One of the great Swing trumpeters, Jonah Jones, was born this day in 1909 in Louisville, Ky. He began his career in Mississippi Riverboat bands then worked with Stuff Smith, Lillian Armstrong and McKinney's Cotton Pickers before taking a long-standing gig with Cab Calloway's bands.
Bass player and bandleader John Kirby was born this day in 1908 in Baltimore. He led one of the most popular Swing Era small jazz ensembles and for a time was married to singer Maxine Sullivan.
On this day in 1943, a 19-year-old Dinah Washington made her first recordings with the Lionel Hampton sextet. The session for the Keynote label included "Evil Gal Blues," "I Know How To Do It," "Salty Papa Blues" and "Homeward Bound."
Looking at today's hip happenings...
New Year's Eve tends to be a busy and comparatively lucrative evening for jazz musicians, even when the gigs aren't always jazz-related. There is much work as revelers take one last chance to say farewell to the old year and welcome in the new. For many, the passing of that calendar moment is welcome.
The true jazz celebrations tonight include National Public Radio's annual "Toast of the Nation" jazz from coast to coast broadcast, produced for the 25th year by WBGO in Newark, N.J. It begins at 9:30 p.m. and stretches to 4 a.m. (ET). Singer Freddy Cole and his band will be at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Clarinetist Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band broadcast live from the Village Vanguard in New York. Guitarist Bobby Broom's trio will be joined by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander at Pete Miller's in Evanston, Ill. Orlando Valle and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Masters will close out the programming from Yoshi's in Oakland as NPR celebrates the New Year in each U.S. time zone.
Elsewhere on tonight's jazz club scene...
The Jazz Gallery in New York presents its first New Year's Eve celebration with the Jason Lindner Sextet and special guests Claudia Acuña, Roy Hargrove and Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng. Guitar legend Les Paul and special guests ring in 2002 at Iridium, his Monday night home for the past decade. Singer and comic Lea DeLaria headlines at Birdland with her band.
Singer Rebecca Parris joins pianist George Mesterhazy in the New Year's Eve spotlight at the Merion Inn in Cape May, N.J.
In Chicago tonight, guitarist Henry Johnson's organ quartet is joined by tenor saxophonist Red Holloway at the Jazz Showcase. Jackie Allen and the Alternatives Big Band are at the Green Mill. Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues is at HotHouse. The Von Freeman quartet is at Pops for Champagne.
On the New Orleans jazz scene, Gerald Albright and Will Downing are at Bally's Casino tonight. Bob French leads the band at Donna's. Jason Marsalis brings in special guests tonight at the Funky Butt. Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers are at the House of Blues. Reginald Koeller leads the band at Preservation Hall. Singer-pianist Henry Butler's Blues Orchestra is at the Red Room. Astral Project is at Snug Harbor. The Jazz Vipers are at the Spotted Cat. Brian Seeger's Jazz Hang is at the Stationhouse Grill. Pianist David Torkanowsky headlines the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. The ReBirth Brass Band and George Porter Jr. and His Runnin' Pardners are at Tipitina's.
Chick Corea's new trio and Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross ring in the New Year tonight at the Blue Note in Las Vegas.
On the California jazz scene, Les McCann is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight. Jazz-funk keyboardist Robert Walter's 20th Congress band is at the Elbo Room in San Francisco tonight. Guitarist Ron Eschete's trio is at Steamer's Jazz Café in Fullerton. Jane Monheit's quintet is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood. Susie Hansen's Latin jazz band is at the Hilton Whittier Hotel for its second annual New Year's Eve salsa celebration. Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill are at The Plush Room in San Francisco.
Pianist Dick Conte's trio featuring bassist Steve and drummer/novelist Bill Moody, is at Pairs in Napa, Calif., tonight. Moody is the author of the Evan Horne jazz detective series.
Ernestine Anderson and the Rich Dangel Big Band are at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle tonight.