Volume C, No. 7/8July, 2000
Sal Amato – Saxophone
Sigurd Bockman – Clarinet
Lawrence E. Colkin – Saxophone
Billy Cronk – Bass
Henry Denecke – Timpani/Conductor
Benjamin “Buzzy” Drootin – Drums
C. Harry Dworkin – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Jean Eley – Violin
Bennie Fairbanks – Saxophone
Paul A. Germano – Violin
Gay Grayson – Organ
Milton Greene – Piano/Conductor/Arranger
Paul Griffin – Piano/Organ
Alan Hovhaness – Composer
Burgher “Buddy” Jones – Bass
Maurice Kogan – Saxophone/Conductor
Benny Lagasse – Saxophone
Morris Norkin – Bassoon/Contrabassoon
E.V. Perry – Trumpet
Tito Puente – Drums/Percussion
Joe Puma – Guitar
Nick Purcell – Saxophone
Jerome Richardson – Saxophone/Flute
Frank E. Sandford – Violin
Jacob Schultz – Violin
Frank Siegfried – Violin
Andrew Smith – Drums/Arranger/Copyist
Alex J. Tomaszewski – Arranger/Copyist
Roger Warren – Piano/Conductor
Oscar Weiss – Guitar
Johnnie “Miff” Williams – Trombone
Sam Williams – Electric Guitar
Sigurd Bockman, 89, a clarinetist and teacher who joined Local 802 in 1947, died on May 25 at his home in Annapolis, MD.
Mr. Bockman was born in Seattle and grew up in Minneapolis, graduating in Music Education from the University of Minnesota. Over the course of his career he played with the Minneapolis Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the NBC Symphony. He was an original member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony and the New York City Opera Orchestra. He also performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. He played in studio orchestras for Cavalcade of America, Theater Guild and The Bell Telephone Hour, as well as with the Firestone Hour orchestra and the Cities Service Hour in their coast-to-coast broadcasts. He made many recordings, including the original score for Victory at Sea.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn.
Billy Cronk, 71, a widely known jazz bassist and a member of Local 802 since 1945, died on May 29.
Mr. Cronk’s versatility and talent were evident during a long career in which he played with groups including Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, the Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Dave Brubeck. He made world tours with Louis Armstrong, and performed with such singers as Jimmy Roselli, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. He performed on the Jackie Gleason Show and played at the Playboy Resort Hotel for a decade.
He is survived by his wife Della, daughter Andrea, son William, brother Peter, and many grandchildren. A Jazz Memorial Service at St. Peter’s Church is planned for the fall.
Buzzy Drootin, 80, a jazz drummer and 60-year member of Local 802, died on May 21.
Mr. Drootin was born in Russia and moved to the United States with his family at the age of five, settling in Boston. His father was a clarinetist, two brothers were also musicians, and he began playing the drums as a teenager. By 1940 he was touring with the Jess Stacy All-Stars.
From 1947 to 1951 he was the house drummer at Eddie Condon’s in New York. He also worked in clubs in Chicago and Boston, playing with musicians like Wingy Manone, Jimmy McPartland and Doc Cheatham. In the 1950s and ’60s he made recordings with Tommy Dorsey, Bobby Hackett and the Dukes of Dixieland, and played with the Dixieland All-Stars, the Jazz Giants and the Newport All-Stars, among other groups, while touring extensively in the United States and Europe. He returned to Boston in 1973 and formed the Drootin Brothers Jazz Band. In the 1980s he appeared at the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival, backing up musicians like Wild Bill Davison and Chuck Hedges.
He is survived by his daughter Natasha, sons Peter and Tony, and brothers Al, Louie and Max.
Paul Griffin, 62, a pianist and organist and one of New York City’s top studio musicians, died on June 14.
Born in Harlem, he learned to play by watching the pianist at Paradise Baptist Church and went on to study classical music at the High School of Music and Art. He played first viola in the All-City Orchestra and worked as an usher and occasional accompanist at the Apollo Theater. The saxophonist King Curtis heard him and offered him his first professional tour and recording dates.
In 1960, after a few years of touring with King Curtis, he began playing in New York recording sessions, becoming a member of the house band at Scepter Records. Mr. Griffin became a vital part of folk-rock in his 1965-66 sessions with Bob Dylan. He played organ or piano for Paul Simon; Peter, Paul and Mary; Ian and Sylvia; Eric Andersen; Tom Rush; Carly Simon and John Denver. In the mid-1970s he began a long association with Steely Dan. During the 1980s, when session work diminished in New York, he taught, arranged and recorded commercial jingles.
