Kurt Rosenwinkel was born October 28, 1970 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A guitarist by choice, his influences include John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth, Tal Farlow, George van Eps, John Scofield and Alex Lifson, among others. He matriculated through Berklee College of Music before leaving in his junior year to tour with Gary Burton, the dean of the school at the time.
Subsequently, Rosenwinkel moved to Brooklyn, where began performing with Human Feel, Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band, Joe Henderson Group, and the Brian Blade Fellowship. During that time he began using a Lavalier lapel microphone fed into his guitar amplifier that blends his vocalizing with his guitar, much like George Benson and Pat Metheny.
In 1995 he won the Composer’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and was signed by Verve Records. Kurt has played and recorded both as a leader and sideman with Mark Turner, Brad Mahldau and Joel Frahm, Aaron Goldberg, Joe Martin, Eric Harland, Aaron Parks, Eric Revis and Justin Faulkner on the short list. He has collaborated with Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, co-producers of Heartcore with Ben Street, Jeff Ballard and Mark Turner. He would have further collaborations with Q-Tip that yielded The Renaissance and Kamaal/The Abstract.
A move to Berlin, Germany has guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel performing in Europe and on the faculty at the Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler.
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Eddie Lang was born Salvatore Massaro on October 25, 1902 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He first took violin lessons for 11 years and while in school he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career. By the time he was 16 he was playing violin, banjo and guitar professionally. He worked with various bands in the Northeast United States, worked in London between late 1924 to early 1925, and then settled in New York City.
By 1927 Lang was being featured along with cornetist Bix Beiderbecke on the recording of Singin’ the Blues by Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra. Between the two trading licks and soloing this session became a landmark jazz recording of the decade. 1929 saw him joining Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra and performing in the movie King of Jazz. The following year he played guitar on the original recording of the jazz and pop standard Georgia On My Mind recording with Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra with Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke.
Eddie would leave Whiteman’s band with Bing Crosby and as his accompanist was back in the movies with Big Broadcast. Switching gears to play blues he recorded under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson. Over the course of his short career he composed some three-dozen songs and recorded with the bands of Joe Venuti, Frank Signorelli, Adrian Rollini, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Jean Goldkette, in addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio and recording work.
Guitarist Eddie Lang, who was one of the three major innovators of jazz guitar and who influenced future guitarists, such as Django Reinhardt, passed away following a tonsillectomy in New York City on March 26, 1933 at the age of thirty. He had been urged by Crosby to have the tonsillectomy so that he might have speaking parts in Crosby’s films. His voice was chronically hoarse, and it was hoped that the operation would remedy this.
His recording of Singin’ The Blues with Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and has been placed on the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry. He has been inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, is one of the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame inductees.
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Ed Cherry was born in New Haven, Connecticut on October 12, 1954. Moving to New York City, the guitarist began a long association with Dizzy Gillespie playing in his quartet, big band and the United Nation Orchestra from 1978 until shortly before the trumpeter’s death in 1993. During this tenure he was a part of the Grammy winning recording Live At Royal Festival Hall.
Ed recorded his debut album as a leader in 1993 titled First Take and was a part of the recording session for Paquito D’Rivera’s Havana Café. His sophomore project A Second Look was released in 1995.
As an educator Cherry has taught guitar at Essex Community College in Newark, New Jersey, at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, has been a faculty member at Montclair State University, School of Fine and Performing Arts for J.O.Y. (Jazz Opportunity for Youth) and is currently a staff member at Jazzmobile in New York City.
When not leading his own groups he is in the studio holding down sideman duties working with Paquito D’ Rivera, Jon Faddis, John Patton, Hamiet Bluiett, Henry Threadgill, Mark Weinstein, C.I. Williams and Paula West to name a few. He has recorded several albums as a leader, more than a dozen as a sideman and continues to perform with his current trio.
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Howard Roberts was born on October 2, 1929 in Phoenix, Arizona and began playing guitar at the age of 8. By the time he was 15 he was playing professionally locally. He moved to Los Angeles in 1950 and with the help of Jack Marshall he began working with musicians, arrangers and songwriters including Neal Hefti, Henry Mancini, Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton, George Van Eps and Barney Kessell.
