04 January, 2013

Josef Sieber

Josef Sieber was a German film actor.

Paul Bley

Hyman Paul Bley was a Canadian pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing and his early live performance on the Moog and Arp audio synthesizers. Bley was a long-time resident of the United States. His music has been described by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times as "deeply original and aesthetically aggressive." Bley's prolific output includes influential recordings from the 1950s through to his solo piano records of the 2000s.

Bley was born in Montreal, Quebec, on November 10, 1932. His adoptive parents were Betty Marcovitch, an immigrant from Romania, and Joe Bley, owner of an embroidery factory. However, in 1993 a relative from the New York branch of the Bley family walked into Sweet Basil in NYC and informed him that his father was actually his biological parent. At age five Bley studied violin, but at age seven he decided to switch to the piano. By eleven he received a junior diploma from the McGill Conservatory in Montreal. At thirteen he formed a band which played at summer resorts in Ste. Agathe, Quebec. As a teenager he played with touring American bands, including Al Cowan's Tramp Band. In 1949, when Bley was starting his senior year of high school, Oscar Peterson asked Bley to fulfill his contract at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal. The next year Bley left Montreal for New York City and Juilliard.

In 1951, on a return trip to Montreal, Bley organized the Jazz Workshop with a group of Montreal musicians. In 1953 Bley invited the bebop alto saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker to the Jazz Workshop, where he played and recorded with him. When Bley returned to New York City he hired Jackie McLean, Al Levitt and Doug Watkins to play an extended gig at the Copa City on Long Island. In 1953 the Shaw Agency booked Bley and his trio to tour with Lester Young, billed as "Lester Young and the Paul Bley Trio" in ads. He also performed with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster at that time. He then conducted for bassist Charles Mingus on the Charles Mingus and His Orchestra album. Additionally, in 1953, Mingus produced the Introducing Paul Bley album for his label, Debut Records with Mingus on bass and drummer Art Blakey.
In 1954 Bley received a call from Chet Baker inviting him to play opposite Baker's quintet at Jazz City in Hollywood, California for the month of March. This was followed by a tour with singer Dakota Staton.

Down Beat Magazine interviewed Bley for its July 13, 1955 issue. The prescient title of the article read, "PAUL BLEY, Jazz Is Just About Ready For Another Revolution." The article, reprinted in Down Beat's 50th Anniversary edition, quoted Bley as saying, "I'd like to write longer forms, I'd like to write music without a chordal center."
Bley's trio with Hal Gaylor and Lennie McBrowne toured across the US in 1956, including a club in Juarez. Mexico. The tour culminated with an invitation to play a 1956 New Year's Eve gig at Lucile Ball and Desi Arnez's home in Palm Springs. During the evening, Bley collapsed on the bandstand with a bleeding ulcer and Lucy immediately took him to the Palm Springs hospital where she proceeded to pay for all of his medical care. Bley, who had met Karen Borg while she was working as a cigarette girl at Birdland in NYC, married her after she came out to meet him in Los Angeles, where she became Carla Bley.

In 1957 Bley stayed in Los Angeles where he had the house band at the Hillcrest Club. By 1958 the original band, with vibe player, Dave Pike, evolved into a quintet with Bley hiring young avant garde musicians trumpet player Don Cherry, alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins.

In the early 1960s Bley was part of "The Jimmy Giuffre 3," with Giuffre on reeds, and Steve
Swallow on bass. Its repertoire included compositions by Giuffre, Bley and his now ex-wife, composer Carla Bley. The group's music moved towards chamber jazz and free jazz. The 1961 European tour of The Giuffre 3 shocked a public expecting Bebop, however the many recordings released from this tour have proven to be classics of free jazz. During the same period, Bley was touring and recording with tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, which culminated with the RCA Victor album Sonny Meets Hawk! with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Bley's solo on "All The Things You Are" from this album has been called "the shot heard around the world" by Pat Metheny.

In 1964 Bley was instrumental in the formation of the Jazz Composers Guild, a co-operative organization which brought together many free jazz musicians in New York: Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Carla Bley, Michael Mantler, Sun Ra, and others. The guild organized weekly concerts and created a forum for the "October Revolution" of 1964.
In the late 1960s, Bley pioneered the use of the Arp and Moog synthesizers, performing live before an audience for the first time at Philharmonic Hall in New York City on December 26, 1969. This "Bley-Peacock Synthesizer Show" performance, a group with singer/composer Annette Peacock, who had written much of his personal repertoire since 1964, was followed by her playing on the recordings Dual Unity (credited to "Annette & Paul Bley") and Improvisie. The latter was a French release of two extended improvisational tracks with Bley on synthesizers, Peacock's voice and keyboards, and percussion by Dutch free jazz drummer Han Bennink, who had also appeared on part of Dual Unity.

