Swing-era pianist Jess Stacy was born this day in 1904 in Cape Firardeau, Mo. He started out playing piano and steam calliope on Missouri riverboats before landing in Chicago in the mid-1920s. He spent 10 years with the Benny Goodman band. Stacy retired in 1961 to become a cosmetics salesman. His piano work wasn't heard again until 1973 when he was persuaded to play soundtrack music for the film "The Great Gatsby." That rejuvenated his career. Stacy died in 1994.
Russell Procope was born this day in 1908 in New York City. He was the Duke Ellington Orchestra's lead clarinet player for 28 years, joining the band in 1946 and staying until Ellington's death in 1974.
On this day in 1931, the body of cornet player Bix Beiderbecke was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa. His musical spirit as one of the first great lyrical horn players lives on in the hearts of many traditional jazz fans.
Expatriate pianist Kenny Drew died in Copehagen, Denmark, at age 64 on this day in 1993.
On this day in 2001, entertainer Bill Cosby made his first visit to Newport, R.I., since 1970, bringing in an all-star band to the JVC Newport Jazz Festival. Those performing Cosby's arrangements of jazz standards include Don Alias, Bootsie Barnes, Dwayne Burno, Jon Faddis, Al Foster, Rodney Jones, Hilton Ruiz and John Stubblefield. In 1970, Cosby led his Bunions Bradford Marching and Funeral Band at Newport.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... The Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd quartet is at Iridium this week. Dianne Reeves is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday with pianist Peter Martin, bassist Ruben Rogers, and drummer Greg Hutchinson. Bassist Charlie Haden is at the Blue Note for a two-week duo celebration, with Geri Allen tonight through Sunday, then Paul Bley, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Brad Mehldau. Singer Luciana Souza is at the Jazz Standard with her quintet. The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, directed by Chico's son and pianist, Arturo O'Farrill, is at Birdland tonight. Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at Smoke tonight.
Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Davis, Malachi Favors and Jack DeJohnette are at the Central Park Summerstage this afternoon. Gunter Hampel and William Hooker are at the Knitting Factory tonight. Harris Eisenstadt is at the Downtown Music Gallery. The Speakeasy String Quart is at the Cornelia Street Café. The Freestyle Avant Jazz and Other Musics Sunday Series at CB's Lounge features Dan Dechellis, Dee Pop, John Hollenbeck, Jorritt Dijkstra, Jackson Krall, Marco Eneidi, Roy Campbell, Sabir Mateen and Wilbur Morris tonight.
The JVC Newport Jazz Festival winds down its 2002 edition today at scenic Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I., with the last U.S. appearance of Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove's Directions in Music tour plus Isaac Hayes, Arturo Sandoval, Nicholas Payton with special guest James Carter, Lea DeLaria, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Bullfrog featuring Kid Koala, the Holmes Brothers, the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and David S. Ware. See more details at festivalproductions.net.
Singer Marcelle Gauvin performs tonight to benefit the YWCA of southeastern Massachusetts at the Hawthorne Country Club in Dartmouth, Mass.
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra is at the Cain Park Evans Amphitheater tonight. There's a "Tribute To Tadd Dameron" this afternoon with keyboard player Duke Jenkins, drummer Ralph Jackson and saxophonist Fred Jenkins at Cain Park's Alma Theater.
In metropolitan Chicago... the John Pizzarelli trio is at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill., tonight and Monday. The Jeff "Tain" Watts quartet is at the Jazz Showcase tonight. Mike Finnerty and the Jazz Hippies are at Cafe Ennui. The Kimberly Gordan trio is at the Green Mill tonight. Sonny Turner is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. Kara Kesselring is at Philander's in Oak Park. Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman are at The Chambers in Niles, Ill., tonight.
In New Orleans tonight... the Shannon Powell quartet is at Donna's. The David Dunbar quartet is at El Matador. The JMO Jazz Band is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar. Big Sam's Funky Nation and Evan Howard are at the Funky Butt. Dean Fransen and Fred Sanders are at Le Salon at Windsor Court. The Johnny Vidacovich trio featuring George Porter Jr. is at the Maple Leaf.
Lucien Barbarin and the Sunday Night Swingsters are at the Palm Court. Dejan's Olympia Brass Band is at Preservation Hall. The Brian Seeger Organ Trio is at Snug Harbor. Samirah Evans' Annual Leo Birthday Performance takes place tonight at Vincent's City Club in Lake Forest Plaza.
On the California jazz scene... the Golden Eagle Dixieland jazz band is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton this afternoon, and there's also a jazz jam session tonight. Kahil El'Zabar, D. D. Jackson and Hamiet Bluiett are at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight and there's a matinee performance today by the Clare Fischer Latin jazz quintet. The Sweet Baby J'ai Blue Quartet plays the jazz brunch today at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood while the Jimmy Smith quartet is in the spotlight tonight.
The AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival concludes today with Mark Levine and Ron Graham, Susie Hansen's Latin Jazz Band, Jon Faddis, the Chuchito Valdez Afro Cuban Ensemble, Oleta Adams, the Leonard Thompson trio, Shanna Carlson quintet, Dick Hindman trio, Larry Dunlap trio plus singer Bobbe Norris, Brenda Boykin, organists Atsuko Hashimoto and Midori Ono, Katia Moraes and Sambaguru, drummer Sylvia Cuenca with special guest Eddie Henderson, and Mimi Fox trio. Also performing today and tonight are the University of Michigan Big Band, bassist David Friesen, pianist Randy Porter and drummer Alan Jones will attract your attention with their musicianship, the quintet Corner Pocket and teenage piano phenom Taylor Eigsti's trio with special guest Red Holloway.
The Jazz en Marciac festival in Marciac, France, tonight features Baptiste Trotignon, Richard Galliano and Jean-Michel Pilc.