Volume CIII, No. 9September, 2003
Harold Ashby – Saxophone
Aaron Bell – Bass
Morton Bullman – Trombone
Benny Carter – Saxophone/Trumpet/Composer/Arranger
Joseph Cavallo – Clarinet/Saxophone
Steven E. Chubak – Violin
Edward Edson – Piano
Andy Fitzgerald – Clarinet
Ernest A. Giovanelli – Violin
Luther Henderson – Orchestrator/Arranger
Michael “Peanuts” Hucko – Clarinet/Saxophone
Dick Mack – Piano
Mario Marcone – Trumpet
John Martinez – Trombone
Lou Mecca – Guitar
Olivette Miller – Harp
Ernest Outlaw – Bass
Angelo Pioli – Drums
Mac Pollack – Violin/Conductor
Philip Riscica – Saxophone
Larry Rockwell – Bass/Piano
Charles Scardino – Bass
Collins Smith – Piano
Herb Sorkin – Violin/Viola
Eddie Swanston – Piano/Composer/Arranger
Walter Taussig – Vocal Coach/Conductor
Bross Townsend – Piano
Phil Whelan – Vocalist
Harold Ashby, 78, a saxophonist and an 802 member since 1958, died on June 13.
Mr. Ashby began playing professionally in Kansas City, his hometown, in the late 1940’s. In the 1950’s he moved to Chicago where he played with Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Witherspoon and others.
In 1957 he moved to New York. He freelanced with the Count Basie Band, Jimmy Witherspoon and Mercer Ellington before joining the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He was Ellington’s featured tenor player well into the 1970’s, even after Ellington’s death in 1974.
After he left Ellington’s band in 1975, Mr. Ashby continued as a freelancer. He performed in New York and Europe with a quartet of his own plus a group made up of Ellington alumni. From 1988 to 1999 he also recorded several swing albums.
Mr. Ashby leaves no immediate survivors.
Dr. Aaron Bell, 82, a bassist and an 802 member since 1983, died on July 28.
Dr. Bell’s started out as a bassist with the Andy Kirk Orchestra and played with other groups, including those of Lucky Millinder, Lester Young and Miles Davis.
He was bassist for Duke Ellington from 1960 to 1962 and worked with him later as an arranger. Besides making many recordings with Ellington’s orchestra, he appeared on the records of pop and jazz artists ranging from Buck Clayton and Billie Holiday to Sammy Davis Jr. For a time in the 1950’s he led the Aaron Bell Trio, based at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills.
After working with Ellington he taught music at Essex County College in Newark and later became chairman of its performing arts department, retiring in the early 1990’s.
Dr. Bell celebrated the anniversary of Ellington’s birth at a concert in 1983 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. For that performance he assembled a 14-piece orchestra to play his own composition, “Memorial Suite for Duke,” along with pieces by Mr. Ellington.
He is survived by his wife De Lores, daughters Pamela and Robin, sons Aaron, Kenyatta and Rhahime, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Morton Bullman, 81, a trombonist and a member of 802 since 1938, died on June 26.
Mr. Bullman was active in almost every aspect of the music field. He played for countless radio and TV orchestras, including the CBS Symphony where he was the first trombonist for 18 years. He also played on the Ed Sullivan Show, Jackie Gleason Show and the Jack Paar Show. He played TV specials with Barbra Streisand, Patti Page and Frank Sinatra, with whom he toured. He also performed many jingles.
He recorded for dozens of well known leaders, including Louis Armstrong, Skitch Henderson, Neal Hefti and Andre Kostelanetz, and played on the soundtracks for films of Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman.
Mr. Bullman performed with the bands of Buddy Rich, Sy Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Bob Crosby among many others. He also played club dates with Lester Lanin, Meyer Davis and Peter Duchin. For four years he was with the Army Ground Forces Orchestra. During his career, he played in or contracted for a total of 17 Broadway pit orchestras.
Mr. Bullman was also a music publisher, producer, contractor, conductor, and was founder and president of one of the biggest talent agencies on Long Island, “Entertainment Unlimited.”
Local 802 felt especially indebted to Mr. Bullman. “He was indispensable in our ability to track and reconstruct the old Ed Sullivan band for re-use and new-use purposes,” wrote Jay Schaffner, supervisor of 802’s recording department.
He is survived by his wife Elaine, son David and daughter Diane.
Benny Carter, 95, a saxophonist, trumpeter, clarinetist, composer and arranger and an 802 member since 1927, died on July 13.
