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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Joseph Allen Farnsworth was born February 21, 1968 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, one of five sons born to trumpeter and bandleader Roger Farnsworth. He attended high school at the Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia, then studied at William Paterson College under Harold Mabern and Arthur Taylor.

After graduation Joe played with Junior Cook and Jon Hendricks in 1991, Jon Faddis in 1992, and between 1993 and 1995 with George Coleman, Cecil Payne, Annie Ross, and Benny Green. He has played in the group One for All with David Hazeltine and Jim Rotondi, and worked with Benny Golson, Steve Davis, and Eric Alexander.

In the second half of the Nineties he also played with Alex Graham, Michael Weiss, the Three Baritone Saxophone Band, and Diana Krall. He has released three albums as a leader, has also recorded with Steve Davis and the late Cedar Walton. Drummer Joe Farnsworth is now a member of Pharoah Sanders’ band.


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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Walter Johnson was born on February 18, 1904 in New York City, New York. He was influenced by Kaiser Marshall and became one of the top big band drummers of the 1920’s and 30’s swing era. He worked with Freddy Johnson in 1924, Bobby Brown, Elmer Snowden between 1925 to 1928, and Te Roy Williams in 1927.

He became best-known for his playing with Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra off and on from 1929 to 1942. After his third stint with Henderson ended, Johnson freelanced for the remainder of his career,Through the Thirties, he performed with other swing era big bands including Sam Wooding, LeRoy Smith, Lucky Millinder, Claude Hopkins, Edgar Hayes and Coleman Hawkins.

Though Walter sometimes worked outside of music as a bank guard, he could often be heard playing with Tab Smith during a period spanning a decade from 1944 to 1954. He would also appear with a variety of swing and mainstream combos into the Sixties. Though Drummer Walter Johnson never led his own record date, he did record frequently during his prime years, passed away on April 26, 1977 in New York City.

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Benny Barth was born February 16, 1929 in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a child he was steeped in high school concerts, marching bands and orchestras and along with his Uncle Ben would go to the Indiana Rooftop Ballroom to hear jazz and big band as well as witnessing battles between the large ensembles of Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich.

He attended the Shortridge High School in his hometown and was a member of the Indiana Avenue jazz scene. After his graduation from Butler University , he moved to the West Coast where he worked with Conte Candoli and Lennie Niehaus.

He also worked as a session musician on numerous jazz albums and film scores. From 1957 to 1961 he was a member of The Mastersounds and recorded 12 albums playing with vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery, his brother bassist Monk Montgomery and Richie Crabtree on piano. He later became the house drummer for three years in San Francisco’s Club Hungi I. Barth would be a contributor to the album Drums on Fire, created together with Art Blakey and Chico Hamilton. He recorded with Wes Montgomery, Joe Venuti, Ben Webster, Jimmy Witherspoon, Pearl Bailey, Joe Williams, George Barnes and Mel Tormé.

In 1976, he accompanied Helen Hume on her album Deed I Do and appeared on some of the Vince Guaraldi recordings of the music for the television series Peanuts. Now at 87, drummer Benny Barth continued to play into the new millennium while mentoring young students.

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Irving Cottler was born on February 13, 1918 in New York City, New York. Learning to play the drums, at age 14, he falsified his age to acquire a musician’s union card, and honed his chops playing the Catskills resort circuit. After stints with Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey, he toured California behind Claude Thornhill, vowing to ultimately relocate cross-country.

Stints with Larry Clinton, Tommy Dorsey, and Les Brown followed, but in 1947, finally retiring from the road, Irv settled in Los Angeles, California. He became a first-call session drummer renowned for his impeccable timekeeping, he was a sometime member of The Wrecking Crew, recording behind Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and numerous others.

A personal favorite of arranger Nelson Riddle, he was summoned by Riddle in 1953 to play on what would become Frank Sinatra’s first LP for Capitol Records, the now-classic Songs for Young Lovers. Cottler quickly emerged as Sinatra’s drummer of choice and bandleader, remaining with Ol’ Blue Eyes in various studio and tour incarnations for more than 30 years. Crooners Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Mel Tor, and Bobby Darin sought out his services as well, and for the Somerset label he headlined the exotica cult classic Around the World in Percussion.

A staple of film and television, Irv highlighted his career in the medium with a 12-year stint with The Dinah Shore Show’s house band. He authored a book, I’ve Got You Under My Skins, which is a unique publication that features the original drum charts for all of the popular Frank Sinatra tunes on the CD. The charts were reprinted as a book, adding performance hints and in-studio photos.

Drummer and bandleader Irv Cottler, who also recorded with Count Basie, Hoagy Carmichael, Stan Kenton and Barney Kessel,  passed away on August 8, 1989 in Rancho Mirage, California.

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Joseph George Dodge was born on February 9, 1922 in Monroe, Wisconsin and  was raised and grew up in San Francisco, California. He initially studied to be a symphonic percussionist, and like many young drummers of his generation, he was primarily influenced by Gene Krupa, Jo Jones, Jimmy Crawford and Shelly Manne, gathering different sources of inspiration that helped him to create his own creative style.

During World War II, Dodge fulfilled his military duties from 1942 until 1945 playing drums in the Coast Artillery band, where he met tenor saxophonist Dave van Kriedt, who introduced him to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. After his discharge in 1946 he worked in several dixieland groups and dance bands around the Bay area.

In 1950, becoming tired of road touring and economic instability took a job working in a bank but still kept in touch with Desmond, who arranged for him to play a Brubeck engagement as a temporary replacement for drummer Cal Tjader. The Brubeck octet was steady playing at the San Francisco Opera House, and opened for Nat King Cole and Woody Herman.

A few years later, Desmond again recommended Joe to Brubeck and he joined the quartet as Brubeck’s regular drummer. During his tenure he helped to record five successful albums between 1953 and 1956. During the same period, he was featured in two albums with different formats directed by Desmond.

By late 1956, Dodge was worn down again by the travel and intense schedule with the quartet and wanted to spend more time with his family. He then told Brubeck it was time to look for another drummer and took a day job in San Francisco. In 1957 he was offered a transitory position with Stan Kenton but again declined and from 1958 until he retired in 1981, he would combine working in the liquor business with evening musical engagements. Never losing touch with Desmond or Brubeck, he would play at the latter’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1992. Drummer Joe Dodge passed away on August 18, 2004 in Lake Elsinore, California at the age of 82.

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