Composer Eddie Heywood was born this day in 1915 in Atlanta. He is best remembered for his tunes "Canadian Sunset" and "Soft Summer Breeze."
Jazz guitarist Jim Hall was born this day in 1930 in Buffalo, N.Y. One of the great, melodic jazz improvisers, Hall is best known for his classic duet recordings with Red Mitchell, Ron Carter and Bill Evans -- and a newer one destined to be a classic -- with Pat Metheny.
Drummer and percussionist Dennis Charles was born this day in 1933 on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. From 1955 to 1960 he played in Cecil Taylor's group.
On this day in 1927, Duke Ellington's big band opened at the Cotton Club in Harlem. The high profile gig lasted for five years.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
Chick Corea opens a three-week-long, diversified celebration of his 60th birthday at the Blue Note in New York tonight. The musical context will shift every two nights of the engagement, which runs Tuesday through Sunday through Dec. 23. He performs duets with singer Bobby McFerrin tonight and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, Corea reunites his "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" trio with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes. Saturday and Sunday will feature Corea with his Bud Powell Tribute band project.
Elsewhere on the New York jazz scene, the New Spirit Quintet with Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Eric Reed, Bob Hurst and Carl Allen is at Iridium tonight through Sunday. Pianist Geri Allen's quartet is at the Village Vanguard all week. David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band precedes Rudy Calzado's Cubarama Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at Birdland tonight. The lineup at the Knitting Factory tonight includes the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and saxophonist Tim Berne's Big Satan trio and his sextet. Singer Jeffrey Smith is at the Sugar Bar tonight.
Guitarist Gene Bertoncini is in the spotlight tonight at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J.
On the Chicago jazz scene, pianist McCoy Tyner's trio is at the Jazz Showcase tonight through Sunday. There's a CD release party tonight for Renaud Patigny and Erwin Helfer at HotHouse.
In New Orleans tonight, Tom Hook is at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. New Orleans Streetbeat is at the Crescent City Brewhouse. The Jazz Vipers are at El Matador. Singer Tricia "Sista Teedy" Boutte and pianist Paul Longstreth are at Le Meridien Hotel tonight. The ReBirth Brass Band is at the Maple Leaf. Pete Fountain toots on his clarinet at his club in the New Orleans Hilton on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Trumpeter Greg Stafford leads the house band tonight at Preservation Hall. Roland Guerin, Jason Marsalis and Derek Douget bring their trio Khore into Snug Harbor. Sharon Martin is at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. Pianist John Roven plays stride and traditional jazz tonight at Sweet Kathleen's.
On the California jazz scene, the Stefon Harris-Jacky Terrasson quintet is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight through Sunday. Saxophonist David Sanchez's quartet is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood all week. Ron Kobayashi and Steve Hommel team up tonight at Steamer's Jazz Café in Fullerton. Mimi Fox and Friends hold a CD release party tonight at Yoshi's in Oakland. In San Francisco, Boco do Rio is at Butterfly, the Mark Stock trio with Gary Rowe is at the Cypress Club, the Hot Club of San Francisco is at Enrico's and Jeanie Brandes is at The Plush Room.
Pianist Michael Wolff and his Impure Thoughts band are at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle tonight and Wednesday.
For those who like to read about jazz as well as listen to it...
Thunder's Mouth Press is out this month with a paperback edition of pianist Hampton Hawes' 1974 autobiography "Raise Up Off Me," first published in 1974, three years before his death. In his introduction, jazz critic Gary Giddins called part of a little known genre of autobiographical works "not only provide insight into the music and its makers, but also shed light on race relations, Bohemian attitudes toward sex and drugs, alienation, and the predicament of the black artist in America."
The Los Angeles-based pianist recorded several acclaimed albums for the Contemporary label in the late 1950s. In 1958, Hawes began serving a 10-year prison sentence on drug charges in Texas. He was granted a pardon by President Kennedy and was released from prison in August 1963. Hawes signed with Prestige in 1973. He made his final Contemporary album "At the Piano" in 1976 with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne.
"The Sermon," an album of spirituals that Hawes recorded just days before entering prison, wasn't released until 1987. It will be reissued next month as part of Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics series.