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Send Your Bio for Lewis Porter's Encyclopedia

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Updated: September 23, 2004
The deadline for this project has come and gone. Please do not reply to this solicitation.

A CALL TO ALL JAZZ MUSICIANS TO BE INCLUDED IN A NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA EDITED BY LEWIS PORTER--I'M NOW ACCEPTING INFO THROUGH JANUARY 31st, 2003!!

Please send this to EVERY professional jazz artist on your mailing lists.

BASICALLY I NEED YOUR LATEST BIO, INCLUDING DISCOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND A BIT OF YOUR FAMILY HISTORY.

SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS--IF YOU CAN, WRITE UP YOUR OWN ENTRY SO YOU CAN HAVE FULL CONTROL OVER IT. OTHERWISE I'LL PUT IT TOGETHER FROM WHAT YOU SEND.

I *ALWAYS* ACKNOWLEDGE WHENEVER I RECEIVE AN EMAIL, BUT IT MAY TAKE ME A FEW DAYS. BE PATIENT PLEASE!! DO NOT KEEP SENDING IT!!

NOTE #1: I have info on many of you from various sources, but please respond directly so I can have the most accurate info, and to add the family background info requested below.

NOTE #2: PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY ATTACHMENTS LARGER THAN ABOUT 1MB--SNAIL MAIL THEM ON A DISK OR CD INSTEAD OR JUST SEND A PHOTO BY SNAIL MAIL!

I've signed a contract with Routledge to assemble an encyclopedia of currently active jazz musicians. My goals are:

  1. To include artists who are active in clubs and recording who are in Grove etc., as well as MANY HUNDREDS who aren't included in any other encyclopedia.
  2. To include artists from EVERY country.
  3. To allow the artists a great deal of control over their biography, so that they will feel that they have been represented in the best way.
  4. To include website and CONTACT information on every artist (whatever contact info the artist wants me to include), so that this will not only be useful to fans, but will help with gigs and bookings!
  5. To include photos of many artists, provided by the artists.
  6. To include several useful indexes.

SEND YOUR INFO ASAP (I want to have everything by January 31, 2003 if possible). HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO SEND TO ME:

Note: If you sent info to me a few years ago for a Baker's encyclopedia, see explanation under P.S. #1 below. EVEN IF YOU SENT ME YOUR INFO FOR BAKER'S, YOU MUST SEND IT AGAIN BECAUSE THE REQUIREMENTS ARE DIFFERENT FOR THIS BOOK, AND SO THAT THE INFO IS UP TO DATE.

  • Bios will be accepted BY EMAIL ONLY to Lrpjazz@aol.com, or on disk: if you don't have email, have a friend email it to me, or mail it to me on a disk or CD! I know that many of you have biographies on your websites, but I cannot visit thousands of sites to copy the info, so you must email it to me--thank you! In any case, you will need to add some of the info listed below.

  • Info will be accepted in ENGLISH only--I will include ALL countries, so if your English is not perfect, send it anyway and I will rewrite it.

  1. MOST IMPORTANT, OF COURSE, SEND YOUR BIOGRAPHY (make sure it says what instrument(s) you play, sing etc.)!!! You can send your current press bio and/or resume, and/or text from your website. IN ADDITION TO YOUR BIO you must also send the following info (if it's not included in your bio). I REPEAT, YOU MUST ABOVE ALL SEND YOUR BIOGRAPHY; PLEASE ADD THE FOLLOWING:
  2. Your exact birthdate and birthplace and full birth name (with middle name etc.)--most bios do not include this so please add it. If you didn't grow up where you were born, list where you mainly grew up.
  3. Parents' names, years of birth/death, place of birth--if either was a musician, say so.
  4. Siblings names, years of birth/death, place of birth--if any is a musician, say so.
  5. Give the names of any performers/schools/music teachers who you studied with, and what years you studied with them.
  6. List your spouse's and children's names if you wish, and if they are musicians say so. Give birth year for children; optional for spouses.
  7. List all your recordings, as leader and as sideperson (say who the leader was), with just the title and year of recording (not the year it was released) for each. For example, for Coltrane's own albums I would just list the title and year, for ex., A Love Supreme (1964); for his albums as a sideperson I will list the leader, for example, Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (1959).
  8. List radio and TV broadcasts (NPR, PBS, CBC, BBC, local cable, etc.), and any appearances in films and documentaries.
  9. List films and TV shows, etc., for which you have done soundtrack music, but where you don't appear on screen.
  10. If possible, list unissued recordings and films/videos of yourself. You may do this in condensed form; for ex., “1974-6; about 20 hours of private tapes from NYC loft concerts."
  11. List all magazine and newspaper articles about you (interviews and profiles; not reviews), and all book chapters and books and graduate student dissertations about you.
  12. List awards you have won.
  13. List all websites that contain interviews or profiles of you.
  14. List whatever contact info you wish the public to have: your website(s), email address, phone and fax numbers, and/or mailing address, etc. List only the ones that you would like to be in the book.
  15. FINALLY, if you have a photo of yourself that you would like me to consider including, mail it (as a photo, or on a disk or CD) or email it to me. ONLY email it if is one megabyte or smaller please! If you use email, or if you mail it on a disk or CD, use JPEG (or TIFF) and ideally it should be at least 300 DPI at full size--at least 4 X 5 inches (otherwise, it will reproduce like a postage stamp!). But just send what you have--the publisher will get back to you if they decide to use it and if they need a different format. If it is necessary to credit the photographer please tell me who to credit. By your sending me the photo, I assume I have your permission to print it in the book. If the photographer's permission is also needed, or a fee must be paid to the photographer, let me know, but in that case I probably won't be able to use it.

