At PASIC 2016, PAS honored the pillars of our community that we lost from January to November 2016 with the following video tribute:
Special Thanks to Blake Tyson and Michael Burritt for providing the music.
At PASIC 2015, PAS honored the pillars of our community that we lost from January to November 2015 with the following video tribute:
Special Thanks to Michael Burritt for providing the music.
("The Offering" composed and performed by Michael Burritt)
In Memoriam: Alphonse Mouzon Drummer Alphonse Mouzon died on December 25, 2016. In the 1970s, along with Billy Cobham and Lenny White, Mouzon helped fashion a jazz-rock, or “fusion,” style of drumming by combining the volume, rhythms, and energy of rock playing with the polyrhythms, techniques, and finesse of jazz.
Born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina, Mouzon started working professionally as a drummer at age 12. He moved to New York in 1966, first working with a society band and then playing for the Broadway production of the Hal David and Burt Bacharach musical Promises, Promises. He also worked with vibist Roy Ayres and singer Roberta Flack. In 1970, after playing on a recording by saxophonist Wayne Shorter, he became a founding member of Weather Report with Shorter, keyboardist Joe Zawinul, bassist Miroslav Vitous, and percussionist Airto Moreira. He then worked with pianist McCoy Tyner and flutist Bobbi Humphrey before joining guitarist Larry Coryell’s group The Eleventh House, with whom he played from 1973–75.
In 1974 he released the first of his two dozen solo albums, Mind Transplant, and over the next few years he led his own groups and also played and/or recorded with such artists as guitarists Al DiMeola and George Benson, bassist Jaco Pastorius, flutist Hubert Laws, trumpeter Miles Davis, and pianist Herbie Hancock.
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Mouzon led a disco group called Poussez, which had club hits with “Come On and Do It” and “Boogie With Me.” The title track of his second album, Funky Snakefoot, was later used as the opening drum fill for the Beastie Boys’ “Shake Your Rump.”
Mouzon’s most recent release, Angel Face, released in 2011, featured pianist Kenny Barron. Earlier in 2016 he joined Coryell in a reunion of the Eleventh House; the group subsequently released an album titled Seven Secrets.
In Memoriam: Robert Paiste
On November 16, 2016, the Paiste cymbal company announced the death of Robert Paiste.
Robert was born in 1932 in the family’s country of origin, Estonia. The disruptions during the mid-20th century brought the family through Poland to Northern Germany, where in the late 1940s he joined his father, Michail, in cymbal and gong making. He moved to Switzerland in 1957 to found the company’s new and present home base.
“Father was making cymbals, and I just got into it,” Robert told writer Robyn Flans in a 1985 Modern Drummer magazine article. “I started in the factory after school, and then I began to learn the handicraft. I started working in production when I was 17. It began with learning how to hammer cymbals to achieve a certain sound. I found out what vibrations do, and how it’s possible to influence the metal.”
Robert and his younger brother, Toomas, took over the Paiste business in 1963 upon the death of Michail. While Toomas ran the administrative side of the company, Robert handled production. “Robert likes to go into the details of things, really diving into the problems and trying to solve them methodically,” Toomas told Modern Drummer. “That’s a perfect attitude for sound development.”
Robert’s work led to numerous innovations, inventions and patents, and among his many accomplishments were the Formula 602, the 2002, and the Signature Series cymbals.
“Sound is vibration, and vibration is energy,” Robert told Modern Drummer. “Life energy is vibration and sound, also. So, for us, sound is part of a very deep, basic truth. We are not the only ones who feel like this. There are so many musical-minded drummers who get the same exciting feeling from playing their cymbals. It’s not just the sound. It’s the vibration, the touch, how it feels, and how it speaks to the drummer. It’s a wonderful feeling to produce something, hand it over to the drummers, and see them get the same response. There’s a deep truth behind it.”
In Memoriam: Bobby Hutcherson Jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson died on August 15, 2016, at age 75. Vibist Stefon Harris has referred to Hutcherson as “by far the most harmonically advanced person to ever play the vibraphone.”
Hutcherson was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1941. He took piano lessons as a child, but after hearing a recording of Milt Jackson he bought a vibraphone. His early work included gigs with Eric Dolphy and Charles Lloyd, and he made his recording debut with Les McCann in 1961. In 1962 he went to New York with a band led by tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell and trombonist Al Grey. After that group broke up Hutcherson stayed in New York. For a while, he made his living driving a taxi, but after appearing on saxophonist Jackie McLean’s album One Step Beyond, on which the vibes were the only chordal instrument, he was able to make his living as a musician.
Besides playing and recording with other artists, he began releasing albums as a leader, including Dialogue in 1965 and Stick-Up! in 1966. He eventually released more than 40 albums and appeared on several albums now regarded as classics, including Out to Lunch by Dolphy, Mode for Joe by Joe Henderson, and Ethiopian Knights by Donald Byrd. Hutcherson was affiliated with Blue Note Records from 1963 to 1977 along with such artists as pianist Andrew Hill and McLean. He also worked with such hard-bop players as saxophonist Dexter Gordon, and he later delved into jazz-funk and Afro-Latin tunes.
He returned to California in 1967 and began working with tenor saxophonist Harold Land. Among the recordings they made was “Ummh,” a funk shuffle that became a crossover hit in 1970 and was later sampled by rapper Ice Cube. After his tenure on Blue Note, Hutcherson released albums on Columbia, Landmark and other labels, working with McCoy Tyner and Sonny Rollins. He appeared onscreen in the 1986 film Round Midnight with Gordon and pianist Herbie Hancock. Hutcherson was a founding member of the SFJazz Collective, for whom he played, composed, and arranged from 2004 to 2007. He was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2010 for his lifetime of contributions to the art form. He returned to Blue Note in 2014 to release a soul-jazz album, Enjoy the View, with saxophonist David Sanborn and other collaborators. In Memoriam: Peter Sadlo
German classical percussionist Peter Sadlo died on July 29, 2016. Born in 1962, he began studying at the Meistersinger-Konservatorium in Nürnberg at age 12 and then studied with Siegfried Fink at the Musikhochschule Würzburg. In 1982, when Peter was 20 years old, he became solo timpanist at the Munich Philharmonic, a position he held for 15 years. In 1998, he began to concentrate exclusively on his career as a soloist and ensemble leader. He also became a Professor of Percussion at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich and at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg. He held a Doctorate in Musicology from the University of Bucharest and an Honorary Doctorate from the Staatliche Musikakademie in Sofia.
He played with the following orchestras: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, BR Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart, Staatskapelle Weimar, Orchestra Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome, National Symphony Orchestra of RAI Turin, Nagoya Philharmonic, Peking Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. He gave recitals at music festivals in Bad Kissingen, Basel, Bremen, Echternach, Ingolstadt, Istanbul, Lockenhaus, MDR Musiksommer, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Pollenca, Salzburg, Schwetzingen, and Vienna. He also performed concerts with his ensemble, Peter Sadlo & Friends, and with chamber music partners including Martha Argerich, Alice Sara Ott, Clemens Hagen, and Gidon Kremer. He recorded with Nexus on the CD NEXUS Meets Peter Sadlo, which was released in 1997.
