Keith Ingham was born February 5, 1942 in London, England. His first professional gigs occurred in 1964 playing with Sandy Brown, Bruce Turner, and Wally Fawkes throughout the decade.
Ingham played with Bob Wilber and Bud Freeman in 1974 and moved to New York City in 1978. During the 1980s he played with Benny Goodman, the World’s Greatest Jazz Band and Susannah McCorkle. He also worked with Maxine Sullivan, Marty Grsz, Harry Allen and Eddie Condon.
During the 1930s he record a series of albums for Jump Records, and in the 90s recorded a baker’s dozen sessions for Sackville, Stomp Off and Spotlight record labels. He continues to perform and record.
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Lil Hardin Armstrong was born Lillian Hardin on February 3, 1898 in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up with her grandmother learning hymns, spirituals and classics on the piano, but she was drawn to pop music and later blues. Her initial piano instruction came from her third grade teacher, Miss Violet White, followed by enrollment in Mrs. Hook’s School of Music, but it was while attending Fisk University that she was taught a more acceptable approach to the instrument.
In 1918, Lil moved to Chicago and landed a job as a sheet music demonstrator at Jones Music Store for $3 a week. Shortly afterward bandleader Lawrence Duhé offered her $22.50 she joined him. From cabaret to the De Luxe Café to Dreamland playing behind Alberta Hunter and Ollie Powers. Replace by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, he asked her to stay, which led to an engagement in San Francisco, back to Chicago playing eventually with Oliver again.
Hardin met Louis Armstrong when Oliver sent for him and subsequently were married in 1924. She took him shopping and taught him how to dress more fashionably, and finally convinced him to strike out on his own. Moving to New York City he joined Fletcher Henderson, while she stayed in Chicago with Oliver and then leading her own band.
Hardin, Armstrong, Kid Ory, Johnny St. Cyr and Johnny Dodds comprised the Hot Five recordings for Okeh Records. She would go on to record sessions with the same group as a leader for Vocalion, Columbia Records and New Orleans Wanderers. In the late 1920s Hardin and Louis parted ways and she formed a band with a cornet player she considered Louis equal, Freddie Keppard. In the 1930s, she sometimes billed herself as Mrs. Louis Armstrong, led an All Girl Orchestra, then a mixed-sex big band, which broadcasted nationally over the NBC radio network.
The same decade she recorded a series of sides for Decca Records as a swing vocalist, recorded with Red Allen, and back in Chicago collaborated with Joe Williams, Oscar Brown Jr., Red Saunders and Little Brother Montgomery. Throughout the rest of her career she continued to perform and record, and began writing an autobiography that she never completed. A month after attending Louis’ funeral in New York City, she was performing at a televised memorial concert for Louis, Lil Hardin Armstrong collapsed at the piano and died on the way to the hospital.
Pianist, composer, arranger, singer and bandleader Lil Hardin Armstrong, second wife and recording collaborator of Louis Armstrong in the 1920s, passed away on August 27, 1971. Her compositions have been sampled and revived by many and was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
James P. Johnson was born James Price Johnson on February 1, 1894 in New Brunswick, New Jersey and was also known as Jimmy Johnson. A move to San Juan Hill, where Lincoln Center stands today, and subsequent move uptown by 1911, exposed him to the musical experience of New York City’s bars, cabarets and symphonies and listening to Scott Joplin attributed to his early influences. With perfect pitch and excellent recall he was soon able to pick out on the piano tunes that he had heard.
Johnson got his first job as a pianist in 1912, left school to pursue his career in music. From 1913 to 1916 Johnson spent time studying the European piano tradition with Bruto Giannini, spending the next four to five years studying other pianists and composing his own rags. In 1914, he met Willie “The Lion” Smith and became best friends. By 1920 he had gained a reputation as a pianist on the East coast on a par with Eubie Blake and Lucky Roberts, making dozens of piano roll recordings and recording for the Perfection, Artempo, Rythmodik, QRS and Aeolian labels.