In a career that spanned more than six decades, Mr. Carter performed with or wrote music for nearly all of jazz’s swing-era greats, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
Mr. Carter’s compositions, which include “When Lights Are Low” (1936) and “Blues in My Heart” (1931), became jazz and big band standards, and many saxophone and trumpet players continue to measure their work against his solos.
Mr. Carter took piano lessons from his mother when he was 10 and picked up the trumpet and saxophone four years later. By age 15, he was a regular at Harlem night clubs.
He became known as a virtuoso instrumentalist. Critics and his fellow musicians credited his originality and improvisation with helping launch the golden age of big band jazz in the 1930’s.
Mr. Carter began arranging in 1928 when he was a member of Charlie Johnson’s Orchestra. In 1943, Carter was the arranger for “Stormy Weather,” an all black musical. He went on to arrange the scores for “An American in Paris” (1951) and “The Guns of Navarone” (1961), among others.
He later composed and arranged music for 20 television series, including “M Squad” (1957-60), “Ironside” (1967-75), “The Name of the Game” (1968-71) and “It Takes a Thief” (1968-70).
It was his composing and arranging that opened doors for many of his fellow black musicians. He pushed to desegregate the AFM’s system of separate white and black locals.
In 1942, Mr. Carter organized a group which included bebop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke and later Miles Davis.
Carter stopped touring altogether in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In 1976, he returned to performing live in New York and later that year recorded “The King,” which featured duets with Gillespie.
Carter was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 and the Congressional designation as a National Treasure of Jazz in 1988.
He enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990’s for a series of albums on the MusicMasters label, winning two more Grammy Awards and receiving a Kennedy Center lifetime achievement award. In 2000, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
He is survived by his wife Hilma, daughter Joyce, a granddaughter and a grandson.
Joseph Cavallo, 95, a clarinetist and saxophonist and an 802 member since 1938, died on June 9.
In the early 1930’s, Mr. Cavallo got his first taste of fame when he played opposite Duke Ellington’s ten-piece band at a local dance. Later he played for an up-and-coming Frank Sinatra.
In his long career, Mr. Cavallo played with Lee Castle, Manny Klein, Max Kaminsky, Clark Terry, Roy Eldridge, Doc Cheatham, the McFarland twins, Vic Damone, Tony Bennett and Eddie Fisher. He worked steadily with Enoch Light in the late 1940’s.
While playing weekly at Kelly’s Stable on 52nd Street, he met and played with Ben Webster.
During World War II and the Korean War he played with the USO. He also played for Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and played at birthday parties for Lee Iacocca and Bob Guccione.
At the end of his life, he was still performing regular club dates.
He is survived by his wife Mildred, sons Anthony and Joseph, daughter Ann Marie, seven grandchildren (including 802 member Richard Cavallo) and 13 great-grandchildren.
Andy Fitzgerald, 87, a clarinetist and an 802 member since 1940, died on April 7.
Mr. Fitzgerald began his career in the big band of Frank Dailey. He later joined Bunny Berigan’s band, where he recorded “I Can’t Get Started.”
He toured with Joe Mooney’s Famous Quartet and played with the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, where he was a member until it disbanded.
He played on Jack Sterling’s radio show on CBS; the leader was Elliot Lawrence. When the show left the air, he joined the Arthur Godfrey Show where he stayed until Godfrey’s death.
Mr. Fitzgerald also played with Bob Crosby during his career.
Near the end of his musical life, he did theatre work and freelanced.
He is survived by his wife Eleanor, daughters Loretta, Andrea, Beverly, Colleen, Mavourneen, Eleanor and Siobhan, 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Luther Henderson, 84, an 802 member since 1939, died on July 29.
Mr. Henderson was an orchestrator and arranger for the musical theatre and a longtime collaborator of Duke Ellington.
Mr. Henderson was known for adapting jazz – particularly the music of Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington- for the Broadway stage. Many of the shows which he orchestrated or arranged became hits, such as “Jelly’s Last Jam” (for which he also received credit as co-composer), “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Play On!” “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” “Funny Girl,” “Flower Drum Song,” “No, No, Nanette” and “Do Re Mi.”.
In the course of his career, Mr. Henderson worked with Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne and Andre Kostelanetz. He received Tony award nominations for his work on “Jelly’s Last Jam” and “Play On!”
Mr. Henderson became an arranger for Lena Horne in the 1940’s, and shortly thereafter he started an association with the Duke Ellington orchestra that was to last for decades. Mr. Henderson orchestrated Mr. Ellington’s musical “Beggar’s Holiday,” which played on Broadway in 1946, the only one of the bandleader’s musicals to do so.
