Conny Jackel was born Horst Konrad Jackel on August 30, 1931 in Offenbach am Main, Germany. He first worked as a steel fitter, then in 1951 he played at the conservatory and in the clubs of the US Army in France, the Netherlands and Germany in 1952. In 1955 he became a member of Helmut Brandt Combo, contributing to their success.
By 1959 Jackel had joined the Harald Banter Band in Cologne playing demanding arrangements for two years. In 1961 he joined the orchestra of Erwin Lehn in Stuttgart, where he also worked with Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra on stage.
From 1964 to 1969 he was a member of the Albert Mangelsdorff led Jazz Ensemble of Hessischer Rundfunk . From 1967 Conny played first trumpet in the Dance Orchestra of Hessischer Rundfunk under Willy Berking and the HR Big Band headed by Heinz Schönberger . In addition, he performed with Joki Friendand, Rudi Sehring, Attila Zoller and Charly Antolini. He recorded with Gustl Mayers Swing All Stars and the trio of Manfred Kullmann . Then he was a member of the jazz band Hanauer Sugarfoot Stompers and played with other traditional bands of the region such as the Phoenix Jazz Band.
In 1999 a bout with cancer caused Jackel to have his lower jaw removed forcing him to give up playing trumpet. Occasionally he would play drums as also in the Book Readers active as a drummer. For his contributions to jazz, he was inducted into the Knights of Ronneburg on September 9, 2006.
Trumpeter and flugelhornist Conny Jackel passed away after a long illness and the consequences of an operation on April 28, 2008 in Bad Nauheim, Germany.
Frank Capp was born Francis Cappuccio on August 20, 1931 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He began playing with Stan Kenton in 1951, remaining for some time. Later he joined Neal Hefti’s group and often accompanied Peggy Lee on some of her road dates.
Capp subsequently came to Los Angeles, California where he joined Billy May. He performed and recorded with Chet Baker, Herbie Harper Quintet, Joe Pass, André Previn, J. J. Johnson, Ben Webster, Michael Nesmith, Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra and Bud Shank among others.
Not limited to jazz he also played on numerous rock and roll sessions and is considered to be a member of The Wrecking Crew. This quintessential first-call group of musicians became Phil Spector’s de facto house band. Known as the Wall Of Sound Orchestra. They also played behind such 60s & 70s groups as Jan and Dean, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas & The Papas, Nancy Sinatra, The Byrds, The Monkees, Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys.
In 1975 together with Nat Pierce he founded the Capp/Pierce Juggernaut Band. Among the personnel have been Bill Berry, Bobby Shew, Marshal Royal, Blue Mitchell, Herb Ellis, Chuck Berghofer and Richie Kamuca, while the singers have been Ernie Andrews, Joe Williams, Ernestine Anderson and Nancy Wilson. Still led by drummer Frank Capp at age 84, the Juggernaut has proved sufficiently well founded to survive Pierce’s death in 1992.
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Bruz Freeman was born Eldridge Freeman on August 11, 1921 in Chicago, Illinois. Also known as “Buzz” Freeman with his brothers, guitarist George Freeman and tenor saxophonist Von Freeman, he played for several years in the house band at the Pershing Hotel.
In 1950, he was a member of John Young’s trio with bassist LeRoy Jackson and recorded with Young’s orchestra backing vocalist Lurlean Hunter.
By the mid-1950s, Bruz became a member of the Hampton Hawes Quartet, with Red Mitchell and Jim Hall, and with line-ups led by Herb Geller. In 1950, with his brothers George and Von, LeRoy Jackson, and Chris Anderson, he played with Charlie Parker shortly before his death. This jam session was recorded at Bird’s apartment and was later released in 1960 by Savoy Records.
He went on to record with Clora Bryant in the late Fifties and John Carter, Bobby Bradford, Bob Thiele in the Sixties. Fro 1977-1978 he joined a short-lived band based in California led by Kenny Mann and with Britt Woodman on trombone. Drummer Bruz Freeman never recorded as a leader and passed away on November 21, 2005 at age 84 in Boulder City, Nevada.
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Jeff Hamilton was born on August 4, 1953 in Richmond, Indiana. He attended Indiana University. Early in his career, he played with the Tommy Dorsey Ghost Band, after which he briefly played with Lionel Hampton. He spent two years as a member of the Monty Alexander Trio starting in 1975, and was with Woody Herman’s Orchestra from 1977 to 1978, following which he became a member of the L.A. Four, with whom he made six albums. After this, he started recording regularly as a sideman for the Concord label.
From 1983 to 1987, he played with Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, and the Count Basie Orchestra. In the 1990s, Hamilton played gigs with The Clayton Brothers, toured the world with Oscar Peterson and the Ray Brown Trio.
Hamilton toured extensively with Diana Krall and played on several of her albums and one of her DVDs. Leading his own band Hamilton also leads his own trio, with bassist Christoph Luty and pianist Tamir Hendelman, they have recorded for Lake Street, Mons and Azica labels.
Once a co-owner of Bosphorus Cymbals, USA, he has since started his own cymbal company, Crescent Cymbals, with Michael Vosbein, Bill Norman, and drummer Stanton Moore and attracted the attention of Sabian who bought out Crescent, redistributing them through their Hand-Hammered series.
As a sideman he has worked with the George Robert All-Star Quartet, the Mike Jones Trio, Adam Schroeder, Holly Hofmann, Lalo Schifrin and Bud Shank among others. Drummer Jeff Hamilton currently co-leads the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with John and Jeff Clayton and continues to perform, record and tour with his trio.
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Ben Riley was born July 17, 1933 in Savannah, Georgia and his family moved to New York City when he was three years old. In high school he played drums in the school band, and after graduation he joined the Army, where he was a paratrooper, and also played with the Army band. After his discharge in 1954 he returned to New York City where he began playing jazz professionally in 1956. It was with Johnny Griffin he made his recording debut in 1961.
Ben played with such musicians as Randy Weston, Mary Lou Williams, Sonny Rollins, Woody Herman, Randy Weston, Sonny Stitt, Ray Bryant, Stan Getz and Billy Taylor.. But it was four years playing, recording and touring with Thelonious Monk that established his name and helped direct his career to success.
During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet and the hard bop drummer has recorded three albums as a leader. Riley has recorded no less than another three dozen albums as a sideman working with the above-mentioned musicians as well as Alice Coltrane, Woody Herman, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Bennie Green, Michael Franks, Andrew Hill, Sam Jones, Junior Mance, Roseanna Vitro, Horace Tapscott, Jim Hall, Abdullah Ibrahim and as a member of the group Sphere.
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