Bass player Jimmy Blanton was born this date in 1918. He was discovered playing in Mississippi River boat bands in 1939 by Duke Ellington, who hired him on the spot. Blanton's innovative and swinging sound ushered in Ellington's most creative period as a composer. His career was tragically brief. Jimmy Blanton died of tuberculosis in 1942, at age 23.
On this day in 1928, cornetist Bix Beiderbecke recorded five "sides" with the Paul Whiteman and Frankie Trumbauer bands in New York City.
On this day in 1939, the Ted Weems band recorded "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?" with singer Bing Cosby for the Decca label.
On this day in 1951, trumpeter Miles Davis took one of his earliest "all-star" bands into the studio to record for the Prestige label an album that would be named "Dig." The ambitious recording provided a terrific solo showcases for tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Another saxophonist made his recording debut on that session at the tender age of 19. Alto player Jackie McLean showed his own distinctive style on that date.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, pianist Billy Taylor is featured today in the Jazz At Noon series at Café St. Bart's in midtown Manhattan. Ray Brown's all-star tribute to late vibes player Milt Jackson changes gears tonight at the Blue Note as Nicholas Payton succeeds Joe Lovano in the horn spotlight. Bill Frisell's trio is at the Village Vanguard for three more nights. Drummer Dafnis Prieto's band, featuring saxophonists Yosvanny Terry and Ravi Coltrane, is at the Jazz Gallery tonight and Saturday.
Trumpeter Russell Gunn and Ethnomusicology are at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia tonight and Saturday.
Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove bring their Directions in Music quintet to the University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Auditorium in Storrs tonight and Saturday.
On the Boston jazz scene, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner's quartet, featuring guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, is at the Regattabar in Cambridge.
In New Orleans tonight, Harry Connick Sr. and his band are at Cobalt tonight. The Steve Walker all-stars are at Donna's. Los Tres Amigos are at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. Quintology is at the Dragon's Den and singer Ingrid Lucia is at El Matador. Trumpeter Jeremy Davenport is at the French Quarter Bar.
James Rivers is at the Fine Arts Center, Devin Phillips is at the Funky Butt, Pete Fountain toots on his clarinet at his club in the New Orleans Hilton. Two Pan Sam is at Silky O'Sullivan's, pianist Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor, and Eddie Bo and Wanda Rouzan are in the spotlight at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor.
Pianist Benny Green opens new season for the Orange County Performing Arts Center's jazz club series at Founder's Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif., tonight. His band includes guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Christian McBride.
Elsewhere on the California Jazz scene, flute player Ali Ryerson and guitarist Joe Beck are at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz tonight. Pianist Larry Vuckovich's trio is at Spiedo Ristorante in San Jose. Saxophonist Anton Schwartz's quartet is at Agenda in San Jose. Toots Thielemans' trio is at Yoshi's in Oakland. The tentet Dekajaz is at Steamers Jazz Café in Fullerton tonight. In San Francisco, guitarist Charlie Hunter's quartet is at The Fillmore, Frank Jackson's trio is at the Cypress Club and singer Paula West is at the Plush Room.