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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Eddie Condon born 16 November 1905

Albert Edwin Condon (November 16, 1905 – August 4, 1973) was an American jazz banjoist, guitarist, and bandleader. A leading figure in Chicago jazz, he also played piano and sang.
Condon was born in Goodland, Indiana, the son of John and Margaret (née McGraw) Condon. He grew up in Momence, Illinois, and Chicago Heights, Illinois, where he attended St. Agnes and Bloom High School. After playing ukulele, he switched to banjo and was a professional musician by 1921. When he was 15 years old, he received his first union card in Waterloo, Iowa.
He was based in Chicago for most of the 1920s, and played with such jazz notables as Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, and Frank Teschemacher. He and Red McKenzie formed the Chicago Rhythm Kings in 1925.
In 1928, Condon moved to New York City. He frequently arranged jazz sessions for various record labels, sometimes playing with the artists he brought to the recording studios, including Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. He organised racially integrated recording sessions—when these were still rare—with Waller, Armstrong and Henry 'Red' Allen. He played with the band of Red Nichols for a time. Later, from 1938 he had a long association with Milt Gabler's Commodore Records.
A handful of records were issued under his own name: a July 28, 1928 two-song session was recorded for OKeh, but only issued in England. On October 30, 1928, an OKeh was issued as "Eddie Condon and his Footwarmers", featuring Jack Teagarden. A further session on February 8, 1929 yielded a record issued under the name "Eddie Hot Shots" and issued on Victor's hot dance series. In 1933, a further two sessions were recorded for Brunswick consisting of 6 recordings, only 2 of which were released in the US. From 1938 on, Condon recorded for Commodore and one session for Decca.
From the late 1930s on he was a regular at the Manhattan jazz club Nick's. The sophisticated variation on Dixieland music which Condon and his colleagues created there came to be nicknamed "Nicksieland." By this time, his regular circle of musical associates included Wild Bill Davison, Bobby Hackett, George Brunies, Edmond Hall, and Pee Wee Russell. In 1939, he appeared with "Bobby Hacket and Band" in the Warner Brothers & Vitaphone film musical short-subject, On the Air. Condon married fashion copywriter Phyllis Smith in 1942. They had two daughters.
Condon did a series of jazz radio broadcasts, Eddie Condon's Jazz Concerts, from New York's Town Hall during 1944–45 which were nationally popular. These recordings survive, and have been issued on the Jazzology label.
From 1945 through 1967 he ran his own New York jazz club, Eddie Condon's, first located on West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village, then 52nd Street near Sixth Avenue, on the present site of the CBS headquarters building; then later, on the south side of East 56th Street, east of Second Avenue. In the 1950s Condon recorded a sequence of classic albums for Columbia Records.
Condon toured Britain in 1957 with a band including Wild Bill Davison, Cutty Cutshall, Gene Schroeder and George Wettling. His last tour was in 1964, when he took a band to Australia and Japan. Condon's men, on that tour, were top mainstream jazz musicians: Buck Clayton (trumpet), Pee Wee Russell (clarinet), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Bud Freeman (tenor sax), Dick Cary (piano and alto horn), Jack Lesberg (bass), Cliff Leeman (drums), Jimmy Rushing (vocals). Billy Banks, a vocalist who had recorded with Condon and Pee Wee Russell in 1932, and had lived in obscurity in Japan for many years, turned up at one of the 1964 concerts: Pee Wee asked him "have you got any more gigs?".
In 1948, Condon's autobiography We Called It Music was published. Eddie Condon's Treasury of Jazz (1956) was a collection of articles co-edited by Condon and Richard Gehman.
From 1964 on, illness prevented him from travelling much, though he embarked on occasional tours and appeared from time to time in clubs and at festivals. In his last public appearance July 5, 1972, he played at Carnegie Hall during the Newport Jazz Festival in New York City. He was hospitalized two days later.