Such composers as Luciano Berio, Minas Borboudakis, Ferran Cruixent, Moritz Eggert, Harald Genzmer, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hans Werner Henze, and Bertold Hummel collaborated with Sadlo or wrote pieces for him. He was Artistic Advisor to the Basel chamber music festival Les Muséiques and to the International Music Assemblage House Marteau in Lichtenberg/Upper Franconia.
He won numerous first prizes throughout his career including the first-ever percussion awards at both the Concours International Genève (1982) and at the Internationaler Musikwettbewerb der ARD in Munich (1985). He was awarded the Echo Klassik Preis 1998 as musician of the year for his CD Percussion in Concert. In April 2005, Sadlo was awarded the Soloist European Cultural Award at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Sadlo received the Bavarian Culture Prize 2006. In 2012, the Upper Franconian Foundation gave Sadlo the Culture Award for his artistic life's work and in 2015 awarded him the prestigious Frankfurter Musikpreis.
In Memoriam: John Craviotto
John Craviotto, the founder of Craviotto Drum Company, died on July 15, 2016 at the age of 69.
Born November 21, 1946 in San Francisco, he moved to Santa Cruz as a youngster and was a long-time resident of Santa Cruz. He started playing drums at a young age and throughout the 1960s and 1970s he toured and recorded with such artists as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart, Arlo Guthrie, and Moby Grape. He was especially proud of his work in the summer of 1977 playing with the Santa Cruz-based band The Ducks with Bob Mosley, Jeff Blackburn, and Neil Young.
During that period Johnny became interested in the history and construction of drums. He developed his own formula for producing drum shells from a single piece of steam-bent hardwood. He first began building drums in a makeshift shop in a residential garage. In the mid 1980s, Johnny founded the Select/Solid Snare Drum Company with drummer Bill Gibson (Huey Lewis and the News). In 1993, Johnny formed his own company, Craviotto Percussion, and partnered with Drum Workshop. They produced a line of steam-bent solid-shell snare drums.
In 2004, with the help of a business partner, Johnny established the Craviotto Drum Company. While continuing with his tradition of building solid-shell snare drums, Johnny also created the world's first completely solid-shell drumsets.
In Memoriam: Al Moffatt
Al Moffatt, marching manager of the Avedis Zildjian Company for the past 35 years, died on July 15, 2016 at the age of 69.
In 1981, he took over Moffatt Music from his father and began working for Zildjian. He was a distributor, sales rep, and the company’s Marching Consultant for Drum Corps. Al worked with numerous school band programs, locally and across the nation. Most notably, he worked with Upper Moreland HS for over 40 years until his death. He became a respected judge and worked with Cavalcade, USBands, MAPS, and WGI.
Moffatt was also heavily involved in Boy Scouts. He helped over 100 scouts attain the rank of Eagle, enabled trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, and was a recipient of the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award among others.
In Memoriam: Naná Vasconcelos
"When I started to play berimbau differently...the idea came into my mind that instruments have no limitations," he told Modern Drummer magazine in a 2000 interview.
He started learning music from his musician father, and by the time he was 12 he was playing drumset at bars with local groups. Vasconcelos rose to national prominence after he moved to Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s and started playing with Nascimento.
He contributed to four Jon Hassell albums from 1976 to 1980 and in the 1980s he recorded and toured with the Pat Metheny Group and Jan Garbarek. In 1984 he appeared on the Pierre Favre album Singing Drums along with Paul Motian, and he formed a group called Codona with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott, which released three albums. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. In 1998, Vasconcelos contributed "Luz De Candeeiro" to the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon.
DownBeat magazine named Vasconcelos percussionist of the year each year from 1983 to 1991 in its critics poll, and he was an eight-time Grammy Award winner.
In addition to over 25 albums as a leader, he recorded with such artists as Milton Nascimento, Gato Barbieri, Don Cherry, Pierre Favre, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Danny Gottlieb, Pat Metheny, Woody Shaw, Talking Heads, Ginger Baker, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Ron Carter, Chaka Khan, Collin Walcott, Jack DeJohnette, Laurie Anderson, Trilok Gurtu, and many others.
In Memoriam: John Robertson “Robin” Engelman By Lauren Vogel Weiss
Robin Engelman, one of the founding members of the world renowned percussion ensemble Nexus, died on Feb. 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Eleanor, two children, and three grandchildren.
Inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame with the other members of Nexus at PASIC ’99 in Columbus, Robin told Percussive Notes, “Staying together for thirty years is an accomplishment worthy of rumination if not of pride. Only someone of a certain age, in possession of certain experiences, can appreciate that. It is fortunate that I can still eagerly anticipate a Nexus performance and that I have come to understand and accept what I can and cannot do, and what my colleagues can and cannot do, whilst knowing that all of us are always doing the best we can do.”
Born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 21, 1937, Robin and his family moved to Westminister, Maryland when he was in 8th grade. After graduating from Westminister High School, where he met his future wife in the high school orchestra, Engelman studied percussion and composition with Warren Benson at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. After graduation, Engelman performed with the North Carolina Symphony, New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony (where he met Nexus co-founder John Wyre), and the Rochester Philharmonic (where he met Bob Becker and Bill Cahn). In 1968, he became the principal percussionist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for four seasons.
On May 22, 1971, Engelman joined Becker, Cahn, and Wyre for an improvised concert in Kilbourn Hall at Eastman in Rochester, New York. This first Nexus concert was organized by Benson, who was then teaching composition at Eastman. Russell Hartenberger and the late Michael Craden joined the ensemble soon after.
For almost four decades, Engelman was active with Nexus all around the world as a performer, composer, arranger, and conductor. Two of his compositions,“Remembrance” and “Lullaby for Esme,” and four of his arrangements of Toru Takemitsu songs (originally written for mixed chorus) have been recorded by the ensemble. His inimitable performance style, musical conception, and sharpness of thought and expression helped define the character of Nexus.
In a 1999 interview, Engelman was asked how Nexus should be remembered by percussionists in the 22nd century. “With caution!” he replied, eyes twinkling as a smile spread across his face. In 2009, Engelman decided to leave the ensemble due to ongoing vision difficulties. "It is impossible to adequately express my gratitude for the friendship and music of my colleagues in Nexus," Engelman wrote in an email to his peers. "Their willingness to explore any idea has been an inspiration to me for 39 years.”
In addition to his time with Nexus, Engelman taught percussion at the Eastman School of Music, York University, and the University of Toronto, where he also directed the contemporary music and percussion ensembles. He won a Toronto Arts Award and the Banff School’s Donald Cameron Award. Engelman also created pioneering work with Toronto’s New Music Concerts contemporary music ensemble.
His interest in rudimental and military drumming dates back to 1976 when he obtained a bicentennial field drum from Patrick Cooperman, and he soon made himself an expert on historic instruments, especially drums and fifes. In 2002, Engelman was the Artistic Director of “The Drummer’s Heritage Concert” at PASIC 2002 in Columbus. The once-in-a-lifetime gathering of 230 drummers from all over the world was captured on a DVD available from PAS. Engelman made sure to include representatives from five styles of drumming—ancient, Swiss, Scottish, show band, and contemporary—from the Revolutionary War to modern times. “I was afforded the honor and pleasure of working with and hearing some of the most accomplished field drum artists in the world,” he said.
