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Jazz Pronunciation Guide
The Ever-Controversial WWUH Jazz Pronunciation Guide
INTRODUCTION by J.O. Spaak, Sole Editor and Lightning Rod for Controversy
NOTE: This Introduction was originally written when this Guide was being offered to jazz radio programmers in a now defunct effort to build an online jazz programmer community. The Guide is now offered to anyone interested. It will likely never be updated, so here it is, "for the Ages." --J.O. Spaak, former 'UH Jazz Director, May 2002
As serious jazz people, we probably all get irritated when we hear a radio announcer lacking jazz experience inform us that we were just listening to "Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers" or "violinist Stephanie Grappelli". This kind of error is as much a result of being a lazy or inattentive reader, obviously, as being inexperienced in jazz. This Guide does not pretend to be able to cure that problem. And, it's very obvious that it will be of no help when one is sitting before an open mic, reading the personnel from a recording not encountered before, and discovering an equally "foreign" name (foreign in quotes because it may very well be a name from the English-bred world). However, if one plans to do a special segment spotlighting the music of someone you've long admired, but dreaded pronouncing the name, it may be of some modest aid to you.
The first batch of candidates for inclusion here was culled from an informal survey of New England radio people at a meeting several years ago. The nominees were to be musicians whose names we had heard other radio people mispronounce frequently. (The database has grown since, by additional nominations and on the Editor's own initiative, and now includes the occasional place name, name of a composition, name of a record label, names of noted producers or others associated with the music, etc.) Even in a room containing many decades of collective jazz radio experience, some names struggled valiantly to avoid a consensus being reached about them. This raises the issue of authority. "Joe Blow has been on the air for 20 years and he says it this way..." is not sufficient authority. I'll bet you "dollars to donuts" that "Joe Blow" doesn't know how to say "Montreux"! Obviously, the ultimate authority would be derived by summoning the subject (from the grave, when appropriate) to appear before us and tell us with his/her own lips how the name should be said. Since this is slightly impractical, the next best thing is to have "earwitness" testimony of someone who did, at one time, speak directly to the party in question and heard how the person pronounced her or his own name. When this is possible, the Editor will cite that information in
the entry. [The Editor only appoints himself an "Authority" in one area: French! This because he studied it in his youth until it "came out his ears".]
Why does all this matter? Should we all go about speaking like, to borrow Monty Python's immortal phrase, "upper class twits"? Your Editor believes it is a matter of respect for other cultures (time to reverse the trend of English-speakers trotting the globe demanding that "the natives" be the ones
to learn a new tongue!), and respect for an individual's personal heritage. (With all the attention garnered by Wynton, Branford, et al, why have some media types still not picked up on the fact that it's pronounced "Mar-sell-iss", not "Mar-sail-iss" or some other variant?!?) Is your Editor so deluded as to believe a unanimity of pronunciation by jazz radio hosts in New England can be achieved? Not quite, but it's endless fun to argue over these things! By the way, though your Editor takes sole responsibility for what appears here, he makes no claim to infallibility. Yes, there's the occasional educated guess where reliable resources just weren't available. Take it or leave it, folks!!
HOW TO USE/PRONUNCIATION KEY
HOW TO USE:Entries are listed "Last name first". Since we lack the resources to set up a search engine, use the links to jump to the appropriate section of the alphabet (e.g., "A-E", "XYZ", etc.) and just scroll down the page seeking an entry. You'll also find links planted to return you to the Key, below. Happy exploring!
KEY: Believe it or not, this software does not provide the ability to place a hyphen-like line above a vowel to indicate it's a "long vowel". This kind of clue will be given via the phonetic "spelling out" of the entry and, often, by giving an example of a common word with which it rhymes. Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL that you read an entry in its entirety! (You'll find the occasional attempted witticism this way, lucky you!) The syllable to be emphasized appears in bold type; in the rare case of an entry with two syllables emphasized, the stronger one will be in larger typeface. (In some tongues, e.g. French, on occasion all syllables are emphasized uniformly--which is to say, not emphasized at all!)
