Today is Nov. 20.
Singer June Christy, who made her mark in the Stan Kenton band, was born this day in 1925.
Saxophonist Don Braden was born this day in 1963 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
On this day in 1959, Miles Davis and Gil Evans went into the studio with a jazz orchestra to record their classic collaboration "Sketches of Spain." Davis had a life-long fascination with flamenco music. He once observed that in emotion and in song form, saying: "Flamenco is the blues -- only in Spanish." A well-known jazz drummer participated on the "Sketches of Spain" session with Davis but was never credited on the recording. He didn't play drums that day. Elvin Jones played castanets on that historic session.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
The jazz world is mourning the loss of the man who was nicknamed "The Poet of the Piano." Tommy Flanagan died Friday night at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. The Detroit native was 71. He had spent 14 years on and off in the 1950s, '60s and '70s as accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald. Over the past 20 years, he had led one of the most artful bebop piano trios working in jazz. Flanagan's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday night at St. Peter's Church in midtown Manhattan.
DownBeat magazine's December issue includes the results of its 66th annual Readers Poll. Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, who died earlier this year, was voted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame. Keith Jarrett was named pianist of the year. Joe Lovano took top honors as jazz artist, tenor saxophonist and for jazz album of the year for his "52nd Street Themes" on Blue Note. B.B. King had a similar trifecta as blues artist, blues group and blues album of the year for his "Riding With the King" project with Eric Clapton. DownBeat readers voted Maria Schneider jazz arranger of the year. Tom Harrell was voted top composer. Jazz vocal honors went to Diana Krall and Mark Murphy. Guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Roy Haynes, electric bassist Steve Swallow, vibes player Gary Burton, clarinetist Don Byron, trombonist Steve Shorter, trumpeter Dave Douglas and soprano saxophonist Wayne Shorter were tops on their respective instruments.
On the New York jazz scene, drummer Roy Haynes' all-star band with Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton and Dave Kikoski is at the Blue Note tonight through Sunday. Pianist Brad Mehldau's trio is in the spotlight this week at the Village Vanguard, site of its last five live trio recordings. Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim's trio is at Iridium through Sunday. Guitarist Mark Whitfield's quartet is at the Zinc Bar tonight and Wednesday. Jack Jeffers conducts the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland tonight. Raul's African-Hungarian Jazz Thang, Between Green, The Guineas and The Fandanglers are at the Knitting Factory tonight. Drummer Dion Parson's quartet is at the Sugar Bar tonight.
Lou Mecca is in the spotlight at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
In and around Boston, singer Luciana Souza teams up with guitarist Romero Lubambo for a Brazilian duo performance tonight is at the Regattabar in Cambridge. Jazz and gospel pianist George W. Russell Jr.'s trio is at Scullers in Boston tonight.
Tenor saxophonist Gordon Brisker is at Casa Vecchia in Salem, N.H., tonight.
On the Chicago jazz scene, trumpeter Roy Hargrove's quintet is at the Jazz Showcase through Sunday. Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms are at the Green Mill tonight. Franz Jackson and his Jazz Entertainers are at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. Tenor saxophonist Von Freeman and Friends are at the New Apartment Lounge. The Katherine Davis Band is at Pops for Champagne. Elizabeth Doyle is at Pops for Champagne.
In New Orleans tonight, Tom Hook is at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. The Urban Love Experiment is at the Dragon's Den. Drummer James Alsanders' Jazz Project is at the Funky Butt. The ReBirth Brass Band is at the Maple Leaf. Singer Ingrid Lucia and The Flying Neutrinos are at the Mid-City Lanes Rock'n'Bowl. Trumpeter Gregg Stafford leads the band tonight at Preservation Hall. Roland Guerin, Jason Marsalis and Derek Douget bring their band Khore into Snug Harbor tonight. Bassist Walter Payton and Snapbean are at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. Stride pianist John Royen is at Sweet Kathleen's tonight.
On the California jazz scene, the Tim Davies Big Band is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood tonight. Chris Williams' quartet is at Steamer's Jazz Café in Fullerton. Pianist Eldar Djangirov's trio is at The Jazz Bakery through Wednesday. There's a CD release party at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight for Kitty Margolis's latest recording, "Left Coast Life." (See below for details). In San Francisco tonight, The Hot Club of San Francisco trad band is at Enrico's, the Mark Stock trio is at the Cypress Club, Tim Hockenberry is at The Plush Room. The Vince Lateano Trio with Al Plank is at Jazz at Pearl's in North Beach.
On the Toronto jazz club scene, pianist Bill Mays' trio with Terry Clarke and Neil Swainson is at the Montreal Bistro and Jazz Club tonight through Saturday. Pianist Bill Charlap's trio is at the Top O' The Senator through Sunday.
On the recording front...
-- San Francisco-based singer Kitty Margolis is just out with her newest recording, "Left Coast Life," on her Mad Kat label. It is her first CD in four years. It features two originals plus her distinctive take on jazz and pop standards ranging from "Spring Will Be A Little Late this Year" and "Heart's Desire" to Randy Newman's "Lonely at the Top" and Tom Waits' "Take It With Me." Guitarist Joyce Cooling is one of the half-dozen special guest performers.
-- Guitarist Bireli Lagrene's latest recording, "The Gypsy Project," is due out today on the Dreyfus label.
-- Tenor saxophonist Von Freeman is getting ready to record his second release for the Premonition label. It is due out in the spring. It is being recorded at the New Apartment Lounge in his native Chicago. Freeman has been playing there every Tuesday night for the past 22 years. His first Premonition release earlier this year was "Live at the Dakota."
-- Chicago-based singer-pianist Patricia Barber's next Blue Note/Premonition release will feature only original material. She has included her own tunes on past projects, but not exclusively. She plans to head into the studio in February with trumpeter Dave Douglas, drummer, Joey Baron, guitarist Neil Alger and bassist Michael Arnopol.
-- Arkadia Jazz has released soprano saxophonist David Liebman's "Liebman Plays Puccini." The jazz veteran takes on range of Puccini arias from "La Boheme," "Tosca" and "Madame Butterfly." In a similar cross-genre experiment, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano is getting ready to record works made famous by Enrico Caruso as his next project. Do we see a trend developing?
-- Scottish guitarist Nigel Clark's "Grand Hotel Europa" is just out on Arkadia jazz. His music blends bebop, flamenco and world music styles.