There will be no formal funeral or memorial service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests people to support an arts organization they love in his honor. In Memoriam: Dr. Willis F. Kirk, Jr. Drummer, author, and composer Dr. Willis F. Kirk, Jr. died on February 16, 2016.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1928, he began drum lessons in fourth grade. After high school, he worked with many groups in Indianapolis, including Wes Montgomery, with whom he played for many years. In 1950, he was drafted into the army. After the service he continued to play music and eventually went to Butler University on the G.I. Bill. In the summer of 1953, he had a short-lived tour with Lionel Hampton’s band. After getting married in 1955, he supported himself by teaching music and working part time for the Indianapolis Musicians Union.
He relocated to the Bay Area in 1968, where he taught music in the Oakland public schools and, eventually, worked as a counselor for City College of San Francisco. From 1988–91 he served as City College president. Musical highlights of this period include filling in on vibes for Tony Bennett, a tour with Earl “Fatha” Hines, and helping to found the David Hardiman All–Star Big Band, with whom he recorded several albums. In the early 1980s, he wrote a jazz drumming instructional book called Brush Fire, published by Hal Leonard. During the 1990s, Willis composed a jazz oratory, “Rejoice! Rejoice!” that was recorded and performed at the Indianapolis Jazz Festival in 2004. On May 9, 2009, he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Butler University.
In Memoriam: Roger Schupp Roger Brett Schupp died on December 15, 2015 at age 55. He was Professor of Percussion and Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts in Ohio, and served on the PAS Contest and Audition Procedures Committee and Drumset Committee. He was a member of the Toledo Symphony Percussion Trio, Toledo Symphony Concert Band, and Toledo Jazz Orchestra.
Roger received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Central Missouri and his Doctorate of Musical Arts in percussion performance and jazz studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He performed in a variety of ensemble including the Toledo and Austin Symphonies, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, and the Toledo and Austin Jazz Orchestras. He performed and recorded with such artists and ensembles as the Royal Ballet of London, New York Voices, Marvin Hamlisch, Tommy Tune, Bob James, Clark Terry, Terrance Blanchard, Chuck Berry, Amy Grant, the Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra, the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, Three and One, guitarist Chris Buzzelli, the Broadway touring casts of A Chorus Line, Spamalot, and Wicked, and he toured with Up With People. Schupp presented concerts, clinics, and master classes in over 30 states and 20 countries on five continents. In Memoriam: Ed Uribe
Drummer-percussionist, author, educator, composer, and producer Ed Uribe died on November 20, 2015.
He played with a variety of artists, including Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Michel Camilo, George Coleman, Tania Maria, Donald Byrd, Dave Samuels, Angela Bofill, David Friedman, Claudio Roditi, Andy Narell, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Orchestra, and Lionel Hampton. He also worked as a producer and editor of audio, video, print, and multimedia works.
Uribe’s books The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum Set and The Essence of Brazilian Percussion & Drum Set, published by Alfred Music, are considered definitive. As a composer he wrote the title track for Ray Barretto’s Concord Records release Handprints. Uribe was a professor at Berklee College of Music for 17 years, and was one of the youngest musicians hired by the school. He developed the school’s Latin percussion and percussion technology programs, along with other curriculum. He also taught for the graduate school of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Upon news of his death, his colleague Victor Mendoza posted that Uribe was “a great all-around musician, simply one of the best. Educator, composer, arranger, technology wiz, editor for Warner Bros, and one of the best roommates you could ever wish for, considerate, supportive and kind. He was one of the most fun and brilliant people I have ever known. Most of all he was a good man, a tireless worker and a great and dear friend.”
In Memoriam: Tele Lesbines By Gary Cook
Tele Lesbines, best know for his distinguished career as timpanist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1999, died on November 9, 2015 in Milwaukee. His 30 years as timpanist with the Milwaukee Symphony included world tours and recordings with the greatest conductors of our lifetime. The Koss Classic CDs Tele recorded with Zdenek Macal from 1989 to 1992 represent some of the finest in recorded orchestral music archives. Always a strong supporter and advocate of PAS, he presented clinics at PASIC and appeared as guest artist at Days of Percussion around the country.
Many of his students from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the University of Milwaukee, Lawrence Conservatory, and Alverno College have pursued successful music careers. Likewise, private students he taught in his home studio praised his passion for music making and commitment as a teacher together with his intellect and humanitarianism. His wisdom as a master of his craft and his curiosity and dedication as a consummate musician (always playing calfskin heads) and educator will always be an inspiration.
Telemachus “Tele” Lesbines was born October 29, 1928 in Middletown, Connecticut to parents of Greek heritage. He was named for Telemachus, the "distant warrior" of Homer's The Odyssey. Tele's first inspiration to be a drummer came around age 5 when his father took him to a parade and he heard a fife and drum corps. He started playing more in junior high, receiving instruction from a friend who was taking drum lessons. His friend showed him the basic cymbal beat, foot patterns, and basic rudiments, and soon Tele was practicing on a chair playing along with recordings.
In high school Tele was inspired by his band director, Leo Betancourt, who gave Tele drum lessons after school. He set up a basic drumkit and played piano while he showed Tele the various patterns that went with the various styles of the day—a truly perfect introduction to making music with drums. Soon Betancourt let Tele join the band. Tele recalls running to the band room for band practice and being very proud of the first blister he "earned" by playing field drum in his first parade.
When the band was scheduled to do a concert at the theater downtown, Betancourt showed Tele how to play the hand-tuned timpani. Tele remembered that the calfskin heads were always going up in pitch due to the stage lights. (Despite the challenges presented by calf, Tele played calfskin heads throughout his career with the Milwaukee Symphony with impeccable pitch.) Soon Betancourt suggested that Tele go to Hartford to take lessons with Bob Schultze, who played in the pit orchestra at The State Theatre and taught at the C.G. Conn store. In 1942, Tele bought his first drumset: a Leedy "victory model" with all wood hardware (because metal was reserved for products needed to support the WWII U.S. war efforts). As a gifted young drummer studying with Adolph Cardillo, he won third place in the National Finals of the Gene Krupa Contest in New York after placing first in the District Finals. Among his competition was Joe Porcaro.
Betancourt put together a 7-piece dance band that played for high school dances all over southeastern Connecticut and later for USO shows and others. Tele was able to get steady work at various clubs and in the Connecticut National Guard and played in the Catskills in the summer. Tele's love for the drums led him to become a fine percussionist, but his real gift as a timpanist became apparent later on.
Tele began concentrating on timpani, eventually studying with Alexander Lepak, Vic Firth, Fred Hinger, and Saul Goodman. He became a member of the Hartford Symphony while he attended the Hartt School of Music. After attending Hartt for three years Tele transferred to the University of Connecticut, where he earned a degree in psychology. Lepak often turned timpani gigs over to Tele while loaning Tele his own timps. While Tele was teaching at the Hartford Conservatory he used their timps for gigs but soon began purchasing his own. During that time he performed a lot of contemporary music and made recordings with Bert Turetzy. He gained valuable experience playing timpani with numerous orchestras in the area: New Britain, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Springfield. He played various cantatas in churches and performed with the New London Dance Festival and Hartford Chamber Orchestra Contemporary Concerts, to name only a few.