NOTE: The best method for text is to simply paste all info into the email itself. If you are sending several attachments, they will come through better if you send several emails with ONE attachment per email. Please DO NOT attach info that is already in the email--I can get it from the email. I can use Zip, Stuffit, etc. and most Mac and PC formats. Also, PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY ATTACHMENTS LARGER THAN ABOUT 1MB--MAIL THEM ON A DISK OR CD INSTEAD OR JUST SEND A PHOTO!

SAVE YOUR RESPONSES in case my hard drive and backups somehow get screwed up!

AS A SAMPLE, at the end of this email is an entry on myself that I will probably include in the book.

ONCE I GET YOUR EMAIL(S), I will edit it and add information from my files. I WILL EMAIL IT BACK TO YOU IN 2003 (probably before May) for you to give it a final check, update, etc.--so you will have a final say on your entry! Please note that I do reserve the right to decide who will be included. Also, it is possible that the publisher will make some cuts. But my agreement with them at present is to include as many people as possible. The book should be out around the summer of 2004. It will be an expensive book and the publisher will NOT give out free books to the thousands of musicians who will be included, I'm sorry to say.

Thanks for helping me to do the best job on your biography!

Lewis Porter (Lrpjazz@aol.com)


I AM MOVING AROUND JAN. 15--DO NOT USE THE INFO BELOW AFTER JAN. 10 TO BE SAFE--EMAIL ME FOR NEW ADDRESS--EMAIL WILL NOT CHANGE:


531 Weaver St.
Larchmont, NY 10538
Phone: 914-834-6333 Fax (automatic): 914-834-6333,**,**,**,**,**,*,* Fax (manual): After we or the answering machine pick up, keep hitting your star * button manually; then hit “start" after my fax responds.

P.S. #1. ABOUT BAKER'S:

Some of you know that about four years ago I had a contract with Schirmer books to compile the first Baker's jazz encyclopedia. I collected info from many musicians, and included research from my files on many artists. But when Schirmer was sold in early 2000, the new owner, Gale, decided not to do a jazz encyclopedia. Instead they used only about 1000 of my 4,000-plus entries in a new six-volume Baker's encyclopedia of all types of music (including their authoritative classical biographies edited by the late Slonimsky.) So, my apologies to those who sent me info and didn't get into Baker's, but this time it appears that everything will be fine!



P.S. #2. HERE IS THE SAMPLE ENTRY FOR YOU TO USE AS A MODEL:

Please note, the name Robert in parentheses indicates that my middle name is Robert, but that I don't use it professionally:

