12-01-06

Bill De Arango RIP

Mr. De Arango died on december, 26 2005. He played guitar in those bowling 40-50's. Read some intersting article by Mr. Doug Ramsey  here :

 

http://www.artsjournal.com/rifftides/archives/2006/01/bill_de_arango_1.html

 

The Cleveland Plain dealer published this obit :

 

"Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Legend Passes
The great jazz guitarist Bill DeArango died Dec. 26 at the A.M. McGregor Nursing Home in East Cleveland. One of the last links to the Bebop Era of the late '40s and early '50s, he was 85. He had had dementia for about eight years.

According to a friend of DeArango's, Rose Watson, there may be a graveside service at Lakeview Cemetery off Mayfield Road. "He was the best friend I ever had," she said. "He stayed at my house after he was diagnosed until he got a space at McGregor." That was in February 1999.

Among the people DeArango recorded with in the middle to late '40s were Sarah Vaughan, Ben Webster, Red Norvo, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. According to Jamey Haddad, who knew DeArango particularly well, "when he said he used to dream about playing, he dreamt about playing with Ben Webster."

"He was a major mentor for all of us around here," said Joe Lovano, a famous saxophonist who grew up on the East Side of Cleveland and performed and recorded with DeArango over the years. "He was one of the first major guitar players from the era of Charlie Christian to play single-line solos."

After recording prolifically during the '40s, DeArango returned to Cleveland in 1947, according to All Music Guide; he made Cleveland his home base save for a brief spell in New York in the late '70s and early '80s. He owned a record store in University Heights for many years and recorded his last major-label date in 1954 in Cleveland. He made two more recordings before his death.

"I think that he was the greatest bop guitarist," said jazz expert and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar. "When I say that, I'm thinking of bop as a music that really grew and developed in the '40s. In the '50s, I think of guys like Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney as being in another generation; even with them, I think DeArango was the best. He was a really innovative guitarist. He told me he came out of the Army in 1944, and he'd been separated from what Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were doing, but he was influenced by the same people that influenced the first boppers, like Art Tatum and Lester Young and Roy Eldridge.

"When he came out of the service, he sat in at a club on 52nd Street in New York and his playing caused a sensation. He recalled that people were dragging other people in off the sidewalk to hear him play. He sat in with Don Byas, a tenor saxophonist; I think people were responding to a guy who was playing with that kind of speed, which was amazing. The second thing was he had made his own synthesis of these prebop influences the same way Parker and Gillespie had, without being aware of Parker and Gillespie. He sort of invented it on his own."

Lovano went to visit DeArango at the nursing home Dec. 26 and left shortly after 1 p.m. Less than two hours later, DeArango was dead. "He knew we were there," Lovano said. "His heartbeat raced; he knew we were there."

Haddad, a world-music percussionist who lived in a Brooklyn, N.Y. apartment DeArango owned and also lived in between 1978 and 1984, said he visited DeArango a few weeks ago with drummer Paul Samuels and other former associates. "We brought music up" for the guitarist to hear, Haddad recalled. "He had his right hand permanently clenched, as if he was holding a guitar pick. He would be listening to the music, kind of looking at you; it was the same look he would give when he would be playing.

"He had dementia; they said he wouldn't know you were there, which was ---------. He blinked his eyes real long, he had this Bela Lugosi look, he had this smile, he kept it for a minute."

In the late '60s, Haddad used to hang out at DeArango's Music, a store DeArango owned on Warrensville Road near Cedar Center. So did numerous other local jazz musicians. "He was a trip," Haddad said. "There isn't a guy who passed through his life where their stock didn't go up just because they met him. He was an amazing cat. He picked his own fate, in a certain way; he decided to come back to Cleveland, it must have been in the mid-'50s."It was actually in the late '40s.

In the past decade, DeArango occasionally performed at the Barking Spider in University Circle. In 2003, he won the Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland Legend of Jazz award.

Ernie Krivda, a great sax man who worked with DeArango and drummer Skip Hadden at the Smiling Dog Saloon on West 25th Street in the early'70s, said he dreamed about DeArango on Christmas Day. "I heard him playing, it was now, and it was wonderful," said Krivda, his voice breaking. "To tell you the truth, I was thinking about him all day yesterday."

The music the trio played was fabulous, Krivda suggested. "It was an extremely avant-garde group; people called it heavy metal jazz. It incorporated the rock sensibilities of that particular time, along with the free jazz sensibilities of that time. There was never anything written; that's the way Bill wanted it. Bill always liked the middle parts.

"A group plays a tune, it gets going, the middle part's really smoking. Bill liked the middle part."

 

If you wanna check a discography of Mr. De Arango go here :

 

http://www.uni-giessen.de/~g51092/DeArango.html

 

Lexman

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