Donald Dean was born on June 21, 1937. ) He attended the University of Kansas, studying drums and Music Therapy, and playing snare drums in the marching band. He also played tympani, marimba, bells and snare drum in the university’s Symphony Orchestra. While matriculating, he played in a quartet with Nathan Davis on reeds, Elaine Brown Davis on piano, and trumpeter Carmel Jones.
His most famous recording was with Les McCann, Leroy Vinegar and Eddie Harris on the soul jazz album Swiss Movement, recorded live on June 21, 1969 at The Montreux Jazz Festival. He would go on to record a total of eight albums with McCann including Second Movement and Layers. Dean appeared as a jazz musician in the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx movie Collateral, has worked with Kenny Dorham, Jimmy Smith, George Gilliam, Carmel Jones and harold Land to name a few.
The Los Angeles Jazz Institute houses The Donald Dean Collection that includes reel to reel tapes of Sunday sessions at The Lighthouse that he recorded between 1952 and 1955. The collection also features over 700,000 photographic prints and negatives documenting both the southern and northern California scene from the mid 1960s through the late 1990s.
He has recorded on the Atlantic, Verve, Fresh Sound and Posi-Tone record labels, releasing two albums as a leader or co-leader. Drummer Donald Dean continues to perform at the age of 79 leading his own quartets and quintets.
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Ray McKinley was born on June 18, 1910 in Fort Worth, Texas. He got his start at age 9 working with local bands in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Leaving home when he was 15, he played with Milt Shaw’s Detroiters and the Smith Ballew and Duncan-Marin bands. It was with the Smith Ballew band in 1929 that McKinley met Glenn Miller. The two formed a friendship that lasted from 1929 until Miller’s death in 1944. McKinley and Miller joined the Dorsey Brothers in 1934.
The Dorsey brothers split in 1935 and Ray remained with Jimmy Dorsey until 1939, when he joined Will Bradley, becoming co-leader. His biggest hit with Bradley, as a singer, was Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar, which he recorded in 1940 and got a partial songwriting credit. Known also as Eight Beat Mack, taken from the lyrics to Down the Road a Piece, he recorded the song a trio with Will Bradley and Freddie Slack.
Splitting with Bradley in 1942, McKinley formed his own band and recorded for Capitol Records. The band was short-lived and he joined Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band, which he co-led with arranger Jerry Gray after Miller’s disappearance in December 1944. Upon discharge he formed a modern big band that featuring original material by legendary arranger Eddie Sauter and vocals by the leader. However, with business declining, by 1950 that band was history and his interest turned towards becoming a part-time leader and radio and TV personality.
In 1956, capitalizing on the popularity of The Glenn Miller Story movie with James Stewart, McKinley was chosen to be the leader of the revived Glenn Miller band, which he led until 1966. He co-hosted, with former Air Force band vocalist Johnny Desmond, a 13-week CBS-TV summer replacement series with the band called Glenn Miller Time in 1961. He also wrote the lyrics to the 1945 wartime song My Guy’s Come Back with music by Mel Powell and recorded by Benny Goodman with vocals by Liza Morrow on Columbia Records. His final recording session was in 1977 for Chiaroscuro Records. Drummer, singer, and bandleader Ray McKinley passed away on May 7, 1995.
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Kenneth Clare was born on June 8, 1929 in Leytonstone, London, England and played with Oscar Rabin on English radio in his early 20s. Following this, he played with Jack Parnell and then with Johnny Dankworth for an extended period in the 1950s and early 1960s. In the latter decade he played with Ted Heath and Ronnie Stephenson as well as playing in the studios as a member of Sounds Orchestral.
Clare played drums for the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band in 1963 to 1966 when Clarke was unavailable. But from 1967 through 1971, when the band folded, he was a regular paired with Clarke in what became a two-drummer band for performances, concerts, and at least 15 recordings issued by various labels.
He accompanied singers including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Cleo Laine. On December 5, 1971 he performed in concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall with fellow drummers Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson. Drummer Kenny Clare, who also did extensive work for radio, television, film, and commercials, passed away December 21, 1984.
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Peter Erskine was born on June 5, 1954 in Somers Point, New Jersey and began playing the drums at the age of four. He graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, then studied percussion at Indiana University.
He began playing professionally in 1972 when he joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra. After three years with Kenton he spent two years with Maynard Ferguson and in 1978 Erskine joined Weather Report along Jaco Pastorius in the rhythm section. After four years and five albums with Weather Report and the Jaco Pastorius big band Word of Mouth, he joined Steps Ahead.
Over the course of his prolific career Peter has recorded 20 albums as a leader and to date has been a sideman on over ninety-five albums working with John Abercrombie, Diana Krall, Eliane Elias, Queen Latifah, Linda Ronstadt, Eberhard Weber, Kate Bush, Gary Burton, Randy and Michael Brecker, George Cables, Pino Daniele, Eddie Daniels, Al Di Meola, Marty Ehrlich, Joe Farrell, Jan Garbarek, Giorgio, Gordon Goodwin, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Marc Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Peacock, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Ralph Towner, Joe Zawinul, Kenny Wheeler and many more.
Drummer Peter Erskine currently splits his time between performing and teaching. He ss a professor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. His big band recordings with the Bob Mintzer Big Band are modern big band jazz/funk performances studied by many students of drums and drumming. He has published five books on drumming and has one DVD titled The Erskine Method of Drumming.
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Louis Hayes was born May 31, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan. His father played drums and piano and his mother the piano. His early jazz influence was big bands on the radio, drummer Philly Joe Jones and was mentored by Papa Jo Jones.
As a teenager Hayes led a band in Detroit and worked with Yusef Lateef and Curtis Fuller from 1955 to 1956. Louis often teamed up with Sam Jones, in freelance settings, led a group at clubs in Detroit before he was 16. He moved to New York in August 1956 to replace Art Taylor in Horace Silver’s Quintet from 1956–1959, then joined the Cannonball Adderley Quintet from 1959–1965 followed by succeeding Ed Thigpen in the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1965–1967.
Leaving Peterson he formed a series of groups, which he led alone or with others; among his sidemen were Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Kenny Barron and James Spaulding. He rejoined Peterson in 1971. Forming the Louis Hayes Sextet in 1972, it evolved into the Louis Hayes-Junior Cook Quintet and the Woody Shaw-Louis Hayes Quintet with Rene McLean. After Shaw left the group in 1977, Hayes continued to lead it as a hard-bop quintet.
From the 1970s onward Louis recorded and performed with John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Zawinul, Nat Adderley, Gene Ammons, Bobby Timmons, Hank Mobley, Booker Little, Al Cohn, Kenny Drew, James Clay, Dexter Gordon, Terry Gibbs, Bennie Green, Grant Green, Barry Harris, Johnny Hodges, Sam Jones, Clifford Jordan, Johnny lytle, Phineas Newborn Jr., Tommy Flanagan, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Ray Brown, Gary Bartz, Tony Williams and the list goes on.
He has led recording sessions for Vee-Jay, Timeless, Muse, Candid, Steeplechase and TCB record labels. Drummer Louis Hayes mentors young jazz artists, continues to perform with a variety of other musicians both old and young, leads his own band and since 1989 with Vincent Herring formed the Cannonball Legacy Band.
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