100 Jazz Profiles
By Alyn Shipton
Alyn Shipton has written, published and broadcast on musical subjects for several years. Starting as a broadcaster at the Oxford independent station Fox FM in the 1980s, he went on to make his first Radio 3 documentaries in 1989, later presenting the popular late night Jazz Notes programme for two years. He is currently a presenter of Jazz File and has presented his weekly show, Jazzmatazz, on the BBC World Service since 1997.
His award-winning biography of Dizzy Gillespie, Groovin' High, published by Oxford University Press in 1999, was voted book of the year by Jazz Times readers, and won the prestigious Association of Recorded Sound Collections award for the year's best research in recorded music. His other books include biographies of Fats Waller (1988) and Bud Powell (1993). He was the Publisher and Consultant Editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (Macmillan, 1988) and in a twenty-five year publishing career has seen into print a vast variety of books from childrens' novels to award-winning reference works, including the Grove Dictionaries of Musical Instruments and American Music and the Blackwell History of Music in Britain. His own Bayou Press imprint concentrates on publishing the autobiographies of jazz and blues musicians, including such seminal documents for jazz historians as the lives of Buck Clayton, Art Hodes, Andy Kirk, Rex Stewart and Teddy Wilson. Since 1995 he has been a jazz critic for The Times, having previously written regularly for Gramophone.
As a double bassist, he has played with a huge variety of traditional and mainstream jazz groups, most famously with Ken Colyer's Jazzmen in the 1970s and early 1980s. As well as touring with such legendary figures as Bud Freeman, Sammy Price and Kid Thomas Valentine, he also played in the London Ragtime Orchestra and the big band Vile Bodies. In the summer of 2000, he was back on the road with Sammy Rimington's band, including a centenary tribute concert to New Orleans clarinettist George Lewis in front of a crowd of 5,000 on the shores of Lake Maggiore, hailed by Washington Post critic W. Royal Stokes as the highlight of the Ascona Jazz Festival.
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