Around 1956 Troup signed Howard to Verve Records as a solo artist and he he decided to concentrate on recording. He recorded both as a solo artist and “Wrecking Crew” session musician, a direction he would continue until the early 1970s. He would go on to play guitar on television themes such as The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Green Acres, Get Smart, Batman, Beverly Hillbillies, Andy Griffith, Peter Gunn, Mannix, Dick Van Dyke, I Dream of Jeannie, The Odd Couple and Mission Impossible among others. He also performed the theme for the classic Steve McQueen film Bullitt.
In 1961, Roberts designed a signature guitar, which was originally produced by Epiphone, a division of Gibson. The Howard Roberts signature was borne by two other models made by Gibson: the Howard Roberts Custom and the Howard Roberts Fusion III.
By 1963, Roberts recorded Color Him Funky and H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player, his first two albums after signing with Capitol Records. They both featured the same quartet with Roberts (guitar), bassist Chuck Berghofer, Earl Palmer on drums and Paul Bryant alternating with Burkley Kendrix on organ. He would go on to record nine albums with Capitol before signing with ABC Records/Impulse Records.
Over the course of his career he recorded with David Axelrod, June Christy, Buddy Collette, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, John Klemmer, Charles Kynard, Herbie Mann, Thelonious Monk, Lalo Schifrin, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Gabor Szabo and Larry Williams, to name a few. As a member of the Wrecking Crew, he was a part of Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ and played guitar on some of the most famous songs in pop music history.
From the late 1960s, Roberts began to focus on teaching rather than recording. He traveled around the country giving guitar seminars, and wrote several instructional books. For some years he also wrote an acclaimed column called “Jazz Improvisation” for Guitar Player magazine. he developed accelerated learning concepts and techniques, which led to the founding of Playback Music Publishing and the Guitar Institute of Technology. As a co-founder of GIT, now known as the Musicians Institute, his philosophy remains an integral part of the curriculum.
Guitarist Howard Roberts, who played rhythm and lead guitar, bass and mandolin, passed away of prostate cancer in Seattle, Washington on June 28, 1992. His life in music inspired the opening of Roberts Music Institute in Seattle, Washington, which is currently owned by his son, Jay Roberts.
Jackie Paris was born Carlo Jackie Paris on September 20, 1924 in Nutley, New Jersey. His uncle Chick had been a guitarist with Paul Whiteman’s orchestra. A very popular child entertainer in vaudeville, the pint-sized song and dance man shared the stage with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the Mills Brothers.
After serving in the Army during World War II, Paris was inspired by his friend Nat King Cole to put together a trio featuring himself on guitar and vocals. The Jackie Paris Trio was a hit at the Onyx Club, playing for an unprecedented 26 weeks, perhaps the longest-running residency in the history of Swing Street.
The first song that Jackie’s trio recorded was Hoagy Carmichael’s Skylark for MGM Records in 1947. In 1949, he was the first white vocalist to tour with the Lionel Hampton for a 78 one-night tour. Coming off the road, he received an offer to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra, but at that time was too exhausted to take it.
Paris was the first singer to record Thelonious Monk’s future jazz anthem Round Midnight, which was produced by Leonard Feather and featured a young Dick Hyman on piano with drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Tommy Potter. He was the only vocalist to ever tour as a regular member of the Charlie Parker Quintet but unfortunately no recordings exist of the Parker-Paris combo.
In 1953, Jackie was named Best New Male Vocalist of the Year in the first ever Down Beat Critics Poll. Ella Fitzgerald won the female category and repeatedly named Paris as one of her favorites as well as Charles Mingus, who enlisted the talented vocalist on several projects and club dates over many decades. He shared the bill with comic Lenny Bruce and recorded with Hank Jones, Charlie Shavers, Joe Wilder, Wynton Kelly, Eddie Costa, Coleman Hawkins, Bobby Scott, Max Roach, Lee Konitz, Donald Byrd, Gigi Gryce, Ralph Burns, Tony Scott, Neal Hefti, Terry Gibbs, Johnny Mandel and Oscar Pettiford and the list continues.
He recorded consistently through the years, from the 1940s and in 2001, he played to a standing room crow and to a standing ovation at Birdland. He was virtually the only performer to have appeared at every incarnation of the famed nightspot, from the 1950s to the present. Jackie Paris passed away on June 17, 2004 in New York City.