Max Ausfresser – Drums
Ralph Burns – Piano/Composer
Leonard Calderon – Drums/Arranger/Copyist
Harold R. Coletta – Violin
Joseph Conte – Violin/Conductor
Adolph M. De Optatis – Piano
Tommy Flanagan – Piano
David “Panama” Francis – Drums
Winston Grennan – Drums
Jerry Jerome – Saxophone/Conductor/Arranger
Billy Maxted – Piano/Composer/Arranger
Edward Sara – Saxophone
Bill Schallen – Trombone
Frank C. Troise – Saxophone
Ralph Burns, 79, a jazz pianist and composer who fashioned a diverse career as an arranger, winning two Academy Awards, a Tony Award and an Emmy while helping to expand the range of several popular artists, died on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. He had joined Local 802 in 1946.
Born in Newton, Mass., Mr. Burns learned piano at an early age and by 12 was playing in dance bands in and around Boston. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music briefly, but spent most of his teenage years working in a local jazz orchestra. He learned orchestration by analyzing the recordings of Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.
He moved to New York City as a young man, playing in the clubs on 52nd Street. By the early 1940s he was playing piano and writing orchestrations for Charlie Barnet’s big band. Then he joined Woody Herman’s band, also as a writer and piano player. Over the next 15 years he wrote many of the band’s big hits, including “Bijou,” “Apple Honey” and the three-part “Summer Sequence.” Ralph Burns “was as much responsible for our sound as anyone at that time,” Herman later told Leonard Feather, the jazz critic.
After several years of touring he left the band to continue his writing and to take work as a freelance orchestrator. He worked with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles and, later, Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole.
Mr. Burns began orchestrating and arranging for the Broadway musical theater in the mid-1950s and kept at it all his life. . He worked with Richard Rodgers on No Strings, Rodgers’ first score after Oscar Hammerstein II died, and with Jule Styne on Funny Girl. He worked on Chicago and No, No, Nanette. With Bob Fosse he did Sweet Charity, Dancin’ and the film Cabaret. His award-winning career spanned decades, as did his awards. He won a Tony in 1999 for Fosse a couple of decades after he picked up his Academy Awards for adapting the scores of Cabaret and All That Jazz. Last year, he orchestrated Thoroughly Modern Millie at the La Jolla Playhouse.
His first film credit was Cabaret in 1972, which was followed by Lenny, Urban Cowboy, Annie, My Favorite Year, The Muppets Take Manhattan and New York, New York. In the 1990s Burns returned to his roots, arranging jazz albums for Mel Torme and John Pizzarelli.
No immediate family members survive.
Leonard Calderon, 73, a drummer, arranger and music copyist who headed Local 802’s Music Preparation Department in the 1980s and early ’90s, died on Oct. 23 He had been an 802 member for almost 50 years.
Mr. Calderon graduated from the Juilliard School, where he majored in percussion. He was a busy freelancer, working in the club date field. He played with virtually every Latino bandleader, and did a great deal of Latino symphonic work. For many years he led the show band at the Chateau Madrid. He also wrote articles on drumming for The International Musician.
Mr. Calderon was a widely respected music copyist and arranger who used his knowledge of the field to improve conditions for union musicians and music prep members. He was involved in a number of contract negotiations.
Harold R. Coletta
Harold R. Coletta, 84, a violist and an 802 member since 1941, died on Nov. 29.
Mr. Coletta began studying the violin at a very early age, and switched to the viola in his late teens. His family had moved from New York to Bridgeport, Conn., after the stock market crash and he played in local dance clubs there, often for only a few dollars a night. He became a member of the Bridgeport W.P.A. Symphony Orchestra, and then took part in two tours of the National Youth Orchestra. He studied at Juilliard.
Mr. Coletta played in the New York Philharmonic and was a member of the NBC orchestra for nine years under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. He also had a busy studio career which spanned more than 50 years, playing jingles and commercials, sound track music for films, and records. He worked often with such performers as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Bing Crosby during the early days of radio and television. In the late 1960s he toured Europe as a soloist, receiving excellent reviews. He also toured the U.S. with the American String Quartet.
