Dave Tough, born April 26, 1907 in Oak Park, Illinois was sometimes Davie or Davey Tough. His decision to become a drummer was not supported by his family or community, so he ventured from his upper-middle class world to the evolving jazz scene of Chicago’s Southside, breaking both cultural and musical boundaries.
Dave worked Bud Freeman, Woody Herman, Eddie Condon, Red Nichols, Red Norvo, Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan and Benny Goodman. Appearing as the poet-drummer character Dick Rough in the Autobiographical Novel of Kenneth Rexroth, he played at Chicago’s legendary Green Mask,
In the later 1920s, Tough floated between Nice and Paris doing freelance work, touring and recording throughout Europe mostly on the Tri-Ergon label in the early Thirties. During this overseas period he worked loosely with George Carhart and while in Paris he had extensive sessions with Mezz Mezzrow.
Though without official record,he spent portions of 1942-44 in the Navy playing behind Shaw’s Naval Band. He only led one album, a small-sided release by the Jamboree label. Although he had varied successes, one being with the Artie Shaw band, Dave also had difficulties with alcoholism and illness that caused him to lose a number of prominent jobs.
Although he was not known as a bebop drummer, he was a fan and admired the drumming of Max Roach. He was not a flashy, crowd-pleasing drummer like Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich, he was widely admired by other musicians for his taste and subtle rhythmic drive. Dixieland and swing drummer Dave Tough, described as the most important of the drummers of the Chicago circle in the 1930s and 1940s, passed away from a cerebral trauma after falling down on a Newark, New Jersey street on December 9, 1948 at age 41. He was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 2000.
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Slick Jones came into the world on April 13, 1907. He was born Wilmore Jones in Roanoke, Virginia and worked with Fletcher Henderson from 1934 to 1936, then recorded and toured with Fats Waller from 1936 to 1941.
Following his time with Waller, he played with Stuff Smith, Eddie South, Claude Hopkins, Hazel Scott, and Don Byas. In the 1950s Jones worked with Sidney Bechet, Wilbur DePris and Doc Cheatham.
He record with Gene Sedric, Don Redman, Lionel Hampton and Una Mae Carlisle. He worked with Eddie Durham and Eddie Barefield in the 1960s. Though he never recorded as a leader, drummer Slick Jones remained active almost up until his death on November 2, 1969.
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Arthur S. Taylor, Jr. was born in New York City on April 6, 1929 and as a teenager he joined a local Harlem band that featured Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean and Kenny Drew. By the late Forties and into the Fifties he was playing in the bands of Howard McGee, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy DeFranco, Bud Powell, George Wallington, Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce and Donald Byrd.
After leaving Byrd he formed his own group, Taylor’s Wailers but between 1957 and 1963 he toured with Byrd, recorded with Miles Davis and John Coltrane, performed with Thelonious Monk and was a member of the original Kenny Dorham Quartet of 1957.
In 1963 he moved to Europe, where he lived mainly in France and Belgium for 20 years, playing with local groups and jazz musicians Johnny Griffin, John Bodwin, and Woody Shaw while he was in Paris. He returned to the States to help his ailing mother and continued freelancing. In 1993 Art organized a second band called Taylor’s Wailers.
He recorded five albums as a leader and 116 albums as a sideman with some of the most influential jazz musicians of the day – Gene Ammons, Dorothy Ashby, Benny Bailey, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers, Sonny Clark, James Clay, Jimmy Cleveland, Arnett Cobb, Pepper Adams, Walter Davis Jr., Red Garland, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Continuum, Matthew Gee, Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Slide Hampton, Bennie Green, Tiny Grimes, Elmo Hope, Frank Foster, Erne Henry, Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Clifford Jordan, Duke Jordan, Ken McIntrye, Lee Morgan, Oliver Nelson, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver, Dizzy Reece, Jimmy Smith, Mal Waldron, Julian Priester, Charlie Rouse, Kai Winding, J.J. Johnson, Toots Thielemans, Randy Weston, Sonny Stitt, Jack McDuff, Stanley Turrentine, and the list goes on and on.
Art Taylor helped define the sound of modern jazz drumming and authored Notes and Tones, a book based on his interviews with other musicians. He passed away in Manhattan’s Beth Israel Hospital on February 6, 1995.
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Donald Orlando Bailey was born on March 26, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania into a musical family. His father Morriswas a drummer, his brother Morris Jr a saxophonist and his nephew Victor is a bassist.
Bailey got his big break in the jazz world and is probably best known as the drummer in the Jimmy Smith Trio from 1956 to 1964. He also performed and recorded with The Three Sounds on the Blue Note Records label.
Known in the jazz world as Duck Bailey, he performed with John Coltrane in their early Philly years. He worked as a sideman for Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Hampton Hawes, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Rowles, Blue Mitchell, Red Mitchell, Roy Ayers, George Braith, Harold Land, Jack Wilson, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Buster Williams and Bobby Hutcherson among others.
In the mid 70s, he moved to Japan where he lived for six years and in 1978, released an album called So in Love for Trio Records. The session featured Hideo Ichikawa, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshio Ikeda, Takaaki Nishikawa and Toshihiko Ogawa. This date featured Bailey playing harmonica, received rave reviews and is a sought after jazz collectible. His last project Blueprints of Jazz Vol.3 featuring Donald Bailey had him in the company of Charles Tolliver on trumpet, pianist George Burton, and tenor saxophonist Odean Pope issued in 2009.
Settling in Montclair, California, he performed around San Francisco Bay area until his late 70s. Drummer Donald Baily, known as The King of Organ Trio Drummers, passed away in Montclair, California on October 15, 2013 at the age of 80.
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Akira Tana was born on March 14, 1952 in San Jose, California. A self-taught drummer, he played semi-professionally while still at college. He attended Harvard University where he gained a degree in East Asian Studies/Sociology. He then went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music and took private lessons from percussionists with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops Orchestras and from jazz drummer Alan Dawson.
During his studies he had the opportunity of working with Helen Humes, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, George Russell, Sonny Stitt and other leading jazz musicians. He also played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and several of the classical music ensembles at the New England Conservatory.
In the early 80s he continued to accompany major artists such as Al Cohn, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Jim Hall, Jimmy Rowles, Zoot Sims and Cedar Walton. He also performed with artists outside the jazz world, including Charles Aznavour and Lena Horne. Akira recorded extensively during these years and in addition to albums with some of the foregoing but also with Ran Blake, Chris Connor, Carl Fontana, Jimmy Heath, Tete Montoliu, Spike Robinson, Warne Marsh and many others.
By early 1990 Tana worked with James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Wess, Ray Bryant and J.J. Johnson. With Rufus Reid he formed the band TanaReid and with Reid and pianist Kei Akagi, they made up the Asian American Jazz Trio. A technically accomplished drummer, he is comfortable accompanying singers and instrumental ballads, and is equally in his element playing hard bop. In addition to playing, the drummer is also a producer and regularly conducts workshops and clinics at colleges and universities, including Berklee College Of Music, and is an adjunct professor at two colleges.
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