The iconic, upbeat, enormously popular 1960s sound of the Tijuana Brass is just one of trumpeter Herb Alpert's legacies. His songwriting (Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and the doo-wop classic "Alley Oop" are his work), his co-stewardship (with Jerry Moss) of A&M Records from 1962 to 1993 and his role as producer of Tony Kushner's play Angels in America are also significant cultural contributions. Alpert is a eight-time Grammy winner, and much celebrated as a recording industry giant. But his nomination to the Jazz Journalists Association's "A Team" is due specifically to his commitment to jazz.
Dr. Agnes Varis -- dubbed "Saint Agnes" by the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) and now hailed as an "A Team" activist, advocate, altruist, aider and abettor of jazz by the JJA -- is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as a major philanthropist supporting musical causes.
Bruce Lundvall, President/CEO of EMI Jazz & Classics, has for the 49 years of his career to date served as an extraordinary activist and advocate for jazz within the world-wide record industry. An aspiring saxophonist who began work in the marketing department of Columbia Records in 1960, he was originally drawn to jazz as a teenager collecting 78s of Swing Era greats. Unusually expansive in his enthusiasms and activities, Lundvall conceived and directed the historic Havana Jam of 1979, the first concerts held in Cuba by American artists in two decades, and brought Irakere (at the time featuring Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval and Chucho Valdés) to Columbia Records and on tour of the U.S.
Timuel Black is a Chicago cultural historian, a former teacher in the South Side's public high schools and the city's colleges, a political activist, an occasional campaigner for municipal and state offices, and the pre-eminent citizen of Bronzeville, the neighborhood where jazz may not have been born but where it certainly grew up. At age 81 he completed Bridges of Memory: Chicago's First Wave of Great Migration, his first volume of a trilogy chronicling his city's demographic evolution since the 1920s, which of course coincides with the development of jazz upon the arrival of Jelly Roll Morton and King Joe Oliver in the capital of the northern midwest.
Steven Saltzman, former president of the Jazz Institute of Chicago (seen in a photo by JJA member Marc PoKempner), has been a major influence on programming for the annual Chicago Jazz Festival and a strong voice for promotion of the greater jazz scene of Chicago. Born in Akron, Ohio, brought into jazz in a big way around the time he graduated from college in St.
While presently known as the founder, heart and soul of one of America’s most famous jazz clubs, Ruth Price (seen here in a photo by JJA member Skip Bolen) was originally a dancer, and started her musical trek as a singer in 1952, touring with Philly Joe Jones’ trio which included Red Garland and Paul Chambers. She joined with Charlie Ventura’s band in 1954, and also performed with Billy Taylor’s Trio. During the 1950s, Charles Mingus considered her his favorite female singer, and she sang with his Quartet. Drummer Shelly Manne felt likewise: she recorded the classic '61 concert disc Ruth Price with Shelly Manne and His Menn at the Manne-Hole before touring with Harry James’ Orchestra in the early '60s.
Clarence Acox, winner of Down Beat’s 2001 Achievement in Jazz Education award, has led Seattle’s Garfield High School Jazz Band to worldwide fame. Recruited from Southern University in 1971, Acox is a hard-driving and regularly heard drummer on the Seattle jazz scene, where he co-directs the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. He began developing the Garfield jazz program in 1979. The band has won the 2009 Essentially Ellington competition sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center, after having won two years in a row (2003-04), and has made the finals 10 out of 11 times. The band has been a consistent first-place winner at the Reno, Mt.
Scott Brown’s Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, from Seattle, has played all over the world -– China, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Holland –- and won first place three times at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Like its local rival Garfield High School, Roosevelt has made the finals at that competition 10 out of 11 years; in the 2009 Essentially Ellington program Roosevelt took proud second place (Garfield was judged the winning band).
Author and publicist Peter J. Levinson (1934-2008) was a gentle nudge. Which is probably why so many jazz legends and jazz journalists loved him. His clients included Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Peggy Lee, Bill Evans, Dr. Billy Taylor (his first and longest client) and dozens of others. Peter was persistent — but strictly old school. He made being a jazz publicist viable -- he'd emphasize the publicist was the fifth man in a quartet, and he graduated a generation of assistants into the profession. He worked tirelessly cajoling and caressing media contacts on behalf of clients — without offending or burning bridges.
Richard Sudhalter (1938-2008) was a man of many parts: a cornetist, band-member, recording artist, orchestra organizer, researcher, author and, those in the profession should be glad to add, jazz journalist. An indefatigible proponent of traditional jazz musicians including Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael, whose biographies he wrote, Dick was also jazz critic of the New York Post in the 1970s and '80s. His 1999 book Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz, 1915-1945 (Oxford University Press) created a storm of controversy, yet could not be faulted for historical accuracy or the need to fill in this topic of jazz history.