Nat "King" Cole was attacked and beaten by a mob of racists while on stage at Municipal Hall in Birmingham, Ala., in 1956.
Brian Setzer -- formerly with the Stray Cats and now leading the swing band The Brian Setzer Orchestra -- was born in 1959.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
This year's Cape May Jazz Festival will pay tribute to Miles Davis and feature many of his former players. The festival, held in the New Jersey town of Cape May, is April 19-21, AllAboutJazz.com reports.
Artists who'll appear in concert in the seaside town include the Heath Brothers with special guest Jackie McLean; the Russell Malone Quartet; Bootsie Barnes with Duane Eubanks and Denise King; Edgardo Cintron's Latin Jazz Sextet featuring Winston Byrd on trumpet; The Webb Thomas Project; The Barbara Walker Story; the Sam Taylor Blues Band featuring violinist Heather Hardy; Joe Chambers' "Early Fusion Band" featuring Wallace Roney and Bill Evans; Legends of the Bandstand with Cedar Walton, David "Fathead" Newman, Curtis Fuller, Buster Williams and Louis Hayes; The Dave Liebman Group; Jimmy Cobb and Cobb's Mob; the Mose Allison Trio; pianist Brian Trainor and Gary Bartz revisiting "Kind of Blue"; singer Lenora Zenzalai Helm; guitarist Monnette Sudler and her sextet; and bluesman Carl Weathersby.
(Web site: capemayjazz.org)
The Brad Mehldau Trio, the Russell Malone Quartet and the Omar Sosa Septet headline the Seventh Annual Big Sur JazzFest May 3-5 in and around Big Sur, Calif.
AllAboutJazz.com reports that wide-ranging styles of jazz with an appeal to all ages will be showcased in intimate indoor and outdoor venues Friday night and all day Saturday -- with the weekend's big outdoor festival-style event to be held Sunday at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The Brad Mehldau Trio and Omar Sosa Septet will perform on the Main Stage, as will the Kitty Margolis Quintet, Eric Person and Meta-Four and the Scott Amendola Band.
New this year is a second stage where, in-between sets on the Main Stage, the audience will be treated to entertainment by the Big Sur Natives and music by Bruce Forman's Jazz Masters ensemble.
Other artists who'll perform at venues around the area include Michael Zukber and Steve Smith, Wild Mango, Bitches Brew, Hydeus Kiatta and guitarist Bruce Forman.
(Web site: bigsurjazz.org)
On the recording front...
-- Medeski Martin & Wood's latest album, "Uninvisible" (on Blue Note Records), hit stores Tuesday. DownBeat.com reports the album is the product of a band that's spent much of the last year involved in other projects. Keyboardist John Medeski recorded an album with the ensemble The Word, as well as logged studio time with Sex Mob, John Scofield, Gov't Mule and Susana Baca. Drummer Bill Martin started his own record label, Amulet Records, and also organized the "Turntable Sessions" concert series at Manhattan's Exit Art gallery, combining progressive DJs with some of the Big Apple's finest jazz and experimental musicians. Bassist Chris Wood toured and recorded with such artists as drummers Stanton Moore and Bob Moses, and saxophonist Karl Denson. Rather than composing pieces in advance, the band held extensive improv sessions at their studio in Brooklyn, and then selected pieces to develop and record. Guest artists on the CD include Crash Test Dummies singer Brad Roberts, who added humming and other flourishes -- but no singing -- to the track "Where Have You Been."
-- Two of the hottest jazz vocalists reportedly have teamed up and recorded a duet. JazzReview.com says Ian Shaw, already one of the most respected male vocalists to come out of the United Kingdom, was said to have been "delighted" to be asked to appear on newcomer Clare Teal's second album. While the details are sketchy, Teal is said to have written a song especially for Shaw and it'll appear on her next album due out towards year's end. Teal's first album for Candid Records, "That's The Way It Is," is selling well in Europe and will be released this month in Japan and several other Asian countries.
(By UPI's Penny Nelson Bartholomew, sitting in for Ken Franckling)