Clarinetist Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow was born this day in 1899 in Chicago. Mezzrow's passable skills as a player were far overshadowed by his role as an organizer of recording dates, including sessions by Sidney Bechet and trumpeter Tommy Ladnier. Mezzrow died in Paris in 1972.
Dixieland cornetist Muggsy Spanier was born this day in 1906 in Chicago.
Saxophonist and trumpet player Pete Brown was born this day in 1906 in Baltimore, Md. Brown developed the "jump" style of alto playing but his own personal style was disrupted in the late 1940s by the emergence of Charlie Parker. He rarely sounded comfortable after Bird landed on the scene. Brown died in 1963.
This was the day in 1936 when saxophonist Lester Young made his first recording with the Count Basie Quintet in Chicago for the Vocalion label. The tunes were "Shoe Shine Boy" or "Shoe Shine Swing," Evenin'," "Boogie Woogie" and "Lady Be Good." Because of a contract dispute, the band recorded under the name "Jones-Smith Inc."
Looking at today's hip happenings...
One thousand saxophonists plan to converge on the Great Wall of China next June 23, which is International Olympic Day. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gunther Schuller is master conductor for the event and five-time Emmy winner Mark Watters is music director. The event, featuring the California-based Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra, will be broadcast live throughout Asia by China Central Television and worldwide via the Internet.
Saxophone players throughout the United States and abroad are invited to join Schuller, Watters and 500 Chinese saxophone players for this unique performance. The concert will take place at Juyong Pass, one of the most significant sections of the Wall, located north of Beijing. It is the brainchild of Don Stevens of the Nuclear Whales, a self-described "whimsically serious" sextet of world-class musicians.
Stevens was inspired by the group's two-week tour in China two years ago. He said the goal of the concert is to show the Great Wall as a symbol of peace that can bring people of all nations together through music. Watters said the program taking shape will feature western works, ranging from Bach and Copland to Ellington, Gershwin and Joplin, as well as showcase Chinese music -- including original compositions and arrangements created specifically for this performance.
The application deadline for saxophone players wishing to participate is March 1, 2003. For more information, interested saxophone players may visit nuclearwhales.com or call 800-993-7621.
On the New York jazz scene... Mose Allison's quartet is at Iridium. Saxophonist Greg Osby's band is at the Village Vanguard this week. Week one of the Blue Note's Fall Vocal Festival continues tonight with The Manhattan Transfer's 30th birthday celebration. The Gary Bartz Quintet plus String Quartet are at The Jazz Standard through Sunday. The Marc Copland-Dave Liebman duo is at The Jazz Gallery tonight. The Max Flemming Quartet is at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem tonight.
"Jazz Legends" featuring Joe Wilder, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Ronnie Mathews, Ray Drummond and Kenny Washington are at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music tonight. Chris Washburne and his new band Mambo Inc., featuring vocalist Luisito Ayala, will be playing dance music for a mambo party at Makor tonight. Deborah Aviles and Titingo bring Cuban jazz to Triad tonight.
The 13th annual Charlie Palmieri Memorial Piano Scholarship Competition is scheduled today at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York. The scholarship is awarded to intermediate and advanced pianists ages 12 to 25 for the study of Latin style piano. The winner will receive one year's training free of charge at Harbor Conservatory with a specialist in Latin piano.
Since 1970, the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, a division of Boys and Girls Harbor Inc., has undertaken an important role in the preservation of Afro-Caribbean Latin music. Boys and Girls Harbor is an educational, cultural and social service non-profit agency that serves close to 6,000 children, young people and families from East and Central Harlem.
The fall edition of the Cape May Jazz Festival is underway in southernmost New Jersey this weekend. Tonight's prime acts include Buster Williams' Something More band featuring Kenny Barron, Benny Golson and Lenny White; the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band featuring Slide Hampton, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Benny Green, Silvester Lee and John Lee; the Phil Woods quintet, saxophonist Bootsie Barnes, pianist Junior Mance and William Cepeda's Afro-Rican jazz band.
Pianist Rachel Z is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
Caetano Veloso is at the University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Auditorium in Storrs.
On the Boston area jazz scene... the Pat Martino-Gil Goldstein duo is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Freddy Cole is at Scullers jazz club in Boston. The Dimock Community Health Center's 15th annual "Steppin' Out" jazz gala at Boston's World Trade Center and the adjacent Seaport Hotel is scheduled tonight. Performers including T.S. Monk's band as well as The Cab Calloway Orchestra under the direction of Christopher Calloway Brooks.
In and around Chicago... pianist Marcus Roberts' trio is at the McAnich Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn tonight. Composer-conductor William Russo leads his Chicago Jazz Ensemble tonight at the Centre East Theater in Skokie. The program includes "Sketches of Spain" plus Russo's own work, "Jubilatum."
Judy Roberts is at the Chicago Firehouse. There's a Sabertooth After Hours Jazz Party beginning at midnight at the Green Mill tonight following a performance by the Charlie Kolhase quintet. The Louis Bellson quintet is at the Jazz Showcase. Bopology is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. The Jeff Marx trio is at Katerina's. Rankinfyle is at Philander's in Oak Park. Leslie Byers and the Jazz Cats are at Pops of Highwood.
In New Orleans... the Blue Universe Quartet and Ernie Smith and Obsession are at the Blue Nile tonight. The Earl Brown trio is at Cafe Sbisa. Willie Tee's trio is at Cobalt. Leroy Jones' quintet is at Donna's. The Nicotine Hoppers are at Dos Jefes. Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar. James Rivers is at the Fine Arts Center. Astral Project and the Devin Phillips quartet are at the Funky Butt. Topsy Chapman and Tom Hook are at Satchmo's jazz room at Harrah's casino.
The ReBirth Brass Band is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band are at Le Meridien tonight. Lionel Ferbos and the Palm Court Jazz Band are at the Palm Court. John Brunious leads the band at Preservation Hall. The Panorama Jazz Band is at the Seaport Cafe. Irvin Mayfield is at Snug Harbor tonight. The Richie Moten trio and the Silverleaf Jazz Band are at the Sonesta's Mystick Den.
Tonight's schedule at the 20th anniversary edition of the San Francisco Jazz Festival features Bobby McFerrin and surprise guests at Masonic Auditorium and the Charles Lloyd quintet and Tomasz Stanko's quartet at the Herbst Theatre.
Elsewhere on the California jazz scene... the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles for two more nights. Flora Purim and Airto Moreira are at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood. Trumpeter Carl Saunders guests with the John Heard trio tonight at Charlie O's in Valley Glen.
The Estrada Brothers Latin jazz sextet is at Steamer's Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. The Sandy Graham quartet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Mark Murphy is at the intimate atmosphere of the Jazz and Blues Company in Carmel tonight. The Cedar Walton trio is at Yoshi's in Oakland this week with Vincent Herring and Nicholas Payton. Saxophonist Andrew Speight's quartet is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco tonight.
Jovino Santos Neto and Hans Teuber are at Seattle's Serafina Restaurant tonight.
Queen Mab with Ig Henneman is at the Western Front in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Omar Sosa octet is at Verden I Norden tonight in Oslo, Norway.