Trombonist Bill Harris was born this day in Philadelphia in 1916. Harris tried piano, tenor saxophone and trumpet before settling on the trombone, which he played with ingenuity, vigor and humor. He toured with Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley and Benny Goodman's bands in the late 1930s and early '40s. His best work came in the Woody Herman band off and on between 1944 and 1959. He died in 1973.
Trumpeter and Latin jazz bandleader Chico O'Farrill was born this day in 1921 in Havana, Cuba. He settled in New York in the late 1940s and had a major impact as an arranger on Latin albums by Machito, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer and Gato Barbieri. He had a major career revival during the late 1990s. He died in 2001.
Singer Cleo Laine was born this day in 1927 in Southall, Middlesex, England. She has had a long, successful career since she began fronting the John Dankworth Big Band in 1952. Her recording "Cleo at Carnegie Hall" won a Grammy Award in 1986.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
A landmark jazz recording recently reached a landmark of its own... 45 years after it was recorded. The Recording Industry Association of America has bestowed Gold Certification upon saxophonist John Coltrane's classic recording "Blue Train." Coltrane's only session as a leader for Blue Note Records was recorded in 1957 in the midst of his tenure as a sideman in bands led by Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. The certification marks album, cassette and CD sales of more than 500,000 copies. Blue Note presented gold plaques to the jazz legend's son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. Trane's widow, Alice Coltrane, lives in California and was unavailable for the presentation.
On the New York jazz scene tonight... singer Allan Harris is at Joe's Pub, where with a 10-piece band he will debut his original musical story, "Cross that River, the Saga of Blue." Based on historical characters, it's the tale of a runaway slave who becomes a black cowboy after he escapes on his master's stud horse to the West.
Elsewhere in the Big Apple... the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is at the Village Vanguard. Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra is at Birdland. Les Paul is at Iridium. Ron Affif's trio is at the Zinc Bar. The Tim Ouimette Big Band is at Ye Olde Tripple Inn on Monday nights.
Norman Simmons is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
Steve Lacy, Rene Marie, Joe Kennedy Jr., the Jimmy Black trio, the Wild Bill Davison Legacy Band and Virginia Commonwealth University's Jazz Orchestra I will perform tonight at VCU's W.E. Singleton Performing Arts Center naming celebration at the campus in Richmond, Va. Benefactor W.E. Singleton recently gave the school $2 million, the largest contribution ever made in the United States to a university-level jazz program.
The Tad Weed Freedom Ensemble is at the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor, Mich., tonight.
On the Chicago jazz scene... the William Garcia quartet is at Cafe Bolera tonight. The John Moulder quartet is at the Green Mill tonight. Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues are at HotHouse. Kelly Brand is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. The Typhanie Monique duo is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Sami Scott is at Philander's in Oak Park. Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman are at Pops for Champagne tonight.
In New Orleans tonight... Otra is at the Blue Nile. New Orleans Streetbeat is at the Crescent City Brewhouse. Bob French and Friends are at Donna's. Andrew Baham and the Fresh Off the Boat Refugee Jazz Band are at the Funky Butt. Blue Mondays feature Kermit Ruffins at the Lounge Lizard. Reginald Koeller leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall.
Charmaine Neville is at Snug Harbor. The New Orleans Jazz Vipers and Ryan Burrage and the Rhythm Masters are at the Spotted Cat. Mike Esnault and Victor Atkins are at the Windsor Court. Louis Ford and Topsy Chapman are at Satchmo's jazz room at Harrah's. Rob Wagner's trio is at d.b.a.
Tonight's schedule at the 20th anniversary edition of the San Francisco Jazz Festival features multi-instrumentalist and composer Hermeto Pascoal and the group Banda Mantiqueira presenting their contributions to New Jazz From Brazil at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.
Elsewhere on the California jazz scene... the Bill Watrous Big Band is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight. The Ray Armando Latin Jazz Quintet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Terry Federoff's Jazz Lite Octette is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. Singer Tessa Souter is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood. Pianist Bill Charlap's trio is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. The wordWind Chorus is at Yoshi's in Oakland. The Contemporary Jazz Orchestra directed by Alex Budman is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco.
Salif Keita is at the Commodore in Vancouver, British Columbia, tonight.
On the recording front...
Capitol Records, whose inaugural batch of 78 shellac records was released by its founding partners Johnny Mercer, Glenn Wallichs and Buddy DeSylva in the summer of 1942, will celebrate its 60th anniversary with the release of "Capitol Records: 1942-2002," hitting stores soon. The digitally remastered 96-track, six-CD boxed set pays tribute to the defining artists of popular music history.
They range from Stan Kenton, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra to Peggy Lee, the Kingston Trio and the Beach Boys; from the Beatles -- the first time their music has ever been included on a multi-artist compilation -- the solo careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the Band and Pink Floyd to Merle Haggard and Duran Duran; from Bonnie Raitt, Everclear and Garth Brooks to Kylie Minogue, Radiohead, Coldplay and The Vines.
The box set is being released in two versions. The deluxe version is packaged in a 10-by-10-inch box with a full-size, 144-page clothbound "coffee table" collector's volume of classic artist photographs. The special version is in a "brick" format, with a smaller 72-page photograph booklet. Both boxed set versions contain the same CDs, along with booklets containing extensive discography information, including many track annotations that have been compiled for the very first time.
New York's Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has released a new CD called "Can I Persuade You." Its first release on Planet Arts Recordings features works by Jimmy Giuffre, Bob Mintzer, Julie Cavadini, Bill Holman, Wayne Shorter and Duke Ellington.
Every label these days seems to be looking for the next Diana Krall, Norah Jones or Eva Cassidy. Hot Springs Records, an affiliate of Summit Records, is just out with the debut recording of 19-year-old jazz and pop singer Alicia Renee. In addition to a baker's dozen songs from the Great American Songbook, she offers "Prince Ali" from the soundtrack to Disney's "Aladdin" and one original, "Wait For Me."
Summit Records has released Boston-based vibes player Matthias Lupri's third recording, "Same Time Twice." It features Mark Turner on saxophone, Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Reuben Rogers on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums.
Pianist Rachel Z, who's touring this fall with Peter Gabriel's band, is out this month with her latest CD project for the Tone Center label. It's a trio session called "Moon at the Window." This is a collection of her jazz interpretations of Joni Mitchell's music. It teams her with bassist Patricia Des Lauriers and drummer Bobbie Rae.