Special situations: "zh"...This is borrowed from dictionaries. It represents a "soft 'g'", as in "mirage". Most frequently, though, for our purposes, it will represent the Portuguese "j" that we encounter via Brazil (e.g., "Jobim"). The dreaded umlaut...Yes, it's that cute little pair of dots above a vowel in
Teutonic tongues. Dictionaries tell us the vowel is to be pronounced with the mouth rounded, as if saying a "long 'o'". Have fun!
- Abate, Greg ah-bah-tay Saxophonist
- Abrams, Muhal Richard moo-hol ("hol" as in "holly") Pianist, com-poser, bandleader
- Airto eye-air-toe (last name: Moreira) Percussionist
- Akiyoshi, Toshiko toe-she-ko ah-ki-yo-she Pianist, composer, bandleader. [authority: personal interaction with the artist--Spaak]
- akLaff, Pheeroan fair-own ahk-lahf Drummer [authority: personal interaction with the artist--Spaak]
- Allyson, Karrin car-inn al-liss-un Vocalist
- Almeida, Laurindo lor-een-do ahl-may-dah ("lor" rhymes with "oar") Classical/jazz guitarist.
- Arnold, Horacee Disregard that final 'e' (it's "silent"). Drummer
- Atkinson, Lisle L"isle" as in another term for "island" Bassist
- "Au Privave" oh pree-vahv ("ah" as in "Stick out your tongue and say 'ahh'") Charlie Parker tune, often misprinted as "Au Private"
- Ayler, Albert eye-ler Avant garde saxophonist
- Barbieri, Gato gah-toe bar-bee-air-ee Argentine saxophonist
- Bates, Django zhane-go Pianist/composer
- Beaudoin, Gerry bow-dun ("dun" as in "dungaree") Guitarist
- Bechet, Sidney beh-shay Legendary soprano saxophonist, clarinetist
- Benoit, David beh-noyt Pianist (He prefers this "Americanized" version of French name.)
- Bigard, Barney bi-guard ("bi" as in "bit") New Orleans clarinetist, Ellington stalwart
- Blake, Ran "ran" as in "She 'ran' away." Pianist/composer
- Blake, Seamus shay-muss A fine ol' Irish name! Saxophonist
- Bley, Carla; Bley, Paul blay Pianist/composers, bandleader (Carla)
- Bluiett, Hamiet ham-ee-it blew-it Saxophonist, arranger, producer. Alternative: ham-it [Authority for latter: Personal conversation with the artist by Richard Paske, dpmusic, St. Paul, MN]
- Boland, Francis frahn-see bo-lahn ("bo" as in "bonus") French big band leader
- Bonfa, Luiz lou-eez bone-fah Brazilian songwriter, (?) pianist
- Bunnett, Jane buh-net Flutist
- Catingub, Matt cat-tin-goob Arranger, big band leader
- Childers, Buddy chill-ders Trumpeter
- Chopin, Frédéric fray-day-reek shu-pan ("shu" as in "shut"; 'n' in last name said with "nasal" tone, and half-swallowed) Francified Polish piano master, composer of 19th Century; occasional dedicatee of modern jazz homages
- Cohen, Avishai ah-vi-shy ("vi" as in "vintage") Bassist
- Coleman, Cy "sigh" Songwriter
- "Concierto de Aranjuez" cone-see-air-toe day ah-rahn-wezz (now here's the really good part: the second 'c' in first word and the last syllable of final word are...lisped!! To execute this correctly, you should end up with your tongue protruding between your upper and lower teeth. Try it--it's fun!) Composition for guitar and orchestra by J. Rodrigo, served as inspiration for famous Gil Evans/Miles Davis collaboration, among others
- "Crepuscule With Nellie" cray-pus-skyool Thelonious Monk tune (in French: "Crépuscule avec Nellie"), sometimes misspelled "crepescule", more or less translating to "Twilight With Nellie"
- Cyrille, Andrew sir-rill Percussionist
- Danielsson, Palle pol-uh dahn-el-sson ("pol" as in "policy"; "sson"-- "hissy" kind of 's' sound, long 'o') Drummer
- Debussy, Claude de-byoo-see ("de" as in "debt") 19th/20th Century French "impressionist" composer, whose works are occasionally given a "jazz slant"
- "Dindi" zheen-zhee A.C. Jobim composition
- DiPaola-Davis, Mary dee-pow-luh Pianist
- Dorough, Bob durr-oh ("durr" rhymes with "purr") Singer/song-writer
- D'Rivera, Paquito pah-key-toe day-ree-vair-ah Saxophonist
- Duvivier, George dew-vee-vee-ay ("ay" as in "day") Bassist
- Eade, Dominique dom-ee-neek eed Vocalist
- Eckstine, Billy ekk-styne Legendary baritone singer and one-time leader of wickedly "hot" big band in early years of bop [listed because reportedly said as "eck-steen" on occasion]
- Elias, Eliane el-lee-ahn-ay eh-lee-ahz Pianist/vocalist
- enja en-yah ("en" as in "engine") German label
- "Estate" e-stah-tay ('e' as in "edge") Composition; Portuguese (?) (and Italian, I'm told) for "Summer" [I take Shirley Horn's pronunciation in performance of this tune as 'gospel'--how could Ms. Horn be wrong??--J.O.S.]