All of Tele's playing experience paid off in 1969 when on Easter Sunday Tele flew to Milwaukee to take the MSO audition under the baton of Kenneth Schermerhorn. From world tours with Schermerhorn, Lukas Foss and many others, to numerous recordings, including all the Dvorak symphonies and tone poems on the Koss label with Macal conducting, playing full time with a symphony orchestra was for Tele a dream fulfilled. Tele put his heart, mind, and soul into it every moment he was on stage behind those singing kettles. He worked hard to get the timps to sing, and remained extremely proud of his wonderful 30-year career with the MSO from which he retired in 1999.
In addition to his career as a performer he was a dedicated teacher. He never passed up an opportunity to educate young or old, whether it be playing in a local school, coaching the Milwaukee Youth Symphony, or teaching at numerous universities mentioned above. He presented at one of the first Ludwig International Percussion Symposiums in Madison in the late 1970s and performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago with the Project CREATE High School Symphonic Percussion Ensemble in 1987. Tele repeatedly volunteered for PAS Days of Percussion throughout the midwest and presented his famous "Seven T's" of timpani performance at PASIC 1997 in Anaheim.
Tele was honored on April 11, 1999 with a retirement celebration titled "A Lifetime of Dedication" sponsored by the Drum Instructor's Guild in Wisconsin. Several prominent members of the profession, friends, and former students paid tribute to Tele Lesbines for his passion and artistry making music, for his dedication in teaching, and in recognition of his intellect and compassion for life. Tele Lesbines is survived by sons Andrew, Christopher and Gregory, daughters Diana and Melissa, and several grandchildren. In Memoriam: Richard Horowitz
Richard “Dick” Horowitz, retired principal timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, died on Nov. 2, at age 91.
Richard Samuel Horowitz was born in New York on Feb. 3, 1924. After graduating from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, Horowitz studied at Brooklyn College and the Juilliard School. He joined the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in 1946, and became its principal timpanist in 1971. According to The New York Times, when he retired in 2012, he was believed to be the Met’s longest-serving employee and one of the longest-serving orchestral musicians in the nation.
Aside from his renown as a musician, Horowitz was also known for making conductor’s batons. His clients included such notable conductors as James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Sarah Caldwell, Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Erich Leinsdorf, and Thomas Schippers.
He also crafted the anvils used in the Met’s productions of Das Rheingold. Because Wagner wanted the anvils to produce specific pitches, standard anvils did not work, so Horowitz cut metal tubing into different lengths that, when struck, produced the correct sound and pitches.
In Memoriam: Jacques Delécluse
French percussionist, teacher, and author Jacques Delécluse died on Oct. 20, 2015.
Born in September 1933, Jacques was the son of Ulysse Delécluse, a famous clarinet player and teacher in France. Jacques first started to study piano, and was a very gifted pianist. He also studied percussion with Felix Passerone, principal timpanist of the Paris Opera and teacher at the Conservatoire of Paris. In 1950 Jacques received the First Prize for piano at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1950 (best of the competition), with better results than many students who became famous soloists, such as Philippe Entremont. That same year, Jacques also received the Second Prize for percussion.
At the Conservatoire of Paris, Jacques also studied harmony, counterpoint, and composition, and he received the First Prize for percussion in 1951. He then chose to become a percussionist and timpanist. He subsequently took part in the creation of the Domaine Musical with Pierre Boulez, and was appointed to the Paris Opera and the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.
Delécluse left the Paris Opera to become a full member of the Orchestre de Paris as a pianist. However, he started to play percussion again very soon and became timpanist of the orchestra in 1993. He also taught at the Conservatoire of Paris, where he played all the piano accompaniments.
In 1964, Jacques released his famous 12 Etudes for Snare Drum, published by Alphonse Leduc. Like many of his works, these etudes were inspired by the orchestral repertoire. Because of the evolution of technique and the rising level of modern players, and also to increase the repertoire, Delécluse published additional snare drum etudes: “Keisleiriana 1” in 1987 and “Keisleiriana 2” in 1990, both published by Alphonse Leduc. He went on to write timpani etudes, xylophone etudes, and various other pieces.
Upon Delécluse’s election to the PAS Hall of Fame in 2009, Frederic Macarez wrote, “Jacques Delécluse brought a new dimension to percussion playing: to consider dynamics, accents, phrases, and musical expression. In short, he makes us think about ‘how to make music with a drum.’ This idea took root more than 40 years ago and is still applicable today. Jacques truly created a ‘school of percussion’ and has deeply influenced generations of percussion players and teachers not only in France, but all over the world.”
“PAS is saddened to learn of the passing of PAS Hall of Fame Member Jacques Delécluse,” said PAS Executive Director Jeffrey Hartsough. “Jacques will be remembered for his immense contributions to the percussive arts around the world. His work will have a lasting impact on generations of percussionists for years to come. He will be greatly missed.”
Read Jacques Delécluse’s complete PAS Hall of Fame tribute article at www.pas.org/About/the-society/halloffame/DelecluseJacques.aspx
In Memoriam: Don Canedy Don Canedy, one of the founders of the Percussive Arts Society, died on July 1, 2015.
He began playing drums at age 10 and attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he received B.S. and MMEd. degrees. He started his professional career as a band director and professor at Southern Illinois University before being hired by the Rogers Drum Company in 1965 as Educational Director. He remained with the company after it was acquired by CBS Musical Instruments. He left the company in 1979 and began a career in real estate.
In 1964, he and Roy Burns co-authored a book, The Selection, Care, and Use of Cymbals, published by Henry Adler.
While still at Southern Illinois University, Don played a vital role in establishing the Percussive Arts Society. Canedy served as de facto president through 1964, when, at the December Percussive Arts Society meeting in Chicago, a constitution was adopted and officers were elected, and Canedy was named Executive Secretary.
Canedy also was in charge of publishing the PAS scholarly journal Percussionist. In 2011, during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of PAS, Canedy recalled getting the first issue of Percussionist, which he refered to as the “little red book,” out to the members:
“In the fall of 1962 I called Remo Belli and said I needed four timpani heads and some other stuff. Two weeks later I got a package from Remo, and on top of the contents was an envelope with a check for $140 and a note from Remo that said, ‘Do whatever you can whenever you can.” We had been talking about PAS for months and had many hopes and dreams, so I knew what he intended for me to do and I did it.
“I called everyone I knew and asked for whatever help they might give in creating an official quarterly publication of the Percussive Arts Society. I contacted everyone I had met who was excited about percussion, teaching, manufacturing, retail, publishing, etc. I asked every question I could think of about starting a quarterly journal, and I spent time in the college library looking at professional journals of all kinds.
“I gave birth to Volume I, Number 1 of Percussionist in May 1963. Work had already begun on the next issue, and more and more help was being offered from all quarters of the PAS. It was an exciting time and there was much joy in the hearts of percussionists everywhere. To me it was like a great gift, a marvelous opportunity, and a huge challenge. I was so grateful to be associated with so many wonderful people of percussion. I am thankful that I was asked to do these things that had such great rewards for so many, and humbled by so much support.”
