Volume CI, No. 4April, 2001
Les Brown – Bandleader/Saxophone/Clarinet
Joseph Ciancia – Saxophone
Louis Counihan – Trombone
Kenneth B. Emery – Flute
Gerald S. Feintuch – Conductor/Arranger/Copyist
Pat Flowers – Piano
Salvatore Fontana – Violin
Max Goldberg – Drums
Edward B. Greenstein – Trombone
Ernest Gruen – Bass
Peter Kova – Accordion
Eleanor Lawrence – Flute
Francis Palmer – Bass
Carmine Pecora – Drums
Bill Reinhardt – Clarinet
Paul J. Ricci – Clarinet/Saxophone/Flute
Ilmari Ronka – Trombone/Conductor
Jerry Starr – Saxophone
Buddy Tate – Saxophone
Guy Wood – Saxophone/Songwriter
Anthony Zano – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Les Brown, 88, whose “Band of Renown” was one of the most enduring orchestras that grew out of the swing era of the 1930s, died on Jan. 4. A founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and a 70-year veteran of the music business, he had joined Local 802 in 1938.
Mr. Brown was born in Reinerton, Pa., where he studied the saxophone and later the clarinet. He studied at the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, and then at Duke University. In 1936 he moved to New York City and assembled Les Brown’s Orchestra. He worked in radio and in clubs, then became a headliner on syndicated network broadcasts.
As the house band of the Edison Hotel’s Green Room, his warm-up act in 1940 featured a 17-year-old Ohio native, Doris Van Kepplehoff. Brown signed the young singer, who became better known as Doris Day. Their recording of “Sentimental Journey” spent 23 weeks in the American Top 10, and 17 weeks as the Number 1 song in the nation.
In 1947, Brown replaced bandleader Desi Arnaz as Bob Hope’s music director. His band was featured regularly on Hope’s radio show and, from 1950 on, traveled with Hope on tours of military bases in the U.S. and overseas. They appeared on 18 Bob Hope Christmas Specials. The band served as the orchestra for a number of popular television shows and for 10 years was a staple of The Dean Martin Show.
In 1957 Mr. Brown was a co-founder of the National Academy of Recording Sciences. He served as the Academy’s first Los Angeles chapter president.
He continued to play many of the band’s shows until last August, when he was forced by illness into retirement. He is survived by his wife Evelyn, daughter Denise, and son Les Brown, Jr., who now leads the Band of Renown.
Eleanor Lawrence Steindler, 64, a flutist who played frequently in chamber music performances and with several orchestras in New York, died on Jan. 16. She had been an 802 member since 1962.
Born in Boston, Ms. Lawrence grew up in Athens, Ohio, received her bachelor’s degree at Radcliffe College, and studied the flute at the New England Conservatory with James Pappoutsakis.
She moved to New York in the 1960s, joining the American Symphony Orchestra and Brooklyn Philharmonic, and performing periodically with the New York Philharmonic and at the Metropolitan Opera. She also toured the United States as a recitalist. In 1969 she founded the Monomoy Chamber Ensemble, which played an annual summer series at the Monomoy Theater in Chatham, Mass. In recent years the ensemble performed as Monomoy Music.
Ms. Lawrence had a broad repertory that included Ernst von Dohnanyi’s Aria for Flute and Piano and Passacaglia for Solo Flute, both composed for her, and works by Hindemith, which she recorded for the Musical Heritage Society. One of her last projects was a reissue of Moyse’s recordings, produced with the flutist William Bennett.
She was an influential teacher at the Manhattan School of Music and in master classes. She served three terms as president of the New York Flute Club. From the mid-1970s to the early ’80s she edited The National Flute Association Newsletter, now The Flutist Quarterly, expanding it from a concise information sheet to a publication that regularly included interviews with important flutists.
She is survived by her husband Frank, daughter Catherine, son Frederick, and sisters Elizabeth and Anne.
Bill Reinhardt, 92, a jazz clarinetist and the owner of the Chicago jazz club Jazz Ltd., died in San Diego on Jan. 23. He had been an 802 member since 1928.
Born in Chicago, he attended the University of Illinois and then moved to New York to pursue a career in music. He served in the Navy during World War II, playing in a Navy band. In 1947, living in Chicago again, he opened Jazz Ltd., one of the first musician-owned clubs in the nation. For more than 25 years he played the clarinet and led a small Dixieland band there. Over the years Mr. Reinhardt estimated that he hired more than 700 musicians, including such jazz artists as Barrett Deems, Muggsy Spanier, Sidney Bechet, Miff Mole and Doc Evans.
