually to tenor.
Following his degree, Redman served for two years in the Army and upon his discharge he began working on a master’s degree in education at the University of North Texas. While there he taught music to fifth graders in Bastrop, Texas and worked as a freelance saxophonist at night and on weekends around Austin, Texas. By 1957 he graduated in Education with a minor in Industrial Arts.
1959 saw him moving to San Francisco, California as result of an early collaboration with clarinetist Donald Rafael Garrett. He would go on to perform with Ornette Coleman, from 1968 to 1972 and recording New York Is Now!, among others. Dewey was also a part of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet from 1971 – 1976, whose album The Survivors’ Suite was voted Jazz Album of the Year by Melody Maker in 1978.
In the mid-70s Redman formed the quartet Old And New Dreams with Coleman alumni Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. They recorded four albums in the period to 1987. He performed and recorded as an accompanying musician with jazz musicians who performed in varying styles within the post-1950s jazz idiom, including drummer Paul Motian, Pat Metheny, Jane Bunnett, Anthony Cox, Cameron Brown, Billy Hart, Matt Wilson, Roswell Rudd, Randy Weston, Clifford Thornton, Jon Ballantyne, Michael Boclan, David Bond, Leroy Jenkins, Dane Belany and Michel Benita.
As a leader with more than a dozen recordings, Dewey established himself as one of the more prolific tenor players of his generation. Though generally associated with free jazz, he would also play standards and ballads reminiscent of the blues and post-bop mainstream and would sometimes hum into his sax while performing.
Tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, who occasionally played alto saxophone, the Chinese suona and clarinet mainly in the free jazz genre, passed away from liver failure in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2, 2006. He was the subject of an award-winning documentary film Dewey Time and recorded two albums with his son Joshua.
Woody Herman was born Woodrow Charles Thomas Herman on May 16, 1913 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father had a deep love for show business and this influenced him at an early age. As a child he worked as a Vaudeville singer and tap-dancer, then started to play the clarinet and saxophone by age 12.
1936 saw him joining the Tom Gerun band and his first recorded vocals were Lonesome Me and My Heart’s at Ease. He also performed with the Harry Sosnick Orchestra, Gus Arnheim and Isham Jones, the latter writing numerous popular songes including It Had To Be You. When Jones retired Woody acquired the orchestra, which became known for its orchestrations of the blues. They first recorded for the Decca label as a cover band, eventually getting their first hit with Woodchopper’s Ball in 1939.He went on to have hits with The Golden Wedding and Blue Prelude.
As bebop was gradually replacing swing Herman commissioned Dizzy Gillespie as an arranger and he provided him three arrangements of Woody‘n You, Swing Shift and Down Under in 1942, heralding a change in the music. By 1945 Herman was with Columbia Records, recording the First Herd, the very successful Laura, the theme song to the 1944 movie of the same name. That group became famous for its progressive jazz that was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. By the end of 1946 the big band era was over and he disbanded his only financially profitable group.
In 1947, Herman organized the Second Herd that remained together until 1987. This band was also known as The Four Brothers Band derived from the song and featured three tenor and one baritone saxophone of Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Herbie Steward and Stan Getz. In the band was also Al Cohn, Gene Ammons, Lou Levy, Oscar Pettiford, Terry Gibbs and Shelly Manne and they had hits with Early Autumn and The Goof and I.
Herman would go on to perform in movies with Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, record for RCA, Capitol, MGM and Verve record labels, put together his Third Herd and variations of the New Thundering Herd and by the Seventies was touring and working more in jazz education by offering workshops and taking on younger sidemen.
The 1980s saw Herman’s return to straight-ahead jazz, dropping some of the newer rock and fusion approaches he had used the previous decade. He continued to perform with his health in decline, chiefly to pay back taxes that were owed because of his business manager’s bookkeeping in the 1960s. Herman owed the IRS millions of dollars and was in danger of eviction from his home. He eventually passed leadership duties to reed section leader Frank Tiberi.
Clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist, singer and big band leader Woody Herman was awarded two Grammys for Best Big Band Jazz Album for Encore and Giant Steps, The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, had won Down Beat, Esquire and Metronome polls. He was the feature of a documentary film titled Woody Herman: Blue Flame- Portrait of a Jazz Legend, and was a featured half-time performer at Super Bowl VII. He passed away on October 29, 1987.
Lorenzo Tio Jr. was born on April 21, 1893 in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Following in the footsteps of his father Lorenzo Sr. and his uncle Louis “Papa”, he also became a master clarinetist. Their method of playing the instrument, which involved the Albert system, a double-lip embouchure and soft reeds, was seminal in the development of the jazz solo.
Tio Jr.was instrumental in bringing classical music theory to the ragtime, blues and jazz musicians of New Orleans and he eventually played jazz himself. His main instrument was clarinet also played the oboe and joined Manuel Perez’s band in Chicago, Illinois in 1916 and Armand J. Piron’s from 1918 to 1928, recording with Piron, Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton and Clarence Williams.
As an educator among the reed players to impact early jazz who studied under Lorenzo’s direction were Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard, Johnny Dodds, Omer Simeon, Louis Cottrell Jr., Jimmie Noone and Albert Nicholas. He taught Bigard what would become the main theme to the famous Ellington tune Mood Indigo.
Tio gigged in legendary New Orleans large ensembles such as the Lyre Club Symphony Orchestra during the late 19th century. He played in smaller combos, traditional brass bands, had a standing collaboration with Papa Celestin whenever he was in the Big Easy, and performed with the Tuxedo Brass Band.
Despite his strong ties to New Orleans, he regularly played the New York jazz scene on steamboats running between the state capitol in Albany and the Big Apple. During the late ’20s and early ’30s, He had a regular stint at The Nest Club in New York City. Clarinetist and educator Lorenzo Tio Jr., who also played oboe and tenor saxophone, passed away on December 24, 1933.
Johnny Dodds (pronounced dots) was born April 12,1892 in Waveland, Mississippi and moved to New Orleans in his youth, and studied clarinet with Loranzo Tio. He played with the bands of Frankie Duson, Kid Ory and Joe “King” Oliver.
Dodds went to Chicago, Illinois to play with Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with whom he first recorded in 1923. He also worked frequently with his good friend Natty Dominique during this period, a professional relationship that would last a lifetime.
After the breakup of Oliver’s band in 1924, he replaced Alcide Nunez as the house clarinetist and bandleader of Kelly’s Stable. He recorded with numerous small groups in Chicago, most notably Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Fot Seven, Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers and Lovie Austin.
Noted for his professionalism and virtuosity as a musician, and his heartfelt, heavily blues-laden style, Dodds was an important influence on later clarinetists, notably Benny Goodman.
Along with his younger brother drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds, they worked together in the New Orleans Bootblacks in 1926. As a leader he recorded prolifically between 1927 and 1929, recording for Paramount, Brunswick/Vocalion, and Victor. Affected by ill he recorded two more sessions in 1938 and 1940 both for Decca before passing away of a heart attack in Chicgo, Illinois on August 8, 1940. In 1987, clarinetist and alto saxophonist Johnny Dodds was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.
Eiji Kitamura 北村 英治 was born on April 8, 1929 in Tokyo, Japan. Devoting himself to clarinet, he was playing while still an undergrad at Keio University at in Tokyo. He made his debut at the age of 22.
Kitamura built a following in his country performing regularly on his television program. He first came to prominence in the United States at the 20th Anniversary Jam Session of the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1977. His following in Japan was built previous to this on his regular television program.
An interpreter of traditional jazz, the clarinetist prefers this genre over modern jazz. Much of his influence in his playing came from the swing of Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. He has recorded some two-dozen albums or more albums including a series of albums with Teddy Wilson as well as for CBS Sony, Concord and various Japanese labels over the course of his career.
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