|Birth name||Kenneth Lee Ascher|
|Born||October 26, 1944|
|Genres||Big band, jazz, rock, film|
|Occupation(s)||Jazz pianist, composer, arranger, studio musician|
Kenneth Lee Ascher (born October 26, 1944 in Washington, D.C.) is an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who is active in jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater genres — in live venues, recording studios, and cinema production. With Paul Williams, he wrote the song "Rainbow Connection" for The Muppet Movie . Both Williams and Ascher received Oscar nominations for the 1979 Academy Awards for Best Original Song ("Rainbow Connection") and Best Original Score ( The Muppet Movie Soundtrack). The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for "Best Original Song" that same year.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
Paul Hamilton Williams Jr. is an American composer, singer, songwriter and actor. He is known for writing and co-writing popular songs performed by a number of acts in the 1970s, including Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song" and "Out in the Country," Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World," David Bowie's "Fill Your Heart" and the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays." Williams is also known for his musical contributions to films, including the Academy Award-nominated song "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie, and penning the lyrics to the #1 chart-topping song "Evergreen," the love theme from the Barbra Streisand vehicle A Star Is Born, for which he won a Grammy for Song of the Year and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. He wrote the lyrics to the opening theme for the television show The Love Boat, with music previously composed by Charles Fox, which was originally sung by Jack Jones and, later, by Dionne Warwick.
"Rainbow Connection" is a song from the 1979 film The Muppet Movie, with music and lyrics written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. The song was performed by Kermit the Frog in the film. "Rainbow Connection" reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, with the song remaining in the Top 40 for seven weeks total. Williams and Ascher received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.
Ascher's work through the years has included keyboard parts and string arrangements on John Lennon's albums Mind Games , Walls and Bridges and Rock 'n' Roll and Yoko Ono's A Story , music for several songs from Barbra Streisand's remake of A Star Is Born (where he also served as music coordinator), and arrangements for portions of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf's masterpiece Bat Out of Hell (produced by Todd Rundgren). Ascher's own rendition of The Rainbow Connection was featured in the closing credits of The Break-Up (starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston). Ascher is the pianist with the Birdland Big Band, which performs Fridays from 5:15 to 7 at Birdland in New York City. The Birdland Big Band performs The Rainbow Connection, arranged by Lew Anderson.
John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He and fellow member Paul McCartney formed a much-celebrated songwriting partnership. Along with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the group achieved worldwide fame during the 1960s. In 1969, Lennon started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono, and he continued to pursue a solo career following the Beatles' break-up in April 1970.
Mind Games is the fourth studio album by John Lennon. It was recorded at Record Plant Studios in New York in summer 1973. The album was released in the US on 29 October 1973 and in the UK on 16 November 1973. It was Lennon's first self-produced recording without help from Phil Spector. Like his previous album, the politically topical and somewhat abrasive Some Time in New York City, Mind Games received mixed reviews upon release. It reached number 13 in the UK and number 9 in the US, where it was certified gold.
Walls and Bridges is the fifth studio album by English singer-songwriter John Lennon. It was issued by Apple Records on 26 September 1974 in the United States and on 4 October in the United Kingdom. Written, recorded and released during his 18-month separation from Yoko Ono, the album captured Lennon in the midst of his "Lost Weekend". Walls and Bridges was an American Billboard number-one album and featured two hit singles, "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" and "#9 Dream". The first of these was Lennon's first number-one hit in the United States as a solo artist, and his only chart-topping single in either the US or Britain during his lifetime.
In the latter 1960s, Ascher played piano and arranged for the Woody Herman Orchestra. Herman hired Ascher — on the advice of Frank Foster — to replace Nat Pierce, who had departed. Ascher has been a member of ASCAP since 1968.
Frank Benjamin Foster III was an American tenor and soprano saxophonist, flautist, arranger, and composer. Foster collaborated frequently with Count Basie and worked as a bandleader from the early 1950s. In 1998, Howard University awarded Frank Foster with the BENNY GOLSON JAZZ MASTER AWARD.
Nat Pierce(néNathaniel Pierce Blish Jr.; 16 July 1925 Somerville, Massachusetts – 10 June 1992 Los Angeles) was an American jazz pianist and prolific composer and arranger, perhaps best known for being pianist and arranger for the Woody Herman band from 1951 to 1955. Pieces by Pierce were predominantly created for use in big bands.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.