On August 4, 1973, Condon died of a bone disease at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, New York. He was 68. (Compiled from various sources mainly Wikipedia) 

The classic Condon band really wails on this 1952 broadcast with Edmond Hall, Wild Bill Davidson, Cliff Leeman, Cutty Cutshall, Gene Schroeder and Bob Casey.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Billo Frometa born 15 November 1915

Billo Frómeta (b. November 15, 1915 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Caracas May 5, 1988) was a Dominican Republic orchestra conductor, arranger and composer who lived and worked most of his life in Venezuela, where he is remembered as a dance hall legend with his Billos Caracas Boys in the 1950s and 1960s.
Luis María Pereyra Frómeta was born in Pimentel, Provincia Duarte,Republica Dominicana, on November 15, 1915; he would move with his family to San Francisco de Macorís some years later. The school he attended there had compulsory music lessons, so he learned much of his musical training there.
In 1930, at the age of 15, he founded and was the resident conductor of the Banda del Cuerpo de Bomberos de Ciudad Trujillo (Ciudad Trujillo's Fire Brigade's Band). He also founded the Orquesta Sinfónica de Santo Domingo during this time.
In 1933, he moved back to Santo Domingo. During these years, he would meet and work with some of his closest friends and associates: Freddy Coronado, Ernesto Chapuseaux and Simó Damirón, whom he already knew from school. The Conjunto Tropical and the Santo Domingo Jazz Band were formed then, as well.
Frómeta then began studying Pre-Medicine in the Universidad de Santo Domingo and had to abandon all musical activity during this time. However, he eventually dropped out on his third year to dedicate himself fully to music.
Frómeta and his orchestra arrived in Venezuela in December 1937 with his orchestra to play regularly at the Hotel Madrid in Caracas, at the famed the Roof Garden. The Santo Domingo Jazz Band did well, but the club owners didn't think the name would stick, so they had Frómeta change it to something more marketeable. Frómeta went along, which got him barred from ever returning to his native Dominican Republic as Trujillo considered the change- "Billo's Caracas Boys"- an insult.
Famous for his boleros, or romantic songs, Billo's big, brass-heavy orchestra was fronted by many different popular singers over its long history. Frómeta would continue to play in Venezuela until the fall of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958. Accused of being a supporter of the regime, he was barred by the Asociación Musical de D.F y Estado Miranda from ever playing in Venezuela again. Following this, he moved to Cuba to play with a Cuban band there.

In 1960, a special session of the National Assembly was convened in Caracas. The purpose was to lift the ban passed on Billo in 1958, which was by then considered to have been unfair. That very same year, Frómeta returned to Venezuela.

Billo's Caracas Boys continue to perform their unique brand of Afro-Cuban-influenced music as resident band at the Roof Garden of Hotel Madrid. Influenced by such Cuban bands as Orquesta Del Casino De La Plaza, Billo's Caracas Boys built their early repertoire on a mix of guarachos, boleros, merengues, and joropos. Frometa continued to lead the group until his death. In his later years, he did not regularly play his instrument (the saxophone), but simply directed on stage.
On April 27, 1988, he suffered a stroke while rehearsing with the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra for a concert-tribute in his honour that would occur the very next day: just after he finished conducting the practice run for "Un Cubano en Caracas", he collapsed on the ground as the orchestra was applauding his performance. He was rushed to the Polyclinic Santiago de León where he underwent surgery and remained in intensive care in a coma until the night of May 5, 1988, when he died.    (Compiled mainly from Wikipedia)