James was a pioneer in the stride playing of the jazz piano. He developed into the favorite accompanist of Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith. He continued to compose and record during the 1920s and 1930s he recorded on W. C. Handy’s Black Swan label as well as Columbia. He branched out and became musical director for the revue Plantation Days, went to Europe with the show that toured for five years and made it to Broadway.
By the Depression Era his career slowed down somewhat and he found it difficult to adapt to the new swing era music gaining popularity. In the late 1930s Johnson slowly started to re-emerge with the revival of interest in traditional jazz, but suffering a stroke in 1940 took him out of the action until 1942 when he began to record, with his own and other groups with Eddie Condon, Yank Lawson, Sidney de Paris, Sidney Bechet, Rod Cless and Edmond Hall. He went on to record for jazz labels Asch, Black and White, Blue Note, Commodore, Circle and Decca, perform with Louis Armstrong and was a regular guest on the rudi Blesh This Is Jazz broadcasts.
He would teach Fats Waller his Carolina Shout composition, Duke Ellington learned it note for note from his piano roll and the tune became a right of passage for every contemporary pianist. Considered the last major rag pianist and the first major jazz pianist he became the bridge between the two styles. His influence led to the emergence of Art Tatum, Donald Lambert, Louis Mazetier, Pat Flowers, Cliff Jackson, Hank Duncan, Claude Hopkins, Count Basie, Ellington, Don Ewell, Jimmy Guarnieri, Dick Hyman, Dick Weststood, Ralph Sutton, Joe Turner, Neville Dickie, Mike Lipskin and Butch Thompson.
Pianist and composer James P. Johnson, who composed the Roaring Twenties theme song Charleston, along with If I Could be With You One Hour Tonight, and whose music has appeared in countless films, passed away on November 17, 1955 at age 61.
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Bill Ware III was born William Anthony Ware III on January 28, 1959 in East Orange, New Jersey. He played bass and piano early in his career at Harlem’s Jazzmobile, prior to choosing vibraphone as his main instrument. After spending several years playing Latin jazz he formed his own Latin Jazz group, AM Sleep.
In 1987 Ware joined saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes’ Jazz Passengers as a regular memberand by 1990 had put together a group of sidemen as the Club Bird All-Stars, who accompanied him on a tour of Japan. Stretching out to other genres he played with Groove Collective and Steely Dan during the first half Nineties.
Later in the decade Bill teamed up with fellow former Jazz Passengers, Brad Jones and E. J. Rodriguez forming the ensemble Vibes. His 2001 tribute to Duke Ellington was recorded with guitarist Marc Ribot, and Deborah Harry on his 2002 effort Four.
During the mid-2000s, he recorded several projects blending jazz with Western Classical music as well as composing five film scores with Nathanson. He recorded fourteen solo projects as a leader for AM Sleep, Knitting Factory, Cathexis, Wollenware, Random Chance and Pony Canyon record labels. Vibraphonist Bill Ware continues to compose, perform and record.
Barbara Carroll was born Barbara Carole Coppersmith on January 25, 1925 in Worcester, Massachusetts. She began her classical training in piano at age eight, but by high school decided to become a jazz pianist. Attending the New England Conservatory of Music for a year, she departed because it conflicted with her performance schedule for bands.
In 1947 Leonard Feather dubbed her “the first girl ever to play bebop piano. The following year her trio, featuring guitarist Chuck Wayne and Clyde Lombardi on bass, worked briefly with Benny Goodman. Later on Wayne would leave and Charlie Byrd sat in the guitar chair and Joe Shulman took over Lombardi’s duties on bass. After Byrd’s departure, Carroll decided to have it be a drums, bass, and piano trio.
In the 1950s Carroll and her trio worked on the Broadway musical Me and Juliet by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The decade saw her career ebb due to changing musical tastes and personal concerns.
By 1972 she was able to revive her career due to a renewed interest in her work. In 1975 she was asked by Rita Coolidge to work on an A&M session. In 1978 she toured with Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson and the following two decades Barbara became known as a cabaret performer.
Pianist and composer Barbara Carroll was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and the “Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz”. She continues to perform and record.
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