Ernie Farrow was born on November 13, 1928 in Huntington, West Virginia and is the half-brother to Alice Coltrane. It is said that he was responsible for introducing her to jazz. He had his own bands throughout high school and emerged in the professional jazz scene in the first half of the ’50s, working with a series of demanding bandleaders including Terry Gibbs and Stan Getz.
Farrow’s relationship with Yusef Lateef began around 1956, performing alongside Hugh Lawson and drummer Louis Hayes and recording a dozen albums with him from 1957 to 1964. Over the course of his short career he also worked with Barry Harris and John Williams among others.
A few years later he began leading his own group, based out of Detroit and was a strong influence on his younger piano-playing sister. In the ’60s he was featured on bass in a terrific classic jazz piano trio fronted by Red Garland.
Best known as a bassist, he however, started on piano before adding bass and drums. Multi-instrumentalist Ernie Farrow, who played piano, double bass, and drums, passed away on July 14, 1969.
Bill Elgart or Billy Elgart was born on November 9, 1942 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. A student of Alan Dawson, he studied at the Berklee College of Music. By the 1960s he was playing with Carla Bley, Paul Bley, Marion Brown, Sam Rivers, Lowell Davidson, Mark Levinson, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai, Jack Walrath and Glenn Ferris. In 1968 he made his recording debut on Mr. Joy, with Paul Bley and Gary Peacock.
Moving to Europe in 1976, Bill settled first in Salzburg, Austria and later in Ulm, Germany. He played with Karl Berger, Dave Holland, Ed Schuller and Wayne Darling over the course of the 1980s and 1990s. He was a member of the group Zollsound 4 with Carlo Mombelli, Lee Konitz, and Thomas Zoller. He played in the Sundial Trio with Peter O’Mara from 1982 to 1990, and in 1991 he worked with Caoma alongside Ed Schuller, Sigi Finkel and Tomasz Stanko. He and Stanko also played with Vlatko Kucan in the 1990s.
Elgart worked on the Annemarie Roelofs Projekt, alongside Berger, Frank Möbus, Vitold Rek, and Ingrid Sertso. He has performed as a sideman on recordings by Leszek Zadlo, Manfred Bründl, Kenny Wheeler, Carlo Mombelli, Charlie Mariano, Arrigo Cappelletti, Franco D’Andrea, Wolfgang Lackerschmid, Claudio Fasoli, Sigi Finkel and Paolino Dalla Porta. He has also worked with Tim Berne, Barre Phillips, Eddie Gómez, Conny Bauer, Sheila Jordan, David Friedman and Matthias Schubert. Drummer Bill Elgart continues to perform and record.
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Raul Pineda was born on November 5, 1971 in Havana, Cuba. As a young boy, he scoured his neighborhood for anything that could be used to create drums. He used metal rods driven into the ground to support used cooking oil cans, and formed drumsticks from the branches of orange trees. He was influenced by the local rumbero street bands, and at the urging of his musician grandfather, Nefer Miguel Milanés, he went on to study classical percussion for several years. He then immersed himself in Afro-Cuban music.
By 19, Raul was performing and recording with some of the leading Cuban ensembles and bandleaders, including Sentisis, and pianist Chucho Valdés. Over the next several years, international tours and Grammy-nominated recordings brought Raul to the music world’s attention as one of Cuba’s most influential young drummers. He blends a drum kit with percussion instruments, such as, the left foot cowbell.
Staying busy playing and recording with several bands and artists, since 2000, he has been playing with the Afro-Cuban-jazz-funk-rock band TIZER and with Latin superstar Juan Gabriel. Between the two bands he will have toured Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Dubai, Barbados, Aruba, Santiago de Chile, South Africa, Russia and South Korea.
Drummer Raul Pineda has garnered three Grammy nominations and a 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance with the Chucho Valdés Quartet album, Live at the Village Vanguard. He continues to perform and record.
Eggy Ley was born Derek William Ley on November 4, 1928 in London, England and first played drums and boogie-woogie piano. During his military service in the Royal Air Force he discovered and began playing the soprano saxophone.
In 1952 he played with Mick Collier’s Chicago Rhythm Kings followed by stints with Eric Silk and Stan Sowden. Then he put together his own Trad-Jazz band, which received a long guest appearance at the New Orleans Bar in Hamburg, Germany in 1955. Eggy kept the band going throughout Germany and Scandinavia until 1962, and recorded several records, with Benny Waters and for different labels, of which the Blues for St. Pauli became a hit in Germany.
Playing regularly with his band in London, Ley also produced for Radio Luxembourg and between 1969 and 1983 he produced for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. During the 1970s he co-directed the band Jazz Legend with Hugh Rainey and also recorded together with Cy Laurie.
In 1982, he founded his band Hot Shots, ran the Jazzin’ Around newspaper and toured overseas before emigrating to Canada in the late 1980s. Soprano and alto saxophonist Eggy Ley, considered one of the first British soprano saxophonists in jazz, passed away as a result of a heart attack on December 20, 1995 in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Trilok Gurtu was born in Mumbai, India on October 30, 1951 to Hindu Brahmin parents and attended Don Bosco High School. His mother, singer Shobha Gurtu, encouraged him to learn playing tabla, and he studied playing the instrument under Shah Abdul Karim. He didn’t begin playing western drum kit in the 1970s and developed an interest in jazz, and played played with Charlie Mariano, John Tchicai, Terje Rypdal, and Don Cherry.
One of Trilok’s earliest recordings was around 1977 in the record Apo-Calypso in an album of the German ethnic fusion band, Embryo. His mother also sang in that record, and later joined him in his first solo CD, Usfret. In the 1980s, Gurtu played with Swiss drummer Charly Antolini, John McLaughlin, Jonas Hellborg, Kai Eckhardt, Dominique DiPiazza and opened for Miles Davis in Berkeley, California in 1988. He went on to play and record three albums with Oregon after the death of drummer Collin Walcott. In the early 1990s he resumed his career as a solo artist and a bandleader.
In 1999, Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell founded a musical group, Tabla Beat Science, bringing Trilok, Karsh Kale and Talvin Singh into the fold. Before going dormant in late 2003 they released three albums. He went on to record the album, Miles Gurtu, with Robert Miles, collaborate with the Arkè String Quartet and perform with Ricky Portera, Nick Beggs, Mario Marzi, Terl Bryant, John De Leo.
Percussionist, drummer and composer Trilok Gurtu has won awards from DRUM! Magazine, Carlton Television Multicultural Music Awards, Down Beat’s Critics Poll and has been nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World and continues to perform, compose, record and tour.