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A Tadd Dameron Birthday Celebration tonight at SMOKE…

February 18, 2012

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dameron was the most influential arranger of the bebop era, but also wrote charts for swing and hard bop players. The bands he arranged for included those of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, and Sarah Vaughan. He and lyricist Carl Sigman wrote “If You Could See Me Now” for Sarah Vaughan and it became one of her first signature songs. According to the composer, his greatest influences were George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.
In the late 1940s, Dameron wrote arrangements for the big band of Dizzy Gillespie, who gave the première of his large-scale orchestral piece Soulphony at Carnegie Hall in 1948. Also in 1948, Dameron led his own group in New York, which included Fats Navarro; the following year he was at the Paris Jazz Fair with Miles Davis. From 1961 he scored for recordings by Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and Blue Mitchell.
He also arranged and played for rhythm and blues musician Bull Moose Jackson. Also playing for Jackson at the time was Benny Golson, who also was to become a jazz composer; Golson has said Dameron was the most important influence on his writing. Dameron composed several bop standards, including “Hot House”, “Our Delight”, “Good Bait” (composed for Count Basie), and “Lady Bird”. His bands featured leading players such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Wardell Gray.
Richard Wyands-piano, John Webber-bass, and friends will hold a swingin’ party for what would have been Tadd Dameron’s 95th at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club tonight. You won’t want to miss this!

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