Robert Allen – Piano/Conductor/Arranger
Beatrice Berwald – Piano
Albert H. Bryant – Trumpet
Henrietta Carrick – Electronic Organ
Frank L. Gibson – Saxophone
Arthur Gregg – Saxophone
Ernest Gruen – Saxophone
Fred D. Hinger – Timpani/Percussion
Danny Hurd – Piano/Arranger
J.J. Johnson – Trombone
Joe Lindeman – Saxophone
Frank C. Martenez – Bass
Ben Miller – Violin
Louis Nos – Saxophone
Joseph A. Palazzolo – Saxophone
Claude Paige – Banjo
Bill Reinhardt – Clarinet
Irving Taylor – Saxophone
Norris Turney – Saxophone
Herb Wasserman – Drums
Theodore Weiss – Violin
Robert Allen, 73, a composer, author, pianist, arranger and conductor who was selected as this year’s recipient of the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award, died on Oct. 1 after a long illness. He had joined Local 802 in 1948.
Mr. Allen’s compositions have sold in excess of 500,000,000 recordings, launching the careers of such artists as Johnny Mathis and The Four Lads, and finding a place in the repertoires of Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Mitch Miller, Carol Burnett, George Shearing, Doris Day and many others. They include “Chances Are,” “Moments to Remember,” “It’s Not For Me to Say,” “No, Not Much” and “A Very Special Love.”
Mr. Allen was active as a jazz pianist in New York until about 1952, when he began to write music as well as play it. One of his first engagements was arranging and composing for television’s Colgate Comedy Hour with Jimmy Durante. He penned the “Sing Along” theme song for Mitch Miller and Perry Como’s closing theme, “You are Never Far Away from Me.” His film credits include Lizzie, Enchanted Island and Happy Anniversary, and his music appears on the soundtracks of many contemporary films.
He is survived by his wife Patty, four children from his two previous marriages, Diana, Katie, Gordon and Pamela, mother Ruth Kreger, sister Judy Holmes, and three grandchildren.
Fred D. Hinger
Fred D. Hinger, 80, an internationally acclaimed performer and teacher of timpani, died on Jan. 10 in Huntsville, Ala. He joined Local 802 in 1967.
After graduating from Eastman School of Music in 1941, Mr. Hinger served for six years in the U.S. Navy Band, performing as percussionist and xylophone soloist. In 1948 he joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal percussionist. In 1951 he became timpanist of the orchestra, a post in which he remained for 16 years. He was principal timpanist at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1967 until 1983.
While in Philadelphia Mr. Hinger taught at the Curtis Institute of Music. After moving to New York, he taught at the Manhattan School of Music and the Yale School of Music. He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 1986.
He is survived by his wife Marjorie Jean, children William and Shirley, and six grandchildren.
Danny Hurd, 82, a pianist, arranger and musical director, and an 802 member since 1946, died on Jan. 2.
Born in Fitchburg, Mass., he began piano lessons at the age of eight, soon took up the violin, trumpet and banjo, and later learned to play the saxophone and trombone on his own. After landing a fulltime job with a local band, the Dick Langley Quintet, he began studying with Sam Saxe and gradually had the opportunity to write arrangements for Ella Fitzgerald, John Kirby and Vaughan Monroe. He later worked with Red Nichols, joining him in performance, and with such musicians as Hal McIntyre, Claude Thornhill, Jimmy Dorsey, Peggy Lee, Patti Paige, Connie Stevens and Maxine Sullivan.
Mr. Hurd was the musical director and arranger for Liza Minnelli’s and Chita Rivera’s first nightclub acts in the 1960s. He was a musical director for the productions of Hair, Golden Boy, How to Succeed in Business, among other shows. He was dance arranger for such television shows as The Perry Como Show, Dick van Dyke and the Other Woman, the Jerry Lewis Comedy Hour and The Jimmy Dean Show. In the mid-’80s he formed the Danny Hurd Jazzplus Quartet.
He is survived by his wife Arline, son Allan, brother Paul, sister Phyllis, grandsons Keith, Justin and Matthew, and grandson Bryce.
J.J. Johnson, 77, considered by many to have been the most influential trombonist in postwar jazz, died on Feb. 4.
Born James Louis Johnson, he joined Snookum Russell’s band in 1941. Mr. Johnson joined Benny Carter’s Orchestra the following year, and spent three years in his big band. He then joined the Count Basie band in 1945, working there briefly before becoming a bandleader in his own right. For the next nine years he balanced his bandleading career with work as a side musician with such players as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet and Miles Davis, and was soon established as a major figure in bebop music. However, to earn enough to support his family, he worked for two years as a blueprint inspector.