Joe Renzetti is an American Academy Award-winning film composer, and session musician.
"You and Me Against the World" is a song written by Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams, recorded by Helen Reddy for her 1974 album Love Song for Jeffrey.
Switched-On Rock is an album of instrumental cover songs, popular songs from the mid-to-late-1960s, performed on the Moog modular synthesizer in an exaggerated electronic style. It was one of a spate of albums which capitalized on the success of 1968's Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos. Switched-On Rock was produced by Norman Dolph who also wrote the liner notes. Dolph worked in the studio with colleagues Kenny Ascher and Alan Foust; they billed themselves as the Moog Machine for this and one more project. The album reached number 170 on the Billboard Top 200.
Moog synthesizer may refer to any number of analog synthesizers designed by Robert Moog or manufactured by Moog Music, and is commonly used as a generic term for older-generation analog music synthesizers. The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer systems in the mid 1960s. The technological development that led to the creation of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were considerably smaller, cheaper and far more reliable than earlier vacuum tube-based systems.
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
Woodrow Charles Herman was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman came to prominence in the late 1930s and was active until his death in 1987. His bands often played music that was cutting edge and experimental for its time; they received numerous Grammy nominations and awards.
The Monterey Jazz Festival is an annual music festival in Monterey, California that was founded on October 3, 1958 by jazz disc jockey Jimmy Lyons.
Verve Records, also known as The Verve Music Group, founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, is home to the world's largest jazz catalogue and includes recordings by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday, among others. It absorbed the catalogues of Granz's earlier labels, Clef Records, founded in 1946, Norgran Records, founded in 1953, and material previously licensed to Mercury Records.
As sideman or band member, on keyboards
|Past Grammy Nominations|
|17th Annual (for recordings released between Oct 16, 1973 and Oct 15, 1974)|
March 1, 1975
| Paul Williams |
|Songwriters Award||Song of the Year||You and Me Against the World||Helen Reddy|
|20th Annual (for recordings released between Oct 1, 1976 and Sep 30, 1977)|
February 23, 1977
|Kenny Ascher, Alan Bergman,|
Marilyn Bergman, Rupert Holmes,
Leon Russell, Barbra Streisand,
Donna Weiss, Paul Williams,
|Composers and Arrangers|| Best Album of an Original Score |
Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special
|A Star is Born||Motion Picture|
|22nd Annual (for recordings released between Oct 1, 1978 and Sep 30, 1979)|
February 27, 1980
| Paul Williams |
|Composers and Arrangers|| Best Album of an Original Score |
Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special
|The Muppet Movie||Motion Picture|
Ascher has composed (or co-composed) jingles for:
Many of Ascher's jingle compositions were (i) produced by Sunday Productions (Hilary Jay Lipsitz, born 1933, president), (ii) published by Ahoskie Music, Inc. (Hilary Jay Lipsitz, president), and (iii) licensed by ASCAP.
Ascher holds three diplomas from Columbia University:
While at Columbia, Ascher studied composition with Otto Luening, Jack Beeson, and Vladimir Ussachevsky and piano with William Albert Beller(1900–1986). Ascher graduated from William F. Dykes High School in Atlanta, as valedictorian, and entered Columbia College, Columbia University on a math scholarship. In 1966, while in college, the Kenny Ascher Quintet performed live in WKCR's Stone Soup at midnight.
The 22nd Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 27, 1980, at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, and were broadcast live on American television. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1979. This year was notable for being the first year to have a designated category for Rock music.
Cedar Anthony Walton, Jr. was an American hard bop jazz pianist. He came to prominence as a member of drummer Art Blakey's band before establishing a long career as a bandleader and composer. Several of his compositions have become jazz standards, including "Mosaic", "Bolivia", "Holy Land", "Mode for Joe" and "Fantasy in D".
Josef Erich Zawinul was an Austrian jazz keyboardist and composer. First coming to prominence with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Zawinul went on to play with trumpeter Miles Davis and to become one of the creators of jazz fusion, a musical genre that combined jazz with rock and roll. He co-founded the groups Weather Report and The Zawinul Syndicate. He pioneered the use of electric piano and synthesizer, and was named "Best Electric Keyboardist" twenty-eight times by the readers of Down Beat magazine.
