Friday, June 28, 2013

Chet Flippo, Journalist Who Championed Country Music

Chet Flippo, Journalist Who Championed Country Music, Dies at 69

Rick Diamond/WireImage, via Getty Images
Chet Flippo, left, editorial director of CMT, the country music cable channel, with Willie Nelson and Jimmy Carter in 2004 for the taping of “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter in Plains.”
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Chet Flippo, a dean of pop music journalism whose profiles of artists like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Tanya Tucker for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s heralded vast new popularity for country music among broader audiences in the United States, died last Wednesday in Nashville. He was 69.
His death, after a long illness, was announced by the country music cable channel CMT, where he was editorial director. No cause was given.
Mr. Flippo covered a wide range of subjects for Rolling Stone from 1970 to the early '80s, including John Lennon’s legal troubles, the Rolling Stones’ bacchanalian tours, Bob Dylan’s serial reinventions and Janis Joplin’s 10th-year high school reunion, in 1970.
But in an era of rock celebrity mania, he also insisted on writing about a more down-to-earth musical form, still referred to in the early 1970s as “country and western,” which he had grown up with as a boy in Fort Worth.
In 1972, Mr. Flippo wrote about a longtime country singer who had “generally been overlooked,” and who was “probably the most underrated writer in America today,” Willie Nelson. Mr. Nelson had written hits for other singers, but would not have a major hit of his own for a few years more.
The following year, Mr. Flippo wrote about a 36-year-old artist who had been on the verge of stardom for a decade but was still playing four sets a night at roadside joints like Jack Jackson’s Fantastic Cow Palace, Home of the Nashville Stars, outside Colorado Springs, Waylon Jennings. Mr. Jennings, he wrote, was finally catching a break, about to hit the road as the opening act for the Grateful Dead.
“The longhaired kids — they like country music too,” he quoted Mr. Jennings saying the day after his last show at the Fantastic Cow Palace. “They just don’t feel welcome in some of these redneck joints.”
And while Dolly Parton was already a perennial country star, she was still seeking crossover success in 1977 when Mr. Flippo wrote the first long Rolling Stone article about her, introducing her to the magazine’s rock ’n’ roll readership as “country music’s best-kept secret for years.” Later that year she released “Here You Come Again,” her first million-selling single.
Mr. Flippo, who later became a journalism teacher, wrote a historical primer on country music for American Libraries, the bimonthly magazine of the American Library Association, explaining to those at the furthest fringe of the potential crossover audience why they should care.
“Country and western music is, by turns, simplistic, bigoted, emotional, maudlin, jingoistic, provincial and dominated by male chauvinism,” he wrote in that 1974 article, titled “Country & Western: Some New-Fangled Ideas.” “Why then is it so durable and so popular? Because its above-listed characteristics accurately reflect the concerns and attitudes of roughly one-fourth the population of the United States.”
Bill C. Malone, the author of “Country Music U.S.A.,” considered a definitive history (first published in 1968, and now in its third revised edition), said Mr. Flippo was an important mediator between the rock audience and country fans. He did not create the broad interest in country music that developed in the ’70s and ’80s, Mr. Malone said “But he got a lot of people listening who wouldn’t have before.”
Chet Flippo (known to friends as Flippo) was born in Fort Worth on Oct. 21, 1943, the son of Chet W. Flippo, a minister, and the former Johnnie Black. After graduating from Sam Houston State University in 1965, he served in the Navy until 1969, worked for a small newspaper in Texas and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1974.
He became Rolling Stone’s bureau chief in New York that year, when the magazine was based in San Francisco, and senior editor in 1977, when the magazine moved its headquarters to New York.
Mr. Flippo left Rolling Stone to write books in the early ’80s, moving to Tennessee, where he taught journalism at the University of Tennessee for three years and was the Nashville bureau chief for Billboard magazine. He joined CMT in 2001.
He published six books, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams,” published in 1981.
Mr. Flippo’s survivors include a sister, Shirley Smith, and two brothers, Bill and Ernest. His wife of 41 years, Martha Hume, also a music journalist, died last year.