Porter, Lewis (Robert), pianist, educator, author; b. Scranton, PA, May 14, 1951. While he was an infant his family moved to Minn., MN, and then to North Decatur, GA (his parents divorced there in 1955). In Feb. 1958 his mother (born Carol Reiss, 1924) and two brothers (Spence, b. 1948; Gilbert, b. 1953) moved to the Bronx, in NYC, where they remained. His father, Arthur Portnoff (1924-2000) changed the family name to Porter ca. 1952. Lewis had violin lessons from about age 10-12, then taught himself piano, becoming dedicated to jazz from about the age of 14, and eventually obtaining one year of lessons at the Eastman School of Music while in college at the University of Rochester (BA in psychology, 1972), where he also played in a combo class led by Chuck Mangione and began performing gigs on campus. He took a second year of lessons with classical recitalist Vivian Taylor while he was teaching part-time at Tufts University (he was the first faculty director of its student-led jazz band and directed a major jazz festival there in the early 1980s) and completing his MA in Music Theory there (1977-79) under his mentor, composer T.J. Anderson. He also earned an M.Ed. in Counseling at Northeastern U. in 1976. He received a PhD in Musicology from Brandeis University in 1983, having founded the jazz ensemble there while he continued to teach, now full-time, at Tufts, before moving in the fall of 1986 to Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, where he has remained. In the mid-90s he studied piano for a third year, with Andy LaVerne. He also had about six months of training each on saxophone and later with Keith Copeland on drums, performing extensively on the saxophone between about 1974 and 1994, and a few voice lessons (he sometimes scats in concert).



Dr. Porter founded the Master's program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers-Newark in the fall of 1997. Well known as an author and scholar, in 2002 he began editing a series of books on jazz for the University of Michigan press. He continues to advise other publishers about books they are considering. He was one of five people nominated for a Grammy in 1996 for their role in producing the boxed set of Coltrane's Atlantic Recordings (under Best Historical Reissue). Other awards include a New Jersey Governor's Fellowship in the Humanities, 1989-1990; a New Jersey Department of Higher Education Grant to teach college jazz educators, summer 1988, Rutgers-Newark; and a Massachusetts Council On The Arts and Humanities Grant to teach high school jazz educators, summer 1985, Tufts U. He was a coauthor with Chris Rich on two Massachusetts Council On The Arts and Humanities grants to commision new works from Ornette Coleman (1987) and Butch Morris (1988) through Tufts University.



He has remained active as a pianist, and, increasingly, as a composer. He has performed in a variety of styles, with Dan Faulk, Kenny Wessel, Harvie Swartz, Don Friedman, Yoron Israel, Alan Dawson, Gregg Bendian, in solo “classical improvisation" recitals, with the Indian Jazz Ensemble (which he founded in order to perform with four faculty members of the Ali Akbar Khan school in San Francisco, 1973), and others. He has spoken and performed at colleges (Berklee, North Texas, many others), jazz clubs (Birdland, Knitting Factory, others), and radio stations in the U.S., Denmark, Italy, Germany, and England. His first CD, Second Voyage, was issued on the Swiss label Altrisuoni in 2002.

RECORDINGS, BROADCASTS, AND FILMS:

  • Second Voyage, with guest Dave Liebman (2000); Matt Glaser: Play, Fiddle, Play (1986).
  • About 30 unissued tapes and three videotapes of performances from ca. 1970 on, with George Garzone, David Kikoski, Gerry Hemingway, Tom Varner, Jimmy Lyons, Alan Dawson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Cohn, Don Friedman, Herb Pomeroy, Frank Lowe, Butch Morris, Herb Pomeroy, and others.
  • Live radio performances on WBRS-FM (Brandeis U.; ca. 1983), WNYC-FM (Manhattan; 1995) and WBGO-FM (Newark, NJ; 2002).
  • Numerous radio interviews across the U.S. and in England and Denmark; numerous interview segments as part of radio documentaries in the U.S. (NPR, All Things Considered, Jazz Profiles, etc.) and England (BBC).
  • Interviews on several New Jersey TV stations and on BET TV.

BIBLIOGRAPHY / Works by Porter

  • Jazz: A Century of Change (anthology, plus new essays; Schirmer,1997)
  • John Coltrane: His Life and Music (winner of 1999 Jazz Research Award from the Association of Recorded Sound Collections; U of Michigan Press, 1998)
  • Jazz: From Its Origins to the Present, by Porter and Michael Ullman, with Ed Hazell (Prentice-Hall, 1992; was briefly available on CD-ROM)
  • A Lester Young Reader (anthology edited by Porter; Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991)
  • Lester Young (Twayne, 1985; reprinted U of Michigan, 2003)
  • John Coltrane: A Discography and Musical Biography, by Yasuhiro Fujioka with Lewis Porter and Yoh-Ichi Hamada (Scarecrow Press, 1995)
  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (includes about 1000 short biographies by Porter; Gale Publications, 2000)
  • New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (includes 15 articles by Porter; MacMillan, 2001)
  • “The 'Blues Connotation' in Ornette Coleman's Music

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