Theodore Malcolm Nash was born on October 31, 1922 in the Boston suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts. His goal was to become a classical flutist until he began playing saxophone in his early teens. His professional career began when he went on the road with a succession of dance bands, landing the solo tenor chair with the Les Brown band in 1944 where he rapidly made a name for himself.
His playing was notable for his mastery of the extreme altissimo register of the saxophone. He authored Ted Nash’s Studies in High Harmonics for Tenor and Alto Saxophone published in 1946, that is still in print.
In the late 1940s Ted became part of the thriving Hollywood movie and television recording industry. In 1956 he recorded with Paul Weston’s orchestra the hit album Day by Day, with vocals by his former colleague and close friend, Doris Day.
He was featured on The Music from Peter Gunn soundtrack album performing the bluesy, high-energy alto sax solo on the theme as well as the wistful alto sax solo on the second bridge of Dreamsville. Henry Mancini composed The Brothers Go to Mother’s from Peter Gunn as a feature for Ted and and his trombonist Dick.
From the mid 50s through the end of the Sixties he recorded sixteen albums with Georgie Auld. Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Pete Rugolo, Lalo Schifrin. Saxophone, flute and clarinet Ted Nash, who was a first-call session musician in the Hollywood recording studios, passed away on May 12, 2011.
Charles Davis was born on September 29, 1946 in Sydney, Australia and started playing flute during his youth. After a short period of studying classical guitar in Sydney, he started playing jazz, rock and folk in groups after moving to Brighton. Hearing a lot of music in a rock music context, I was so fascinated.
A move to Germany in the Seventies saw him playing the flute and later for a short period of time, the saxophone in jazz rock groups. By 1980 he started playing guitar and piano. Being inspired by the various saxophone groups that appeared in the 70s, by the 90s Davis formed one of the first jazz groups composed solely of flutes. This ground breaking group required that the various members compose for this unique formation taking into account the different types of flutes. Later in the decade, after meeting bansuri player Joachim Hübner, his interest turned to the classical north indian music and became a student of the Chanchala and Duo Bubachala.
Charles has attended workshops and masterclasses conducted by James Newton, Robert Dick and Dieter Bihlmeier, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Jeremy Steig, Hossein Omoumi and Herbie Mann. Alto, bass and double bass flautist Charles Davis currently resides in Germany and continues to compose, record and perform.
Gaspare De Vito was born on August 17, 1978 in Naples, Italy. He studied with Gianluigi Troversi, Eugenio Columbo and musical composition with Giancarlo Schiaffini. An auspicious meeting of Steve Grossman and Greg Osby was fundamental to the freedom of his original music.
Blending his Neopolitan and Meditteranean roots with hip-hop in his early teens, he would go through funk, jazz, Cuban traditional and South African music gave him the basis for his music. He has performed and recorded as a leader and a session player throughout Europe.
He has performed and recorded with Butch Morris, Alvin Curran, Tristan Hosinger, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Eugenio Colombo, Francesco Bearzatti, Fabrizio Puglisi, Vincenzo Vasi, Nicola Guazzaloca, Pasquale Mirra, Marco Dal Pane, Luisa Cottifogli, Maisha Grant and numerous others.
Alto saxophonist, flautist and composer Gaspare De Vito who has been voted Best Italian saxophonist in 2007 and co-founded the Suoniforme record label, continues to record, tour and perform internationally.
Bill Trujillo was born on July 7, 1930 in Los Angeles, California and started clarinet lessons at the age of four, then switched to tenor saxophone after seeing Lester Young perform with Count Basie in Los Angeles. His mother, a dance teacher at the famous Palomar Ballroom, regularly took him and his older brother to hear big bands when they were in residence at the Palomar, the Paramount, and other popular LA show places.
Learning to read music before he could read words and after Lincoln High School, where his friend and classmate was Lennie Niehaus played, Trujillo started his long professional career at the age of 16 with the West Coast based Glenn Henry Band. The band also boasted a young trombone player named Jimmy Knepper. During the ’40s, Bill played with Alvino Rey and other West Coast groups. In 1953, he joined Woody Herman with whom he remained until the following year when Bill Russo beckoned he joined the quintet but then playing in Chicago. Eventually finding the Windy City too cold, he returned to L.A. where he played in the orchestras of Charlie Barnet and Jerry Gray, and gigged with small groups.
At the behest of his longtime friend Lennie Niehaus, Trujillo joined Stan Kenton band in 1958, however, road trips often lasting a year or more put too much of a strain on his young family. Moving to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1960 he played with Nat Brandywynne and he has been there ever since. He became a mainstay in show orchestras at the Tropicana, Flamingo, Thunderbird and the Dunes playing behind Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and many other. After a labor dispute in 1989 dried up this source of work, he returned to playing in big bands and small groups throughout the country.
In 1999 he led his debut album It’s Tru followed by his 2006 It’s Still Tru with Carl Fontana on the TNC label. As an educator, saxophonist Bill Trujillo teaches clarinet, flute, and all saxophones while continuing to perform in Las Vegas.
James Melvin Lunceford was born on June 6, 1902 on a 53 acre farm in the Evergreen community, west of the Tombigbee River, near Fulton, Mississippi. They moved seven months after his birth to his other’s hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and as a child he learned several instruments. By high school they were living in Denver, Colorado where he studied music under Wilberforce J. Whiteman, father of bandleader Paul Whiteman. He went on to continue his studies at Fisk University. By 1922, he was playing alto saxophone in a local band led by the violinist George Morrison which included Andy Kirk, another musician destined for fame as a bandleader.
In 1927 he organized a student band at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee called the Chickasaw Syncopators, and later changed to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Under the new name, the band started its professional career in 1929 and made its first recordings in 1930. He gained recognition as the first public high school band director in Memphis. After a period of touring, the band accepted a booking at the Harlem nightclub The Cotton Club in 1934 for their revue ‘Cotton Club Parade’ starring Adelaide Hall. His orchestra, with their tight musicianship and the often outrageous humor in their music and lyrics, made an ideal band for the club, and his reputation began to steadily grow.
The band’s style of playing was based its ensemble work and for using a two-beat rhythm, called the Lunceford two-beat, as opposed to the standard four-beat rhythm, a distinction made possible by the imaginative arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver. Comedy and vaudeville also played a distinct part in Jimmie’s presentation incorporating costumes, skits and jabs at mainstream white bands.
Over the next decade the orchestra recorded on the Decca and Vocalion labels, toured Europe extensively, lost arranger Oliver to the Dorsey band and appeared in the movie Blues In The Night. Unfortunately, most of Lunceford’s sidemen were underpaid and left for better paying bands, leading to the band’s decline.
On July 12, 1947 while signing autographs at a local record store in Seaside, Oregon, saxophonist, flautist and bandleader Jimmie Lunceford collapsed and passed away on the way to the hospital. Accounts from other bandmates who also got sick within hours of the meal, substantiate the claims that they were poisoned by a disgruntled restaurant owner unhappy with having to serve Negroes. However the official autopsy has his caused of death as coronary occlusion.