Monday, 13 November 2017

Janet Lawson born 13 November 1940

Janet Lawson (born Janet Polun; November 13, 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a jazz singer and educator.
Lawson was born in Baltimore to a Jewish father and Catholic mother from Eastern Europe. Her father was a jazz drummer and her mother was a singer and lyricist who sometimes sang in her father's band. At home, they worked on songs together at the piano. Janet was performing on the radio at age three, and singing with jazz bands before her eighteenth birthday.
When she was eighteen, she moved to New York City and got a job as a secretary at Columbia Records. She lived across the street from Al Jeter, the head of Riverside Records, and made contacts when she attended parties at his penthouse apartment. She went to jazz clubs and was inspired by seeing Thelonious Monk. She made her debut at the Village Vanguard with Art Farmer.
During the 1970s, while in her thirties, Lawson discovered transcendental meditation and yoga, and she spent time in California, singing and studying theatre. Meanwhile, the flip side of a 1970 release of  “Two Little Rooms,” a jazz tune called “Dindi,” had become a sleeper hit in England, and suddenly Lawson found herself in demand.
She started her own quintet in 1976 and became known as an inventive and expressive scat singer with a very wide range. One night whilst playing at Beefsteak Charlie’s on 13th and Fifth, they were spotted by New York Times critic John S. Wilson. The next day, Wilson’s New York Times piece loudly proclaimed, “Janet Lawson Has the Dream Jazz Voice.” 
Engagements and recordings with artists like Eddie Jefferson, Ron Carter, Bob Dorough, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Milt Hinton, Barney Kessel, Dave Liebman, Joe Newman, Rufus Reid, Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, Cedar Walton, Count Basie and Duke Ellington followed. There were more hit recordings (“So High,” “Shazam/Captain Marvel,” “Dreams Can Be”) and, in 1981, a Grammy Nomination.
She recorded two superb albums in 1980 and 1983 for Inner City and Omnisound. Lawson  also appeared on records by Eddie Jefferson (1977) and David Lahm (1982).
She has taught voice at New York University and the late 1990’s the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, given private lessons, taught elementary school children, and has made trips every year to Latvia to attend a youth music camp.
In the early 2000s, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Bell's palsy, suffering damage to her vocal cords. The illness stymied her career, and stripped her vocal chords of much of their power and flexibility. Her recovery has been slow, but steady, and that she’s continued to pursue her development as an artist and a human being throughout the often frustrating and maddening process of healing is a testament to her strength of character and spirit.
At present Janet is engaged in a health crisis and has left NYC to live with family in Baltimore.
Awards and honours: Grammy Award nomination, Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female, 1982. Hall of Fame nomination, International Association for Jazz Education, 2007.
(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia, All About Jazz and Allegro (newsletter of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Sally Kelly born 11 November 1937

Sally Kelly (born 11 November 1937) was one of very few girls managed by the UK rock and roll pioneering manager Larry Parnes.
Born in Dublin, Sally came into show business the hard way, starting in panto at Omah at the age of 14. Shortly afterwards she won a holiday camp talent contest and as a result joined a road show. She toured as a singer with the show for more than two years in both Ireland and England.
When the rock’n’roll craze hit teenagers, Sally formed her own all girls skiffle group “The Jeanagers”. The group worked northern towns for more than a year before breaking up.
Sally headed for Soho, the night clubs and solo singing spots. She entered for commercial T.V.’s “Find The Singer” contest and won her area heat. Larry Parnes one of the judges on that occasion, immediately signed Sally on a long-term contract.4 foot 6 inch Sandy Kelly made her debut on 21 June 1959 at the Liverpool Empire. It was rumoured that Sally was introduced to Larry by the controversial journalist Nancy Spain. They would hang out at Larry's, and Foster's Agency supremo Hymie Zahl's, Golden Guitar Club in Soho.
Although Sally, who was nicknamed Miss Rock ‘n’ Roll, was included in many of Parnes' one-nighter package shows, she didn't figure in many of the downtime activities enjoyed by most of the guys.
Sally and her roadie/partner often made their own transport arrangements so subsequently she wasn't part of the Parnes stable as many saw it. Larry saw her as a Brenda Lee style performer but Sally's vocal prowess couldn't be compared to Brenda's.

She sang regularly with all the other artistes in both Larry Parnes’ touring shows “The Marty Wilde Show” and “The Big Beat Show”.


