With Trumpet and Bible
The Illustrated Life of James Hembray Wilson
May 21, 2015
Frank Tirro is a specialist in both the music of the Renaissance and the history of jazz. His most recent publication, The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates (College Music Society and Pendragon Press), investigates the emergence of a new genre in jazz and analyzes the arrangements and compositions of Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, John Carisi, and Miles Davis. Tirro is also the author of Jazz: A History (W. W. Norton); Renaissance Musical Sources in the Archive of San Petronio in Bologna (Haenssler-Verlag); and Living With Jazz (Harcourt Brace). In addition he co-authored The Humanities (Houghton Mifflin) and edited a volume of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Duke University Press). He served as Associate Editor for the new American National Biography, a multi-volume publication sponsored jointly by Oxford University Press and the American Council of Learned Societies. In this, he was primarily responsible for jazz, ragtime, and related areas.
Tirro also composed and published the first jazz mass in 1959, the American Jazz Mass, and this work received much attention and numerous performances worldwide, including Europe and Canada. He played and toured with the Jimmy Phillips and Johnny Palmer Orchestras and performed occasional concerts with jazz artists Mary Lou Williams, Clark Terry, Willie Ruff, Dwike Mitchell, and Donn Trenner. With Palmer’s Orchestra he backed shows for such diverse artists as Harry Bellafonte, Chubby Checker, and Anna Marie Alberghetti.
Professor Tirro received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, his master’s degree from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has been a Fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy.