Saturday, March 16, 2013

Smithfield Times: 'Ed Bland, 86, passed away March 14, 2013, at his home in Smithfield' (Virginia)

On March 12, 2013 AfriClassical posted:

Ed Bland (b. 1926), Composer of Jazz and Classical Music, Has Been Diagnosed With Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer And Has Begun Hospice Care

March 16, 2013
Ed Bland
Ed Bland, 86, passed away March 14, 2013, at his home in Smithfield. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Batten Bland, sons Edward Allen Bland and Robert Barton Bland, daughter Stefanie Batten Bland, and granddaughter Louise Filomene Dhien Batten-Bland.

Ed was born in Chicago July 25, 1926. In the late 30s, he began music as a jazz protege playing clarinet and saxophone, eventually composing atonally, using Schoenberg’s 12-tone system. Considered by some hip-hoppers to be the great-grandfather of hip-hop because of the confrontational quality of his musical film work, Ed Bland has left his mark in several fields: concert music, film and television, and the recording industry. A versatile composer, his works range from contemporary classical to funk.

In 1959, he produced the first hip-hop film, “The Cry of Jazz,” which is now considered a classic and is shown at film festivals and in film studies programs throughout the country. Willard Van Dyke, pioneer American film documentarian and curator of films at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971, called the “Cry” “the most prophetic film ever made . . . it predicted the riots of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and gave the basis for them.” 

Throughout his long career, he worked as composer, producer, musical director and musical arranger for CBS, ABC, and NBC television networks and several recording companies, including Vanguard, Delos and United Artists. During the 1960s and ‘70s, he arranged and recorded some of music’s greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Elvin Jones, James Moody, Lionel Hampton, George Benson, Al Hirt, Bunky Green, the Pazant Brothers and many others. He also produced some 100 concerts for the Museum of Modern Art’s Jazz in the Garden series as well as 40 concerts for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Summer Garden series.

From 1979 to 1981, he served as a presidential commissioner on the Commission for the White House Record Library, one of six commissioners chosen from the record industry to update the Presidential Record Library. He and his wife traveled to the White House to make the final presentation during the Carter administration. He also served as a panelist on the National Endowment of the Arts Recording Panel.
CDs of his music include “Urban Classical — The Music of Ed Bland” and “Dancing Through the Walls.” He was composer-orchestrator on several films and television programs, including “A Raisin in the Sun,” “A Soldier’s Story,” and “The House of Dies Drear.”
Among the groups that have performed his classical works are the Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis, and St. Louis Symphonies, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. His music was also adopted by a new generation through sampling by Beyonce, Cypress Hill and Fat Boy Slim, and by video games.

Recently he finished composing a series of 29 pieces for piano that will be recorded during the coming year under the title “Urban Counterpoint: Piano Series.”

Arrangements are private. Those who wish to express their condolences may make a donation to the Ed Bland Music Scholarship c/o Smithfield Music/Isle of Wight Arts League, P.O. Box 157, Smithfield, Va. 23431.

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