Pianist Lovie Austin was born this day in 1887 in Chattanooga, Tenn. She was a pioneering jazz woman who toured on the vaudeville circuit and directed her own New York club shows before settling in Chicago, where she became house pianist for Paramount Records. Austin also led the pit orchestra at the Monogram Theater. She recorded with Ma Rainey, Ida Cox and Ethel Waters and wrote the hit "Graveyard Blues" for Bessie Smith. Lovie Austin died in Chicago in 1972.
Singer Helen Ward was born this day in 1916 in New York City. She became a staff musician at NBC and sang with Benny Goodman on his radio show "Let's Dance" in 1934, then toured with Goodman for three years.
Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams was born this day in 1930 in Chicago. He formed the experimental cooperative known as the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music, which led to formation of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
On this day in 1934, singer Vaughn Monroe cut his first recording with Larry Funk's Band of a Thousand Melodies. The tune was called "Rain."
On this night in 2001, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove opened their North American "Directions in Music" tour at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, Calif. This tour, with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, celebrated the 75th birth year of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... saxophonist Branford Marsalis's band is at the Bottom Line tonight. Tony Bennett and k.d. lang are at Carnegie Hall tonight as part of the Verizon Music Festival. Ted Nash's quartet is at the Village Vanguard this week. Ray Barretto and New World Spirit are at Iridium through Sunday. Vijay Iyer is at the Jazz Standard tonight in the third of five solo piano evenings. Tony Bennett and k.d. lang are at Carnegie Hall tonight as part of the Verizon Music Festival. Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
In the Boston area... Patricia Barber is at the Regattabar in Cambridge tonight and Friday. The Greg Abate quartet featuring James Williams is at Scullers in Boston tonight. Peter Kowald and Xu Feng Xia bring their Global Village duo to the Institute of Contemporary Art tonight as part of the Boston Creative Music Alliance's fall series.
Omar Sosa is at the University of Wisconsin Music Hall in Madison tonight.
In Chicago tonight... the Mike Smith-Ron Freidman quintet is at Andy's. The Chambers in Niles features a Thursday night jam session with John Bany, Don Stille and Charles Braugham. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse. Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra is at the Green Mill. The Danilo Perez trio is at the Jazz Showcase. Erwin Helfer and the Chicago Boogie Ensemble are at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. John Wright is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight. Los Hombres Perdido are at Pops for Champagne.
In New Orleans... the Improvisational Arts Council's "Acid Test" is at the Blue Nile. Mark Braud is at Dos Jefes. The David Dunbar trio is at El Matador. David Torkanowky's Organism and the Evan Howard Band are at the Funky Butt. Brian O'Neill is at Satchmo's jazz room in Harrah's casino. Jimmy Smith's quartet is at the House of Blues. The Soul Rebels are at Le Salon at Windsor Court. Shanti Groove plus the Joe Krown Organ Combo are at the Maple Leaf.
The Crescent City Joymakers are at Palm Court with singer Lloyd Washington. Rick Margitza is at Snug Harbor. The Hot Club of New Orleans swing band and the Panorama Jazz Band featuring Ben Schenk are at the Spotted Cat tonight. Brian Seeger's Jazz Hang is at the Station House Grill. Robert Walter's 20th Congress plus the OM Trio are at Tipitina's tonight. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are at Vaughn's.
On the California jazz scene... Pianist Ivar Antonsen reharmonizes classic jazz with Bill Andrews and Duncan Moore tonight at Dizzy's in San Diego. The Bill Cunliffe sextet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks tonight. Kenny Rankin is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight. The Yellowjackets are at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood tonight. The Peggy Duquesnel trio is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. Drummer Ron Marabuto's quartet is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco tonight. The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight.
The Pat Metheny Group is in Tokyo, Japan, tonight and Friday.