Ron Carter (b. 1937) is an American jazz double-bassist who has performed on more than 2,500 albums, which makes him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history. Artists with whom he has recorded include Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Bill Joel. Carter was elected to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Michigan native is also an acclaimed cellist. He started to play cello at the age of 10, but ran into difficulties in Detroit regarding the racial stereotyping of classical musicians and instead moved to bass. He came to Rochester to study at the Eastman School of Music, where he played with the Eastman Philharmonia and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1959. He went on to earn a master’s degree in double bass performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
Carter came to fame via the second great Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960s. He contributed three compositions to Davis’s “Seven Steps to Heaven” album. Carter was for several years a mainstay of CTI Records, making albums under his own name and also appearing on many of the label’s records with a diverse range of other musicians. Notable musical partnerships in the ’70s and ’80s included Joe Henderson, Houston Person, Hank Jones, and Cedar Walton. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. In 1986, Carter played acoustic bass on “Big Man on Mulberry Street” on Billy Joel‘s album “The Bridge.”
He appears on the alternative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest‘s influential album “The Low End Theory” and on the Red Hot Organization‘s compilation album, “Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool.” The album, intended to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African-American community, was heralded as “Album of the Year” by TIME.
Carter made a notable appearance in Robert Altman‘s 1996 film, Kansas City. The end credits feature a duet by Carter and fellow bassist Christian McBride on “Solitude.” He also has been a member of the music faculty at The City College of New York and Juilliard School and received an honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music in Spring 2005. He sits on the Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Foundation of America as well as the Honorary Founder’s Committee.
Henry Juszkiewicz (b. 1953) is chairman and CEO of The Gibson Guitar Corporation, which he acquired in 1986 with his business partners. He has taken the iconic American instrument company, which is headquartered in Nashville, far beyond its expected destiny. He is credited with saving the 121-year-old company, which has rebounded under his leadership from its lowest point with 70 employees to its current workforce of more than 1,200 — with all guitars made in the United States.
Juszkiewicz grew up in Rochester, graduated from Bishop Kearney High School, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute and an MBA from Harvard University.
With a passion for music and superior academic skills, he worked his way through school playing guitar — a Gibson, of course — in various rock bands playing for parties and weddings.
After a successful career in the auto industry and working with mergers and acquisitions, he purchased the struggling Gibson guitar operation when he was 33-years-old. Juszkiewicz’s aggressive management style resulted in an immediate turnaround, and Gibson became profitable within a month’s time.
With creative and innovative marketing tactics he concentrated on the consumer rather than the retailer — a reflection of his personal experience as a guitar player. Refocusing the company on achieving the highest possible standards of quality and customer service, he drove Gibson from the brink of closing to a company that has regained worldwide respect with annual average growth of 20 percent over the last decade. ??
Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Juszkiewicz began fulfilling his vision of Gibson as a full-line, global musical instrument company by acquiring other instrument companies and establishing a Gibson-owned European distribution center with joint-venture distributors.
He dedicated a standalone division to R&D, resulting in the introduction of the world’s first digital guitar and the Gibson Robot Guitar, both of which represent the biggest advance in guitar technology since the invention of the electric guitar more than 70 years ago. He continues to expand the company worldwide with new consumer electronics accessories, the acquisition of the Wurlitzer Jukebox company.
Juszkiewicz is a board member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Rainforest Alliance, and the We Are Family Foundation. He is a co- founder of Music Rising, a campaign to help aid musicians, schools and churches of the Gulf Coast, and also supports organizations that provide music therapy for children with disabilities.
Gap’s younger brother is Grammy-winning flugelhornist Chuck Mangione (“Feels So Good”) who was inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame at the 2012 ceremony. Members of a music-loving family, both Gap and Chuck took up instruments as children and 1958 they started performing together as the Jazz Brothers, eventually recording three albums.
During his college days at Syracuse University, Gap was house pianist at the 1,200-seat Three Rivers Inn Theater Restaurant and played in big bands accompanying the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Nat King Cole.
