Today is Dec. 25.
Multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Edward "Kid" Ory was born this date in 1886 in La Place, La. In 1919, in California, he recorded the first-ever titles by an all-black jazz band. The record, called "Ory's Creole Trombone," was made for the Sunshine label. Kid Ory's most famous recordings came as a member of Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven bands in Chicago during the 1920s. He died in Hawaii in 1973.
Singer, bandleader and all-around entertainer Cab Calloway, the man who made "Minnie the Moocher" famous, was born this day in 1907 in Rochester, N.Y. The Hi-De-Ho man died in November 1994 several months after suffering a stroke.
Oscar Moore, the guitarist in Nat King Cole's hit-making trio in the 1940s, was born this day in Austin, Texas, in 1912. He died in 1981.
Percussionist Don Alias, a longtime collaborator with saxophonist David Sanborn, was born this day in 1939. He works frequently these days with trumpeter Chuck Mangione.
This was the day in 1954 when singer Joe Williams joined the Count Basie Orchestra in Chicago. His role as the band's regular singer brought the Basie band a new level of popularity.
On this day in 1971, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond performed at New York's Town Hall with the Modern Jazz Quartet. It was the only time Desmond ever performed with the M-J-Q.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, guitarist Mordy Ferber is in the Christmas night spotlight at the Blue Note. Pianist McCoy Tyner's trio with bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster opens a weeklong run at Iridium that will feature the music of Tyner's 1960s boss, John Coltrane. Pianist Cedar Walton's quartet features alto saxophonist Vincent Herring this week at the Village Vanguard. The Harry Whitaker quartet is at the Zinc Bar tonight and Wednesday.
The Shirim Klezmer Orchestra's 9th annual Klezmer holiday concert takes place this afternoon at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Mass. It will include a performance of its "Klezmer Nutcracker."
On the Chicago jazz scene, Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms are scheduled at the Green Mill. Franz Jackson and his Jazz Entertainers are at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. Von Freeman and Friends are at the New Apartment Lounge.
In New Orleans tonight, the Jazz Vipers are at El Matador. Drummer James Alsanders' Jazz Project is at the Funky Butt. Marva Wright's Christmas Party at Mama's Blues co-features pianist Eddie Bo, the Wild Magnolias, Henry Butler, Wanda Rouzan, Irvin Mayfield, J. Monque'D and many more local artists. The ReBirth Brass Band is at the Maple Leaf. Galactic drummer Stanton Moore brings his other band, Moore and More, into the Old Point. Trumpeter Gregg Stafford leads the band at Preservation Hall. Stride pianist John Royen is at Sweet Kathleen's.
Today's the day we also spotlight some of the year's top jazz recordings and reissues, as selected by UPI jazz columnist Ken Franckling:
The 10 best new jazz releases:
1.Tom Harrell, "Paradise," BMG Bluebird.
2. Avishai Cohen and the International Vamp Band, "Unity" (Stretch)
3. Denny Zeitlin Trio, "As Long as There's Music." (32 Jazz)
4. Carmen Lundy, "This is Carmen Lundy" (Justin Time)
5. Tierney Sutton, "Blue in Green" (Telarc Jazz)
6. Stefano DiBattista, "Stefano DiBattista" (Blue Note)
7. Mark Levine and The Latin Tinge, "Serengeti" (LCC)
8. Ben Allison, "Riding the Nuclear Tiger" (Palmetto)
9. Orlando Cachaito Lopez, "Cachaito" (Nonesuch/World Circuit)
10. Bob Belden,"Black Dahlia" (Blue Note)
The best jazz boxed sets or reissues:
1. Miles Davis, "The Complete 'In a Silent Way' Sessions" (Columbia)
2. Live Trane: The European Tours" (Pablo)
3. Billie Holiday, "Lady Day - the Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia, 1933-1944" (Columbia Legacy)