In 1972 Manfred Eicher released Bley's first solo piano recording, Open, to Love, on ECM Records..Bley also released the trio album, Paul Bley & Scorpio for Milestone Records in 1972 on which he plays two electric pianos and Arp synthesizer. In 1974, Bley and video artist, Carol Goss, his second wife, founded the production company Improvising Artists. The label issued Jaco, the debut recording of Pat Metheny on electric guitar and Jaco Pastorius on electric bass, with Bley on electric piano and Bruce Ditmas on drums. Other IAI records and videos include Jimmy Giuffre, Lee Konitz, Dave Holland, Marion Brown, Gunter Hampel, Lester Bowie, Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, Perry Robinson, Nana Vasconcelos, John Gilmore, two solo piano records by Sun Ra, and others. Bley and Goss are credited in a Billboard cover story with the first commercial "music video".

Bley was featured in Ron Mann's 1981 documentary film Imagine the Sound, in which he performs and discusses the evolution of free jazz and his music. Bley began to record for multiple labels in the 1980s in many different formats including: solo piano albums: Tears for Owl Records, Tango Palace for Soulnote, PAUL BLEY SOLO for Justin Time Records, Blues for Red for Red Records; duo recording, Diane, with Chet Baker for Steeplechase; The Montreal Tapes with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian for Verve, Fragments with John Surman, Bill Frisell, and Paul Motian for ECM and three new recordings with Jimmy Giuffre and Steve Swallow for Owl Records, and numerous other recordings.

Bley continued to tour in Europe, Japan, South America and the US recording prolifically as a soloist and with a wide range of ensembles. In 1993 the Montreal International Jazz Festival produced a Paul Bley Homage concert series of four nights. In some years he recorded more than eight albums. Notably, Bley revisited the synthesizer in a record for Postcards, titled Synthesis.
During this time, Bley also became a part time faculty member of the New England Music Conservatory, where he taught musicians, Satoko Fujii and Yitzhak Yedid. He would travel to Boston for one day a month, ostensibly to have lobster, often meeting with students in coffee shops as he considered that they already know how to play, but needed guidance in life. The American television network, Bravo, and the French Network, Arte, co-produced a one hour biography of Paul Bley in 1998. Bley's autobiography was published in 1999 (Stopping Time: Paul Bley and the Transformation of Jazz)

In 2001 the National Archives of Canada acquired Bley's archives. In 2003 a book based on Bley interviews by musicologist, Norman Meehan (Time Will Tell) was published. It was an in depth discussion of the process of improvisation. In 2008, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[16] In 2009 the book Paul Bley: The Logic of Chance, written in Italian by jazz pianist Arrigo Cappelletti and translated into English by jazz pianist, Greg Burk, was published. In addition to touring solo in the US and Europe, Bley released several solo piano recordings in this decade, including Basics, Nothing to Declare and About Time for Justin Time Records and Solo in Mondsee and Play Blue - Oslo Concert for ECM Records. Paul Bley's last public performances were in 2010 playing a solo piano concert at the La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris, followed by a duo with Charlie Haden at BlueNote in New York City during a full moon. Paul Bley died on January 3, 2016, at home in Stuart, Florida, at the age of 83.

Jerry Bock

Jerrold Lewis "Jerry" Bock was an American musical theater composer. He received the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Sheldon Harnick for their 1959 musical Fiorello! and the Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist for the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof with Sheldon Harnick.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Flushing, Queens, New York, Bock studied the piano as a child. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he wrote the musical Big As Life, which toured the state and enjoyed a run in Chicago. After graduation, he spent three summers at the Tamiment Playhouse in the Poconos and wrote for early television revues with lyricist Larry Holofcener.

Bock made his Broadway debut in 1955 when he and Lawrence Holofcener contributed songs to Catch a Star. The following year the duo collaborated on the musical Mr. Wonderful, designed for Sammy Davis, Jr., after which they worked on Ziegfeld Follies of 1956, which closed out-of-town.
Shortly after, Bock met lyricist Sheldon Harnick, with whom he forged a successful partnership. Although their first joint venture, The Body Beautiful, failed to charm the critics, its score caught the attention of director George Abbott and producer Hal Prince. They hired the team to compose a musical biography of former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Fiorello! (1959) went on to win them both the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Bock's additional collaborations with Harnick include Tenderloin (1960), Man in the Moon (1963), She Loves Me (1963), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), The Apple Tree (1966), and The Rothschilds (1970), as well as contributions to Never Too Late (1962), Baker Street (1965), Her First Roman (1968), and The Madwoman of Central Park West (1979). Fiddler on the Roof included the hit song "If I Were a Rich Man".
Established in 1997, the Jerry Bock Award for Excellence in Musical Theater is an annual grant presented to the composer and lyricist of a project developed in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

Bock spoke at the funeral of 98-year-old Fiddler playwright Joseph Stein just 10 days before his own death, from heart failure at the age of 81, four weeks before his 82nd birthday.

