Volume CVI, No. 12December, 2006
Jennifer Brown – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Fred Browne – Violin
Al Conte – Piano
Gerald Cook – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Gretchen L. Gonzales – Cello
Naomi Kalos – Clarinet
Richard E. Koons – Trumpet
Donald N. Luckenbill – Piano/Conductor/Arranger
Joseph J. Malfitano – Violin
Peter John Sacco – Violin/Conductor
Bradley Spinney – Drums
Frank A. Vicari – Saxophone
Gerald Cook, 85, a pianist, composer, musical director and arranger, died on Oct. 22. He had been a Local 802 member since 1947.
Mr. Cook studied piano with Ray Lev and composition with Nadia Boulanger. He performed with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and also accompanied many singers and personalities, including Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, Carmen McRae, Shirley Jones, Johnny Hartman, Sammy Cahn, E.Y. Harburg and Libby Holman.
But perhaps he is best remembered for his association with the late Alberta Hunter. From 1978 until her death in 1984, Mr. Cook appeared nightly as accompanist and musical arranger for Ms. Hunter at the Cookery in New York and toured with her in Brazil, Paris and Berlin. He was her accompanist when she sang for President Carter at the White House and was responsible for Ms. Hunter’s musical arrangements for the soundtrack of Robert Altman’s film “Remember My Name” as well as the albums “The Glory of Alberta Hunter,” “Amtrak Blues,” and “Look For the Silver Lining.”
Mr. Cook also worked with Libby Holman for almost 25 years and was pianist and musical director for her one-woman show, “Blues, Ballads and Sin-Songs.” He was her accompanist and musical arranger on her albums “The Legendary Libby Holman” and “Something to Remember Her By” and her accompanist on tours, including a tour with the famed guitarist and folk singer, Josh White.
Mr. Cook is survived by his sisters Marion Hewlett and Elizabeth Daugherty and niece Lynne Hewlett.
Bradley Spinney, 91, a drummer, bandleader and writer, died on Oct. 7. He had been an 802 member since 1939 and wrote a percussion column in Allegro for four years.
Mr. Spinney played for nearly every possible kind of group, from performing in a movie house to the Met.
His recordings include many sessions with Stravinsky and with such popular groups as Andre Kostelanetz, Morton Gould, Percy Faith, Robert Russell Bennett, Sauter Finegan, the New York Philharmonic, Arthur Fiedler, Paul Lavalle’s “Band of America” on the Cities Service Program and the Goldman Band.
He also appeared for an entire summer at the Coconut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles with Nat Brandwynne’s Orchestra. Ballet Orchestras include New York’s “City Center” Martha Graham, Polish (Warsaw), Australian, Stuttgart (Germany), and Royal Ballet (Covent Garden, England).
When the Moscow Philharmonic played at Lincoln Center in New York City, he covered a shortage in the percussion section.
He taught at New York University, Queens College, the City College of New York as well as summer workshops at NYU, Central Washington State College and the University of Michigan.
Mr. Spinney’s writings comprise 28 books written over a period of 35 years. He wrote a four-year series of monthly articles on percussion artistry for Allegro.
He is survived by his sister Mable Lufkin, daughter Sandra Marie Barnhart, grandchildren Rose M. Finley and Raymond B. Johnston, great-grandchildren Sarah M. Finley, Heather R. Finley Berber and Jason M. Finley, and sister-in-law Irene Ham Spinney.
Frank Vicari, 75, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist, died on Oct. 20. He had been an 802 member since 1962.
Right up until his death, Mr. Vicari had been a featured member of the big band of pianist Howard Williams, who works in 802’s Recording Department. The band plays every Monday in the Village at the Garage Restaurant.
“Frank was the heart and soul of our band,” Williams told Allegro. “He was a wonderful musician an a nice guy. He was humorous but never vicious.”
Williams remembers that when Mr. Vicari first joined his band, he took on the task of helping set up the band. He pitched in without even being asked to help. “I think being on the road with bands made Frank realize all of the stuff that goes along with it,” said Williams. “That really impressed me.”
When Mr. Vicari was 18, he was drafted into the Air Force where he played in various service bands from 1951 to 1955. In 1960 he was recruited by Maynard Ferguson for the lead tenor chair where he remained until 1965.
After the Ferguson band was dismantled, Mr. Vicari joined Buddy Rich but soon was convinced by Woody Herman to join him and his Thundering Herd in 1965.
Later he toured and recorded with many of the giant names of pop, including John Lennon, Tom Waits, Dave Matthews, White Elephant, J.Giles, George Benson, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick and Billy Eckstein. He also played on the Saturday Night Live Band.
Some of the information for this obituary came from AllAboutJazz.com.