Архивы Рубрики: Jazz Artists

Bill Le Sage

Accomplished Defender of the Bebop Idiom

Bill Le Sage was part of the first wave of British bebop musicians to emerge in the late 1940s, and remained a lifelong devotee and highly skilled exponent of the form throughout a long and distinguished career.

He was a founder member of the most famous British bebop band of its day, the Johnny Dankworth Seven. The band was launched in 1950, by which time he was already fully conversant with the exciting new sounds which Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie had developed in the clubs of New York’s 52nd Street.

Le Sage made his own pilgrimages to that shrine, working as a musician on the transatlantic liners in order to hear the progenitors of the form at first hand, a course adopted by many of his contemporaries. He told the story of his introduction to the famously grubby mecca of bebop many times.

The liner on which he arrived docked at dawn precisely opposite the famous street, and Le Sage wandered along the deserted sidewalk until he encountered the only other person to be seen at that hour, and asked where the jazz was to be found. The man turned out to be trumpeter Red Rodney, then working with Charlie Parker. The became fast friends, and eventually worked together in Le Sage’s band after Rodney’s comeback in the mid-1980s.

William A. Le Sage was born into a musical family. His father, also named William, was a drummer, his uncle George played trumpet and sax, and his uncle Ernie was a guitarist. His first instrument was ukelele, then he took up drums, before moving onto piano.

He began to play professionally as a teenager, and formed his own Sextet in 1945. He played in military bands during his period of national service in the Royal Signals from 1945-8, and joined Dankworth’s famous band in 1950 (they had already worked together as teenagers in the mid-1940s). Although he was self-taught on piano, he took some lessons from the famous jazz teacher and theorist, Lennie Tristano, while in New York that year.

He began to play vibraphone as well as piano while in Dankworth’s band. He was a member of the sextet until 1953, and then of the saxophonist’s big band for a further year. He joined drummer Tony Kinsey’s trio in 1954, and worked with him until 1961, playing accordion as well as his more familiar instruments. His work with Kinsey included experiments combining jazz and poetry, and writing the music for The Lily White Boys, an experimental musical staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1960.

As well as working with Kinsey, he was a regular member of Kenny Baker’s Dozen in the late-1950s. In the early 1960s, he worked with saxophonist Ronnie Ross and with drummer Jack Parnell’s ATV Orchestra, and more occasionally with John Dankworth and Chris Barber.

His formidable technique and ability to adapt to any jazz setting kept him in constant demand, but bebop remained his first love. He often accompanied visiting American soloists, including annual tours with Tal Farlow which continued until the guitarist’s death in 1998. He formed his ten-piece band Directions in Jazz in 1964, then flew in the face of the growing trend toward jazz-rock fusion by launching another band, the defiantly titled Bebop Preservation Society, in 1969.

He continued to lead it into the 1990s, along with several other bands, including a Latin group, Echoes of Brazil. He worked with a variety of leaders in a range of styles in those years, including Dankworth (1979-83) and the jazz group led by The Rolling Stones’s drummer, Charlie Watts (1985-6), as well as Jubiaba, a more fusion-oriented band led by saxophonist Barbara Thompson (1971-8).

He was a highly accomplished arranger and composer, not only of jazz tunes, but also of music for television and film. He remained active throughout the 1990s, leading his own bands and occasionally playing vibes in pianist Tony Lee’s group, while aslo devoting himself to caring for his wife.

She was seriously ill with Alzheimers Disease, and died just two weeks before his own death from cancer.

Allan Vache

Allan Vache

Allan VacheAllan Vache

Allan Vache was graduated from Roosevelt Elementary School, Rahway Junior High School, and Rahway High School, Rahway, New Jersey 1959-1971.
He also attended Jersey City State College, Jersey City, New Jersey 1971-1975. At this time he studied with David Dworkin of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and independently with famed jazz artist Kenny Davern.
From 1972-1975 Allan also performed many professional engagements with such jazz greats as Bobby Hackett, Wild Bill Davison, Pee Wee Erwin, Gene Krupa, Dick Hyman, Max Kaminsky, Clark Terry, Dick Wellstood, Ed Hubble, Cliff Leeman, Bob Haggart, Jack Lesberg and many others. He also made numerous appearances with his brother, famed jazz cornetist Warren Vache, Jr.
From 1974-1975 Allan appeared in the Broadway musical Doctor Jazz at the Winter Garden theater, starring Bobby Van and Lola Falana. He performed with a band that appeared onstage and Luther Henderson and Dick Hyman wrote instrumental arrangements.

