Manny Albam

Manny Albam

born on 24/6/1922 in Samaná, Cibao, Dominican Republic

died on 2/10/2001 in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, United States

Manny Albam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Manny Albam (June 24, 1922 in Samana, Dominican Republic[1] – October 2, 2001 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, United States) was a jazz baritone saxophone player who eventually became a composer, arranger, producer, and educator.[2] He was well known for his association with United Artists-Solid State Records.


Early life and musical education

The son of Lithuanian immigrants, who was born in the Dominican Republic when his mother went into labour en route to the United States, Albam grew up in New York City.[3] He became interested in jazz on hearing Bix Beiderbecke and at sixteen dropped out of school to play for Dixieland trumpeter-leader Muggsy Spanier, but it was his membership in a group led by Georgie Auld that turned Albam's career around.

Albam's early career as an arranger

The Auld group included saxophonist Budd Johnson, then a primary arranger for the group, and Johnson mentored Albam as an arranger. By 1950, Albam had put down his baritone sax and began to concentrate strictly on arranging, writing, and leading. Within a few years, he became known for a bebop-oriented style that emphasised taut and witty writing with a flair for distinctive shadings(Flute-led reed sections became something of an Albam trademark). One of his most popular works from that era was an Afro-Latin composition he did for the Stan Kenton Innovations Orchestra entitled Samana, named after his birthplace in the Dominican Republic.[4]

He became known for his work for bandleaders Charlie Barnet and Charlie Spivak, before moving forward to collaborate with jazzmen as varied as Count Basie, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer (who frequently appeared on Albam's own albums as a leader), Coleman Hawkins (particularly the tenor saxophone pioneer's late-life but spry recording of "I Love Paris"), Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Jones, Mel Lewis, Art Farmer, Urbie Green, and Milt Hinton, among others, on their recordings and on his own recordings as a leader for several labels.

West Side Story and working for RCA-Solid State Records

Albam also found an entree into the classical music world when he arranged Leonard Bernstein's score for West Side Story in 1957. The work earned Albam a Grammy Nomination in 1959. Bernstein was said to have been so impressed that he invited Albam to write for the New York Philharmonic itself, an invitation, according to, that led Albam to study classical music for a time and, in due course, write such works as Concerto for Trombone and Strings.

By 1964, Albam became musical director for United Artists-Solid State Records; his jazz suite The Soul of the City was released on that label two years later. Following that, Albam turned increasingly to teaching, a pursuit he continued until his death of cancer in 2001.[5]

He also did the score for a few films and television programs; a song of his was included in Waking the Dead.[6]

Among the Albam recordings that remain available for listeners today are The Blues is Everybody's Business, The Drum Suite, The Jazz Workshop, Jazz New York, and Something New, Something Blue.

Manny Albam as educator

With the encouragement of close friend Rayburn Wright, Albam started teaching summer workshops at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York in 1964. He later joined the faculties of Glassboro State College in New Jersey and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. In 1988, he helped establish the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop to foster young composers and arrangers. In 1991 he eventually took over as director from Bob Brookmeyer. He has as long list of former students throughout the music industry and in higher education.


