Today is Oct. 21.
Tenor saxophonist Don Byas was born this date in 1912 in Muskogee, Okla. An influential player in his own right, Byas joined the Count Basie Orchestra in 1941 as a replacement for Lester Young.
Trumpet titan John Birks Gillespie, known around the world by his zany nickname "Dizzy," was born this day in 1917 in Cheraw, S.C. Gillespie co-founded bebop with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clark. He was one of music's finest ambassadors until his death in January 1993 at age 75.
Pianist Fred Hersch was born this day in 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved to New York in 1977 and became a busy sideman and fine accompanist. He emerged in the early 1990s as one of the finest modernists in jazz. He is a prolific recording artist, having made more than 80 recordings.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band is at Birdland tonight. Trombonist Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at Smoke. Mark Weinstein and Trio Jazz Brazil are at the Cornelia Street Café tonight. The Knitting Factory lineup tonight includes Cursive, Desaparecidos, Sorry About Dresden, Dan DeChellis and Nicholas Anzivina, who perform on its multiple stages.
Singers Mili Bermejo, Lisa Thorson, Rebecca Parris and Semenya McCord will be joined by pianist Geoffrey Dana Hicks this afternoon for the fourth annual "Jazz on a Fall Afternoon 2001" fund-raiser for Community Works, an advocacy groups that helps the poor and homeless. It's at Harvard's Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.
Trumpeter Byron Stripling joins bassist Arvell Shaw's band for a Louis Armstrong tribute concert at the Squantum Club in East Providence, R.I., tonight. Shaw is an alumnus of the Armstrong band.
American-born, London-based singer Stacey Kent brings her latest U.S. tour to Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia tonight after a two-week run at New York's posh Oak Room.
Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove bring their Directions in Music tour to the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., tonight.
The lineup at today's Clearwater Jazz Holiday on the Florida coast includes Los Hombres Calientes.
On the New Orleans jazz scene, James Blackmon performs today at the jazz brunch at the Fine Arts Center. Drummer Johnny Vidacovich's trio is in the spotlight tonight at the Funky Butt. Singer Ingrid Lucia performs at the Shim Sham Club's Shim Sham Revue. Robert Moore is at Snug Harbor. Michael Ward is at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. The Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center's New Orleans Creative Music Festival features a Jackie McLean tribute with trumpeter (and McLean protégé) Raymond Williams plus the Photon Band with Sheik Rasheed and Mikhail Williams.
In and around Chicago, the Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz presents Norrie Cox and his New Orleans Stompers with special guest Butch Thompson this afternoon at Glendora House in Chicago Ridge. Lavay Smith and her Red-Hot Skillet Lickers are at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn tonight. Singer-pianist Patricia Barber is at the Green Mill with her trio. The Sonny Turner Quintet is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium.
On the California jazz scene, there's an all-star tribute scheduled this afternoon at Camacho's Cantina and Grill in honor of Latin jazz veteran Bobby Montez, whose work came to prominence in L.A.'s 1950s and '60s Mambo scene. It will feature performances by Pete Escovedo, Jack Costanzo, the Estrada Brothers, Mike Gutierez, Louis Miranda and Manny Lopez.
The Gil Bernal quintet holds a CD release performance this noon at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood, while Bobby Matos' Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble is in the evening spotlight.
The Walter Earl Band is at Enrico's in San Francisco this afternoon. Ahmad Jamal's trio winds down a weeklong run at Yoshi's in Oakland with afternoon and evening performances.
The Alcatraz Angels Jazz Band is at Dick's Restaurant in San Leandro. Jules Broussard is at Sweetwater in Mill Valley this afternoon. Wayne Wallace and Rhythm and Rhyme are at The Jazzschool in Berkeley this afternoon. The Rudy Salvini Big Band is at The Boathouse in San Francisco.