Her recordings sadly did not reach the British charts, she didn’t release an album, but she did manage to release two singles on the Decca label, Little Cutie/ Come Back To Me (1959) & He'll Have To Stay/ Honey, That's Alright (1960) & she also recorded 'Believe in the Rain´& ´So much in love.'  She then resurfaced for one additional recording in late 1971.

After which her trail goes cold! Information from YouTube comments state that after her contract ended with Parnes, Sally continued singing in pubs and clubs for many years. She now resides in Spain with her daughter.
Any other information regarding Sally Kelly will be greatly appreciated.
(Compiled and edited from The Marty Wilde Big Beat programme notes (1959), forum and

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Chris Connor born 8 November 1927

Chris Connor (November 8, 1927 – August 29, 2009) was an American jazz singer. She helped enhance the "Cool Jazz" style during the 1950's and 1960's, enjoying a career that spanned five decades. Her voice was comparable to such prominent singers as Anita O'Day, June Christy and Julie London.
Born Mary Loutsenhizer, she was raised in Jefferson City and learned to play the clarinet while in her youth before deciding on a singing career. Upon graduation from high school, she worked as a secretary while pursuing her musical career performing in a local college band at the University of Missouri.
Frustrated by the lack of vocal musical opportunities in her hometown, Connor pulled up stakes and headed east in 1949. She was hired by Claude Thornhill and spent the next five years touring with his orchestra. Then, while appearing with Jerry Wald’s band, she received the phone call she had been dreaming of. June Christy, Stan Kenton’s current vocalist, had heard Connor on a radio broadcast and recommended her to the orchestra leader, who chose her from dozens of other vocalists eager for the job.
Connor’s ten-month stint with Kenton during 1952-53 won her national recognition. Her haunting recording of Joe Greene’s ballad “All About Ronnie” announced the arrival of a fresh new artist. But the years of one-night stands, fast food and interminable bus rides soured Connor’s enthusiasm for life on the road.
Determined to forge a career as a solo artist, Connor returned to New York and signed with Bethlehem Records in 1953. Her three albums for that independent label, featuring Ellis Larkins, Herbie Mann, Kai Winding and J.J.Johnson, established her as a major jazz voice.
In 1956, she began a six-year association with Atlantic Records that produced a string of chart-topping recordings arranged by Ralph Burns, Al Cohn, Jimmy Jones and Ralph Sharon, showcasing a host of jazz legends - John Lewis, Oscar Pettiford, Lucky Thompson, Phil Woods, Kenny Burrell, Milt Hinton, Clark Terry, Oliver Nelson and, in a particularly memorable pairing, Maynard Ferguson’s big band.
The rock youth quake of the late ’60s and ’70s derailed the careers of many jazz artists, but Connor persisted, performing in clubs, touring Japan and recording for a variety of labels. The early ’80s resurgence of interest in jazz singing revitalized her career, leading to a brace of highly-acclaimed Contemporary CDs. In the ’90s she began to record for the Japanese label Alfa. Connor recorded two CDs with jazz pianist Hank Jones and his trio, “Angel Eyes” and “As Time Goes By.” She then recorded two additional CDs with her own quintet, “My Funny Valentine,” arranged by Richard Rodney Bennett, and “Blue Moon,” a collection of movie songs, arranged by Michael Abene.
The new Millennium brought the timeless singer into yet another recording agreement, signing with the New York based High Note Records in 2000. Her first release, “Haunted Heart,” also arranged by Michael Abene, was released September 2001, and a second CD "I Walk With Music," was released in 2002, also with Michael Abene arranging and producing.
Chris then returned to another Japanese label and recorded "Lullaby Of Birdland" for King Record Co.Ltd, with pianist/arranger David Matthews. It was released in September 2003. She recorded nearly three dozen albums, achieved a following internationally and continued to perform into the mid-2000's.

