Today is Jan. 31.
Cornet player Bobby Hackett was born this day in 1915 in Providence, R.I. He also played trumpet, guitar, ukulele and banjo. With his translucent sound and elegant lines, he was known as the perfect accompanist for singers and other instrumentalists. Hackett frequently worked during the 1940s as a sideman to Louis Armstrong. Some of his finest solos were on Jackie Gleason's mood music albums. Bobby Hackett died on Cape Cod in 1976.
Trombonist Benny Morton was born this day in 1907 in New York. He rose to prominence in Fletcher Henderson's orchestra in the late 1920s, then moved through the big bands of Chick Webb, Don Redman and Count Basie. Benny Morton toured with the World's Greatest Jazz Band in 1973 and 1974. He died in 1985.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
Some of the more prominent activists on the German jazz scene have formed the "Bundesverband Jazz," the Federal Jazz Association. Founding members are Waldo Riedl of the German Jazz Federation representing clubs and concert promoters; Peter Ortmann of the Bundesjazzorchester (BuJazzO), the federal youth jazz orchestra; Bernd Hoffmann representing the Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio station; Reiner Michalke for the Europe Jazz Network; Peter Schulze, artistic director of the Berlin Jazz Fest; Dominik Wagner of the Union Deutscher Jazz Musiker, a jazz musicians' lobby organization; and, Wolfram Knauer of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, Europe's leading jazz archive and research center.
The new association hopes to bring together the interests of the different groups involved in this music -- musicians, concert promoters, record labels, journalists, educators -- to represent these interests on a national and international basis instead of just within Germany's 16 federal states. The Federal Jazz Association also plans pedagogical initiatives following the example of Scandinavian countries. The Federal Jazz Association can be reached through its Web site: bundesverbandjazz.de.
On the New York jazz scene... composers Toshiko Akiyoshi and Maria Schneider each premiere new works tonight and Saturday in concerts at Lincoln Center. Akiyoshi is celebrating 30 years with her big band by writing a piece featuring her native Japan's Taiko drums played by special guest, the legendary Eitetsu Hayashi. Schneider will lead her own renowned big band in a new orchestral work in Alice Tully Hall.
Buster Williams' Somethin' Else quartet and the T.S. Monk sextet are at Iridium through Sunday. Pianist Fred Hersch's trio is at the Village Vanguard. Mulgrew Miller's trio is at Smoke tonight and Saturday. Kendra Shank's trio is at the 55 Bar tonight. The Curtis Lundy quintet is at the Jazz Standard tonight. The Jay Collins band is at the Jazz Gallery.
The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine is at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., through Sunday. Guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and Frank Vignola are at Ryles in Cambridge tonight.
Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon is featured tonight in the Friday night jazz series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Great Stair Hall. Elsewhere in Philadelphia area... the Michael Hoffman quartet performs tonight in the Jazz at Bucks concert series at Bucks County Community College in Newton. The Bootsie Barnes-John Swana Organ Quartet is at Chris's Jazz Cafe with special guest Grant Stewart.
In and around Chicago... the Arts Center Jazz Ensemble featuring Billy Harper and Marshall Vente is at the McAnich Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse tonight. Eight Bold Souls are at HotHouse. The Lee Konitz trio is at the Jazz Showcase. Skinny Williams is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium.
Sonic Species is at Michael's Jazz Bistro in Glen Ellyn. The Petropolous Organ Trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. The King Fleming trio is at Philander's in Oak Park. Henry Johnson's Organ Express is at Pops for Champagne tonight and Saturday. Rankinfyle is at Pops of Highwood. The Douglass Rosenburg quartet is at the Velvet Lounge.
In New Orleans tonight... the Earl Brown trio is at Cafe Sbisa. David Torkanowsky is at Cobalt. New Orleans Street Beat and Jerry and the Jazzmakers are at the Crescent City Brewhouse. The Potholes Brass Band is at Donna's. Matt Lemmler and Don Vappie are at Dos Jefes. The Devin Phillips quartet is at the Funky Butt.
Pianist Jim Hlavac is at Giovanni's. Bonerama is at the Maple Leaf. The Ernie Elly Slickshots with Thais Clark are at the Palm Court. Leroy Jones leads the band tonight at Preservation Hall. Doug Bickel is at Rene Bistrot. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor. The New Orleans Jazz Vipers are at the Spotted Cat.
In California... guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Tierney Sutton is at Steamer's Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. Trumpeter Scotty Barnhart is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen with the John Heard trio. The Al Viola quartet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks.
Pianist Kenny Barron is at the Cerritos Center tonight with his band Canta Brasil. Mark Levine's Latin Tinge is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco tonight and Saturday. McCoy Tyner is featured through Sunday with Christian McBride and Lewis at Yoshi's in Oakland. Latin jazz pianist Rebeca Mauleon's sextet is at the Pacific Conservatory of Music's Faye Spanos Concert Hall tonight.
Jovino Santos Neto is at Barefoot in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood tonight.
The Dave Robbins sextet is at the Western Front in Vancouver, British Columbia, tonight.
Omar Sosa and Gustavo Ovalles are at Moods in Zurich, Switzerland, tonight.