Michael Baigent, Writer Who Sued Over "Da Vinci Code"

Michael Baigent, Writer Who Sued Over ‘Da Vinci Code,’ Dies at 65

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Michael Baigent, a writer who gained wide attention when he filed an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit contending that the novelist Dan Brown had stolen his ideas and used them in the best-selling thriller “The Da Vinci Code,” died on Monday in Brighton, England. He was 65.
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Michael Baigent leaving a court in London in 2006.
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The cause was a brain hemorrhage, his agent, Ann Evans, said.
Mr. Baigent had a best-seller of his own, in 1982, the speculative history “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” (released in the United States as “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”), which he wrote with Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
The book hypothesized that Jesus had married Mary Magdalene and that a secretive group called the Priory of Sion protected their descendants — essential plot elements in “The Da Vinci Code,” which was published in 2003 and adapted for a film in 2006. “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” was often characterized as nonfiction, though it appeared on the fiction best-seller list in The New York Times.
Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh sued Mr. Brown’s publisher, Random House U.K., for copyright infringement. (Mr. Lincoln did not take part in the suit.)
In 2006, High Court Justice Peter Smith ruled that though Mr. Brown had relied on the work of Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh, the similarities between their books did not violate copyright. Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh were ordered to pay millions of dollars in legal fees. Mr. Leigh died in 2007.
During the trial Mr. Brown acknowledged that he had read “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” but said he had come to it late in the process of writing “The Da Vinci Code.” (He said he named one character, Sir Leigh Teabing, in homage to Mr. Leigh and Mr. Baigent, “Teabing” being an anagram of “Baigent.”)
Michael Feran Baigent (rhymes with “agent”) was born in March 1948 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and graduated from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1972. He was a commercial photographer before he published “The Holy Blood,” his first book. He went on to write others about historical and religious conspiracies, some with Mr. Leigh and Mr. Lincoln. His most recent was “Racing Toward Armageddon” (2009).
Mr. Baigent lived in West Sussex, England. His survivors include his wife, Jane; two daughters, Isabelle and Tansy Baigent; a stepson, David; and a stepdaughter, Emma.

Sam Most, Jazz Flute Pioneer

Sam Most, Who Helped Bring the Flute Into the Jazz Mainstream, Dies at 82

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Sam Most, a flutist who helped bring his instrument into the modern jazz mainstream, died on June 13 in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 82.

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The cover of Sam Most's album "Musically Yours."
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The cause was pancreatic cancer, his twin sister, Ruth Labensky, said.
In 1952, when he recorded the flute feature “Undercurrent Blues,” Mr. Most was an accomplished jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who, like many reed and woodwind players, played flute only occasionally. Jazz flute was not much more than a novelty at the time, and it was virtually absent from recordings or performances in the modern style known as bebop. “Undercurrent Blues” displayed the instrument’s potential in a new way and, while not a big hit, caught the ear of many musicians.
“When I started playing jazz on flute,” Herbie Mann, the first jazz flutist to achieve widespread popularity, once said, “there was only one record out: Sam Most’s ‘Undercurrent Blues.’ ” By the early 1960s, flutes were almost as common as saxophones in jazz ensembles.
Mr. Mann and many other jazz flutists, including Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef and Hubert Laws, have acknowledged Mr. Most — and especially his unusual technique of humming into the flute while playing — as an early influence. Charles Mingus once called him “the world’s greatest jazz flutist.”
Samuel Most was born on Dec. 16, 1930, in Atlantic City, and grew up in the Bronx. His parents, Jacob Most and the former Dora Kaplan, were immigrants from Lithuania. His older brother, Abe, was a prominent jazz clarinetist while Sam was growing up.
Mr. Most studied at City College and the Manhattan School of Music and became a professional musician at 17. He spent time with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, Don Redman and others before forming his own small group.
After recording prolifically as both a leader and a sideman and touring with Buddy Rich from 1959 to 1961, Mr. Most moved west and settled into lucrative but anonymous work in Los Angeles studios and Las Vegas showrooms. He continued to record in a jazz context on occasion and released a number of critically praised albums on the Xanadu label in the late 1970s. His later projects included an album of unaccompanied alto flute improvisations.
He was the subject of a 2001 documentary, “Sam Most, Jazz Flutist.”
In addition to Ms. Labensky, Mr. Most is survived by another sister, Frances Tutshen, and a brother, Bernard. His brother Abe died in 2002.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Johnny Alf, A "Father of Bossa Nova"

Alfredo José da Silva (May 19, 1929 – March 4, 2010), popularly known as Johnny Alf, was a Brazilian musician, sometimes known as the "Father of Bossa Nova".