According to PAS Executive Director Jeffrey Hartsough, "We are saddened to learn of the passing of Don Canedy, one of PAS's founding members. Don was known as a class act and supporter of all percussive arts as well as a leader in the early years of our industry. PAS would not be here today without Don's early leadership and long-term support. The PAS community extends our deepest sympathies to the Canedy family."
In Memoriam: Marshall E. Maley
September 19, 1949 – July 28, 2015
By Lauren Vogel Weiss
Marshall Edison Maley, Jr., owner of Maley’s Music in Arlington, Virginia, died on July 28, 2015 from complications of sarcoidosis. He was an active percussion instructor and freelance musician in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, playing jazz, rock, show, and classical music. Maley had performed with the Baltimore Symphony, Eugene Fodor, Hour of Power Orchestra, Patti Lupone, The Sesame Street Show, and Yakov Smirnoff. For eleven years he worked in and led the big band at Andrews Air Force Base Officer’s Club. Additional studio/media performances included the soundtrack for television’s America’s Most Wanted and WMAL radio appearances.
Maley was on the faculty at the University of Mary Washington, Prince Georges’ Community College, and Northern Virginia Community College. From 1986–2006 he taught at his alma mater, George Mason University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was also an instructor at the Goucher College Summer Arts Institute (2007–2008). In 2000, 2002, and 2004, Maley received the Governors’ School Outstanding Teacher Award, presented by the Virginia Department of Education. In addition to teaching at the university level, he also wrote for and instructed numerous high school drumlines and concert percussion sections in Northern Virginia.
Maley served as President of the PAS Virginia/DC Chapter for almost three decades, resigning his position on March 31 of 2015 due to health reasons. He received the PAS Outstanding Chapter President award in 1997. He also served on the PAS Education and Drumset Committees and had articles published in Percussive Notes magazine. Maley presented drumset FUNdamentals clinics at PASIC 2004 (Nashville) and PASIC 2000 (Dallas) and an accessory percussion FUNdamentals clinic at PASIC ’96 (Nashville). Maley was also a member of the PASIC ’86 Planning Committee and served as the local coordinator for the PASIC Marching Forum when PAS celebrated its 25th anniversary in the nation’s capital.
“PAS in Virginia/DC has been my heart for my entire professional life,” Maley wrote in his resignation letter earlier this year. “I participated in the very first [Virginia] Day of Percussion at Fairfax High School in 1966—five years before VA/DC PAS was chartered. When I assumed the role of chapter president, we...funded smaller regional events, thus exposing PAS to all regions of our chapter.... My involvement with PAS was purely out of a sense of duty and responsibility, which I learned from my high school teacher, who learned the same attitude from his teachers, Roy Knapp and Claire Musser. But at this moment in my life, I must attend to my...own health. It is, therefore, with profound sadness that I must step aside from my chapter duties.”
Author’s Note: I first met Marshall at PASIC ’86 and we shared a passion for percussion and PAS. Over the years I have attended many Virginia PAS events, worked with him on PAS projects, and seen the joy his granddaughters brought to his life. PAS has lost one of its most dedicated supporters. He will be missed in Virginia, as well as in San Antonio this fall.
In Memoriam: Vic Firth Everett "Vic" Firth, longtime timpanist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, teacher at the New England Conservatory of Music, and founder of the Vic Firth drumstick company, died on July 26, 2015 at age 85.
Born June 2, 1930, in Winchester, Massachusetts, and raised in Maine, Firth’s father was a successful trumpet and cornet player who started young Vic on the instrument when he was only four. He soon began to study arranging, with additional lessons on trombone, clarinet, piano, and percussion. By the time he was in high school, he had gravitated full-time to percussion, studying first with Robert Ramsdell and later with George Lawrence Stone, Salvy Cavicchio, and Larry White. By the age of sixteen he was actively pursuing a career as the leader of his own 18-piece big band, playing vibes and drumset throughout the New England area.
Upon graduating from high school, Firth attended the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Roman Szulc, then the timpanist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Firth also made biweekly trips to Juilliard in order to study with Saul Goodman. When Szulc retired from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and auditions were held for the position, Firth was selected for the job. At age twenty-one, Firth was the youngest member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, the average age in 1952 being about fifty-five. Not yet finished with his Bachelor's Degree from the Conservatory, he had to make special arrangements in order to complete his course work and degree.
Firth's teaching career at the New England Conservatory began before he had graduated, first in the preparatory department, then as head of the percussion department. He guided numerous gifted students through their education, not only at the conservatory, but also at the Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood, summer home of the BSO. Percussion students who have studied with Firth hold key positions throughout the world.
Unsatisfied with the sticks available during his early years, Firth, like many percussionists, began making his own. He began with timpani mallets, making round heads with no seams. As his students began using his sticks and dealers began asking for them, he made the decision to expand the manufacturing process. His driving principle was quality, with a guarantee that each pair would be straight and matched in pitch. What began in 1960 as a basement operation out of his home expanded into a corporation with two plants, a main office and over 150 employees to handle the manufacture and worldwide sales of his sticks. Vic Firth is credited with inventing or standardizing many of the key manufacturing processes used today in the drumstick world, including centerless grinding, pitch-pairing, weight-sorting, injection molding, and the introduction of environmentally conscious stick sleeves that keep sticks paired together.
Although most young percussionists are familiar with the name Firth because of his sticks and mallets, many promising students first encounter Firth's musical substance through his numerous compositions and etudes. "Encore in Jazz" is a staple of the percussion ensemble repertoire, and his The Solo Timpanist etude book has set the standard for audition material at the all-state or college-entry level. Few students seriously study timpani without sweating over etudes from this book.
As a performer, Firth performed with such legendary conductors and musicians as Leonard Bernstein, Serge Koussevitsky, Leopold Stokowski, Jascha Heifetz and Vladimir Horowitz. "Vic is quite simply the consummate artist," said former Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa. "I believe he is the single greatest percussionist anywhere in the world."
In 1992, Firth received an honorary doctorate from the New England Conservatory. Firth was very active in the Percussive Arts Society, serving on both the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. In 1995 he was elected to the PAS Hall of Fame.
Perhaps no one summarizes Firth's esteem in the percussion community better than jazz drummer Peter Erskine. "I have had the great pleasure of knowing Vic personally for twenty-five years," said Peter Erskine, "and thanks to television and recordings, I have known his great music-making as timpanist of the Boston Symphony for even longer. And I have used his sticks since high school. Vic is the consummate musician, teacher and business person. No matter whose drumstick or mallet you use, we must all be grateful to Vic Firth for raising the level of stick and mallet design and production. Simply put, I wouldn't want to make any of my music without his sticks, and I cherish the friendship of the man and his family."
View a clip from Vic Firth’s 2003 NAMM Oral History interview.
In Memoriam: Jim Coffin
Jim Coffin, who worked for Selmer and Yamaha and was very involved with PAS, died on April 9, 2015.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1931, he received bachelors and masters degrees from what is now the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). After playing professionally in Los Angeles he returned to Iowa and began teaching at Woodward High School in 1956 and Belle Plaine High School in 1959. Coffin joined the UNI faculty in 1964 where he instituted both the jazz and percussion programs.