Gap released his first solo album in 1968, featuring drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Tony Levin in their first recordings, and new compositions and arrangements by Chuck Mangione, who conducted as well. Gap can be heard on 10 recordings with Chuck Mangione. From 1972 through 1982, Gap toured the United States, also performing in Mexico, Canada and Europe. He also regularly has appeared as featured guest artist on Chuck Mangione’s orchestra tours and recordings.
In the 1980s, Mangione began to spend more time playing in and around Rochester. He formed in 1990 the Gap Mangione New Big Band, which remains the premier dance and concert big band in the Rochester area. The 14-piece New Big Band has released several CDs.
Along the way, Gap recorded and released the album “The Boys From Rochester“ with Chuck and Steve Gadd and his jazz quintet opened for and accompanied Dizzy Gillespie in concert, by personal invite from Dizzy.
A six-part television series, “Gap’s Generation,” hosted by Gap Mangione was released and syndicated on PBS. Gap and Chuck came together for the 25th Anniversary Reunion Tour of The Jazz Brothers, which traveled coast to coast. Videotaped highlights of the tour were featured nationally on CBS News Sunday Morning. The Danny DeVito movie The Ratings Game included Gap’s playing of his composition “She & I” and other recorded performances.
Gap received the Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester in 2004. He has been a guest soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest and plays at the Blue Note and Knickerbocker jazz clubs in New York City.
William Caesar Warfield (1920–2002) was an internationally acclaimed bass-baritone concert singer who performed on stage, film and television. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Joe in MGM’s 1951 remake of the movie Showboat in which he sang what became his signature song “Ol Man River.” He went on to sing the song across the globe in several languages for the next four decades.
William Warfield was raised and educated in Rochester, N.Y., where his father worked in Baptist ministry. He took piano lessons and won his first singing competition when he was 18. He studied at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, where he graduated with a degree in voice in 1942.
That same year he was drafted into the Army, where he was the only African-American member of the “Ritchie Boys,” which were thousands of World War II soldiers who specialized in intelligence in Fort Ritchie in Maryland.
After the war he toured the world starring in theater productions and performing in big-city clubs. In 1952,Warfield performed in Porgy and Bess with a European tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department — he made six separate tours for the U.S. Department of State, more than any other American solo artist. In the 1970s he toured Europe with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.
As an educator, he was a professor of music with the University of Illinois and Northwestern University’s School of Music. As a concert performer he narrated many times Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait,” for which he won a Grammy in 1984, accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonia. The William Warfield Scholarship Fund was formed in 1977 at Eastman School of Music to provide financial aid to talented voice students.
Wilmer & The Dukes
R&B band Wilmer & The Dukes (active 1957 to 1974) hit the national “Billboard Hot 100” in 1968 with the band’s first single “Give Me One More Chance,” an original dance track by guitarist Doug Brown. The popular song got heavy play on stations in several states and was a top 40 hit in East Coast markets and in Arizona and California. It has been said that inspiration for the band Otis Day & The Knights from the movie Animal House was Elmer & The Dukes.
Wilmer & The Dukes originated in Geneva, N.Y., formed by Wilmer Alexander Jr., Ronnie Alberta, and Ralph Gillotte, and later joined by Brown and Monte Alberta. The band was known as the no. 1 party band in Upstate New York and has been called “the tightest soul band of the 1960s.” Many of their followers also claim “no other live band could ever generate this much excitement” and that Wilmer & The Dukes set the bar for dance hall an club music. They performed at numerous locations, including colleges and clubs, such as the Pittsford Inn, Geneva’s Club 86, and Buffalo’s The Inferno.
After seven years of playing the local circuit, arrangements were made for the group to cut their first recordings with Buffalo-based Aphrodisiac Records. Wilmer & The Duke released a handful of singles and only one album but their following remained dedicated and strong — and many fans wore out their LPs from overplay. At one time the band was courted for signing by Motown.
In 1988, the group reformed for a series of sold-out benefit concerts. Being inducted in the Rochester Music Hall of Fame are band members Wilmer Alexander Jr. (vocals, sax), Ron Alberta (drums, percussion), Doug Brown (lead guitar), and the late Monte Alberta (bass) and Ralph Gillotte (keyboards, backing vocals). Bob Egan bass.