Arnoldo Foà

Arnoldo Foà was an Italian film actor. He appeared in more than 130 films between 1938 and 2014.

Foà was born in Ferrara, Italy. Foà completed high school in Florence, where he moved with his family, and studied at the acting school of Rasi. He abandoned his studies in economics and at age 20 moved to Rome, where he attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.

Foà died on January 11, 2014 from respiratory failure, just 13 days short of his 98th birthday.

C. Aubrey Smith

Sir Charles Aubrey Smith CBE, was an England Test cricketer who became a stage and film actor.

Smith was born in London, England, to C. J. Smith, a medical doctor, and Sarah Ann. Smith was educated at Charterhouse School and St John's College, Cambridge. He settled in South Africa to prospect for gold in 1888–89. While there he developed pneumonia and was wrongly pronounced dead by doctors. He married Isabella Wood in 1896.

As a cricketer, Smith was primarily a right arm fast bowler, though he was also a useful right-hand lower-order batsman and a good slip fielder. He is widely regarded as one of the best bowlers to play the game. His oddly curved bowling run-up, which started from deep mid-off, earned him the nickname "Round the Corner Smith". When he bowled round the wicket his approach was concealed from the batsman by the umpire until he emerged, leading W. G. Grace to comment "it is rather startling when he suddenly appears at the bowling crease." He played for Cambridge University (1882–85) and for Sussex at various times from 1882 to 1892. While in South Africa he captained the Johannesburg English XI. He captained England to victory in his only Test match, against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1888-89, taking five wickets for nineteen runs in the first innings. The English team who played were by no means representative of the best players of the time and nobody at the time realized that the match would enter the cricket records as an official Test match.

In 1932, he founded the Hollywood Cricket Club and created a pitch with imported English grass. He attracted fellow expatriates such as David Niven, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Bruce, Leslie Howard and Boris Karloff to the club as well as local American players. Smith's stereotypical Englishness spawned several amusing anecdotes: while fielding at slip for the Hollywood Club, he dropped a difficult catch and ordered his English butler to fetch his spectacles; they were brought on to the field on a silver platter. The next ball looped gently to slip, to present the kind of catch that "a child would take at midnight with no moon." Smith dropped it and, snatching off his lenses, commented, "Damned fool brought my reading glasses." Decades after his cricket career had ended, when he had long been a famous face in films, Smith was spotted in the pavilion on a visit to Lord's. "That man over there seems familiar", remarked one member to another. "Yes", said the second, seemingly oblivious to his Hollywood fame, "Chap called Smith. Used to play for Sussex."

Smith began acting on the London stage in 1895. His first major role was in The Prisoner of Zenda the following year, playing the dual lead roles of king and look-alike. Forty-one years later, he appeared in the most acclaimed film version of the novel, this time as the wise old advisor. When Raymond Massey asked him to help him understand the role of Black Michael, he answered "My dear Ray, in my time I have played every part in The Prisoner of Zenda except Princess Flavia. And I always had trouble with Black Michael!" He made his Broadway debut as early as 1895 in The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith. In 1907 he appeared with Marie Doro in The Morals of Marcus, a play Doro later made into a silent film. Smith later appeared in a revival of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion in the starring role of Henry Higgins.

Smith appeared in early films for the nascent British film industry, starring in The Bump in 1920 Smith later went to Hollywood where he had a successful career as a character actor playing either officer or gentleman roles. He was also regarded as being the unofficial leader of the British film industry colony in Hollywood, which Sheridan Morley characterized as the Hollywood Raj, a select group of British actors who were seen to be colonizing the capital of the film business in the 1930s. Other film stars considered to be "members" of this select group were David Niven, Ronald Colman, Rex Harrison, Robert Coote, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Leslie Howard, and Patric Knowles.

Fiercely patriotic, Smith became openly critical of the British actors of enlistment age who did not return to fight after the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Smith loved playing on his status as Hollywood's "Englishman in Residence". His bushy eyebrows, beady eyes, handlebar moustache, and height of 6'4" made him one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.

Smith died from pneumonia in Beverly Hills in 1948, aged 85. His body was cremated and nine months later, in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were returned to his native UK and interred in his mother's grave at St Leonard's churchyard in Hove, Sussex.

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad is a Swedish business magnate and philanthropist. He is the founder of IKEA a retail company.

Roald Amundsen

Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the Antarctic expedition to discover the South Pole in December 1911 and he was the first expedition leader to reach the North Pole in 1926.