Alf was born in Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro, and began playing piano at age 9. His father died when he was 3 and he was raised by his mother who worked as a maid to raise him. He attended Colégio Pedro II, receiving support from his mother's employers. He played in nightclubs in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio, where he was noticed by later bossa nova pioneers. His first single was "Falsetto" and was released in 1952, with a debut album following in 1961.

Over his career, he recorded nine albums and appeared on nearly fifty others. He died in 2010, aged 80, from prostate cancer.


Johnny Alf, a ‘Father of Bossa Nova,’ Dies at 80
Johnny Alf, an influential Brazilian songwriter, pianist and singer whose delicately swinging music was a precursor to the bossa nova, died on March 4 in Santo André, Brazil, just outside São Paulo. He was 80 and lived in São Paulo.

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Johnny Alf in 2001. In the 1950s, other musicians would sneak into clubs to listen to him play and study his technique.


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The cause was prostate cancer, said his manager, Nelson Valencia.
Though he was not widely known outside Brazil and enjoyed mass popularity only intermittently in his homeland, Mr. Alf, born Alfredo José da Silva, is highly regarded among Brazilian musicians and musicologists. The writer Ruy Castro, the author of several authoritative books on Brazilian popular music, has called him “the true father of the bossa nova.”
Mr. Alf was a contemporary of Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and others who would make the bossa nova a worldwide phenomenon, but he began his career earlier and spent the mid-1950s playing on what was known as Bottle Alley, a street in Copacabana full of bars and nightclubs. His younger admirers would sneak into those clubs to listen to him play and study his technique and improvisational style.
“From him I learned all of the modern harmonies that Brazilian music began to use in the bossa nova, samba-jazz and instrumental songs,” the pianist and arranger João Donato said Friday. The guitarist and composer Carlos Lyra added: “He opened the doors for us with his way of playing piano, with its jazz influence. When my generation arrived, he had already planted the seeds.”
Alfredo José da Silva was born in the Vila Isabel neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, a hotbed of samba, on May 19, 1929. His father was a corporal in the Brazilian Army, his mother a housekeeper. He began studying the piano at age 9, focusing on the classical repertory. But his love of American movies pushed him toward jazz and away from the classics, a shift on which he later reflected in an amusing composition called “Seu Chopin, Desculpe” (“Pardon Me, Chopin”).
Mr. Alf started playing professionally at 14, when he was given his Americanized stage name. He helped found a Frank Sinatra fan club in Rio and also admired George Gershwin and Cole Porter. But his biggest influence, as both pianist and singer, was probably Nat King Cole, whose smooth vocal delivery, gentle touch and sophisticated chords meshed with Mr. Alf’s quiet, even timid, personality.
“I always played in my own style,” Mr. Alf said in an interview last year with the Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo. “I had the idea of joining Brazilian music with jazz. I try to bring everything together to achieve an agreeable result.”
At its best, Mr. Alf’s music had a light and airy feeling that expressed the optimism and joie de vivre that Brazilians think of as among their defining national traits. It was reflected not just in the title of his best-known song, “Eu e a Brisa” (“Me and the Breeze”) but also in hits like “Ilusão à Toa” (“Carefree Illusion”) and “Céu e Mar” (“Sky and Sea”), as well as “O Tempo e o Vento” (“Time and the Wind”) and “Rapaz de Bem” (“Well-Intentioned Guy”), a two-sided success released as a 78 r.p.m. single in 1955 and now widely regarded as the first glimmering of bossa nova on record.
But Mr. Alf eventually tired of the glitz of Rio and moved to São Paulo in the mid-1960s to take a job teaching in a conservatory. After that, while continuing to perform regularly, he recorded only sporadically. In 1990 he recorded “Olhos Negros” (“Black Eyes”), a widely praised CD dominated by duets with a second generation of admirers, including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and Gal Costa.
According to Brazilian press reports, Mr. Alf left no immediate survivors.
“At least I’m not completely forgotten,” he said last year. “My music was always considered difficult. The record labels sensed the value of my music, but it never had the commercial appeal that they would have liked.”