A trombone duo he and Kai Winding formed in 1954 brought them commercial success and universal recognition. Their band, Jay and Kai, became a fixture on the international jazz festival circuit. Mr. Johnson also established a reputation as a composer and orchestrator. In 1960 he wrote a six-part suite for Dizzy Gillespie, Perceptions.
From 1967 until 1976 he focused on composing, moving to Hollywood in 1970. He wrote music for many popular television shows and his film scores included Shaft, Man and Boy, Top of the Heap, Across 110th Street and Cleopatra Jones. He returned to regular playing in the ’80s. In 1987 he moved back to Indianapolis with his first wife, who died in 1992. Mr. Johnson retired from public performances in 1997 but continued to compose and record.
He is survived by his second wife, Carolyn, sons Kevin and William, stepdaughter Mikita and sister Rosemary.
Ben Miller, 87, a violinist who played in classical orchestras, on Broadway, in studio orchestras and with a wide range of jazz and popular singers, died on Jan. 17. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1938 and had been on the union staff for almost three decades.
Born in Manhattan, Mr. Miller attended the New School of Music, where he studied with Raphael Bronstein. His first orchestral experience was with the National Orchestral Association, under conductor Leon Barzin, and from there he went to the National Youth Administration, as concert master of the second violin section. He enlisted in the army during World War II and played in Army Air Force bands throughout his two and a half years of service.
Mr. Miller was extremely busy from the moment he returned to New York after the war. He recorded with classical orchestras and with jazz and popular singers, including Frank Sinatra. He did a great deal of work on Broadway over the years, including in the pits of Hello Dolly, Kismet and They’re Playing My Song. In the early 1950s he played as an extra violinist in the NBC Symphony, under Arturo Toscanini. He worked at ABC, NBC and CBS as a freelancer.
In 1974 he came to work in the Local 802 Credit Union. He worked at the union in several capacities, most recently in the Recording Department, until his retirement last year. “Ben was a wonderful ensemble player, a musician’s musician,” said Billy Brown, his friend and co-worker at Local 802. “He was for the union, and for the musicians.”
Mr. Miller is survived by his wife Sylvia, daughters Judy and Nora, and grandchildren Ariana, Max and Daniel.
Norris Turney, 79, a multi-reed player specializing on alto sax and an 802 member since 1962, died on Jan. 17.
Born in Wilmington, Ohio, he began playing the saxophone at the age of 13. He worked in the Midwest, sometimes leading his own groups, until settling in New York in 1960. Here he performed and recorded with Billy Eckstine, played lead alto with the bands of Frank Foster and Clark Terry, and played tenor with bands that included those of Erskine Hawkins and Machito. In 1967 he toured with Ray Charles’ band for a year.
Mr. Turney joined Duke Ellington as a two-week replacement for an ailing Johnny Hodges in 1969, and stayed on for four years. He was the first musician Ellington ever wrote flute parts for, and received worldwide recognition for his work.
After Ellington, he spent ten years playing in Broadway theatres in the orchestras of Raisin, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Sophisticated Ladies. He worked with George Wein’s Newport All Star’s for eight years, and played with the American Jazz Orchestra in the late ’80s. Mr. Turney toured repeatedly with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and played jazz festivals all over the world. In 1994, Arts Midwest awarded him its Jazz Master Award. His recordings include “Big, Sweet n’ Blue,” a 1995 release.
He is survived by his wife Marilee, son Norris, daughters Olivia and Patricia and sister Mildred.
Herb Wasserman, 78, a freelance drummer who worked in many different fields of the music business, and who had been an 802 member since 1942, died on Jan. 28 after a 17-year battle with cancer.
In the ’50s Mr. Wasserman played or jammed with many of the jazz greats, including Herbie Mann, Gerry Mulligan and the Barbara Carroll trio, and appeared onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Me And Juliet. He was an accomplished accompanist to the great singers of the day, playing for Peggy Lee and Diahanne Carroll and touring Europe with Lena Horne. In the 1960s through the early ’90s, he was one of the busiest club-date drummers around, at one time or another serving as first call to Steven Scott, Forrest Perrin and many other offices.
As a union activist, Mr. Wasserman was an organizer of early efforts to make the union more responsive to its members in a political movement that eventually became the Members Party, at one time garnering many votes when he ran for vice-president as an independent. He worked for Local 802 for several years in the Single Engagement organizing field.
As a writer, he had hundreds of jingles and songs to his credit, including “Since My Love Has Gone,” one of Tony Bennett’s early hits. His memoirs, “A Different Drummer,” were published this month.
He is survived by daughter Diana, son Ron, an 802 member and a bassist with the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and brother Donald. He had been divorced for many years from singer/songwriter Joan Wile, also an 802 member.