In 1972, Jim joined the Selmer Company, where he was the marketing, education, and artist-relations manager for Premier Drums. Ten years later, he joined the Yamaha Corporation and was responsible for the development and marketing of their percussion products until 1993.
Jim is the author of The Performing Percussionist I & II and Solo Album published by C.L. Barnhouse. As a clinician, soloist, adjudicator, and conductor he appeared in 40 states and five Canadian provinces. After retiring from Yamaha he was a contributor to Drum Business magazine; editor of the drumset column in Percussive Notes; a marketing consultant; presenter of music business seminars sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for college and university music majors; Secretary of the PAS Executive Committee; and a published fiction writer. He played on and produced a CD, The Seasons of Our Lives, distributed by Walking Frog Records (Barnhouse); was interim Symphonic Band conductor at Cal State University San Bernadino; and wrote and edited a Sherlockian newsletter. One of his many honors include being noted as an outstanding university jazz educator in Duke Ellington's autobiography, Music is My Mistress.
In 1999 he received the PAS President's Industry Award, and in 2005 he received the Outstanding PAS Supporter Award.
Jim Coffin reminisces about his time at Yamaha in this excerpt from the NAMM Oral History Project.
In Memoriam: Lennie DiMuzio
Leonard “Lennie” DiMuzio, longtime artist relations manager for Zildjian cymbals and most recently a consultant for Sabian, died on March 7, 2015 after a long battle with cancer.
He was born May 4, 1933 in Cambridge, Mass. After graduating high school he studied at the New England Conservatory and then the Schillinger House. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and sent to Germany to join the occupational troops.
He spent over 40 years working for the Avedis Zildjian company, where he started in 1960 as a cymbal tester before becoming artist relations manager, working with and picking out cymbals for such drummers as Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Gene Krupa, Max Roach, Tony Williams, “Papa” Jo Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello, Alan Dawson, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Peter Erskine, Neil Peart, Steve Smith, J.R. Robinson, Kenny Aronoff, Alex Acuna and many, many more. For the past ten years he was a consultant with the Sabian company.
“It’s been said by countless people, including me, that Lennie wrote the book on artist relations, said John DeChristopher, who worked in artist relations at Zildjian from 1989 until 2014. “He not only wrote the book, but he’s the all time best selling author. Lennie is as synonymous to the drum industry as Avedis Zildjian, Armand Zildjian, Bob Zildjian, Remo Belli, Joe Calato, Vic Firth, Toomas Paiste, or any of the people we think of as the “Founding Fathers.” If ever there were a Mount Rushmore for the Drum Industry, Lennie’s smiling face would surely be included. In 1989 I was hired at Zildjian, working alongside Lennie until 2003, and as I reflect back on those years, what stands out most about Lennie was his humanity. He was a wonderful and kind human. He was a shining example of what defines ‘artist relations.’ When it came to ‘relationships’ Lennie knew and understood that better than anyone. And boy did he know cymbals! In all the years we worked together, I never once saw Lennie get unraveled. He had the perfect temperament for the job. The laughs and the good times are immeasurable. He had a wicked sense of humor, and when he and Armand were together, it made for some of the greatest and most memorable experiences of my life. To say his passing marks the end of an era is an understatement. I will miss him terribly.”
In 2010 DiMuzio released the book Tales From the Cymbal Bag, written with Jim Coffin, in which he recalled his many years in the music business and related stories about many of the famous drummers he knew and worked with.
“Lennie was one-of-a-kind,” said Peter Erskine. “He epitomized all that the music industry could be—generous, supportive, with a knack for finding talent but courteously helpful to all players, knowledgeable about the product and its history (plus the history of the music; the man knew his music!)—but coupled all of that with an outrageous zest for fun that was bigger than life. Lennie was the stuff of legends. And since he was among the very first music industry people that I ever met, his passing leaves a huge hole and seems to mark the end of an era. Will we ever see the likes of such politically incorrect and golden-hearted humorous behavior again? I doubt it. Lennie was a straight-shooter. I can still hear his rich and thick Boston accent in every hand-written note he sent to me. Lennie had time for everyone. He made the world a better place.”
Memorial gifts in Lennie’s memory may be made to the Leonard A. DiMuzio Sr. Scholarship Fund, c/o RFCU, 850 Moraine St., Marshfield, MA 02050.
In Memoriam: Dave Ratajczak (1957–2014)
Broadway and big band drummer Dave Ratajczak passed away after an extended illness on October 3, 2014.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ratajczak performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists including the Woody Herman Orchestra, Gerry Mulligan, Eddie Daniels, Grady Tate, Milt Hinton, Kenny Rankin, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Audra McDonald, Rosemary Clooney, Bebe Neuwirth and John Fedchock's New York Big Band. He most recently performed in the new Broadway production of Mary Poppins, and he performed in the orchestras for Tony award-winning shows such as City of Angels, Crazy For You, Titanic, Music Man, Wonderful Town, and Sweet Charity. As a studio musician, he performed on movie soundtracks for Dead Man Walking, Cradle Will Rock, Wolf, Pelican Brief, Object of my Affection, It Could Happen To You, Miller's Crossing, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Biloxi Blues as well as numerous TV and radio jingles. One of Ratajczak's career highlights was recreating the role of jazz drumming great Gene Krupa with Bob Wilbur's orchestra in a Carnegie Hall performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of Benny Goodman's historic 1938 jazz concert.
“His passing has left us with sadness but with fond memories of a happy time,” said his former teacher John H. Beck. “Dave was a special person who, knowing of his illness, forged ahead as if tomorrow was just another day. I remember this statement I heard, I think from Woody Herman: ‘Dave Ratajczak is the best drummer I have ever used since Davey Tough’ (one of Woody's early drummers). That is Dave's legacy and one to be proud of. Dave will be missed but never forgotten.”
In Memoriam: Idris Muhammad
Drummer Idris Muhammad died July 29, 2014 at age 74. Born Leo Morris in New Orleans, he began playing professionally at age 12. From 1962–65 he played with soul singers Sam Cooke and Jerry Butler and the group the Impressions. He also worked with singer Betty Carter and played with saxophonist Lou Donaldson from 1965–67, during which time he took the Muslim name Idris Muhammad. He played drums for the musical Hair from 1969–73 and also served as house drummer for Prestige Records, where he recorded with such artists as Harold Maeburn, Houston Person, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt and others. He also recorded with singer Roberta Flack and led his own group.
He concentrated on jazz beginning in 1978 when he began playing with Johnny Griffin, and in 1980 he started working with Pharoah Sanders. He was based in Europe in the mid- to late-1980s. In the 1990s, after moving to New York, he worked with John Hicks, Lonnie Smith, Ahmad Jamal, John Scofield, and Monty Alexander. He moved back to New Orleans to retire in 2011.
In Memoriam: Dr. Mark E. Sunkett
Dr. Mark E. Sunkett died on June 26, 2014. He was a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Temple University in Philadelphia where he received his undergraduate and masters degrees. Dr. Sunkett also held a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. He became a member of the performance faculty at Arizona State University in the fall of 1976. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Percussive Arts Society.