Sam Farber, Creator of Oxo Utensils

Sam Farber, Creator of Oxo Utensils, Dies at 88

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Sam Farber, who was spurred by a fiend in the form of a vegetable peeler to start Oxo, the housewares manufacturer whose ergonomic rubber handles grace its kitchen utensils in many homes, died on Sunday in East Meadow, N.Y. He was 88.
Sam Farber came up with the idea for Oxo after watching his wife, Betsey, using an apple peeler with her arthritic hands.
The kitchen tools feature soft plastic handles shaped for comfort.
The cause was complications of a recent fall, his son John said.
Oxo took root in the late 1980s, when Mr. Farber, ostensibly retired, and his wife, Betsey, were making an apple tart in their rented home in the south of France. Preparing the apples, Ms. Farber, who has mild arthritis in her hands, was exasperated by their unwieldy peeler, which she found painful to use.
Mr. Farber knew housewares — he had founded Copco, a maker of brightly colored enameled cast-iron cookware, in 1960 and run the company before selling it in 1982. He immediately discerned a gap in the market: kitchen devices that were as comfortable as they were functional, designed not only for cooks with hand problems but for all cooks.
With John Farber, the couple founded Oxo in Manhattan soon afterward. (Sam Farber chose the name for its backward, upside-down and vertical graphic symmetry.) Enlisting Smart Design, a New York industrial design concern, they created Oxo’s Good Grips line of kitchen tools.
Made with a spare, minimalist aesthetic in mind, the tools sported what would become the line’s distinctive hallmark: fat black handles of a soft plastic known as Santoprene, shaped and angled to be easy on the hand.
The line was unveiled in 1990 at the Gourmet Products Show in San Francisco. Though its prices left some commercial buyers skeptical at first — a Good Grips potato peeler cost about $6, compared with about $2 for a conventional peeler — it soon proved a hit with consumers.
The company’s products have won many design awards and are ubiquitous today in hardware and housewares stores and in chain retailers like Target and Kmart.
Mr. Farber sold Oxo to the General Housewares Corporation in 1992. His later ventures included creating a line of kitchenware with his son John for the celebrity chef Mario Batali.
Samuel Farber was born in Manhattan on Nov. 16, 1924, and reared in Yonkers. Pots and pans were in his pedigree: an uncle, Simon Farber, founded the cookware maker Farberware on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1900. His father, Louis, helped found Farber Brothers, makers of glass and silver-plated serving ware.
During World War II, Mr. Farber served with the Army Air Forces in Turkey and North Africa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard in 1946 and later joined his father’s business.
Mr. Farber, who lectured frequently about industrial design and received many awards in the field, was also a major collector of outsider art, including work by Henry Darger and Martín Ramírez.
As a board member of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, he helped secure the architectural firm Tod Williams, Billie Tsien & Associates to design the museum’s former home on West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Opened in 2001 and widely praised by critics, the building is now owned by its neighbor, the Museum of Modern Art.
Mr. Farber’s first marriage, to Joan Levine, ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, the former Betsey Wells Kriegsman, whom he married in 1985, survivors include two sons from his first marriage, John and Thomas; two stepchildren, Mark Kriegsman and Sue Kriegsman; four granddaughters; and three step-granddaughters.
A longtime resident of Manhattan, Mr. Farber lived most recently in Lexington, Mass.
Today, Oxo is owned by Helen of Troy, a maker of personal care products. Its Good Grips line now comprises hundreds of items, including cleaning, gardening and barbecue tools.
All for the want of a painless peeler a quarter-century ago.
“It’s hard to think of a vegetable peeler as radical,” Mr. Farber told The Los Angeles Times in 2000. “But I guess it was.”

Gyula Horn, Hungarian Parter of Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn, Who Helped Part Iron Curtain, Dies at 80