Mr. Coletta was featured a few years ago in an article written by Dennis Rooney in The Strad Magazine. A respected teacher, he has taught at the Yale School of Music, at Purchase and at Cincinnati’s Music School, as well as coaching chamber music in Sweden and Spain. He gave master classes recently in Philadelphia and East Lansing and taught privately.
He is survived by his wife Mary, brother Paola, son Michael, daughters Suzanne and Hallie, and five grandchildren. A music memorial in New York City is planned for the spring or early summer.
Tommy Flanagan, 71, a jazz pianist who won renown as an accompanist to such singers as Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett, and then as the leader of his own trio, died on Nov. 16. He joined Local 802 in 1956.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Flanagan began studying the clarinet at age 6 and piano when he was 11. He made his professional debut four years later, working with such musicians as Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Elvin Jones and Kenny Burrell, and playing clubs like the Bluebird, Detroit’s renowned jazz room.
Mr. Flanagan moved to New York in 1956, where his first gig was a sub job at Birdland for Bud Powell. His gifts were so readily apparent that he was soon tapped for recording dates with such jazz artists as Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. In 1957 he made his first trio album, “Tommy Flanagan Overseas,” with Elvin Jones and Wilbur Little. His playing is heard on more than 100 recordings made from 1956 through 1968.
Mr. Flanagan worked with Ella Fitzgerald from 1962 to 1965, then from 1968 to 1978, as her accompanist and then as music director for her band. But after many years of touring with Fitzgerald, he suffered a heart attack and stopped working with her. He formed his own trio in 1978, and has since performed almost exclusively in that format. He recorded many universally admired albums as a soloist or leading his trio. Over the years, the trio has included such musicians as bassists George Mraz and Peter Washington, and drummers Elvin Jones, Al Foster, Art Taylor, Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash and Albert (Tootie) Heath. Mr. Flanagan has had four Grammy nominations, two for Best Jazz Performance (Group) and two for Best Jazz Performance (Soloist). He was voted Top Jazz Pianist in DownBeat’s Readers’ Poll and has won Jazz Times’ Critics’ and Readers’ polls. In 1993 he won the Danish Kazzpar Prize.
Mr. Flanagan is survived by his wife Diana, son Tommy, Jr., daughters Rachel and Jennifer, and six grandchildren.
David “Panama” Francis, 82, a jazz drummer who joined Local 802 in 1938, died in Florida on Nov. 11. Mr. Francis played for dancers through some of the best-known bands of the swing era, including those led by Lucky Millinder, Cab Calloway and Slim Gaillard. He played on countless rhythm-and- blues and rock ‘n’ roll sessions, and in 1979 formed the Savoy Sultans, based on the group of that name that played at the Savoy Ballroom in the late 1930s.
Born in Miami, he performed in nightclubs from the time he was 13. At the age of 19 he came to New York City and quickly found work with the saxophonist Tab Smith. He was soon substituting for Sid Catlett in a band led by trumpeter Roy Eldridge. He played and recorded with Eldridge in 1939, with Millinder in 1940 and with Calloway from 1947 to 1952, among many others.
After leaving Calloway’s group, he spent 10 years as a first-call studio-session drummer, playing pop and rhythm-and-blues and becoming one of the most recorded drummers of the 1950s. Some well-known songs he worked on include Ray Charles’s “Drown in My Own Tears,” Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” the Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash.” Mr. Francis often played in television orchestras, including those for the Dinah Shore, Jackie Gleason and Ed Sullivan shows. He toured with Shore from 1963 to 1967.
In the late 1960s he moved to California, briefly joining Teddy Wilson’s piano trio. He returned to New York in 1972 and began working on the jazz festival circuit, playing with other swing-era musicians including Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet and Earl Hines and forming groups that recreated styles and sounds of the time. The most successful group was the Savoy Sultans, which had an eight-year residence beginning in 1980 at the Rainbow Room.
