Nicolas Slonimsky (b. April 27th, 1894 d. December 25th, 1995) was one of the great musical conductors, performers, authors, critics, and composers of the twentieth century. Not only was he a foremost classical pianist, but he also befriended Frank Zappa and influenced jazz artists like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, etc. This weight in the jazz community sprung up during the free jazz movement of the sixties as a result of Slonimsky's book "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns," a mathematical exploration of almost every possible combination of scales and melodic patterns. The book is indispensable for musicians looking to expand their technique as well as their musical horizons, and has been used by everyone from John Adams to Buckethead.
Slonimsky also wrote a book on "Music since 1900," served as head editor of "Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians" until 1992, compiled "The Lexicon of Musical Invective" (a collection of scathing reviews about well known composers and compositions), and wrote an autobiography with anecdotes about Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, Henry Cowell, and others.