Karoly Matusz/MTI, via Associated Press
Gyula Horn, right, of Hungary, and Alois Mock of Austria cut the barbed wire on the border with Austria on June 27, 1989.
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Gyula Horn, a former leader of Hungary who in 1989 literally ripped a hole in the Iron Curtain, helping to set off months of tumultuous change in which Communist governments in Eastern Europe fell one after the other, died Wednesday in Budapest. He was 80.
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The Hungarian government announced the death. He had been hospitalized since 2007 with what was reported to be a brain malfunction.
Mr. Horn’s life encompassed much of the history of 20th-century Hungary. His father, a Communist, was executed by the Nazis occupying Hungary in 1944. Gyula (pronounced JOO-la) also became a hard-line Communist, serving in militia units that hunted down government opponents during their revolt in 1956. The rebels lynched his brother, also a Communist.
As foreign minister, as Moscow’s grip on Eastern Europe slipped, Mr. Horn proved nimble as a newly minted, nonideological, pragmatic reformer in helping to lead Hungary away from Communism. Elected prime minister as a Socialist in 1994, he angered Hungarians by cutting social programs to stanch raging inflation.
Mr. Horn’s indelible image was a photograph taken of him and Alois Mock, the Austrian foreign minister, on June 27, 1989, cutting through once-electrified barbed wire on the border between their two countries. The men seemed to be tearing the Iron Curtain, the daunting symbol of the ideological rivalry and actual physical boundary between Communist and non-Communist Europe.
The truth was that the removal of the fence had begun two months earlier because it was badly in need of repair. But the critical meaning of the stunt — which dozens of photographers were invited to document — was that it provoked no reaction in the Soviet Union, though it had tens of thousands of troops stationed in Hungary.
Mr. Horn said his purpose was to create “an irreversible situation.”
Events accelerated. East Germans, who had long gone to Hungary to meet with West German friends and relatives, refused to return home. The border police turned a blind eye when several hundred slipped across to Austria during a picnic on Aug. 19. Three weeks after the picnic, Mr. Horn appeared on Hungarian television and announced that the East Germans were free to cross the border.
Two months later, the Berlin Wall was breached and Communist dictatorships began to fall. In 1990, Mr. Horn was awarded the Charlemagne Prize — whose winners include Winston Churchill and Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president — for laying “one of the foundation stones for European unity.” The prize is given by the city of Aachen, Germany.
Gyula Horn was born July 5, 1932, in Budapest, the capital. The third of eight children, he was raised in a working-class district of the city. After the Gestapo killed his father, he went to work at 11 in manual labor jobs. In 1950 he was sent to Russia to study accounting at an economics institute in Rostov on Don. He returned to work in Hungary’s Finance Ministry.
He joined the Foreign Ministry in 1959 and served as a diplomat in Bulgaria and Romania before working his way up to deputy foreign minister in 1985 and foreign minister in 1989.
After Hungarians rebelled against the Communist government in 1956, he joined a brigade that helped hunt down and arrest democratic activists. He never denied taking these actions, but said he never hurt anybody. Nonetheless, two Hungarian presidents vetoed his nomination for high national awards in 2002 and 2007 because of his actions during and after the uprising.
In the 1970s, Mr. Horn worked cautiously to liberalize government controls in Hungary in an experiment that came to be known as “goulash Communism.” As even that system collapsed, he was instrumental in transforming the Communist Party into the Hungarian Socialist Party. He became the party’s chairman in 1990.
He was elected to Parliament the same year and retained his seat until 2010. In the 1994 election he led the Socialists to a majority. But in forming a government he included liberals as a way to reassure Hungarians and foreigners who were concerned that the former Communist Party might regain power. He stepped down after his party lost in 1998.
Mr. Horn is survived by his wife, Anna Kiraly; a daughter, Anna; and a son, Gyula Jr.