Allan VacheAllan Vache

In late 1975 Allan joined The Jim Cullum Jazz Band of San Antonio, Texas, formerly The Happy Jazz Band. He traveled extensively with this band to Europe, Australia, and Mexico, as well as to many concert and festival appearances throughout the U.S. He has recorded nine albums and compact discs with this band, including the only jazz CD of the entire score of Gershwins Porgy and Bess,released on CBS Masterworks records.
Concerts of Porgy and Bess, many featuring opera great William Warfield as narrator, were performed by Vache and the band throughout the Western hemisphere, including The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and The Cervantino Arts Festival in Mexico City, for the U.S. State Department.
Allan has appeared in several World Series of Jazzconcerts in San Antonio.
These concerts featured the Cullumband alongside such jazz luminaries as Benny Goodman, Pete Fountain, Joe Venuti, Teddy Wilson, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber and many others. Allan appeared with Jim Cullum at Carnegie Hall at the Tribute to Turk Murphy concert in January 1987. He has also performed with Cullum on the CBS Morning News, and PBS television show Austin City Limits.He also performed on NPRs A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and was a regular performer on PRIs Riverwalk  Live from the Landing, from 1987-1992. This program aired on over 200 public radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. Many of these shows are still rebroadcast today.
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In the summer of 1992, Allan left San Antonio to pursue a freelance career. Since that time he has appeared as a solo performer at several jazz festivals and parties around the country and abroad. He has appeared with pop performers Bonnie Rait and Leon Redbone and can be heard on the soundtrack of the 1998 film The Newton Boys.
In 1993 he moved to Orlando, Florida to perform at various Orlando attractions including Walt Disney World and Church Street Station. Vache has numerous recordings to his credit, several under his own name, for various labels. These include Audiophile, Jazzology, Arbors, Sweet Jazz, and Nagel-Heyer, of Hamburg, Germany. Vache has presently recorded twelve CDs for this label, six of these as the leader. His latest CDs are Ballads, Burners and Blues, released in March of 2004, which includes his wife, Vanessa Vache, on clarinet, as a special guest, With Benny in Mind, a tribute to Benny Goodman, released in November of 2006,  both for the Arbors label, and Classic Jazz Duets with pianist Mark Shane on the Sweet Jazz label of Hilton Head, South Carolina, released in August of 2007
His latest CD for Arbors is entitled Look to the Sky and features Allan with The Central Florida Chamber Orchestra. It also features original arrangements by John Sheridan and Allan. It was released in the summer of 2010. Having toured in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Russia, Austria, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Brazil and Israel, Allan continues to work as a freelance artist in the Orlando area as well as appearing at many concerts and festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

Born: Aug 29, 1920 in Kansas City, KS
Died: Mar 12, 1955 in New York, NY

One of a handful of musicians who can be said to have permanently changed jazz, Charlie Parker was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time. He could play remarkably fast lines that, if slowed down to half speed, would reveal that every note made sense. «Bird,» along with his contemporariesВ Dizzy GillespieВ andВ Bud Powell, is considered a founder of bebop; in reality he was an intuitive player who simply was expressing himself. Rather than basing his improvisations closely on the melody as was done in swing, he was a master of chordal improvising, creating new melodies that were based on the structure of a song.

charlie parker s

Charlie Parker

In fact, Bird wrote several future standards (such as «Anthropology,» «Ornithology,» «Scrapple From the Apple,» and «Ko Ko,» along with such blues numbers as «Now’s the Time» and «Parker’s Mood») that «borrowed» and modernized the chord structures of older tunes. Parker’s remarkable technique, fairly original sound, and ability to come up with harmonically advanced phrases that could be both logical and whimsical were highly influential. By 1950, it was impossible to play «modern jazz» with credibility without closely studying Charlie Parker.