As artist

  • 1951 : Stan Kenton: Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol)
  • 1955 : Jazz Workshop (RCA Victor) with Nick Travis, Joe Newman, Thad Jones, Urbie Green, Bob Brookmeyer, Hal McKusick, Al Cohn, Sol Schlinger, Milt Hinton
  • 1956 : The Drum Suite (RCA Victor) with Ernie Wilkins
  • 1957 : The Jazz Greats of Our Time, Vol. 1 (MCA) with Gerry Mulligan, Bob Brookmeyer, Art Farmer, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims
  • 1957 : With All My Love (Mercury)
  • 1957 : Jazz Heritage : Jazz Greats of Our Time, Vol. 2 (Coral)
  • 1957 : The Blues is Everybody's Business (Coral) with Bernie Glow, Phil Woods, Gene Quill, Eddie Costa, Nat Pierce, Billy Bauer
  • 1957 : West Side Story (Coral)
  • 1958 : Sophisticated Lady – The Songs of Duke Ellington (Coral)
  • 1958 : Down Beat Jazz Concert (Fresh Sound)
  • 1958 : Jazz New York (Dot) with Donald Byrd, Frank Rehak, Jerome Richardson, Bill Evans, Dick Katz, Addison Farmer, Osie Johnson, Ed Shaughnessy
  • 1958 : Steve Allen's songs (Dot)
  • 1959 : Something New, Something Blue (Columbia)
  • 1959 : Drum Feast (United)
  • 1960 : Double Exposures (Top Rank)
  • 1961 : Manny Albam and his Orchestra (RCA)
  • 1961 : I Had the Craziest Dream (RCA)
  • 1962 : Jazz Goes to the Movies (Impulse!)
  • 1966 : Brass on Fire (Solid State)
  • 1966 : Introducing the Passion Guitars (Solid State) with Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Barry Galbraith, Don Arnone and Howie Collins
  • 1966 : The Soul of the City (Solid State)
  • 1974 : Max Morath - Irving Berlin: The Ragtime Years (Vanguard)
  • 1975 : West Coast Delivery (MCA Coral)
  • 1985 : Bud Shank Plays, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Mole Jazz)
  • 1993 : American Jazz Philharmonic (GRP)
  • 1996 : Celebrating Sinatra (Blue Note)
  • 1997 : Hank Jones and the Meridian String Quartet (Delta Records)
  • 1999 : If You Could See Us Now (Koch Jazz)
  • 2001 : The Volcanic plus Latin Fire (Fresh Sound)
  • 2004 : Jazz Greats of Our Time: Manny Albam's Complete Recordings (Lonehill Jazz Spain)
  • 2008 : Al Cohn and His Charlie's Tavern Ensemble (Fresh Sounds Spain)

As arranger

With Count Basie

  • Dance Session Album #2 (Clef, 1954)
  • Basie (Clef, 1954)

With Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band

  • Latin Kaleidoscope (MPS, 1968)

With Al Cohn

  • Mr. Music (RCA Victor, 1955)
  • The Natural Seven (RCA Victor, 1955)
  • That Old Feeling (RCA Victor, 1955)
  • Four Brass One Tenor (RCA Victor, 1955)

With Jose Feliciano

  • Jose Feliciano Sings (RCA, 1972)

With Curtis Fuller

  • Cabin in the Sky (Impulse!, 1962)

With Freddie Green

  • Mr. Rhythm (RCA Victor, 1955)

With Coleman Hawkins

  • The Hawk in Paris (Vek, 1956) - also conductor
  • Desafinado (Impulse!, 1962)

With Groove Holmes

  • New Groove (Groove Merchant, 1974)

With O'Donel Levy

  • Breeding of Mind (Groove Merchant, 1972) - also conductor
  • Dawn of a New Day (Groove Merchant, 1973) - also conductor
  • Simba (Groove Merchant, 1974) - also composer

With Jimmy McGriff

  • The Big Band (Solid State, 1966)
  • A Bag Full of Blues (Solid State, 1967) – composer

With Joe Newman

  • Salute to Satch (RCA Victor, 1956)
  • I Feel Like a Newman (Storyville, 1956)

With Freda Payne

  • After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!! (Impulse!, 1964)

With Oscar Peterson

  • With Respect to Nat (Verve, 1965)

With Buddy Rich

  • The Roar of '74 (RCA, 1974)

With Zoot Sims

  • New Beat Bossa Nova (Colpix, 1962)

With Dakota Staton

  • I Want a Country Man (Groove Merchant, 1973) - also conductor

With Dionne Warwick

  • Dionne Warwick in Valley of the Dolls (Scepter, 1968)

See also

  • List of Jazz Arrangers


  1. ^ Strunk, Steven; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "Albam, Manny". In Barry Kernfeld. The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 24. ISBN 1561592846. 
  2. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 6. ISBN 0-141-00646-3. 
  3. ^ Down Beat Profile
  4. ^ Sparke, Michael. Stan Kenton: This is an Orchestra. UNT Press, 2010. page 91
  5. ^ All Music
  6. ^ IMDB

External links

  • Manny Albam discography at Discogs
  • Manny Albam on IMDb
  • Manny Albam at AllMusic
  • Manny Albam discography at MusicBrainz
  • Manny Albam at BBC Music
  • Manny Albam at Rate Your Music
  • Manny Albam Interview NAMM Oral History Library (1997)
This page was last modified 10.09.2018 23:35:59

This article uses material from the article Manny Albam from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.