Kenneth Wilson, Nobel Physicist

Kenneth Wilson, Nobel Physicist, Dies at 77

Cornell University
Kenneth Wilson in 1982, the year he won the Nobel Prize. He determined how to calculate tricky moments in physics.
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Kenneth G. Wilson, who was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics for showing how to calculate tricky moments like when ice melts or an iron bar loses its magnetism, died on Saturday in Saco, Me. He was 77.
The cause was complications of lymphoma, according to Cornell University, where he had been a professor for 25 years.
His colleagues hailed Dr. Wilson as a legend who had changed how theoretical physicists went about their work, especially in particle physics, the study of the elementary and fundamental constituents of nature. He was also a pioneer in using computers and then supercomputers to study the properties of quarks, the building blocks of protons and neutrons.
“He’s a giant in theoretical physics,” said Frank Wilczek, a Nobelist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, calling his work “quite profound.”
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel winner at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “Ken Wilson was one of a very small number of physicists who changed the way we all think, not just about specific phenomena, but about a vast range of different phenomena.”
Kenneth Geddes Wilson was born on June 8, 1936, in Waltham, Mass., the first of three children of Edgar and Emily Buckingham Wilson. His father was a chemist at Harvard. His mother had been a physics graduate student before marrying. One grandfather was an engineering professor at M.I.T. and the other the speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Kenneth Wilson entered Harvard at 16, majored in math and ran the mile. He obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology under the legendary theorist Murray Gell-Mann, then did postdoctoral studies at Harvard as a junior fellow that included a year at CERN, the European nuclear research organization in Geneva. He joined Cornell as a physics professor in 1963.
He later said he was drawn to Cornell by, among other things, the folk-dancing scene in Ithaca, N.Y. It was at a folk dance that he met Alison Brown, who was working in the university’s computer center. They were doing a Swedish dance called the hambo. “His hambo and my hambo fit together really well,” she said.
They married in 1982. She survives him, along with a brother, David; a sister, Nina Cornell; a half sister, Anne Goldizen; two half brothers, Paul and Steven Wilson; and a stepmother, Thérèse Wilson.
Dr. Wilson arrived at Cornell already famous for his mathematical prowess. At Harvard he had proved a conjecture by the renowned mathematician Freeman Dyson while sitting around waiting for an M.I.T. computer to finish a job for him.
From the start, Dr. Wilson was drawn to difficult problems that could take years to solve, said Kurt Gottfried, a Cornell colleague. One such problem was phase transitions, the passage from water to steam or atoms lining up to make a magnet. At the critical point — the temperature at which the change happens — orderly behavior breaks down, but theorists had few clues to how to calculate what was happening.
Dr. Wilson realized that the key to the problem was that fluctuations were happening on all scales at once — from the jostling and zooming of individual atoms to the oscillations of the entire system — something conventional theory could not handle.
At the heart of Dr. Wilson’s work was an abstruse mathematical apparatus known as the renormalization group, which had been conceived by his thesis adviser, Dr. Gell-Mann, and Francis Low in 1951. They had pointed out that fundamental properties of particles and forces varied depending on the scale over which they are measured.
Dr. Wilson realized that such “scaling” was intrinsic to the problems in phase transitions. In a series of papers in the early 1970s, building on the work of Michael Fisher and Benjamin Widom at Cornell and Leo Kadanoff, then at the University of Illinois, he applied the renormalization idea to show how the critical phenomena could be solved by dividing the problem up into simpler pieces, so that what was happening at the melting point, for example, could be considered on one scale at a time.
The results showed that many seemingly unrelated systems — from magnets to liquids — could exhibit the same characteristic behavior as they approached the critical point. The concept proved to be of wide relevance in physics and was cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in presenting the Nobel.
Dr. Wilson went on to apply the same divide-and-conquer strategy to quantum field theory, the mathematical language that underlies the study of the most elementary particles and fundamental forces in nature. The theory was plagued by such vexing issues as infinities and other mathematical absurdities when physicists tried to calculate something like the mass of an electron. A method had been developed to work around these anomalies, but many physicists worried that they were just sweeping a fatal flaw in physics under the rug and that, in the words of Dr. Wilczek, “quantum field theory was doomed.”
Dr. Wilson’s new technique banished the infinities for good, putting the theory on a sounder footing. As the Caltech physicist John Preskill put it in a blog post, “Wilson changed that.”
Dr. Wilson’s ideas played a major role in the development of quantum chromodynamics, the branch of quantum theory that describes the behavior of quarks and the gluons that stick them together to form protons and neutrons. In 1974, in order to solve the equations of this theory numerically and gain a more precise understanding of this process, he invented a digitized version of the theory called lattice gauge theory, in which space is imagined as a kind of finely resolved jungle gym where every intersection of the bars represents a point in space-time.
Such computations required supercomputers, and Dr. Wilson was instrumental, his colleagues said, in establishing a national supercomputer center — one of five sponsored by the National Science Foundation — at Cornell.
In 1988, Dr. Wilson and his wife, Ms. Brown, moved to Ohio State University, where he helped found the Physics Education Research Group. Ms. Brown became the assistant director of a new supercomputer center.
They moved to Maine in 1995, drawn there in part by the kayaking. Dr. Wilson was associated with Ohio State until 2008, when he retired.
Ms. Brown said that Dr. Wilson’s health had begun to fail after he fell while hiking last year in the Southwest. Dr. Wilson liked to chew over physics problems as he walked.
Friends described him as a modest and informal man. At one conference in the 1960s he chose to camp out on the beach with graduate students, talking physics, rather than stay in a hotel with other faculty members.
“Ken was the most lacking in small talk of anyone I ever met,” Ms. Brown said. When he died, she sent an e-mail to friends, saying: “Ken died last evening. He always liked to do things quietly and without fuss, and that’s how he left us.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lorez Alexandria, Jazz and Gospel Singer

Lorez Alexandria (b. Dolorez Alexandria Turner, August 14, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois – d. May 22, 2001 in Los Angeles, California[1]) was an American jazz and gospel singer.
She began as a singer in churches in her teens, and spent 11 years as part of an a cappella choir. Turning to jazz, she worked the local Chicago club scene[2] before moving to Los Angeles in 1962 to further her career.
She remains best known for her album Alexandria the Great (Impulse! Records, 1964), which featured her in a variety of contexts ranging from big bands to small groups, including several tracks with the Wynton Kelly Trio.
Other musicians she recorded with included King Fleming, Ramsey Lewis, Howard McGhee, Gildo Mahones and Houston Person.


