Pianist Willie "the Lion" Smith was born this date in 1897 in Goshen, N.Y. He was one of the top Stride pianists on the New York jazz scene from the 1930s into the 1970s. He died in 1973.
Another jazzman named Willie Smith, a Swing Era alto saxophonist, was born this day in 1910 in Charleston, S.C. He worked with the Jimmy Lunceford, Charlie Spivak and Harry James bands, and briefly replaced Johnny Hodges in the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He died in 1967.
Saxophonist Paul Desmond was born this date in 1924 in San Francisco. He was best known for his longstanding work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and wrote the Brubeck band's signature tune, "Take Five." Paul Desmond died in 1977.
Swing pianist Dick Wellstood was born this day in 1927 in Greenwich, Conn. He died in 1987.
Trumpeter Nat Adderley was born this day in 1931 in Tampa, Fla. After the 1975 death of his elder brother and band-mate Cannonball Adderley, Nat maintained the spirit of their important musical collaboration with his own quintet until his passing on Jan. 2, 2000.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... drummer Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Ache are in the Monday Night spotlight at the Blue Note. The Steve Wirts quartet is at Zuni. New School University's Jazz and Contemporary Music Program presents Roy Hargrove and Raymond Angry tonight in its Jazz at 6:30 series at Tishman Auditorium. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is at the Village Vanguard. Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra is at Birdland. Les Paul is at Iridium with his trio.
In Philadelphia... the Tony Micelli quartet is at Chris's Jazz Cafe tonight.
The Tom Baldwin quartet is at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., tonight.
The Free Music Ensemble with Ken Vandermark, Nate McBride and Paal Nilssen-Love is at Beachland in Cleveland tonight.
The Tad Weed Freedom Ensemble is at the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor, Mich.
In Chicago... there's a No Am/Pro Jam at Andy's. The William Garcia quartet is at Cafe Bolera. Terry Callier and Beyond are at the Green Mill tonight. Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues are at HotHouse. The Long Count Quartet is at Joy Blue. Sami Scott is at Philander's in Oak Park. Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman are at Pops for Champagne.
In New Orleans... the Panorama Jazz Band is at the Blue Nile tonight. Earl Brown's trio is at Cafe Sbisa. Two Pan Sam hosts the jazz jam at Checkpoint Charlie. Bob French and Friends are at Donna's. The Fresh Off the Boat Refugee Jazz Band and Jason Marsalis are at the Funky Butt. Larry Sieberth and Victor Atkins are at Le Salon at Windsor Court. Papa Grows Funk is at the Maple Leaf. Reginald Koeller leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. The Dixie Trio is at the Seaport Cafe. Charmaine Neville is at Snug Harbor. The Rob Wagner trio is at d.b.a.
On the California jazz scene... trumpeter Carl Saunders' big band is at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. The Pat Tuzzolino quartet is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen. The Joyce Marie Partise Latin jazz quintet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks tonight. Terry Federoff's Jazz Lite Octette is at Steamer's Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. The Contemporary Jazz Orchestra directed by Alex Budman is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco. Trumpeter Ray Brown and the Great Big Band are at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. The World Star Trio is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight.
The Chick Corea trio is at the Blue Note in Tokyo tonight through Saturday.