Volume CVIII, No. 5May, 2008
Cesare W. Borgia– Violin
Patti Bown – Piano
Jack Eagle – Trumpet
Harry Frank– Tenor Saxophone
Frank Fusco– Trumpet
Vincent (Vinnie) Gagliano – Bass
Susan Krausz – Piano
John J. Leone – Saxophone
Israel “Cachao” Lopez – Bass
Timmie A. Rogers– Guitar
George Wozniak – Violin
Melvin Zelnick– Drums
Patti Bown, 76, a jazz and classical pianist and an 802 member since 1958, died on March 16.
Even before Ms. Bown was out of high school, she was already playing with a very young Quincy Jones; together, as adolescent performers, they performed in and around the famous Jackson Street jazz scene in Seattle. Later the two would tour together.
In 1949, Ms. Bown won a music scholarship to Seattle University and in 1952 she performed with the Seattle Symphony. In 1958 she formed a trio that included Ed Shaughnessy of the “Tonight Show.” She played for the Broadway show “Purlie Victorious” by Ossie Davis and performed as an actress in a show at the New Federal Theatre, directed by Irving Vincent.
Ms. Bown lived at the Westbeth artists’ community at 463 West Street for 37 years and was a fixture at the Village Gate. For the past eight years Ms. Bown was homebound, but nothing stopped her, said her friend, the actress Pawnee Sills. “She always had a warm smile and many jokes to make you laugh,” Sills told Allegro.
Ms. Bown continued to play even after she could not walk. In 2006 she received the Mary Lou Williams “Women in Jazz” festival award and in 2007 the Jazz Foundation of America honored her at its annual gala at the Apollo Theatre.
Ms. Bown is survived by her sisters Edith Mary Valentine, Augustine Walker and Millie Russell and brother David Bown.
Jack Eagle, 81, a trumpeter and a Local 802 member since 1942, died on Jan. 10.
Mr. Eagle kidded that he chose the loudest instrument so that, when he played it out his window, all his friends outside playing ball could hear him. This was his personal revenge since sports were prohibited by his mother, according to Mr. Eagle’s sister-in-law Mary Traver.
Mr. Eagle grew up in Brooklyn, studied with Charles Colin and, in the early 1940’s, when just 16, played third trumpet and lead with Muggsy Spanier, Bobby Sherwood and the Jerry Wald orchestra.
Later, Mr. Eagle played with Georgie Auld and Henry Jerome, some of whose sidemen included Marty Napoleon, Jerry Dorn, Leonard Garment, Johnny Mandel and future Fed chief Alan Greenspan (who was, of course, the accountant for the band).
Mr. Eagle was encouraged by other sidemen to pursue comedy, since they often said he was funnier than the acts they played for. After 10 years as half of the comedy act “Eagle and Man,” Mr. Eagle toured on his own for over 50 years. He always included trumpet in his act to do an amazing impression of Louis Armstrong. He appeared in “Catskills on Broadway,” and in over 50 television commercials, the most memorable being a Xerox ad in which he played the miracle monk “Brother Dominic.” The ad won a Clio.
Mr. Eagle is survived by his wife Sue, son Ian, daughters Nikki and Jobbi, and grandchildren Matthew, Noah and Erin.
Vincent Gagliano, 87, a bassist and an 802 member since 1948, died on Jan. 3.
Mr. Gagliano was well known as a recording engineer at Sound Center Studios in the 1950’s and 1960’s. So much important music flowed through those studios that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has on display the actual recording console that Mr. Gagliano and others used from that era. In fact, Mr. Gagliano’s name and those of four of his colleagues appear on a plaque on this console, which they built themselves, along with a list of the famous artists they recorded. (The console can be found at the “Jimi Hendrix Experience” exhibit at the museum.)
Mr. Gagliano is survived by his wife Joyce Heath Gagliano, sister Josephine (Giugi) Johnson, brother Louis Gagliano Jr., daughter Lucia, stepchildren Patricia and Joe, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
John Leone, 79, a Local 802 member since 1945, died on Jan. 27 in Delray Beach, Florida. He played the saxophone, clarinet, flute and other woodwinds.
Mr. Leone joined the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra in 1950, under Raymond Paige. He worked with Benny Goodman, Nelson Riddle, Linda Ronstadt, Liza Minnelli and other luminaries.
On Broadway, Mr. Leone performed many shows, including “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “How to Succeed in Business,” “See Saw,” “Dancin’,” “Chicago,” and “42nd Street.” He played on the movie soundtrack of “Hair.”
Mr. Leone is survived by his wife Glenda, sons John Jr. and Robert, daughter Roseanne Piazza and five grandchildren.
Israel “Cachao” Lopez, 89, died on March 21. He was a bassist, composer and bandleader, and an 802 member since 1963.
According to the Miami Herald, Mr. Lopez was the most important living figure in Cuban music, on or off the island. And according to Cuban-music historian Ned Sublette he was ‘‘arguably the most important bassist in 20th century popular music,’’ innovating not only Cuban music but also influencing the now familiar bass lines of American R&B, which have become such a part of the environment that we don’t even think where they came from.’’
Mr. Lopez and his brother Orestes are most widely known for their late-1930’s invention of the mambo, a hot coda to the popular but stately danzón that allowed the dancers to break loose at the end of a piece.
A possibly more important move took place in 1957, when Mr. Lopez gathered a group of musicians in the early hours of the morning, pumped from playing gigs at Havana’s popular nightclubs, to jam in front of the mikes of a recording studio. The resulting “descargas,” known to music aficionados worldwide as Cuban jam sessions, revolutionized Afro-Cuban popular music. Under Mr. Lopez’s direction, these masters improvised freely in the manner of jazz, but their vocabulary was Cuba’s popular music.
In his early teens he was already playing contrabass with the Orquesta Filarmónica de La Habana, under the baton of guest conductors like Herbert von Karajan, Igor Stravinsky and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
He is survived by his daughter María Elena López and grandson Hector Luis Vega, as well as nephew Daniel Palacio.
Edited from the Miami Herald.
George Wozniak, 55, a violinist and an 802 member since 1977, died on Feb. 11.
Born in Canada, Mr. Wozniak started on violin when he was 7. By age 13 he was playing professionally with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He also toured Canada and Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada while still in his teens.
Mr. Wozniak attended Juilliard on scholarship and also attended classes at SUNY Purchase. He was an original member of the New York Pops, performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and played many Broadway shows including “Annie,” “Me and My Girl,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” He recorded and performed with artists as diverse as the Moody Blues, U2 and Johnny Mathis, and he also toured with Frank Sinatra.
Mr. Wozniak was interested in politics and was able to vote in the U.S. after he became a U.S. citizen. He also fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional chef by graduating from the French Culinary Institute in 2003.
He was a beloved teacher of many students at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn; his former students include solo artists and a music critic for a major American newspaper. His great sense of humor and generosity of spirit will be missed by his many colleagues.
Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org).
Mr. Wozniak is survived by his mother Alice, nephew Toban Harding, and longtime partner Linda Kestel.