- Evingson, Connie long 'e' (as in "eve") Minnesotan vocalist [authority: personal interaction with the artist--J.O.S.]
- Gaillard, 'Slim' gay-lird ("lird" rhymes with "bird") Guitarist, master of "jive talk". May or may not have been born in Cuba. If he hadn't existed, could anyone really have invented him?
- Garbarek, Jan yahn gar-bah-rek ("gar" as in "garment", "rek" as in "wreck") Norwegian reed player, ECM stalwart
- Gilberto, Astrud ah-strude zheel-bare-toe Brazilian vocalist who rocketed to fame (well, by jazz standards!) through her work with Stan Getz at birth of Bossa Nova era (mid-1960s)
- Gilberto, Joao zhwow zheel-bare-toe Brazilian composer, singer, pianist
- Giuffre, Jimmy jew-free [sorry, but that's the best phonetic way to put it] Clarinetist
- Goykovich, Dusko dooze-ko goy-ko-vitch Trumpet/flugelhorn player
- Grappelli, Stéphane stay-fahn grah-pell-ee Swing violinist supreme; though forever linked with France, he was born in Italy
- "Gymnopédies" zham-nup-ay-dee ("nup" as in "nuptials") Series of pieces originally for solo piano, by Erik Satie (the word itself is made-up nonsense); sometimes given a jazz treatment
- Hammer, Jan yahn hah-mer Keyboardist of Czech origin
- Hidalgo, Giovanni zhee-oh-vahn-ee ee-doll-go Percussionist
- "homage" um-azh ("um" as in "hum") French for "in tribute to"; sometimes appears in composition title, e.g. "Homage to Coltrane"
- Houn, Fred ho Saxophonist, composer; in recent years, he has dropped the 'un' from his name to avoid confusion
- Hughart, Jim hew-ert Bassist. [authority: Personal conversation with the artist by Brian Sanders, KUNV, Las Vegas]
- Humair, Daniel dahn-yell ewe-mare Swiss-born drummer [Look, Ma! I got to use the names of two critters in one entry!]
- Ibrahim, Abdullah ahb-doo-lah eeb-rah-heem South African pianist (formerly known as Dollar Brand)
- Jacob, Christian kreest-yahn zha-cub ("cub" as in baby bear) Pianist
- Jacquet, Illinois zha-kay Saxophonist/bandleader; this is preferred pronunciation [authority: Personal conversation with the artist by Phil Bowler, WPKN-FM], but he's accustomed to "jacket"
- Jamal, Ahmad ah-mod zha-moll ("mod" as in Mod Squad, "moll" rhymes with "doll") Pianist
- Joyce joyce-ee Brazilian vocalist
- Jung, Tom "ju" as in "judge" Pioneering digital audio engineer and head of Digital Music Products ("dmp") label
- Kamuca, Richie kah-moo-kah Tenor saxophonist
- Kirk, Rahsaan Roland rah-son ("son" as in "sonic") Indescribable, truly unique individual; if you ain't hip to him--get there!
