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
In Memoriam: John Bergamo