Bandleader Glenn Miller was born this day in 1904 in Clarinda, Iowa. While attending the University of Colorado, he flunked his music courses. But he went on to lead one of the 20th century's most commercially successful big bands.
Miller died in December 1944 when his plane disappeared over the English Channel while headed to France. At the time he vanished, he was leading an Army Air Force band consisting of some of the finest jazz players of the Swing Era.
Once publicized as the world's fastest drummer, Barrett Deems was born this day in 1914 in Springfield, Ill. He was a member of Louis Armstrong's All Stars. He appeared with Armstrong and Bing Crosby in the 1956 movie "High Society" in the sequence that accompanies the song "Now You Has Jazz." The Chicago-based drummer died in 1998.
Trombonist Benny Powell was born this day in 1930 in New Orleans. A member of the Count Basie Orchestra from 1951 to 1963, he remains active on the jazz performance scene, and also teaches jazz at The New School in New York.
Bass player Eddie Jones was born this day in 1929 in New York. He spent a decade in the Count Basie orchestra before opting for more financial security in the corporate world. He became an active player again in the mid-1980s, including a longtime stint as a member of the Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars. Jones died in 1997.
Bass player Gene Perla was born this day in 1940 in Hackensack, N.J.
On this night in 2001, Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrated the career of saxophonist, composer, arranger and bandleader Benny Golson with multi-faceted concerts at Alice Tully Hall in New York.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
Congratulations to Seamus Blake, first-prize winner of this year's Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, held last weekend in Washington, D.C. The 15th annual event focused on the saxophone this time around. 31-year-old Blake, a Vancouver, B.C.,Canada, native and longtime New York player, won $20,000. John Ellis, who now works in guitarist Charlie Hunter's band, was second. Saxophonist Marcus Strickland, who has been working with drummer Roy Haynes finished in third. The other finalists were Aaron Fletcher and Jaleel Shaw.
On the New York jazz scene, saxophonists Dave Liebman, Craig Handy and Jimmy Greene present a tribute to the late Joe Henderson at Birdland tonight through Saturday with the rhythm team of Don Friedman, Santi Debriano and Idris Muhammad. Fats Waller's guitarist, Al Casey, is at Chez Suzette tonight.
The Blue Note's month-long Latin Jazz Festival features Ray Barretto and New World Spirit plus Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band through Sunday. Pianist Geri Allen's trio is at Iridium and bassist Ray Drummond's quartet is at the Village Vanguard.
Jazz at Lincoln Center's "Boudoir Tenors" celebration of the saxophone ballad tradition continues tonight and Saturday at the Kaplan Penthouse with Frank Wess, Lew Tabackin, Wayne Escoffery and Stephen Riley.
The Jazz Gallery opens a month of duo piano performances tonight with Mulgrew Miller and Raymond Angry at the twin keyboards. Dave Kikoski and Dario Boente are up on Saturday.
Guitarist John Scofield's band is at Irving Plaza tonight. Vox Populi with singer Dean Bowman and guitarist Dave Fiuczynski is at Joe's Pub. Pianist Roland Hanna and bassist Paul West are at the Knickerbocker for two more nights. Drummer Louis Hayes's Cannonball Legacy Band with Vincent Herring is at Smoke. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra is at Smoke tonight.
Singer Blossom Dearie is at Danny's Skylight Room tonight through Sunday. George Shearing is at Feinstein's at the Regency tonight and Saturday.
Singer Cassandre McKinley and her band, featuring saxophonist Dan Moretti, are at B.B. King's Night Club at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn., tonight.
On the Boston area jazz scene, solo guitarist Stanley Jordan is at Scullers. Ronnie Earl and The Blue Angels are at the Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. A " Strictly Sinatra" concert at Raffael's in Walpole tonight features singers Steve Marvin and Donna Byrne, pianist Al Vega, saxophonist Dick Johnson, trumpeters Phil Person and Dave Burdett and trombonist Kenny Wenzel.
Phil Pospychala's Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke runs through Sunday at the Marriott in Racine, Wis. The BixFest lineup includes the Classic Jazz Stompers, the West End Jazz Band, England's West Jesmond Rhythm Kings and guest performers Leah LaBrea, Whip Williams and Mike Schwimmer.
On the Chicago jazz scene, Hugh Masekela is at HotHouse tonight. The Pat Martino trio is at the Jazz Showcase through Sunday.
In New Orleans tonight, Have Soul Will Travel is at the Blue Nile. Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indian band funk things up at Donna's. Trumpeter Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar. The Devin Phillips quartet is at the Funky Butt. Topsy Chapman and Louis Ford's All That Jazz Band are featured tonight at Satchmo's at Harrah's Casino. Bonerama is at the Old Point. Thais Clark and Ernie Elly's Slickshots are at the Palm Court. Leroy Jones leads the band at Preservation Hall. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor. Charmaine Neville and Marva Wright will sing tonight at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor.
Nat Simpkins and Henri Smith are at Sweet Lorraine.
On the California jazz scene, tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman's band is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Drummer Dave Weckl's band is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood. Bobby Short is in the spotlight at Yoshi's in Oakland. Spyro Gyra is at Kimball's East in Emeryville.
In San Francisco, the Brian Melvin trio is at Rubicon this afternoon. Paula West is at The Plush Room tonight. The George Khouri trio is at the Bix Restaurant and Supper Club. Soul Sauce is at Jazz at Pearl's in North Beach.
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove's quintet is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle through Sunday.
Michel Legrand and Phil Woods team up tonight at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto for a benefit for Princess Margaret Hospital
Trumpeter Ray Vega's Latin jazz quintet brings its first European tour to Birdland in Hamburg, Germany, tonight and Saturday.