- Knepper, Jimmy the 'k' is silent Trombonist
- Kohlhase, Charlie coal-hace Saxophonist
- Lateef, Yusef yoo-zeff lah-teef Multi-instrumentalist, composer
- Legrand, Michel mee-shell loo-grahn ("loo" like "look") Composer/bandleader
Leonhardt, Jay len-heart ("le" like in "lemon") Bassist [authority: this is how he introduces himself on a live recording]
Levey, Stan lee-vee Drummer
- Lupri, Matthias mah-tee-uss loo-pree Vibraphonist [authority: personal communique from the artist]
- M'boom oom-boom Max Roach's percussion ensemble. In southern African tongues, "M'" is pronounced "oom"; so, yes, it's a nice rhyme scheme. Any objections?
- McEachern, Peter mick-care-en (or, simply pretend it's "McCarran") Trombonist
- McLaughlin, John mc-lock-lin (the "gh" has nothing to do with the word "laugh") English guitarist of Irish ancestry
- McLean, Jackie mc-leen [Your editor has heard Max Roach, among other well-informed individuals, let this slip as "mc-lane"-- the name is of Scottish origin, after all--but the family itself uses the stated pron.] Alto saxophonist, educator
- McLean, René roo-nay ("oo" as in "look") Saxophonist, son of above
- Makowicz, Adam ah-dahm mah-koh-vitch Pianist of Czech origin
- Marsalis, Delfeayo delf-ee-oh mar-sell-iss Trombonist, producer [authority: this is how brother Branford pronounced his name when I interviewed the saxophonist. Pronunciation of last name applies to the whole "clan", of course]
- Masekela, Hugh moss-ay-kay-lah ("moss" as in the soft, green plant life; just don't say it like a New Yorker ["mawss"], please!) South African trumpet/flugelhorn player
- Michel, Ed; Michel, Lisa mee-shell (French-style) Since daughter (vocalist) says it this way, we'll make bold assumption that it's correct for papa (legendary recording session producer)
- Michelot, Pierre pee-yair meesh-low French bassist
- Moncur, Grachan III gray-shun mon-core ("mon" as in "monetary") Trombonist. This is consensus pronunciation; anyone have contradictory, authoritative info? Give it up!
Monk, Thelonious theh-loan-ee-uss ("th" as in "threat") Pianist, composer [Your editor suspects it's an "urban legend" that a college
radio announcer once said this as "the loneliest monk"--but that was the caption when his portrait appeared on the cover of Time magazine! For years, his first name was misspelled by omitting the second 'o']
Montreux moan-trooh (the 'n' is kind of half-swallowed, the "oo" like in "look" with last syllable kind of explosive, the 'x' is silent) Swiss
site of famous jazz festival [ironically, if there was an 'a' after the 'e', the way Americans mispronounce this would be close to correct-- except they still wouldn't get the first syllable right! French--you gotta love it!]
- Motian, Paul moe-shun (like "motion") Drummer
- Musillami, Michael muzz-ih-lahm-ee ("muzz" like in "muzzle") Guitarist
- Mutet 'mu' as in "mutate" Group led by reed player Jeff Coffin [authority: Mr. Coffin's own pronuciation in a live performance--J.O.S.]
- "Naima" nah-eem-ah John Coltrane composition, named for his wife
- Newborn, Phineas Jr. finn-ee-iss Pianist [Jon Pollack of WMBR--Cambridge, relates that, according to Mr. Newborn's brother, he was given the name "Phinus" at birth, but taunting by peers in his formative years led to his changing his name to Phineas for public consumption; your editor argues that we should use the latter.]