Dr. Sunkett performed with numerous professional organizations including the Philadelphia Ballet and Opera Orchestras, Penn Contemporary Players, United States Marine Band, Arizona Ballet, and Arizona Opera Orchestras. During the 1975–76 season, Sunkett was an extra "on call" with the world Philadelphia Orchestra. From 1978 to 1982 Sunkett was principal timpanist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as percussionist with jazz, rock, and other popular artists touring the country.
As an ethnomusicologist, Sunkett's principal areas of research were African American and African music, percussion performance practices and aesthetics. From 1984 to 1996 Sunkett was director of the Kawambe Drum and Dance Ensemble. He had recently stepped out of this position to pursue research in Senegal, West Africa. Since 1994 he was principal investigator on the "Drums of Sénégal Project." This project seeks to document rhythms, history and performance practices among the various ethnic groups in Senegal.
His publications include Mandiani Drum and Dance: Djimbe Performance and Black Aesthetics from Africa to the New World (White Cliffs Media), the compact disk Mandiani Drum and Dance (White Cliffs Media). A video to accompany these titles was completed in January, 1997. He also published a compact disc featuring Omar Thiam and Jam Bugum titled Sabar, the Soul of Senegal in 1997. His video Drum Making in Senegal can be viewed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10204506103918341.
In Memoriam: Wendell R. Jones
Wendell R. Jones, Bowling Green State University's first full-time percussion faculty member, died June 17, 2014 at age 82. He was widely known throughout Ohio as an advocate for music education, particularly percussion instruments. He excelled at playing marimba and vibraphone and performed as a soloist with several ensembles as well as his own Wendell Jones Trio. After he retired from BGSU in 1992, he enjoyed asecond career as a lawyer, having earned a law degree from the University of Toledo in 1985.
Jones earned his bachelor's degree in music education at Ohio State as OSU's first percussion graduate. He was especially proud of his association with the Ohio State Marching band. After graduation, he taught and was a free-lance musician in the Columbus area, including a stint as staff musician with WCMH-TV. He also was the featured marimba player with the Xavier Cugat band, a legendary Latin American ensemble. He performed with many touring musical groups, including Melissa Manchester, Frankie Laine, Bob Hope, Glen Campbell, John Davidson and Harry Belafonte. He also was a long-time member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, Jones recorded a CD of his music with bassist Jeff Halsey and Chris Buzzelli on guitar.
At BGSU he introduced the study and performance of jazz, which at that time was not commonly a part of collegiate music curricula. He was a founding member of the BGSU Jazz Ensemble as well as several student groups including the Marimba Sextet. He brought many jazz artists to BGSU starting in the early 1970s, and in 1980 he was instrumental in starting Jazz Week at BGSU. He often played the vibes with the visiting performers, including Marion McPartland, Clark Terry, Jiggs Wigham, Art Van Damme and Urbie Green. He also received several grants to support jazz on campus. His work was rewarded in 1988 when the College of Musical Arts announced it was offering a bachelor of music degree with an emphasis in jazz. He retired from the University in 1992 as a Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies.
In Memoriam: James L. Moore
Dr. James L. Moore, who founded Percussive Notes magazine and served as its editor from 1962–80, died on June 12, 2014. Born May 2, 1934, Moore held degrees from the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University.
From 1964–92 Dr. Moore was head of percussion studies at The Ohio State University School of Music. He had previously taught at Butler University in Indianapolis and the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music in Washington, D.C. His summer music camp teaching included the National Music Camp at Interlochen, the International Music Camp at the International Peace Garden in North Dakota/Manitoba, and the OSU Marimba/Vibe Camp, which he founded and directed for 13 years. In 2005, he received the PAS Lifetime Achievement in Education Award.
He served as principal percussionist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (1964–81), and was percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for four years in the early 1960s.
Moore served as consultant and clinician for the Musser Division of Ludwig Industries and for the Hal Leonard Publishing Company. In 1976 he founded and served as editor of Per-Mus Publications, which specialized in music for percussion.
Noted musician, author and educator Chuck Silverman died on May 1, 2014.
After studying musicology at UCLA, Silverman became known as a specialist in applying Afro-Caribbean rhythms to the drumset, and he organized many trips to Cuba at which drummers and percussionists could study Cuban music first-hand. Three of his books, Practical Applications 1, 2 and 3, were named to Modern Drummer magazine’s all time best drum books. Other books he wrote include The Latin Rudiments, The Latin Funk Connection, and Afro-Carribean Drum Grooves, and he co-wrote books with Poncho Sanchez, Changuito, and Dave Lombardo, and made an educational video, also titled Practical Applications. Silverman wrote for and/or was featured in many magazines worldwide including Talking Drums, Modern Drummer, Slagwerkkrant (The Netherlands), Rhythm (UK), Batteur (France), Drums and Percussion (Germany), Sticks (Germany) and Percussioni (Italy). He also contributed articles to Percussive Notes and presented clinics at several PASICs.
In Memoriam: Steve Weiss
Steve Weiss, who served the percussion community for over 50 years as owner of Steve Weiss Music, a shop that specialized in percussion instruments and music, died on April 21, 2014, after a long illness.
His shop became known for its extensive inventory of hard-to-find world percussion instruments and percussion music, as well as for its quick service to those needing to rent or purchase instruments or mallets on short notice. His booth was a popular destination on the PASIC exhibit floor every year, and in the age of self-publishing, Weiss’s business served as a central source for locating music, CDs and videos by many composers and artists.
Weiss received the PAS President’s Industry Award in 2013. PAS President John R. Beck said at that time, “Steve Weiss Music has been an invaluable resource for helping percussionists raise their level of performance for six decades, providing instruments, music, and mallets to thousands of professionals, students, educators, and enthusiasts.”
In Memoriam: Theodore Frazeur
We are saddened to report the death of Theodore Frazeur, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Professor Frazeur, or "Ted," was Professor of Percussion at SUNY Fredonia from 1960 until his retirement in 1993. The family has asked that those wishing to honor Ted please consider making a donation to the Frazeur Percussion Scholarship held at the Fredonia College Foundation, 272 Central Avenue, Fredonia, NY 14063.
In Memoriam: Jim Preiss
James Lee Preiss, a long-time member and principal percussionist of the American Composers Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and a founding member of the Westchester Philharmonic, died on Jan. 21, 2014 at age 72. He also performed with the Riverside Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the American Symphony Orchestra. A founding member of the Parnassus Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, he had been a member of the Steve Reich Ensemble since 1971, and was also a member of the Manhattan Marimba Quartet. Preiss held degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music and was on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music.
In Memoriam: Chico Hamilton
Foreststorm ”Chico” Hamilton, who played an integral role in the formation of the West-Coast-based “cool jazz” style of the 1950s, died on November 25, 2013 at age 92. Born in 1921, Hamilton began working professionally with such musicians as Dexter Gordon, Illinois Jacquet, and Charles Mingus while still in high school. He toured with Lionel Hampton before serving in the army during World War II, and then worked with Jimmy Mundy, Charlie Barnet, and Count Basie before becoming the house drummer at an L.A. nightclub in 1946. He then toured with singer Lena Horne before becoming an original member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which many credit with starting the “cool jazz” movement. Hamilton then formed his own “chamber jazz” group with the instrumentation of guitar, flute, cello, bass, and drums. Hamilton became known as a leader who could nurture young talent, and over the years, such prominent players as bassist Ron Carter, saxophonists Eric Dolphy and Charles Lloyd, and guitarists Jim Hall, Gabor Szabo, and Larry Coryell got their starts with Hamilton. Hamilton is credited by many as being the first jazz drummer to use single-headed toms.