Mr. Francis is survived by his wife Alyce, sons James and Melvin, daughters Naomi, Eilene, Denise and Michelle, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jerry Jerome, 89, a tenor saxophone player, conductor and arranger, died on Nov. 17. He had been an 802 member for more than 65 years. A featured soloist with some of the most prominent orchestras of the big band era, he then became a musical director and conductor on radio and television.
Mr. Jerome was born in Brooklyn and started playing the sax while in high school. He attended the University of Alabama and, at his parents’ urging, went on to medical school there. But he played gigs at jazz clubs to earn tuition money, and finally decided his life should center on music. In 1936, he toured the country with bandleader Harry Reser and his Clicquot Club Eskimos. He moved on to Glenn Miller’s original orchestra, and then the Red Norvo band. He joined Benny Goodman’s orchestra at the height of its popularity in 1938. When Goodman broke up his band in 1940, Jerome joined the Artie Shaw orchestra, appearing with that band in the film Second Chorus, with Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith.
Mr. Jerome then became a successful musical director and conductor on radio and, later, on television during the medium’s early days. He also established a music business, scoring and arranging such commercial jingles as “Winston Tastes Good, Like a Cigarette Should.”
A Sarasota resident since the mid-1970s, he was a charter member of the Jazz Club of Sarasota and host of the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival. He played until recently at festivals and local clubs. He also continued to record.
Mr. Jerome is surived by his wife Elaine, sons Al, Bill, Jim and Jerry, daughters Joanne and Barbara, stepson David, sisters Dorothy and Elsie, brother Irv, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
William “Billy” Maxted, 84, a pianist, composer and arranger, and an 802 member since 1946, died on Sept. 27 in Florida.
Born in Racine, Wisc., he played with Red Nichols, Ben Pollack and Teddy Powell during the late 1930s. He also studied at Juilliard for two years during this period. He played in the Will Bradley band in the early 1940s, then served in the Navy from 1942-45, as a carrier-based Navy fighter pilot in the Pacific.
After his discharge he led his own band, which performed at the 500 Club on Fifth Avenue. He wrote arrangements for such leaders as Benny Goodman, Claude Thornhill, Bob Crosby and Red Nichols.
Beginning in 1949, he was a fixture at Nick’s in Greenwich Village, performing with many Dixieland combos, including Bobby Hackett, Phil Napoleon, Billy Butterfield, Pee Wee Erwin and his own sextet. His playing is heard on a number of recordings, including “Maxted Makes It!,” “Jazz at Nick’s,” “Billy Maxted Plays Hi Fi Keyboard” and “Dixieland Manhattan Style.”
After moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1961, he played for many years with Bill Thomas’ Bourbon Street Jazz Band in South Florida.
Bill Schallen, 84, a trombone player and an 802 member since 1938, died on Nov. 21.
Mr. Schallen studied music at New York University, playing in orchestras at night while attending school. He joined the Van Alexander band in 1938 and, from 1939-1942, played and sang with Alvino Rey and the King sisters. During World War II he led the Fighting Coast Guard Band, a 20-piece orchestra which included many members of the Rey band. The played at official events in Washington, D.C., cut V-disks and presented a weekly radio show for two years over the Blue Network. He then served on a transport ship, entertaining troops being carried to the Pacific theatre. Back in New York after the war, he joined the Tommy Dorsey orchestra.
Mr. Schallen was also a studio musician, who worked in television from its early days. He was a member of the band of the Dave Garroway Show. Later, while a staff musician at NBC, he played the Steve Allen Show, the Merv Griffin Show, the Johnny Carson Show, and others. He played with Skitch Henderson, and was with him when he recorded the first stereo album for NBC. He worked in a number of Broadway shows, including many Harold Prince shows, and appeared in motion pictures with several of the bands he worked with.
After retiring 15 years ago, he and his wife, Wandaleen, moved to Oak Hill, West Virginia, where she grew up. He is survived by his wife.