Born in Kansas City, KS, Charlie Parker grew up in Kansas City, MO. He first played baritone horn before switching to alto. Parker was so enamored of the rich Kansas City music scene that he dropped out of school when he was 14, even though his musicianship at that point was questionable (with his ideas coming out faster than his fingers could play them). After a few humiliations at jam sessions, Bird worked hard woodshedding over one summer, building up his technique and mastery of the fundamentals. By 1937, when he first joinedВ Jay McShann’s Orchestra, he was already a long way toward becoming a major player.

Charlie Parker, who was early on influenced by Lester Young and the sound of Buster Smith, visited New York for the first time in 1939, working as a dishwasher at one point so he could hearВ Art Tatum play on a nightly basis.

He made his recording debut withJay McShannВ in 1940, creating remarkable solos with a small group from McShann’s orchestra on «Lady Be Good» and «Honeysuckle Rose.» When the McShann big band arrived in New York in 1941, Parker had short solos on a few of their studio blues records, and his broadcasts with the orchestra greatly impressed (and sometimes scared) other musicians who had never heard his ideas before.

Parker, who had met and jammed withВ Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in 1940, had a short stint with Noble Sissle’s band in 1942, played tenor withВ Earl Hines’ sadly unrecorded bop band of 1943, and spent a few months in 1944 withВ Billy Eckstine’s orchestra, leaving before that group made their first records. Gillespie was also in the Hines and Eckstine big bands, and the duo became a team starting in late 1944.

Charlie parker s

Charlie parker s

Although Charlie Parker recorded with Tiny Grimes’ combo in 1944, it was his collaborations withВ Dizzy GillespieВ in 1945 that startled the jazz world. To hear the two virtuosos play rapid unisons on such new songs as «Groovin’ High,» «Dizzy Atmosphere,» «Shaw ‘Nuff,» «Salt Peanuts,» and «Hot House,» and then launch into fiery and unpredictable solos could be an upsetting experience for listeners much more familiar withВ Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. Although the new music was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the recording strike of 1943-1944 resulted in bebop arriving fully formed on records, seemingly out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, Charlie Parker was a heroin addict ever since he was a teenager, and some other musicians who idolized Bird foolishly took up drugs in the hope that it would elevate their playing to his level. When Gillespie and Parker (known as «Diz & Bird») traveled to Los Angeles and were met with a mixture of hostility and indifference (except by younger musicians who listened closely), they decided to return to New York.

Impulsively, Parker cashed in his ticket, ended up staying in L.A., and, after some recordings and performances (including a classic version of «Lady Be Good» with Jazz at the Philharmonic), the lack of drugs (which he combated by drinking an excess of liquor) resulted in a mental breakdown and six months of confinement at the Camarillo State Hospital.

Released in January 1947, Parker soon headed back to New York and engaged in some of the most rewarding playing of his career, leading a quintet that included Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach. Parker, who recorded simultaneously for the Savoy and Dial labels, was in peak form during the 1947-1951 period, visiting Europe in 1949 and 1950, and realizing a lifelong dream to record with strings starting in 1949 when he switched to Norman Granz’s Verve label.

But Charlie Parker, due to his drug addiction and chance-taking personality, enjoyed playing with fire too much. In 1951, his cabaret license was revoked in New York (making it difficult for him to play in clubs) and he became increasingly unreliable. Although he could still play at his best when he was inspired (such as at the 1953 Massey Hall concert with Gillespie), Bird was heading downhill.

In 1954, he twice attempted suicide before spending time in Bellevue. His health, shaken by a very full if brief life of excesses, gradually declined, and when he died in March 1955 at the age of 34, he could have passed for 64.

Charlie Parker, who was a legendary figure during his lifetime, has if anything grown in stature since his death. Virtually all of his studio recordings are available on CD along with a countless number of radio broadcasts and club appearances. Clint Eastwood put together a well-intentioned if simplified movie about aspects of his life (Bird).

Parker’s influence, after the rise of John Coltrane, has become more indirect than direct, but jazz would sound a great deal different if Charlie Parker had not existed. The phrase «Bird Lives» (which was scrawled as graffiti after his death) is still very true.

Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)

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