Mr. Reinhardt recorded his own music and that of guest musicians in his club. In the late 1940s records were issued on the Jazz Ltd., Regal and Atlantic labels. After closing his club in 1972, he took a band into the Blackstone Hotel, the first time the hotel had ever showcased jazz. He played at events throughout the Chicago area for a while, and retired to San Diego.
He is survived by his wife Patricia.
Paul J. Ricci
Paul J. Ricci, 86, a clarinet, saxophone and flute player whose career spanned seven decades, died on Jan. 24. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1932.
Mr. Ricci began his performing career in the early 1930s in New York taxi-dance halls. He became a house musician for Decca/Brunswick recording studios, later working for Columbia, RCA Victor and Capitol in a variety of settings. He recorded with Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Maxine Sullivan and Billie Holiday.
His work as a staff musician at NBC included regular work with Andre Kostelanitz and on numerous radio shows such as the Kraft Music Hour and the Cities Service Band of America, under the baton of Paul Lavalle. Mr. Ricci played in the band on the Tonight Show with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, and played lead alto on the Sid Caesar Your Show of Shows in the early 1950s He also recorded documentaries such as Victory at Sea and The Twisted Cross.
His work appears on recordings for Capitol with Carl Kress and Tony Mottola in the Classics in Jazz series, on Benny Goodman in Hi-Fi in the early 1950s, and the Jimmy McPartland Shades of Bix record from the same period. In the early ’60s he moved to Miami to work on the Jackie Gleason television show as well as to perform with artists including Marvin Gaye, Sonny and Cher, Della Reese, and Tony Bennett.
He is survived by sons Robert, Paul and James.
George “Buddy” Tate, 88, a jazz saxophonist who had been a member of Local 802 since 1949, died on Feb. 10.
Born in Texas, he began playing in the Tate family band in 1925. They worked as McCloud’s Night Owls for four years, and Mr. Tate then went on to play with a number of territory bands, including the St Louis Merrymakers and a band led by Terrence Holder. He worked briefly with Count Basie in 1934, then toured with Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy, and subsequently joined Nat Towles’ band. In 1939 he replaced the late Herschel Evans in the Basie band, staying with them for nine years.
He left to get a break from touring, working in New York with the bands of Hot Lips Page, Lucky Millinder and, from 1950 to 1952, with Jimmy Rushing. In 1953 he formed his own band, which played for more than 20 years at the Celebrity Club in Harlem. During this period he also played for other leaders, including trumpeter Buck Clayton, touring Europe with Clayton in 1959 and 1961. He took his own band to Europe in 1967 and 1968. He toured again with the Saints and Sinners and led a band with tenor player Paul Quinichette in New York for some time. Mr. Tate starred at the major jazz festivals, including those at Cork, Newport and Nice, where he was a regular.
During the 1980s he joined a group of saxophonists led by Illinois Jacquet, the Texas Tenors. He worked regularly with pianist Jay McShann and trombonist Al Grey and, in the middle ’90s, toured with The Statesmen of Jazz. He played and recorded with Lionel Hampton’s Golden Men of Jazz in 1991 and recorded with his own sextet in 1993.
Mr. Tate also appeared in many films, including Choo Choo Swing, Reveille With Beverly, Hit Parade of 1943, L’Adventure du Jazz, Born To Swing, Rocky Mountain Jazz Party and To The Count of Basie.
He recently left New York to stay with family in Arizona. He is survived by two daughters, Mary Georgette and Josie, son Jimmy, and many grandchildren and great- grandchildren.
Guy Wood, 89, a songwriter and saxophone player who joined Local 802 in 1938, died on Feb. 23.
Born in Manchester, England, Mr. Wood played in dance bands before moving to the United States in the early 1930s. After spending five years with the foreign-production divisions of the Paramount and Columbia Pictures studios, he led his own band at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York from 1939 until 1942.
His credits include “Till Then,” “My One and Only Love,” “Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy,” “Music of Love” (aka “The Bell Waltz”), “After All” and “Rock-a-Bye Baby.” He wrote musical material for Radio City Music Hall and the children’s television show Captain Kangaroo.
He is survived by his wife Jane, sons David and Peter, daughter Sarah and a grandchild.