He is survived by his wife Mary Beth, daughters Shannon and Rebecca, and sons Kinalla and Ioayo.
Alan Hovhaness, 89, a prolific composer and an 802 member since 1952, died on June 21 in Seattle, where he had lived for almost 40 years.
Mr. Hovhaness’ catalog includes more than 500 works, including a dozen operas and other stage works, all set to his own librettos; ballets composed for Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins; hundreds of orchestral works, including 70 symphonies; many choral works; and a vast selection of chamber pieces and solo piano works.
Born in Somerville, Mass., he began composing by the age of four, inventing his own form of musical notation for the purpose. He studied composition with Frederic Converse at the New England Conservatory in the mid-1930s, and then at the Berkshire Music Center with Bohuslav Martinu, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. From 1948 to 1951 he taught at the Boston Conservatory of Music. He then moved to New York, where his successes included a 1954 score for a Clifford Odets play, “The Flowering Peach,” and a series of ballets for the Graham company. He wrote soundtracks for several films, including Assignment India and Assignment South-East Asia. He moved to Seattle in 1962.
He is survived by his wife, Hinako Furihara, and daughter Jean.
Burgher “Buddy” Jones, 76, a jazz bassist, died in Carmel Valley, Calif., on June 8.
Born in Hope, Ark., he studied piano as a boy – but the acoustic bass became his instrument of choice. At age 17 he moved to Kansas City to study, and while there heard Charlie Parker rehearsing. He began playing bass while serving in the Navy during World War II, and subsequently. lived in Los Angeles (where he joined Local 47 in 1949), Washington, D.C., and New York. He became a staff musician with CBS, which opened doors for tours with Frank Sinatra, Harry James, and Tommy Dorsey. One career highlight was working with Lenny Niehaus and Clint Eastwood as a consultant for the motion picture Bird. He played with such musicians as Charlie Ventura, Joe Venuti, Ina Ray Hutton, Buddy DeFranco, Gene Williams, Lennie Tristano, Stan Getz, Elliot Lawrence, Johnny Richards and Al Cohn. From 1952-1964 he played the Jack Sterling radio show. He moved to California in 1971. Mr. Jones was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 1996.
He is survived by his wife Lynn and sons Calvin and Lyle.
Morris Norkin, 87, a bassoonist, contrabassoonist and teacher, died on May 28. He had been a member of Local 802 for 63 years.
Born in New York, he played the violin as a child. But while enrolled in CCNY’s engineering program, he began playing the bassoon in the CCNY orchestra. He subsequently attended the Juilliard School (and, many years later, Columbia University’s Teachers’ College). His performances included work with the Utah, Pittsburgh, National and WPA symphony orchestras, and the Boston Pops. He played in Lute Song, starring Mary Martin, and at Radio City Music Hall. Most of his work, however, was with ballet companies, and he toured the country with them several times. These included the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, American Ballet Theater, Sadlers Wells and several Sol Hurok ballets.
Mr. Norkin spent three and a half years in the Pacific theatre during World War II. Recurring back problems caused by injuries suffered during the war finally led him to give up touring. He worked as a music teacher in the Detroit school system for 13 years, until his retirement. He moved to New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
He is survived by his sister Rita.
E.V. Perry, 88, a trumpeter and a Local 802 member for 60 years, died on March 20 after a long illness.
Mr. Perry was born in Gainesville, Fla. His mother passed away while he was still a young child and he and his brothers were raised at the Jenkins Orphans Home, where he was introduced to the trumpet. He studied music at Bethune-Cookeman College, and then went on to perform with virtually every top band in the country. Mr. Perry played with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Cootie Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Louis Jordan, Teddy Hill, Claude Hopkins and Nat King Cole. He accompanied vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Lou Rawls. He performed in a number of Broadway pit orchestras, including Eubie and Golden Boy, and also appeared on television, playing on all the Motown specials.
He is survived by his wife Katherine, son James, stepchildren Patricia and Donald, brother Oscar and many grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
Tito Puente, 77, the great Latin bandleader who nurtured and inspired generations of Latin artists during six decades in music, died on May 31. Among the first to merge elements of modern jazz with Latin rhythms, Mr. Puente had a profound influence on the development of Latin music, jazz and salsa. His primary instruments, besides the bands that he led, were the timbales, and he was also an accomplished vibraphonist. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1940.
