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Louisiana native James Burton (b. 1939) is one of several guitarists weaned on country music who parlayed his unique talent into session and tour work with rock musicians while maintaining his ties to the country community. Burton first achieved local fame as a backing musician on the popular ‘Louisiana Hayride’ radio show, which spotlighted a young Elvis and rivalled ‘The ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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The swooping, full-octave slide-guitar riff that opened Elmore James’s (1918–63) first record, ‘Dust My Broom’, in 1951 not only electrified the legacy of Robert Johnson, it also established one of the basic riffs of post-war blues. Bottleneck guitar had always been part of the blues, but James was the first to use it in a hard rocking ...

Source: Rock Guitar Heroes, consultant editor Rusty Cutchin
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1746–1827 English composer and organist Born in Norwich, Hook was musically precocious, performing in public when he was six and composing an opera at eight. At 17 he settled in London as an organist, and soon obtained posts as organist and composer at Marylebone Pleasure Gardens and then (in 1774) at Vauxhall, retiring in 1820. A fluent ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Piano, composer, 1894–1955) The seminal figure among the Harlem stride pianists, Johnson was a mentor to Fats Waller and composer of ‘The Charleston’, which launched a Jazz Age dance craze. Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Art Tatum were also directly influenced by Johnson’s skilful stride and compositions, including ‘You’ve Got To Be Modernistic’ – an evolutionary ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Trumpet, 1903–32) A key figure in the Duke Ellington Orchestra of 1926–28, Miley played a lead role on such classic pieces of early Ellingtonia as ‘East St. Louis Toodle-Oo’, ‘Black And Tan Fantasy’ and ‘Creole Love Call’. His uniquely expressive, growling trumpet style was influenced by the plunger mute approach of King Oliver, and served as one ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vocals, guitar, 1902–69) Born in Bentonia, Mississippi and raised on a nearby plantation, Nehemiah ‘Skip’ James played the guitar professionally from a young age and also taught himself to play the piano. His distinctive E-minor guitar tuning, three-finger picking technique and melancholy, high-pitched vocals gave him a unique sound, and his recording session for ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
190 Words Read More

(Trumpet, 1916–83) Harry James grew up in a circus and went on to become a media celebrity as a bandleader, a fame that only intensified when he married actress Betty Grable in 1943. James made his initial reputation as a formidable trumpet player with Benny Goodman’s band before forming his own group in 1938, but lost some of ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
167 Words Read More

(Tenor and alto saxophone, flute, b. 1925) James Moody was one of the strongest performers to double on flute in jazz, and was a resourceful and inventive improviser on all his horns. He joined Dizzy Gillespie from the US Air Force in 1946. A recording of ‘I’m In The Mood For Love’ (1949), made while living in Europe ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Piano, organ, vocals, 1939–83) James Carroll Booker III was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He studied classical piano from the age of four and made his recording debut for Imperial at 14. He worked as a session musician in New Orleans from the mid-1950s and recorded for many different labels, as well as playing and arranging ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
110 Words Read More

(Harmonica, vocals, b. 1935) James Henry Cotton was born in Tunica, Mississippi and was inspired by hearing Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) on the radio. He worked with his mentor from the late 1940s until 1953, when he made his recording debut for Sun Records. He joined Muddy Waters in 1954 and played with him, ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
108 Words Read More

(Guitar, vocals, 1918–63) Elmore Brooks was born in Richland, Mississippi. He learned guitar at an early age and was playing functions by the age of 14. He often worked with Rice Miller from the late 1930s until he was drafted into the Navy in 1943. He rejoined Miller after the war and was headquartered in West Memphis, ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
156 Words Read More

(Vocals, b. 1938) Jamesetta Hawkins was born in Los Angeles, California. She moved to the San Francisco area, where she was discovered by Johnny Otis. She made her recording debut at the age of 16 for Modern, and had a number-one R&B hit with her first record, ‘The Wallflower’ (a.k.a. ‘Roll With Me Henry’). ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
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(Vibraphone, b. 1943) Gary Burton is one of the most impressive vibists in jazz, at times using four mallets in order to harmonize with himself. He began his career in country music with guitarist Hank Garland, played jazz with George Shearing and Stan Getz, and then helped to instigate the jazz-rock fusion movement through his group with ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
106 Words Read More

(Guitar, b. 1941) Drawing on systems that are both ancient (the blues) and modern (free jazz), this experimental guitarist forged an original vocabulary on his instrument that has rarely been imitated and remains one of the most strikingly individual approaches in jazz. Ulmer began his career working in organ bands around the Midwest in the 1960s, before moving to ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
167 Words Read More

(Various saxophones, b. 1969) A musical prodigy from Detroit’s Creative Arts Collective, saxophonist James Carter toured Europe at the age of 16, worked with Wynton Marsalis and starred in Julius Hemphill’s saxophone opera Long Tongues. Since 1990, his New York ensemble has recorded a variety of ‘quiet storm’ romantic jazz, Django Reinhardt-style gypsy jazz, hard-core ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel
112 Words Read More
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