  • This is Lorez Alexandria (with the King Fleming Quartet) (King, 1957)
  • Lorez sings Prez (King, 1957)
  • Lorez sings the band swings (King, 1959)
  • Sings songs everyone knows (King, 1959)
  • Early in the morning (with Ramsey Lewis) (Argo, 1960)
  • Sing no sad songs for me (Argo, 1960)
  • Deep Roots (Argo, 1962)
  • For swingers only (Argo, 1963)
  • Alexandria the Great (Impulse, 1964)
  • More of the Great Lorez Alexandria (Impulse, 1964)
  • Didn't we (Pzazz)
  • From Broadway to Hollywood (Trio, 1977)
  • How will I remember you ? (with Gildo Mahones) (Discovery, 1978
  • A Woman Knows (Discovery, 1978)
  • The songs of Johnny Mercer (Discovery, 1980)
  • Harlem Butterfly (with Gildo Mahones) (Discovery, 1984)
  • Tangerine (with Gildo Mahones) (Trend, 1984)
  • My one and only love (Sony, 1986)
  • Dear to my heart (with Gildo Mahones) (Trend, 1987)
  • May I come in ? (Muse, 1990)
  • Star eyes (Muse, 1993)

Toshiko Akiyoshi, Japanese American Jazz Pianist

Toshiko Akiyoshi (秋吉 敏子 or 穐吉 敏子 Akiyoshi Toshiko?, born December 12, 1929)[1] is a Japanese American jazz pianist, composer/arranger and bandleader. Among a very few successful female instrumentalists of her generation in jazz, she is also recognized as a major figure in jazz composition. She has received 14 Grammy nominations, and she was the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in Down Beat magazine's Readers Poll. In 1984, she was the subject of a documentary film titled Jazz Is My Native Language. In 1996, she published her autobiography, Life With Jazz and in 2007 she was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.




Akiyoshi was born in Liaoyang, Manchuria to Japanese emigrants. She was the youngest of four sisters. In 1945, after World War II, Akiyoshi's family lost its home and returned to Japan, settling in Beppu.
Akiyoshi began to study piano at age seven. When she was 16, she took a job playing with a band in a local club. Beppu was crowded with US soldiers, and musicians were in high demand to provide entertainment. Akiyoshi had planned to attend medical school, but she loved playing piano; and since she was earning good money, her family did not object to her pursuing music.
A local record collector introduced Akiyoshi to jazz by playing a record of Teddy Wilson playing "Sweet Lorraine". Akiyoshi immediately loved the sound, and began to study jazz. In 1952, during a tour of Japan, pianist Oscar Peterson discovered Akiyoshi playing in a club on the Ginza. Peterson was impressed, and convinced producer Norman Granz to record Akiyoshi. In 1953, under Granz's direction, Akiyoshi recorded her first album with Peterson's rhythm section: Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and J. C. Heard on drums. The album was titled Toshiko's Piano, and has been reissued on CD in Japan.
In 1955, Akiyoshi wrote a letter to Lawrence Berk asking him to give her a chance to study at his school, Berklee College of Music. After a year of wrangling with the State Department and Japanese officials, Berk secured permission for Akiyoshi to study in Boston. He offered her a full scholarship, and he mailed her a plane ticket to Boston. In January 1956, Akiyoshi enrolled to become the first Japanese student at Berklee. (As of 2000, roughly 10% of Berklee's student body comprised Japanese students.[citation needed]) While in Boston, Akiyoshi studied with the music teachers Herb Pomeroy, Madame Chaloff, and Richard Bobbitt. The latter taught her about Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition, which influenced her approach to composition. On March 18, 1956, she became known to the entire country as a mystery guest on the popular television game show, What's My Line?.
Akiyoshi married saxophonist Charlie Mariano in 1959. The couple had a daughter, Michiru, now a musician who performs as Monday Michiru, in 1963, but divorced in 1967 after forming several bands together. That same year, she met saxophonist Lew Tabackin, whom she married in 1969. Akiyoshi, Tabackin and Michiru moved to Los Angeles in 1972. In March 1973, Akiyoshi and Tabackin formed a 16-piece big band composed of studio musicians. Akiyoshi composed and arranged music for the band, and Tabackin served as the band's featured soloist, on tenor saxophone and flute. The band recorded its first album, Kogun, in 1974. The title, which translates to "one-man army," was inspired by the tale of a Japanese soldier lost for 30 years in the jungle, who believed that World war II was still being fought and thus remained loyal to the Emperor. Kogun was commercially successful in Japan, and the band began to receive critical acclaim. By 1980, the Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band was considered[by whom?] one of the most important big bands in jazz.
The couple moved to New York City in 1982, where they promptly assembled a new big band (now called the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin). Akiyoshi toured with smaller bands to raise money for her big band. BMG continued to release her big band's recordings in Japan, but remained skeptical about releasing the music in the United States — since the 1950s, big band music has rarely achieved commercial success in the US. While Akiyoshi was able to release several albums in the US featuring her piano in solo and small combo settings, many of her later big band albums were released only in Japan and were available elsewhere only as imports. On Monday, December 29, 2003, her band played its final concert at Birdland in New York City, where it had enjoyed a regular Monday night gig for more than seven years. Akiyoshi explained that she disbanded the ensemble because she was frustrated by her inability to obtain US recording contracts for the big band. She also said that she wanted to concentrate on her piano playing, from which she had been distracted by years of composing and arranging. She has said that although she has rarely recorded as a solo pianist, that is her preferred format. On March 24, 2004, Warner Japan released the final recording of Akiyoshi's big band. Titled Last Live in Blue Note Tokyo, the CD was recorded on November 28 and 29, 2003 but she continues to perform and record as a pianist and occasional guest bandleader.
Akiyoshi lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her husband. Besides being musicians, they are both avid wine and cigar collectors.