Connor's last public show came in 2004, when she performed on a New York club stage with noted jazz vocalist Anita O'Day. She died Aug.29, 2009 at Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J. following a long bout with cancer. She was 81. (Info mainly 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Bill Snyder born 7 November 1916

Bill Snyder also known as William P. Snyder (November 7, 1916 – Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, May 11, 2011) was an American pianist, bandleader and songwriter of the 1950s.

Bill Snyder, "America's most recorded pianist," began his multifaceted career as a child prodigy. His impressive academic background includes studies with the now legendary Moritz Rosenthal in Paris and Chicago's own Rudolph Ganz. Bill served in the Air Force during the Second World War.
Snyder zoomed into national prominence as a recording artist with his first record, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," from the Rodgers and Hart Musical, "Pal Joey," which held the number one spot and sold well into the millions. He conducted, arranged and performed musicals in the famed College Inn in the Sherman House in Chicago, musicals that included "Salute to Cole Porter" and the "Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein" shows.
Through the 1950s Snyder was America's most recorded light music pianist with nine gold awards and one platinum award for his singles and albums. He toured around the United States and Canada for Columbia Artists Management as a concert attraction in the Community Concert series. He appeared with symphony orchestras and performed such well known works as Gershwin's, "Rhapsody in Blue," Franz Listz's "Hungarian Fantasy" and some of his own compositions.
After performing 75 years, Bill Snyder joyfully retired with his beloved wife, Marion, in the lovely city of Fond du Lac, Wis.,and died Nov. 5, the age of 95.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Ike Turner born 5 November 1931

Izear Luster "Ike" Turner, Jr. (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. An early pioneer of fifties rock and roll, he is most popularly known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with his then-wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

Musician, songwriter, bandleader and producer Ike Turner was born Ike Wister Turner in Clarksdale, Mississippi. (While his full, legal name was Ike Wister Turner, he spent much of his early life believing his full name was Izear Luster Turner Jr., after his father.) As a child, Turner initially played a style of blues known as boogie woogie on the piano, which he learned from Pinetop Perkins. He later learned to play guitar. 

In the late 1940s, Turner started a group called the Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, he and his band went to Memphis to record at the legendary Sun Studios run by recording legend Sam Phillips. Their song, "Rocket 88," is considered by many to be the first rock and rock recording. It was released under the name of Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats and became a number one hit on the R&B charts.


Brenston was the lead vocalist of Turner’s group who eventually left to go solo. Turner and his band stayed in Memphis, often working in recording sessions with such blues legends as Elmore James and Buddy Guy. In addition to working as a musician, he was a talent scout for Modern Records for a time and helped discover B.B. King and Howlin' Wolf.

Things really began to change for Turner in 1956, when he met a teenager named Anna Mae Bullock. The young singer joined the band and soon developed a personal relationship with Turner. The two married in 1958, and Ike helped transform Anna Mae into Tina Turner by changing her name and creating her stage persona. They were soon performing as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue and scoring a string of R&B hits, including "I Idolize You," "It’s Going to Work Out Fine" and "Poor Fool" in the early 1960s.

Ike and Tina were invited to open for the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s, which introduced their bold style of soul-infused rock music to a new audience. They found crossover success with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," which made it on the pop and R&B charts. This song also earned them their first and only Grammy Award together (for best R&B vocal performance by a group) in 1971. Their last hit together was "Nutbush City Limits," written by Tina and released in 1973.

While they had been a successful stage act for years, Ike and Tina Turner had a very different life off stage. Ike reportedly had a drug problem and Tina finally left Ike in 1976 after years of abuse. She later revealed the details of the abuse in her 1986 autobiography, I, Tina. Her book was the basis for 1993 film What's Love Got To Do with It which starred Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike. The movie showed Ike as a wife-beating musical talent who was often under the influence of drugs. Both Bassett and Fishburne received Academy Award nominations for their performances. But Ike repeatedly denied the accusations made in the book and vehemently objected to the portrayal of him on screen. He did, however, admit to hitting her in his own 1999 autobiography, Takin' Back My Name. 