Mr. Henderson also worked extensively in television starting in the 1950’s and extending through the 1980’s. The shows he worked on included “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Bell Telephone Hour,” as well as specials for such stars as Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Andy Williams, Victor Borge and Polly Bergen. He served as musical director for the television special “Ain’t Misbehavin'” for which he received an Emmy nomination in 1982.
Shortly before his death, Mr. Henderson learned that he had been named an NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mr. Henderson is survived by his wife Billie Allen Henderson, sons Denson and Dr. Luther L. III, daughter Melanie, stepson Duane, stepdaughter Carolyn, granddaughters Bertha and Meredith and great-grandson Aaron.
Michael “Peanuts” Hucko
Michael “Peanuts” Hucko, 85, a clarinetist and tenor saxophonist and an 802 member since 1940, died on June 19.
In the early 1940’s in New York, Mr. Hucko played tenor with Will Bradley and Joe Marsala. After a brief time with Charlie Spivak, he joined the Glenn Miller Army Air Forces Band with whom he served during World War II. It was in Europe at this time that he picked up the clarinet, reportedly because it was awkward to march in the sand playing tenor sax.
In the 1950’s, Mr. Hucko played in the bands of Benny Goodman, Ray McKinley, Eddie Condon and Jack Teagarden. He was also busy as a studio musician for CBS and ABC. He joined the Louis Armstrong All-Stars from 1958-60. He also led his own group at Eddie Condon’s Club from 1964-66.
In the 1970’s he led the Glenn Miller Orchestra and toured with them across the U.S. and abroad. But it was also during this decade where Mr. Hucko became best known to the public for his TV appearances with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.
In 1974 he opened his own nightclub in Denver, where he performed with his wife, singer Louise Tobin. In the 1980’s he toured with his Pied Piper quintet. In 1998 Gov. George W. Bush dedicated the first annual Texas Big Band Jazz Festival to Mr. Hucko in honor of his 80th birthday.
He is survived by his wife Louise, stepsons Harry and Tim, sister Irene, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Lou Mecca, 76, a guitarist and an 802 member since 1950, died on June 27.
Mr. Mecca – born Louis Meccia – performed with many jazz legends, including Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evans, Gil Melle, Johnny Smith, Archie Bleyer, Stan Purdy, Vinnie Burke, Gene Bertoncini, Jack Six, Jack Wilkens, Al Caiola, Lou Pallo, Vic Juris, Joe Cinderella, Tony Argo, Adrian Ingram, Andy McKenzie and Gary Mazzaroppi.
He won the Downbeat Critics Poll and the Canadian Award for Outstanding Jazz Guitarist.
He was listed in Who’s Who, the New Jazz Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia Yearbook of Jazz, “Guitarhoo,” and “Guitar Masters: The Book of Jazz.”
He taught as an adjunct professor of music at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford, N.J. where started the first Guitar Department in New Jersey.
In 1999, he released a CD, “Bridging the Gap,” with Mickey Golizio on bass and Nat Garratano on drums. He also wrote “Exploring the Guitar Fingerboard,” an instructional manual for guitarists.
He is survived by his fiancee Dawn Mason, sister Donna Librizzi, daughters Linda and Ina, son Louis Jr., former wife Ina, niece Donna, nephew Anthony, granddaughter Dawn and grandson Marc.
Larry Rockwell, 69, a bassist and pianist and a former 802 member, died on June 9.
Mr. Rockwell was a student of Ray Brown in the 1960’s. One of his first well-known gigs was playing at the House of Hamburg in Toronto.
At the height of his career, two of the top names he played with were Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie.
Mr. Rockwell lived in California, West Virginia and Texas. In Los Angeles, he played with the Mighty Page trio, who were well-known for playing in movies.
Later in his career, he studied piano with fellow 802 member Mike Longo and learned enough piano to play professionally
Outside of music, Mr. Rockwell was considered an intelligent investor and even won a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970’s.
At the end of his life, he was considering an offer to teach at the University of Tennessee music school in Knoxville.
He is survived by his wife Emma.
Charles Scardino, 92, a bassist and an 802 member since 1935, died on June 1.
After a brief stint performing in a vaudeville comic duo, he established himself as a professional bassist with a reputation for being a reliable, solid performer. He was one of the youngest players to make NBC’s staff of musicians during the 1930’s, when great instrumentalists from all over the country were converging on New York.
As a native New Yorker in a period when steady music jobs were plentiful, Mr. Scardino had no need to join a travelling band. He played jingles, demos and club dates. With saxophonist Peter Kent he put together a quintet that for over 15 years shared the New Yorker Hotel’s Terrace Room bandstand with some of the most popular name bands of the time.