Akiyoshi's music is distinctive for its textures and for its Japanese influence. When Duke Ellington died in 1974, Nat Hentoff wrote in The Village Voice about how Ellington's music reflected his African heritage. Upon reading this, Akiyoshi was inspired to investigate her own Japanese musical heritage. From that point on, she began composing with Japanese themes, Japanese harmonies, and even Japanese instruments (e.g. kotsuzumi, kakko, utai, tsugaru shamisen, etc.) Her music remained planted firmly in jazz, however, reflecting influences including those of Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Bud Powell. Akiyoshi has spoken of approaching her arrangements vertically, voicing each chord individually, which contrasts with the philosophy advocated by Herb Pomeroy, Bob Florence, and others, of writing phrases in a linear fashion. Akiyoshi often uses five-part harmony in her voicings, which yields a bigger sound from her horn section.
One reviewer of the live LP Road Time said the music on her big band albums demonstrates
"...a level of compositional and orchestral ingenuity that made her one of perhaps two or three composer-arrangers in jazz whose name could seriously be mentioned in the company of Duke Ellington, Eddie Sauter and Gil Evans."[2]
In 1999, Akiyoshi was approached by a Buddhist priest named Nakagawa. He asked her if she would consider writing a piece for his hometown, Hiroshima. He sent her some photos depicting the aftermath of the nuclear bombing. Her initial reaction was horror. She could not see how she could compose anything to address the event. Finally she found a picture of a young woman, emerging from an underground shelter with a faint smile on her face. Akiyoshi said that upon seeing this picture, she understood the message: hope. With that message in mind, she composed the three-part suite Hiroshima: Rising From the Abyss. The piece was premiered in Hiroshima on August 6, 2001, the 56th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. The Hiroshima suite was featured on a 2002 CD release bearing the same title, Hiroshima - Rising From The Abyss.


Since her debut recording for Norgran Records in 1954, Akiyoshi has recorded continuously – almost exclusively as a leader of small jazz combos and of her big bands – averaging one studio album release per year for well over 50 years. She has also recorded several live albums in solo, small combo and big band settings, including three big band concert videos. Akiyoshi has released multiple albums for Victor / BMG, Nippon Columbia, Toshiba, Discomate, Nippon Crown and other labels in Japan and for Norgran / Verve, RCA, Columbia / Sony, Concord and her own Ascent label in the US. All of her big band recordings and nearly all of her other early works have been re-issued on CDs over the years.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Down Beat magazine Reader's Poll winner:[5]
    • Big Band: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
    • Arranger: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, 1995
    • Composer: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986