While Tina's solo career flourished in the 1980s and 1990s, Ike struggled professionally and personally. It was his problem with drugs that led to an 18-month stint in prison for cocaine possession from 1990 to 1991. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, but he was still in prison at the time and had to miss the ceremony. 

Near the end of his life, Turner had a career renaissance. In 2001, he released his first commercial record in 23 years, entitled Here and Now. It was nominated for a Grammy Award (best traditional blues album). The following year, Turner received the 2002 Comeback Album of the Year Award at the W.C. Handy Blues Awards. He went on to win a Grammy (best traditional blues album) for his next original recording, Risin’ with the Blues, released in 2006.
A year later, on December 12, 2007, Turner died of a cocaine overdose in his San Marcos, California, home. Contributing conditions to his death included high blood pressure and emphysema. A blues legend, Turner's impact on the musical world continues to be felt even after his death. 

(Compiked & edited mainly from

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Mats Olsson born 3 November 1929

Mats Olsson (3 November 1929 – 11 September 2013) was a Swedish musician, prominent arranger and conductor of popular music. He was the musical director for the Swedish national final of the Eurovision Song Contest on multiple occasions in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Mats Olsson was born in Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden. Already as a child, he developed a passion for modern classical composers Hindemith and Stravinsky; not much later, he discovered jazz music. When his music teacher in secondary school discovered Mats' absolute pitch, the young boy decided to aim at a career as a music professional. 

Between 1947 and 1950, Olsson studied at Stockholm's Royal Academy of Music. When, however, he concluded that his original ambition of becoming a church organist was - to use his own expression - 'not my cup of tea', he left the academy and continued studying with several teachers privately for some years. Meanwhile, he immersed himself in the Swedish jazz and entertainment scene. Between 1947 and 1958, he played the piano in several orchestras, including those of Seymour Österwall and Thore Ehrling. Moreover, Olsson also penned tons of arrangements for the bands he played in.

In 1957, he was signed by Grammofon AB Electra as its staff arranger. Until 1969, he wrote the record arrangements for many of Sweden's major record stars, including Lars Lerbäck, Jan Malmsjö, Family Four, Towa Carson, and Claes Göran Hederström. 
Olsson's solo instrumental album 'From Sweden with love' (1958) was a considerable international success. In the last three years with Electra (1967-'69), he doubled as the company's A&R manager. Between 1970 and 1977, Olsson worked for CBS as an arranger and talent scout.  

In 1977, Olsson founded his own record label, Planet Records, specializing in releasing children's repertoire. In the world of television, Olsson arranged and conducted many jazz and entertainment programmes, most prominently the music quiz 'Notknäckarna' (1981-1990). After selling Planet (1995), he kept on penning brass band and orchestra arrangements which were played in Scandinavia and Germany. 

Mats Olsson has a quite impressive Eurovision record, having been involved in the competition in a period spanning thirty-five years (1961-1996). He arranged and conducted countless songs for the Melodifestival, Sweden's Eurovision pre-selection, including winners 'April-april' for Lill-Babs (1961) and 'En gång i Stockholm for Monica Zetterlund (1963). On top of that, he composed the 1973 Melodifestival entry 'En frusen ros'.  

On the international stage, Olsson conducted three Swedish Eurovision entries: 'Som en dröm' (Östen Warnebring, Vienna 1967), 'Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mej' (Claes-Göran Hederström, London 1968), and, lastly, 'Härliga sommardag' (Family Four, Edinburgh 1972). In 1975, after the musicians of the SR Symphony Orchestra refused Lars Samuelson as their MD, Olsson was requested by Swedish Television to be the chief conductor of the international Eurovision final, which was held in Stockholm. 

(Info mainly all-conductors-of-eurovision.blogspot & Wikipedia)