Albert Edwin Condon was born November 16, 1905 in Goodland, Indiana and started playing music on the ukulele before switching to guitar. By the time he was sixteen he was in Chicago playing professionally with Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden and Frank Teschmacher.
In 1928 Condon moved to New York City frequently arranging jazz sessions for various labels, sometimes playing with the artists he brought like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. He organized racially integrated recording sessions – when these were still rare – with Waller, Armstrong and Henry “Red” Allen. He played with the Red Nichols band, later forming a long association with Milt Gabler’s Commodore Records in 1938.
From the late 1930s on Eddie was a regular at Nick’s in Manhattan with Pee Wee Russell, Wild Bill Davison and Bobby Hackett. He went on to appear in a short film with Hackett, produced a series of jazz broadcasts from Town Hall during the last years of WWII that gave him national popularity.
From 1945 through 1967 he ran his own New York jazz club, Eddie Condon’s. In the 50s he recorded a sequence of classic albums for Columbia Records, toured Britain, Australia, Japan, the U. S. and performed at jazz festivals throughout the world until 1971. Two years later, Eddie Condon, jazz banjoist, guitarist, bandleader and arranger passed away on August 4, 1973 in New York City.
Russell Malone was born November 8, 1963 in Albany, Georgia. He began playing at the age of four with a toy guitar his mother had bought him, influenced by musicians such as B. B. King and The Dixie Hummingbirds. However, his most influential musical experience was seeing George Benson perform on television with Benny Goodman. He learned technique from listening to recordings of Benson, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian among others.
Malone played with jazz organist Jimmy Smith, followed by a residency with the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band and in 1995, Malone became part of the Diana Krall Trio, that had three albums nominated for a Grammy. Following his tenure with Krall, he went on to tour regularly leading his own quartet, has played with Dianne Reeves, Romero Lubambo, Ron Carter, Bobby Hutcherson, the late Mulgrew Miller, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hank Jones, Benny Green, Bill Frisell and Sonny Rollins.
The essentially self-taught swing and bebop jazz guitarist has recorded several sessions for Columbia, Impulse, Venus, Verve and Telarc record labels and since 2004 has recorded on the MaxJazz label with his latest 2010 session being “Triple Play”. Russell Malone has amassed to date 18 albums in his catalogue and continues to perform, record and tour.
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Mark Whitfield was born October 6, 1966 in Syosset, New York and graduated from Boston’s Berklee College of Music, studying composition, arranging and all styles of guitar performance. Upon graduation he returned to New York embarking on a career that afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with many artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Clark Terry, Jimmy Smith, Carmen McCrae, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Jack McDuff, Betty Carter, Shirley Horn, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Burt Bacharach, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Bradford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine and his greatest teacher and mentor George Benson.
The New York Times dubbed Whitfield “The Best Young Guitarist in the Business” and in 1990 Warner Bros. released his debut, “The Marksman”. The success of this release has led to a recording career that has produced 14 projects as a leader and collaborations with Sting, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, John Mayer, Jill Scott, Roy Hargrove, Diana Krall, Lauryn Hill, Sy Smith and Chris Botti.
In 2005, Whitfield accepted the invitation to join the faculty at Berklee, teaming up with Joe Lovano, Ralph Peterson, Danilo Perez, and Terry Lynn Carrington as “Artists in Residence”. While maintaining a teaching schedule the guitarist performs, tours worldwide and records, his latest project being “Songs of Wonder”, with two projects in the works with Christian McBride and Nicholas Payton.
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Eric J. Gale was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 20, 1938 and began playing the double bass when he was 12 years old, also playing tenor saxophone, trombone and tuba before settling on the guitar. The basis of his style was formed on the 50s and 60s R&B circuit.
He majored in chemistry at Niagara University but was determined to pursue a musical career, and began contributing to accompaniments for such stars as Maxine Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Flamingoes, The Drifters and Jesse Belvin in the 50s.
Eric began to attract rather quickly the attention of King Curtis and Jimmy Smith, who began recommending him for studio work. His reputation as a first call studio musician in the Sixties became widely recognized and he eventually appeared on an estimated 500 albums.
By the 70s he had teamed up with the AM/CTI label eventually working with Creed Taylor exclusively on CTI and its subsidiary label KUDU as a session musician. He finally got his break as a leader in 1973 with his well received “Forecast” LP that showcased his skill as a front man. He was a co-founder of the mid-70s funk band “Stuff” which garnered wide acclaim.
Among the list of Who’s Who musicians and vocalists he recorded with over the course of his career were David “Fathead Newman, Mongo Santamaria, Bob James, Paul Simon, Lena Horne, Johnny Hodges, Quincy Jones, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Peter Tosh, Grover Washington Jr., Herbie Mann, Esther Phillips, Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, Van Morrison, Billy Joel and Aretha Franklin, along with a stint in her stage band.
Shortly after recording on Al Jarreau’s Tenderness album, guitarist Eric Gale died of lung cancer on May 25, 1994, at the age of 55 in Baja, California.
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Emily Remler was born September 18, 1957 in New York City and began playing the guitar when she was ten. Initially inspired by hard rock and other pop styles, she experienced a musical epiphany during her studies, from 1974 to 1976 while at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She began listening to Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis and John Coltrane taking up jazz with a ferocious intensity, practicing almost constantly, and never looked back.
After Berklee, she hit the New Orleans blues and jazz clubs working with FourPlay, and Little Queenie and the Percolators before beginning her recording career in 1981. Championed by guitar great Herb Ellis, he referred to her as “the new superstar of guitar”.
Emily recorded on the Concord label, quickly developing a distinctive style with her diverse influences through versions of standard tunes and genres. Her first album as a leader “Firefly” won immediate acclaim and her bop guitar on her follow up “Take Two” was equally well received. Her next two albums, “Transitions” and “Catwalk” traced the emergence of a more individual voice, with many striking original tunes, while her love of Wes Montgomery shone through on the stylish “East to Wes”.
In addition to her recording career as a leader and composer, Emily played in blues groups, on Broadway and with artists as diverse as Larry Coryell, Astrud Gilberto and Rosemary Clooney, produced two popular guitar instruction videos, won the “Guitarist Of The Year” award in Down Beat Jazz Magazine’s international poll, in 1988 she was “Artist in Residence” at Duquesne University and in 1989 received Berklee’s “Distinguished Alumni” award.
Guitarist, leader and composer Emily Remler died of heart failure at the age of 32 at the Connells Point home of musician Ed Gaston, while on tour in Australia on May 4, 1990.
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