Cornetist Rex Stewart was born this day in Philadelphia in 1907. He succeeded Louis Armstrong in Fletcher Henderson's orchestra where he quickly proved himself a highly charged and energetic soloist. Stewart developed the technique of playing half-valve notes on the trumpet to create quarter-tones and freaky half-vocal sounds.
Duke Ellington recognized the potential of what Stewart was doing and hired him, then wrote and rearranged songs just for Stewart's unique style during his 11-year stay in the band, from 1934 to 1945.
Tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate was born this day in 1915 in Sherman, Texas. One of the great Texas tenors, Tate spent nine years with Count Basie, then spent 21 straight years in residence at Harlem's famed Celebrity Club. Tate died in 2001.
Drummer Dave Bailey was born this day in 1926 in Portsmouth, Va. He's best known for his work with Gerry Mulligan from 1954 to 1968 as well as with Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer, and for his work as executive director of New York's Jazzmobile program.
On this day in 1946, Dizzy Gillespie first recorded the song that became one of his best-known and most important compositions. "A Night in Tunisia" helped fuse Afro-Cuban rhythms with Afro-American jazz.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, Dr. John is at the Blue Note for three more nights with his New Orleans gumbo blend of jazz, blues and funk. Pianist Bruce Barth's trio is at the Village Vanguard. Pianist Jacky Terrasson's trio is at Iridium. Pianist Hank Jones's trio is at Birdland through Saturday. Singers Rosemary and Nick Clooney are at Feinstein's at the Regency. Paul Motion and the Electric BeBop Band are at the Knitting Factory tonight.
The Earl May quartet is at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem tonight and Saturday. Andy Milne's band "Cosmic Dapp Theory" is at the Jazz Gallery tonight. Norman Hedman's Tropique performs this evening at the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space as part of its "Starry Nights: Friday Under the Sphere" series. Trio 3 with Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille is at the Up Over Jazz Café in Brooklyn tonight and Saturday. Drummer Victor Jones's band Cultur-versey is at The Cutting Room tonight.
Saxophonist Bradford Hayes' quartet performs tonight at the Arts Guild of Rahway, N.J. The Jimmy Ponder trio is at Trumpets in Montclair tonight and Saturday.
The Charles Flores quintet, featuring pianist Tony Perez, brings its Cuban jazz to Main and Hopewell in South Glastonbury, Conn., tonight.
In Philadelphia, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and trumpeter John Swana bring their quintet into Chris's Jazz Café tonight. Singer Barbara Montgomery is at Zanzibar Blue tonight and Saturday.
Chuck Mangione is at Tangier in Akron, Ohio, tonight.
Giovanni Hidalgo's sextet is at Shank Hall in Milwaukee tonight. Luis Diaz and Borinbomba open the concert.
On the Chicago jazz scene, there's a saxophone summit tonight featuring Von Freeman, Mwata Bowden, Ari Brown, Duke Payne and Eric Schneider at Tuley Park Auditorium. The rhythm section for this free concert features pianist Ken Chaney, bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Kobie Watkins.
Scott Hamilton's quartet is at the Jazz Showcase through Sunday. The Art Davis-Eric Schneider quintet performs in the Jazz at Five series at Andy's tonight. The Katherine Davis Group follows. Skinny Williams is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. The King Fleming trio is at Philander's in Oak Park. Yoko Noge and Bobby Lewis bring their quartet into Pops for Champagne tonight.
In New Orleans tonight, Los Hombres Calientes perform at a benefit concert at Xavier University. Charmaine Neville sings at Cobalt. The Treme Brass Band is at Donna's. Have Soul Will Travel is at the Dragon's Den. Trumpeter Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar.
Devin Phillips' quartet warms things up for Quintology at the Funky Butt. Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony are at the Old US Mint. Thais Clark and the New Orleans Jazzmen are at the Palm Court. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are at the Red Room. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor.
Brian "Breeze" Cayolle and John Boutte are at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. Billy Chapman is at the Sunray Grill. Bleu Orleans is at the Bottom Line. The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park features a "Piano Then and Now" program this afternoon with David Torkanowsky, Matt Perrine and Ernest Elly.
The 2002 edition of the University of Idaho's Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival has Hampton in the spotlight tonight with Jane Monheit, Freddy Cole, Hank Jones, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Clayton, Lewis Nash, Bud Shank, Bill Watrous, Pete Candoli and Igor Butman.
On the California jazz scene, Mose Allison is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Singer Karrin Allyson is at the Catalina Bar and Grill. The Mike Stern band is at Yoshi's in Oakland. The Frank Potenza-Shelly Berg quartet is at Steamer's Jazz Café in Fullerton. Tenor saxophonist Virginia Mayhew's group featuring Ingrid Jensen, Allison Miller and Harvie Swartz is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.
Al Jarreau is at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa tonight. Pianist Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge are at the Hotel De Anza's Hedley Club in San Jose. Anton Schwartz is at Tuva in Berkeley. Valerie Quevedo is at Spiedo Ristorante in San Jose with Larry Vuckovich and Jeff Chambers. Jazz Philosophy is at Saylor's in Sausalito.
In San Francisco, the Brian Melvin trio is at Rubicon. Mal Sharpe and Big Money in Jazz are at Enrico's. Paula West is at the Plush Room. The George Khouri trio is at the Bix Restaurant and Supper Club. Cannonball is at Bruno's. The Black Market Jazz Orchestra is at the Top of the Mark. The Chris Braun quartet is at Jazz at Pearl's. The Eric Berman Latin Trio is at Butterfly. Lavay Smith and Her Red-Hot Skillet Lickers are at Café du Nord.
Pianist Joanne Brackeen's trio is at the Montreal Jazz Club and Bistro in Toronto for two more nights.
Trumpeter Ray Vega's Latin jazz quintet has begun its first European tour. The month-long trip includes performances in Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The music starts tonight at the Centro Civico Parque Almansa in San Javier, Spain.
Guitarist Philip Catherine's trio is at Music Village in Brussels tonight and Saturday.