Melbourne Robert "Bob" Cranshaw was an American jazz bassist. His career spanned the heyday of Blue Note Records to his recent involvement with the Musicians Union. He is perhaps best known for his long association with Sonny Rollins. Cranshaw performed in Rollins's working band on and off for over five decades, starting with a live appearance at the 1959 Playboy jazz festival in Chicago and on record with the 1962 album The Bridge.
Sir George Albert Shearing, OBE was a British jazz pianist who for many years led a popular jazz group that recorded for Discovery Records, MGM Records and Capitol Records. The composer of over 300 titles, including the jazz standards "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Conception", and had multiple albums on the Billboard charts during the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. He died of heart failure in New York City, at the age of 91.
Albert "Tootie" Heath is an American jazz hard bop drummer, the brother of tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath and the double-bassist Percy Heath.
Kenny Barron is an American jazz pianist, who has appeared on hundreds of recordings as leader and sideman and is considered one of the most influential mainstream jazz pianists since the bebop era.
Carmen Mercedes McRae was an American jazz singer. She is considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century and is remembered for her behind-the-beat phrasing and ironic interpretation of lyrics. McRae was inspired by Billie Holiday, but she established her own voice. She recorded over sixty albums and performed worldwide.
Charles Baker Fowlkes was an American baritone saxophonist who was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra for over twenty-five years.
Margo Guryan is an American songwriter, singer, musician and lyricist. As a songwriter, her work was first recorded in 1958, although it was for her 1960s song "Sunday Mornin'", a hit for both Spanky and Our Gang and Oliver, that she is perhaps best known. Her songs have also been recorded by Cass Elliot, Glen Campbell and Astrud Gilberto, among others.
Walter Booker was an American jazz musician. A native of Prairie View, Texas, Booker was a reliable bass player and an underrated stylist. His playing was marked by voice-like inflections, glissandos and tremolo techniques.
Return to Pooh Corner is the eighth studio album by American soft rock singer Kenny Loggins. The title is a reference to A.A. Milne's 1928 book The House at Pooh Corner. Released in 1994, it features songs written by John Lennon, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon and Jimmy Webb, along with several other traditional children's songs. The songs are described as "music for parents and children to enjoy together". It was a successful album for Loggins, selling over 500,000 copies, and was nominated for a Grammy. Guest appearances are made by David Crosby and Graham Nash on "All the Pretty Little Ponies", Patti Austin on the "Neverland Medley" and Amy Grant and Gary Chapman on the title track. Loggins returned to Pooh Corner several years later with 2000's More Songs from Pooh Corner.
Richard Tee was an American pianist, studio musician, singer and arranger who had several hundred studio credits and played on such notable hits as In Your Eyes, Slip Slidin' Away, Just the Two of Us, I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow, Crackerbox Palace, Tell Her About It, and many others.
This is the discography for American jazz musician Hank Mobley.
"There'll Be Some Changes Made" ("Changes") is a popular song by Benton Overstreet (composer) and Billy Higgins (lyricist). Published in 1921, the song has flourished in several genres, particularly jazz, for ninety-seven years. The song has endured for as many years as a jazz standard. According to the online The Jazz Discography, "Changes" has been recorded 404 times. The song and its record debut was revolutionary, in that (i) the songwriters, the original copyright publisher, Harry Herbert Pace, (iii) the vocalist to first record it, (iv) the owners of Black Swan, (v) the opera singer for whom the label was named, and (vi) the musicians on the recording led by Fletcher Henderson, were all African American. The production is identified by historians as a notable part of the Harlem Renaissance.
Raymond Harry "Ray" Brown is an American composer, arranger, trumpet player, and jazz educator. He has performed as trumpet player and arranged music for Stan Kenton, Bill Watrous, Bill Berry, Frank Capp – Nat Pierce, and the Full Faith and Credit Big Band.
The Birdland Big Band is a 16-piece jazz orchestra that performs at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. The Birdland Big Band is led by saxophonist David DeJesus
This is the discography for American jazz musician Charlie Haden.
This is the discography for American jazz musician Lee Konitz.