Arthur Edgehill was born July 21, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York and studied drumming during his youth. His first professional work came while touring with Mercer Ellington in 1948, and in 1953 he toured with Ben Webster. He went on to play with Kenny Dorham’s Jazz Prophets in 1956 and with Gigi Gryce and in 1957-58 toured with Dinah Washington.
He would go on to become a member of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’ quartet with George Duvivier and/or Wendell Marshall, and recorded with Shirley Scott, not only on her debut album, Great Scott! In 1958, but also on her Very Saxy album in 1959 with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Buddy Tate, Coleman Hawkins, and Arnett Cobb on tenors.
Edgehill played in quartets led by Horace Silver, one featuring Cecil Payne, and at Minton’s with Hank Mobley and Doug Watkins, and jammed with Charlie Parker and Annie Laurie.
Hard bop jazz drummer Arthur Edgehill, originally spelt Edghill, not retired at the age of 90, was active from the 1950s through the 1970s. He appeared on several of the Prestige recordings from the Van Gelder Studios in Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. He recorded on Mal Waldron’s debut album Mal-1 in 1956 and continued recording with Little Jimmy Scott, Mildred Anderson and David Amram among others.
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Sameer Gupta was born July 1, 1976 in San Francisco, California and is a percussionist, tabla player, and composer. He is the founder of the jazz ensemble The Supplicants and drummer for the Marc Cary Focus Trio.
Gupta has performed with Kosmic Renaissance, vidyA, Grachan Moncur III, Victor Goines, Vincent Gardner, Sekou Sundiata, Sonny Simmons, Marcus Shelby, Calvin Keys, Richard Howell, Dayna Stephens, and Julian Lage.
With his playing has been described as kinetic, bass-heavy, and tender, he made his recording debut in 2006 with Marc Cary on Focus, adding Marc Cary and Focus Trio Live in 2010. He released his debut album as a leader, Namaskar that same year, and has also recorded with Srinivas Reddy and Ross Hammond. Percussionist Sameer Gupta continues to compose, perform and record.
Bobby White was born on June 28, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. He made a name for himself as a drummer in Los Angeles, California beginning in the late 1940s, playing with trombonist Earle Spencer, trumpeter Harry James, saxophonist Charlie Barnett, and bassist Howard Rumsey, among others.
White played with tenor saxophonist Vido Musso from 1951 to 1952, then with alto saxophonist Art Pepper and trumpeter Chet Baker in 1953, and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco in 1954. While a fixture on the West Coast jazz scene in the 1950s , he was still active in the late 1990s, often performing at the Lighthouse, the Hermosa Beach club made famous by Rumsey’s various All-Star aggregations.
In 1999 he participated in a concert tribute to the Lighthouse celebrating the 50th anniversary of Rumsey’s first gig at the club. Retired from music, drummer Bobby White turns 91 this year.
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Antonio Sparbaro, better known as Tony Sbarbaro or Tony Spargo was born on June 27, 1897 in New Orleans, Louisiana to an immigrant Sicilian family. Early in his career he played with the Frayle Brothers Band, possibly as early as 1911 and the Reliance Band of Papa Jack Laine.
After doing side work with Merritt Brunies and Carl Randall he joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band for their initial recordings in 1917. Tony became its leader in the 1940s and remained a member of the ensemble until its dissolution in the 1960s. At the time the band broke up he was the only founding member still in the group.
Sbarbaro composed for the group, writing the tune Mourning Blues among others. He remained a fixture of Dixieland jazz performance for most of his life, performed at the New York World’s Fair in 1941 and with Connee Boswell in the 1950s. Later in life in New Orleans he played with Miff Mole, Big Chief Moore, Pee Wee Erwin, and Eddie Condon. Quitting music in the Sixties due to the popularity of rock & roll, drummer Tony Sbarbaro passed away on October 30, 1969.
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William Hooker was born on June 18, 1946 in New Britain, Connecticut. He began his music education singing in the church choir before receiving private drum lessons from the age of 10. He training continued as he played in the Nathan Hale Junior High, New Britain High School and Central Connecticut State College bands.
Starting off playing in rock and roll bands it wasn’t until he was sixteen that he got into jazz, learning standards from an older musician who taught him the essentials of leading a band. During his college years he listened to as many records and live performances as he could, gaining a wealth of knowledge. He also was a member of an organ trio as he matriculated through college and has since performed as a leader of many ensembles in San Francisco, California and New York City, leaning towards avant-garde, improvised and new music.
He has performed or recorded with Billy Bang, Thurston Moore, David Murray, David S. Ware, William Parker, Melvin Gibbs, Donald Miller, DJ Olive, Elliott Sharp, Malachi Thompson, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, DJ Spooky, Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, Mark Hennen, Steven Bernstein, Roy Nathanson, Jason Hwang, Dave Soldier, Sabir Mateen, Glenn Spearman, Joseph Celli, Ellen Christi, Liudas Mockūnas, among many others.
Lauded by Downbeat, The Wire and the San Francisco Chronicle as an inspired and fluent drummer who gives long performances of consistent energy and is a kingpin of the free jazz world, drummer and composer William Hooker continues to perform, compose and record.
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