Bobby Hackett was born January 31, 1915 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. At an early age he played the ukulele and by the time he was twelve, he was playing guitar, violin and had bought his first cornet. Leaving high school after his freshman year he took a steady job with a band that performed seven days a week at the Port Arthur and playing guitar regularly at the Rhodes and Arcadia ballrooms that often broadcasted on Providence radio and when Cab Calloway arrived short-handed and invited him to fill in.
In the fall of 1932 Bobby was recruited by The Herbie Marsh Orchestra, spent the summer of 1933 playing with Payson Re’s band, met Pee Wee Russell, by 1934, and playing college gigs with his band The Harvard Gold Coast Orchestra on weekends between Providence and Boston throughout 1935 and 36.
He worked with a new band at Nick’s in Greenwich Village, with Benny Goodman, Eddie Condon, Jack Teagarden and Teddy Wilson, played the new York World’s Fair in 1939, did the club circuit in New York, toured, recorded with his own band on MCA, took a seat with the Horace Heidt Musical Knights and recorded on the soundtrack of Fred Astaire vehicle “Second Chorus”.
After a dental surgery Bobby’s lip was in bad shape making it difficult for him to play, however, Glenn Miller offered him a job as a guitarist with the Miller Band and playing short trumpet solos. During the 1950s, he made a series of albums of ballads with a full string orchestra, produced by Jackie Gleason, in the Sixties toured with singer Tony Bennett, and by the early 1970s, Hackett performed separately with Dizzy Gillespie and Teresa Brewer. In his later years, he continued to perform in a Dixieland style even as trends in jazz changed.
Trumpeter Bobby Hackett passed away on June 7, 1976 from a heart attack. In 2012, he was selected to be inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
Henry Johnson was born January 28, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois and began playing at age twelve. While spending some formative time in Memphis, he started playing gospel music at age thirteen. By fourteen, Johnson was playing in R&B groups and although Johnson’s parents brought him up hearing the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Joe Williams, and other artists of that era, it was not until 1967 that Johnson was formally introduced to jazz by hearing Wes Montgomery.
In 1969, his family moved back to Chicago where Henry’s reputation on the south side as a good local jazz guitarist flourished. In 1976, he went on the road with jazz organist Jack McDuff, and then he got the call to work with Donny Hathaway in 1977.
In 1979, Johnson began playing with Ramsey Lewis and some six years later Joe Williams added Johnson to his regular group. Henry’s musical roots run deep into gospel, blues, and jazz with his strongest and earliest influences were along with Wes Montgomery, guitarists Kenny Burrell and George Benson but also the music of Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, big bands, and jazz orchestras were integral forces to shape his sound and style.
His debut album “You’re The One” went #1 for two months on two charts, received a five star rating from Downbeat magazine, and was nominated for a Grammy. His follow-up albums also received wide recognition and in addition to his other projects, Henry has recorded and/or performed with Vanessa Ruben, Richie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Angela Bofill, Dizzy Gillespie, the Boston Pops, Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Dr. Billy Taylor, Jimmy Smith, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Watson, Nicholas Payton, Javon Jackson, Donald Harrison, and many other great jazz artists.
Guitarist Henry Johnson continues to re-invent himself as he records performs and tours worldwide.
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Joe Pass was born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua on January 13, 1929 in Brunswick, New Jersey but was raised in Johnston, Pennsylvania. Inspired by Gene Autry’s portrayal of a guitar-playing cowboy. His father gave him his first guitar on his 9th birthday and encouraged him to pick up tunes by ear, play pieces not specifically written for guitar and practice scales leaving no spaces between the notes of the melody.
As early as 14, Joe started gigging with bands fronted by Tony Pastor and Charlie Barnet as he honed his guitar skills and learned the music business. He began traveling with small jazz groups, eventually ending up in New York City. Unfortunately, he fell victim to drug abuse spending a good portion of the 1950s in relative obscurity, reappearing only after a two-and-a –half year stay in rehab at Synanon that resulted in the 1962 album “The Sounds of Synanon”.