He began studying piano at the age of seven, then took drum lessons, and began playing professionally at 13. As a teenager, he was a percussionist in the pioneering Machito rumba band. He also played with Noro Morales, Pupi Campo and other Latin bands during the early 1940s. After serving in the Navy for two years he attended the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting, orchestration and theory. He then formed his own bands.
Throughout his career he worked with some of the major artists in jazz and pop music, including Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinson, George Shearing, Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman.
Mr. Puente recorded more than 100 albums. He won five Grammys, including one this year for best traditional tropical Latin Performance for “Mambo Birdland.” He traveled widely, headlining jazz festivals and nightclubs all over the world. He was a frequent guest musician in the house band on The David Letterman Show, and made appearances on other talk shows. He was a fixture in New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade.
His contributions were widely recognized. Among the honors he received were a National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1997. This past April, he was honored as a Chubb Fellow by Yale University, with a symposium analyzing his life and music. Also this year, a program in percussion music was established in his name at the Interamerican University in Puerto Rico.
He is survived by his wife Margie, two sons and a daughter.
Joe Puma, 72, a jazz guitarist who joined Local 802 in 1947, died on May 31 of cancer.
The son of a guitar and mandolin maker, Mr. Puma was self taught, inspired by the recordings of Django Reinhardt. He developed his modern harmonic concept after hearing Charlie Parker in New York City. Over the years he worked with many groups, including Cy Coleman, Louis Bellson, Don Elliot, Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five, Les Elgart, Lee Konitz, Dick Hyman, Al Cohn, Joe Roland, Carmen Leggio and Warren Vache. He accompanied such vocalists as Peggy Lee, Helen Merrill and Carol Sloane, and was music director and accompanist for Fran Jeffries and Morgana King. During the 1970s he played in a duo with Chuck Wayne. Recently he had been active in clubs and restaurants around Westchester County. Mr. Puma was admired by the musicians who knew him for his beautiful playing and his quick wit.
He is survived by children Loris, Rosalie and Joseph Jr., and many grand- and great-grandchildren. His wife, the singer Molly Lyons, died on Feb. 16.
Jerome Richardson, 79, a saxophonist and flutist and one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, died on June 24. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1955.
Born in Oakland, Calif., he began playing the saxophone at the age of 8 and studied music at San Francisco State College. He made his professional debut at 14 with the Lionel Hampton band, and worked briefly with the Jimmie Lunceford orchestra before serving in the Navy in Marshall Royal’s jazz dance-band unit. He rejoined the Hampton band in the late ’40s and moved to New York in 1954. Mr. Richardson quickly was in great demand for studio work, playing jazz, rhythm-and-blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. He began working with Quincy Jones, and in 1965 was a founding member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, playing alto, soprano saxophone and flute in the band for five years.
Mr. Richardson moved to Los Angeles in the early ’70s but returned to New York by the end of the ’80s. He played in Broadway musicals including Black and Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam and PlayOn. In recent years he appeared with Art Farmer and Slide Hampton, and was a member of the singer Teri Thornton’s sextet.
He is survived by his wife Rowena, daughters Kim and Denise, and two grandchildren.
Frank Siegfried, 83, a violinist and a longtime 802 member, died on May 7.
Mr. Siegfried graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1933 and joined Local 802 the same year, at age 16. He served in World War II as a member of the 369th Army Air Force Band. During the 1930s and ’40s he worked for ten years at Radio City Music Hall, and in 1936-37 was a member of Artie Shaw’s first band. He also worked in bands led by Phil Napoleon, Enric Madriguera and Payson Re. Mr. Siegfried subsequently was a member of the WOR house orchestra and also maintained a busy freelance career, doing such radio dates as the Gulf program, Palmolive Hour, Celanese Hour and Ford Hour. He backed up artists including Gordon McCrae, Jo Stafford, Billie Holiday, Andy Williams, Della Reese, Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sam Cook. He worked many Broadway shows, including Mexican Hayride, Carousel, Two on the Aisle, My Fair Lady, How to Succeed in Business, Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie and Peter Pan. He also played on many classical orchestral recordings conducted by Robert Shaw, Eric Leinsdorf, Leopold Stokowski and Igor Stravinsky.
Mr. Siegfried was a member of ASCAP and BMI, and was president of Avant Garde Records, Inc., and Vanguard Music Corp. from 1968 through 1984.
He is survived by his wife Marjorie and son Barry.