Lester Young

Biography: In his 1985 biography on Lester Young, entitled Lester Young, Lewis Porter describes Young as a man of few words, who often “spoke through silence” (Porter P.4). Young’s language was one of his own creation, wrapped in “exquisite loneliness” and passed from musician to musician as treasures of wisdom and wit (Porter P.29). “When…

Nina Simone

Biography: “There’s no other purpose, so far as I’m concerned, for us except to reflect the times, the situations around us and the things we’re able to say through our art, the things that millions of people can’t say.” Nina Simone Nina Simone was an amazing personality; her politics, her activism, her piano, her often…

Wayne Shorter

Biography: Wayne Shorter didn’t pick up a musical instrument until he was fifteen, a relatively late start for a jazz great.  He’d always preferred the visual arts, specifically film.  It wasn’t until a revelatory moment of hearing Thelonious Monk’s ‘Off Minor’ on the radio that Wayne Shorter’s direction in life was affirmed.  “My ears perked…

Tito Puente

Biography: (1923 – 2000) El Rey de Mambo Caliente by Mark Allred As summer rolls around the Puget Sound, the longer days and hotter temperatures can conjure memories of palm trees blocking stunning sunsets. A yearning can be felt for sand, swimsuits, swimming in the ocean, and warm Southern Hemisphere nights with a tropical breeze blowing…

Edward Lee Morgan

The Trumpet That Listens by MARK ALLRED “Every listener to jazz has had a few experiences so startling that they are literally unforgettable. One of mine took place during an engagement the Dizzy Gillespie big band had at Birdland in 1957. My back was to the bandstand as the band started playing Night In Tunisia.…

Joni Mitchell

Biography: Joni Mitchell (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) – Part Two by Mark Allred As promised this 2nd part of Joni Mitchell will delve a little deeper specifically in the individual Mitchell songs from the CDs in the Manieri Collection. Joni Mitchell wrote, “And we’ll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our…

Joni Mitchell

Biography: Joni Mitchell (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) – Part One: Joni Mitchell by Mark Allred “A singer, composer and lyricist of exceptional talent and unmatched influence, Joni Mitchell has crafted an extraordinary body of work spanning more than 40 years and is widely regarded as one of the brightest musical lights of…

J. J. JOHNSON

Biography: Indianapolis-born trombonist/composer J. J. Johnson virtually reinvented the trombone for the purposes of postwar jazz.  A perfectionist in the realm of music and a man utterly dedicated to making the trombone do what he wanted, Johnson evolved a level of expertise previously undreamed of in jazz, his smooth delivery of the most complex passages…

Freddie Hubbard

Biography: Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory with the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In his teens Hubbard worked locally with brothers Wes and Monk Montgomery and worked with bassist Larry Ridley and saxophonist James Spaulding. In 1958, at the age of 20,…

Conrad Herwig

Biography: (b. November 1, 1959 Lawton, Oklahoma, USA) by Mark Allred “But the great thing about jazz is that nothing is so sacred that it can’t be recomposed and reinvented and rediscovered.”  – Conrad Herwig New York jazz trombonist Conrad Herwig has recorded over 19 albums as a leader.  (Maybe more by the time you read this.) In 2009…