Throughout the sixties Pass recorded a series of albums for the Pacific Jazz label, received Downbeat magazine’s “New Star Award” in ’63, toured with George Shearing, was a sideman with Louis Bellson, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Della Reese and Johnny Mathis, and worked on TV shows including The Tonight Show with Carson, Merv Griffin, Steve Allen and others.
By the early 1970s, Pass and guitarist Herb Ellis were performing together regularly at Donte’s in Los Angeles, a collaboration that led to the recording of Jazz/Concord with Ray Brown and Jake Hanna in tow. During this time he also collaborated on a series of music books, and his Joe Pass Guitar Style is considered a leading improvisation textbook for students of jazz.
In 1970 Norman Granz signed pass to his Pablo records in which he released as a leader and worked with Benny Carter, Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis, Zoot Sims, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and many, many others. In 1974, along with Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson they won a Grammy with their album “The Trio” for Best Jazz Performance by a group. Throughout the late 70sto mid 80s, Joe and Ella Fitzgerald would record six albums together as her career was nearing its end. In 1994, guitarist Joe Pass died from liver cancer in Los Angeles on May 23rd at the age of 65.
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John Scofield was born on December 26, 1951 in Dayton, Ohio but early in his life the family moved to Wilton, Connecticut and it was here that he discovered his interest in music. He attended Berklee College of Music but left to record with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan followed by joining the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band touring and recording for two years.
Affectionately known as “Sco”, he went on to record with Charles Mingus, replace Pat Metheny in Gary Burton’s band and in 1976 signed with Enja Records releasing his first album “John Scofield” the next year. He formed his own band with Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum in ’70 and joined Miles Davis for three and half years in 1982. Leaving Miles he formed the Blue Matter Band and released three albums, in the nineties he put together a quartet that included Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette and recorded several albums for Blue Note. Towards the end of his tenure with Blue Note, Scofield returned to a more funk and soul jazz-oriented sound, a direction that has dominated much of his subsequent output to the present.
Scofield has played and collaborated with Joe Henderson, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Jaco Pastorious, John Mayer, Hal Galper and the Metropole Orchestra along with many other well-known artists.
Guitarist John Scofield is at ease in the bebop idiom as well as he is versed in Jazz-fusion, funk, blues, soul, rock and other forms of modern American music and currently is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education.
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Mark Elf was born in Queens, New York on December 13, 1949 and started playing guitar at the age of 11. He attended Berklee College of Music from 1969-71 when his first professional jazz gig came as a sideman with Gloria Coleman and Etta Jones at the Club Barron in Harlem, New York that was double billed with the George Benson Quintet.
During the 1970’s he toured with Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, Richard “Groove” Holmes and Charles Earland and recorded a number of albums with them, his first with McGriff and Holmes in 1973 on the Giants of the Organ Come Together. In the late 1970’s Mark worked and recorded with Junior Cook and Bill Hardman. By the 80’s he was touring Europe with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and other jazz luminaries. In 1986 he recorded his first album as a called the Mark Elf Trio Volume 1.
He continued to record as a leader over the next two decades with Hank Jones, Jimmy Heath, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley, Jon Hendricks, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Al Grey and Red Holloway. He also inked his first overseas record deal. In 1995 Mark established Jen Bay Records and stunned the record industry with hit recordings. From 1996 to 2004 all 10 of his recordings had finished in the top ten on national jazz radio with eight of them going to #1 consecutively from 1997 to 2004.
From 1970 to the present, guitarist, clinician and educator Mark Elf has taught guitar and theory at independent studios, colleges and universities across the United States and abroad, and his clinics are recognized as some of the finest in the world. He is sought after for his lectures on “How To Succeed As An Indie”. He owns his own successful record label and publishing company. He continues touring with his trio at festivals, colleges and clubs.
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