In 1940 he was drafted. According to friend and fellow 802 member Charles McCarty, Mr. Scardino was inducted at the same time as Jackie Gleason. Scardino was slender; Gleason weighed 260 pounds. Scardino had to go and Gleason wasn’t selected.
In the post-war years, Mr. Scardino played, contracted or sub-led bands for club date offices and cruise ships. He was also active in recording and TV work.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy, who is a jazz pianist and also an 802 member. He is also survived by his daughter Nina, sons Charles, David and Don, and several grandchildren.
Herb Sorkin, 83, a violinist and violist and an 802 member since 1941, died on July 6.
Mr. Sorkin played in the orchestras of some 30 Broadway musicals, including the original productions of “Pajama Game,” “Candide,” “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret,” “Company,” “A Little Night Music,” and “La Cage aux Folles.”
He played popular music with Carmen Cavallero, jazz with Gene Krupa, and classical music under conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Pablo Casals, Aaron Copland, Zubin Mehta, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Fritz Reiner, Alexander Schneider, Robert Shaw, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Arturo Toscanini, and Bruno Walter. An admirer of Mel Powell, he premiered Powell’s Divertimento for Harp and Violin with harpist Margaret Ross.
He performed with the NBC Symphony, the Symphony of the Air, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Choral Society, and the New York Pops, toured with the American String Quartet and the Helura Trio, was a participant in the Marlboro Music Festival, and played many seasons with the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico and the Mostly Mozart Festival.
He is survived by his wife Celia and his children Barbara and Gregory.
Eddie Swanston, 80, a pianist, composer, arranger, organist and vocal coach, and an 802 member since 1943, died on June 13.
By the age of 16 he was already gigging professionally, and at 19 he was asked to join a local band that would prove to be his first big break. He was later one of six members who were picked up by the Louis Armstrong Big Band, with which he travelled for three years.
Mr. Swanston’s career brought him into direct contact with many legendary names in jazz. He played piano not only for Armstrong, but also for Gene Krupa, Andy Kirk, “Hot Lips” Page, Lucky Millinder, Art Blakey, the Lucky Thompson Orchestra and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, among others.
In 1949 he helped form Vamp Studio, a voice studio that catered to clients such as Eartha Kitt, Shirley Jones, Bea Arthur, Kenny Coleman, Jean Tyson and Tina Stewart. Swanston worked at Vamp Studio until 1959.
Mr. Swanston played on movie soundtracks and in Broadway pits. He appeared on TV and on numerous recordings.
Several of his original compositions have been recorded, including “Love’s Melody,” which George Shearing recorded in 1959, and “Nightstick,” recorded by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1960.
Mr. Swanston taught music in the New York City public schools for 13 years and was the organist and choir director at St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx for 19 years. At the end of his life, Swanston was performing solo, with his jazz trio and with the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band.
He is survived by his wife Wilda, sisters Miriam and Bernice, children Edwin, Samara, Ernest, Sarah and Erech, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Walter Taussig, 95, a vocal coach and conductor and an 802 member since 1941, died on July 31.
Mr. Taussig was born in Vienna and studied with the composer Franz Schmidt at the Music Academy in Vienna. He also studied conducting with Robert Heger. Mr. Taussig’s principal instrument was the oboe.
After graduating, he worked all throughout Europe, but escaped before World War II, first heading to Cuba where he conducted the Havana Philharmonic. Later he worked at the Montreal, Chicago and San Francisco operas.
In 1949 he became the assistant chorus master of the Metropolitan Opera. He later became associate conductor. Mr. Taussig worked with Birgit Nilsson in “Elektra” and Placido Domingo in “Parsifal.”
He was also an assistant conductor at the Salzburg Festival and a coach for Deutsche Grammophon, the record company.
He is survived by his wife Lore and daughter Lynn.
Bross Townsend, 70, a pianist and an 802 member since 1962, died on May 12.
Mr. Townsend played with many major jazz names in the course of a long career as a pianist and accompanist. His associations included Woody Herman, Erskine Hawkins, John Coltrane, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Charles Mingus, Milt Jackson and many others.
He worked with a number of great singers, including Dinah Washington, Diana Ross, Little Jimy Scott, Jimmy Reed and Dakota Staton. In addition, he played for the Broadway musicals “Dinah” and “Black and Blue.”
Mr. Townsend’s specialty was a style called “jump,” which was seen as a transition between big-band swing and rhythm and blues.
Mr. Bross is survived by his wife Hope, daughters Allegra and Mona, son Bross III and five grandchildren.