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Tadd Dameron

Tadd Dameron
Portrait of Tadd Dameron, New York, between 1946 and 1948
Background information
Birth name Tadley Ewing Peake Dameron
Born (1917-02-21)February 21, 1917
Cleveland, Ohio, US
Died March 8, 1965(1965-03-08) (aged 48)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Composer
Instruments Piano

Tadley Ewing Peake "Tadd" Dameron (February 21, 1917 – March 8, 1965) was an American jazz composer, arranger and pianist. Saxophonist Dexter Gordon called him the "romanticist" of the bop movement,[1] while reviewer Scott Yanow wrote that Dameron was the "definitive arranger/composer of the bop era".[2]


  • Biography 1
  • Legacy 2
  • Discography 3
    • As leader or co-leader 3.1
    • As arranger or conductor 3.2
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Born in Duke Ellington.[3]

In the late 1940s, Dameron wrote arrangements for Gillespie's big band, who gave the première of his large-scale orchestral piece Soulphony in Three Hearts at Carnegie Hall in 1948. Also in 1948, Dameron led his own group in New York, which included Fats Navarro; the following year Dameron was at the Paris Jazz Festival with Miles Davis. From 1961 he scored for recordings by Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and Blue Mitchell.[4]

Dameron also arranged and played for rhythm and blues musician Bull Moose Jackson. Playing for Jackson at that same time was Benny Golson, who was to become a jazz composer in his own right. Golson has said that Dameron was the most important influence on his writing.

Dameron composed several bop standards, including "Hot House", "If You Could See Me Now", "Our Delight", "Good Bait" (composed for Count Basie),[3] and "Lady Bird". Dameron's bands featured leading players such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Wardell Gray.

After forming another group of his own with Clifford Brown in 1953, Dameron developed an addiction to narcotics toward the end of his career. He served time (1959–61) in federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky. Dameron suffered from cancer and had several heart attacks before dying of cancer in 1965, at the age of 48.


Dameron has been the subject of many tributes since his death:

In the 1980s, Philly Joe Jones, drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet, and trumpeter Don Sickler founded Dameronia, a tribute band to Dameron.[5]

Continuum: Mad About Tadd: The Music of Tadd Dameron is an album released in 1982 by a group consisting of Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Ron Carter, Art Taylor, Kenny Barron. The LP has since been reissued on CD.

In 1975, jazz pianist Barry Harris recorded Barry Harris Plays Tadd Dameron for Xanadu Records.

In 2007, pianist Richard "Tardo" Hammer recorded Look Stop and Listen: The Music of Tadd Dameron for Sharp Nine Records.


Tadd Dameron, Mary Lou Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie in Williams' apartment, c. June 1946

As leader or co-leader

  • 1948: The Dameron Band (Featuring Fats Navarro) (Blue Note)
  • 1949: Anthropology (Spotlite)
  • 1949: Cool Boppin´ (Fresh Sound) with Miles Davis, Kai Winding, Sahib Shihab, Kenny Clarke
  • 1949: The Miles Davis and Dameron Quartet in Paris - Festival International du Jazz, May 1949 (Columbia; issued on LP, 1977)
  • 1953: A Study in Dameronia (Prestige)
  • 1956: Fontainebleau (Prestige)
  • 1956: Mating Call with John Coltrane (Prestige)
  • 1962: The Magic Touch (Riverside)
  • 1995: The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings of Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron (Blue Note; reissue of above 1949 recording date)

As arranger or conductor

With Milt Jackson

With Sonny Stitt


  1. ^ Nisenson, Eric (1996). 'Round About Midnight: A Portrait of Miles Davis. Da Capo Press. p. 65.  
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott (2008), "Tadd Dameron biography", AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b Rosenthal, David, H. Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965. New York: Oxford University Press.  
  4. ^ Harrison, Max. "Dameron, Tadd." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. April 2, 2011.
  5. ^ Carr, Ian; Fairweather, Digby and Priestley, Brian, Rough Guide to Jazz, Rough Guides, 2004. ISBN 1-84353-256-5, ISBN 978-1-84353-256-9.

Further reading

  • Combs, Paul. (2012). Dameronia: The Life and Music of Tadd Dameron (Jazz Perspectives). University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0472114139.

External links

  • Tadd Dameron biographical information at the Dameron/Damron Family Association web page.
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