- Nieske, Bob ness-key New England-based bassist
- "Nuages" nwazh Django Reinhardt composition; French for "Clouds"
- Okegwo, Ugonna ooh-gahn-ah oh-keg-woh Bassist
- Onishi, Junko zhoon-ko oh-nee-she ("oon" as in "loon") Pianist
- Ozone, Makoto mah-koh-toh oh-zoh-nay (long 'o' in all cases) Pianist
- Petrucciani, Michel mee-shell peh-true-chee-ah-nee ("chee" like in "cheese") Pianist [as with S. Grappelli, we have a mix of French and Italian heritage here]
- Ponty, Jean-Luc zhahn-lyook poan-tee ("poan" rhymes with "loan", and of course--it's French, after all--the 'n's are half-swallowed...i.e., sort of "held back") Violinist
- Previte, Bobby prev-itt ("ev" as in "seven") Drummer
- Puente, Tito tee-toh pwen-tay Percussionist, bandleader
- Purim, Flora pooh-reem Vocalist
- Ravel, Maurice moh-reese rah-vell French composer of 19th/20th Centuries; inspiration for occasional jazz "impressionism" or homage to the composer [who was known to "hang out" with the likes of George Gershwin]
- Reinhardt, Django zhane-go rhine-heart (long 'a' in first name) Famous "Gypsy" guitarist and collaborator with Grappelli in The Quintet of The Hot Club of France
- Roche, Betty ru-shay ("ru" like in "rush") Vocalist, most notably with Ellington
- Rosnes, Renee ree-nee ros-nehz ("ros" as in "rosin" or "Roswell") Pianist
- Rowles, Jimmy rolls (as in Rolls Royce) Pianist
- "Rue de la Harpe" ryoo deh lah arp Composition [French for Harp Street]
- Rypdal, Terje tear-yay rip-doll ("tear" as in "tear to shreds") Guitarist
- Saindon, Ed sane-dun Vibraphonist [thanks to Steve Schwartz of WGBH/Boston for this tip]
- Sanchez, David dah-veed Saxophonist
- Satie, Erik sah-tee 20th Century French composer/absurdist whose "Gymnopédies" are sometimes given jazz treatment
- Simon, Edward see-moan Pianist of Hispanic heritage
- Spaak, Jazz Officer "spock" [a.k.a. Johann Odysseus Spaak; J.O. Spaak] Half-Vulcan, half-human purveyor of half-baked jazz radio, who is determined to not be sued by Paramount Television
- Staton, Dakota stay-ton ("ton" as in 2000 lbs.) Vocalist
- Styne, Jule "julie" Yes, that's how this male songwriter's first name is pronounced
- Sulieman, Idris eeh-driss soo-lay-mahn ("soo" rhymes with "zoo") Trumpeter
- Swartz, Harvie swartz [Harvie states in an email that he almost gets physically ill if he hears his name pronounced as if there's a 'ch' in it. I guess this one's definitively resolved! Thanks to Fred Bouchard, WMBR--Cambridge, for passing that along.] Bassist
- Tchicai, John chee-kigh ("kigh" rhymes with "sigh") Danish reed player
- Terrasson, Jacky tear-uh-son ("tear" as in "tear the paper", "son" as in "sonic") Pianist [your editor doubts that this would "cut it" in Jacky's native France, but apparently this is what he's settled for in the English speaking world]
- Thielemans, 'Toots' teel-mahnz Belgian guitarist/harmonica player/whistler
- Tjader, Cal jay-der (yes, the 't' is silent) Vibraphonist, pioneer in taking Latin jazz mainstream
- Turrentine, Stanley and Tommy ter-en-teen ("ter" like in "term") Saxophonist and trumpeter, respectively
- Vinding, Mads modz vin-ding ("mod" as in "modern", "vin" as in "vintage") Danish bassist
- Vitous, Miroslav meer-uh-slahv vee-tooz Bassist
- Wakenius, Ulf oohlf vah-ken-ee-uss Guitarist
- Watanabe, Kazumi kah-zoo-mee what-uh-nah-bay Guitarist
- Watanabe, Sadao sah-day-oh Saxophonist
- Weill, Kurt court vile [not a comment on our judicial system-- this is phonetic approximation of this German composer whose "Threepenny Opera" gave us "Mack The Knife". It's said that after Hitlerism forced him into exile, he desired to be "de-Germanized", so an Anglo-ized pron. is acceptable]
- Whitfield, Weslia wezz-lah Vocalist; in recent years, she has dropped the silent 'i' from first name to avoid confusion
- Winding, Kai kigh win-ding (Careful! "kigh" rhymes with "sigh"; "win" as in "window") Danish trombonist. Jim Wilke of "Jazz After Hours" persuaded your editor that this was fine and dandy with the artist in question, regardless of how that 'w' may have been pronounced on Danish soil. Problem? Blame Jim!