In the mid-1960s Hamilton became active as a composer for advertising jingles and movie and TV soundtracks. In the mid-1970s he went back on the road as a bandleader. He expanded from the cool jazz sound and incorporated elements of free jazz, hardbop, and jazz-rock fusion into his group’s style. He continued leading bands until shortly before his death.
Hamilton received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2004 and a Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend Award in 2007. He also became involved in education, teaching at the Parsons New School of Jazz in New York City and the Mannes College of Music at the New School University.
In Memoriam: Sam Ulano
Drummer, teacher, and author Sam Ulano died on January 2, 2014 at age 93. Ulano started playing drums at age 13 and studied with Alfred Freize and Fred Albright. By age 17 Ulano was teaching drums. He spent four years playing in an Army band and then attended the Manhattan School of Music. He began working clubs in New York City and the Catskills, and played in jazz, swing, Dixieland and show bands throughout his career, including 15 years at the Gaslight Club. He was also a prolific author of instructional books, and he published various drum-oriented newsletters and newspapers over the years while running his own drum studio in New York. Calling himself “Mr. Rhythm,” he did music-instruction shows for the New York City public schools, and he also made recordings of nursery rhymes told over drum backgrounds.
In Memoriam: Jerry Steinholtz
Percussionist and educator Jerry Steinholtz died on Dec. 7,2013 at age 76.
Steinholtz played live and recorded with such studiodrummers and percussionists as Emil Richards, Harvey Mason, Peter Erskine, JohnGuerin, Joe Porcaro, Steve Schaeffer, Larry Londin, Ralph Humphrey, EarlPalmer, Louie Bellson, Chester Thompson, Roy McCurdy, Buddy Rich, and MelLewis, just to name a few.
He toured and recorded with Lee Ritenour Diana Ross, and theFour Tops, and spent eight years free-lance recording for Motown Records. His creditsalso include Lani Hall, The Carpenters, Gladys Knight, Paul Anka, SteveLawrence and Eydie Gorme, Freda Payne, Phyllis Hyman, and Michael Franks.
He was also active as an educator. He made a video, Essenceof Playing Conga, for Interworld Music, and taught Latinand Brazillian hand percussion at California State University, Northridge(CSUN). He started the percussion program at Dick Grove's School of Music inVan Nuys, California, and ran the program for five years. He was also onfaculty at Hamilton High School Academy of the Arts in Los Angeles, andCo-Director of Percussion at the Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA) in Pasadena,California. He gave clinics and master classes throughout the world, includingconventions for such associations as the National Association of MusicMerchants (NAMM), Texas Band Director's Association (TBA), the Music Educator'sNational Convention (MENC), the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), theInternational Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), the Musik Messe inFrankfurt, Germany, and the British Music Fair in London, England. He was aconsultant in product development and design for numerous percussionmanufacturers, including Toca, Remo, and Calato.
In Memoriam: Layne Redmond by Rick Mattingly
Frame drummer Layne Redmond died on October 28, 2013. She was known for her virtuoso abilities on tambourine and her authorship of the influential book When the Drummers Were Women, and she also produced a number of recordings and instructional videos.
Born in 1952 in Florida, Redmond attended art school, first at the University of Florida in Gainsville and then at Rutgers in Newark, New Jersey, before studying painting with Joyce Kozloff at the Brooklyn Museum as a Max Beckmann scholarship student. She became a member of a performance art/dance collective located in lower Manhattan and began to create performance art pieces.
In 1981 she attended a Glen Velez concert and subsequently began studying frame drumming with Velez. As she helped organize a collection of images of frame drummers that Velez had collected, she became intrigued by the fact that most of the images depicted women playing frame drums. She began researching the ancient playing styles and history of the frame drum in religious and cultural rituals.
Redmond appeared on Velez’s recordings Handdance (Music of the World label) and Internal Combustion (CMP), and then she and Velez formed a trio with bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, which was known as the Handdance ensemble. That trio recorded Seven Heaven (1987) and Assyrian Rose (1989) for CMP.
Layne left Handdance and started an all-female frame drumming group, The Mob of Angels. In 1991 they released Since The Beginning, featuring guest artists Gorn and violinist Vicki Richards.
After an editor at Random House saw a Redmond performance and slide lecture, Layne signed a contract to write When The Drummers Were Women, which was published in 1997. A review in Percussive Notes hailed the book, saying in part, “By searching out the lost, early history of the frame drum, Layne Redmond has uncovered an important missing chapter in the history of humanity—a chapter in which goddesses ruled beside gods and in which women’s spirituality, wisdom, and sexuality were affirmed through rituals involving drumming. In an age where people are rediscovering the communal and healing powers of rhythm, When the Drummers were Women establishes the link between ancient knowledge and the contemporary emphasis on the importance of passion and soulfulness to life.”
Meanwhile, Remo, Inc. created a Layne Redmond Signature Series of frame drums, and Interworld Music invited Layne to make an instructional video. First released as Ritual Drumming, the video was renamed Rhythmic Wisdom when it was released on DVD.
In 1995, Layne met drummer Tommy Brunjes (aka Tommy Be), who became her collaborator on several CDs including Trance Union, Chanting the Chakras, Chakra Breathing Meditation, Invoking the Muse, and Heart Chakra. In 2004, Layne wrote the book Chakra Meditation for Sounds True.
In 2006, she volunteered to teach percussion at UFBA, the university in Salvador, Brazil, and Escola Pracatum, Carlinhos Brown’s music school in Candeal. She met Rosangela Silvestre, and they produced a CD of traditional candomble´ songs and shot footage of six orixás, the gods and goddesses of Afro Brazilian legacy, which led to Layne’s interest in making music videos and short films. Redmond also met Tadeu Mascarenhas, a young musician and engineer who became a collaborator on her next four projects: Flowers of Fire, Wave of Bliss, Invoking Aphrodite, and Hymns From the Hive.
She moved to Brazil in 2007 and then came back to the U.S. and settled in Asheville, N.C. in 2009. She launched Golden Seed Films, which released the 6-DVD set Frame Drum Intensive Training Program in 2010 as well as the Trance Union Series of instructional DVDs. She also created an archive of materials related to When the Drummers Were Women, and an expanded e-book edition was being prepared at the time of her death, along with the film Axé Orixá, Dreaming Awake the Gods and Goddesses of Brazil.
The February 2000 issue of DRUM! magazine listed Redmond as one of the “53 Heavyweight Drummers Who Made a Difference in the ’90s.” She was the only woman on the list. Redmond performed and lectured at colleges, universities, and music conferences around the world, including several appearances at PASIC, the last of which was in 2009. She also contributed articles to several journals, including several for Percussive Notes.
Read “Frame Drums and History” by Layne Redmond. Percussive Notes, Vol. 50, No. 1, January 2012