Duke Ellington's first drummer, Sonny Greer, was born this day in 1903 in Long Branch, N.J. He was an inspiration for later showmen-drummers including Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Greer died in 1982.
Guitarist Mark Elf was born this day in 1949. The Long Island, N.Y., musician has released several very fine recordings under his own name in the past six years. He also has worked in the Jimmy Heath quartet and the Heath Brothers band.
On this date in 1940, tenor saxophonist Lester Young left the Count Basie Band after an important six-year stay. At that point in his career, the hipster with a vernacular all his own decided he wanted to be on his own as a freelance musician and bandleader. Young gave Billy Holiday her nickname "Lady Day." And Holiday gave Young his nickname "Prez," short for President, because she considered him the greatest.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... the Chris Potter quartet is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. Oscar Peterson's quartet is at the Blue Note this week. The Jazz Standard tonight features Pablo Ziegler "Tango Meets Jazz" quintet with special guest Paquito D'Rivera tonight and Sunday and James Carter on Saturday. The Ron Carter quartet is at Iridium through Sunday. The Kim Thompson quartet is at The Jazz Gallery tonight.
Birdland's first Charlie Parker Festival tonight features saxophonists Jason Jackson, Ronnie Cuba, Cecil Payne and Jesse Davis with a rhythm section of Don Friedman, Dennis Irwin and Billy Drummond. New School University's Jazz and Contemporary Music Program presents Jane Ira Bloom and Fred Hersch tonight at Titian Auditorium in its Jazz @ 6:30 series.
Saxophonist Eric Alexander is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight and Saturday.
Pianist Mulgrew Miller is at TK's Jazz Cafe in Boston tonight and Saturday. Herman Johnson's band is at Ryles in Cambridge, Mass., tonight and Saturday.
On the Chicago jazz scene... the Chris Lega-Pat Mallinger quintet is at Andy's tonight. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse. Vinx is at HotHouse. Elaine Dame and Nick Colionne are at Isaac Hayes. The Joey DeFrancesco trio is at the Jazz Showcase. Skinny Williams is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. Kimberly Gordon is at Katerina's. Sonic Species are at Michael's Jazz Bistro in Glen Ellyn. The King Fleming trio is at Philander's in Oak Park. Henry Johnson's Organ Express is at Pops for Champagne tonight and Saturday.
In New Orleans tonight... Earl Brown's trio is at Cafe Sbisa. David Torkanowsky is at Cobalt. The Treme Brass Band is at Donna's. Leroy Jones is at Dos Jefes. John Boutte is at El Matador. Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar. The Devin Phillips quartet is at the Funky Butt.
Louis Ford and Topsy Chapman are at Satchmo's jazz room in Harrah's. Sista Teedy is at Le Meridien. The Ernie Elly Slickshots with Thais Clark are at the Palm Court. Leroy Jones leads the band tonight at Preservation Hall. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor. The Panorama Jazz Band is at the Seaport Cafe.
Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins is at the Satellite Lounge in Houston tonight.
On the California jazz scene... Denny Zeitlin's trio is at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Tony Guererro's "Swingfest" with Elizabeth Lamers is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. The Andrea Baker quartet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. The John Heard trio is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight. Jing Chi featuring Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip and Vinny Colaiuta is at Yoshi's in Oakland through Sunday. Dmitri Matheny's WinterFest is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz tonight.