Pianist Kirk Lightsey was born this day in 1937 in Detroit. This busy free-lance musician, once a member of the Chet Baker quintet, has been based in Paris for several years.
Saxophonist and bandleader Henry Threadgill was born in Chicago on this day in 1944.
On this day in 1965, the world lost singer and pianist Nat "King Cole to lung cancer. Long before he became a popular singer, Cole was a brilliant piano player who set the style for many other jazz players. He also began the drumless trio format of piano, bass and guitar soon adopted by Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.
This was also the day, in 1941, when Duke Ellington first recorded "Take the 'A' Train." The tune was recorded in Los Angeles for Victor Records and quickly became Ellington's theme song. Ellington however was not its composer. The song came from his musical partner Billy Strayhorn.
Songwriter Harold Arlen, the man who wrote the unforgettable tunes for "The Wizard of Oz," was born this day in 1905 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... Cassandra Wilson is at The Jazz Standard through Sunday. Anita O'Day is at Iridium through Sunday. David Sanborn is at the Blue Note through Sunday. Bad Plus trio is at the Village Vanguard this week.
The John Ellis Quintet is at The Jazz Gallery tonight. Vanessa Rubin is at Smoke tonight. Kendra Shank's trio is at Chez Suzette. Flutist Jill Allen's quartet is The Garage tonight. Harvie S and Eye Contact are at One Station Plaza in Peekskill tonight.
In the Boston area... Jon Lucien is at Scullers in Boston tonight. The Boston Creative Music Alliance presents Myra Melford's Be Bread Quartet tonight at the Institute of Contemporary Art Theater. Planet Groove is at Ryles in Cambridge tonight.
Saxophonist Jerry Vejmola's trio is at the Grand Cru Wine Bar at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis tonight. Trumpeter Greg Hopkins' quintet is at ZARA in Worcester.
In Philadelphia tonight... Mark O'Connor's Hot Swing Trio is at the Kimmel Center. Joe McPhee, William Parker and Harold Smith are at the Sedgwick Cultural Center, The Four Tenors features saxophonists Jimmy Oliver, Larry McKenna, Odean Pope and Bootsie Barnes tonight at The Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts with Trudy Pitts, Lee Smith and Craig McIver. Friends featuring Gloria Allende are at Zanzibar Blue tonight. The Jimmy Bruno trio is Chris's Jazz Cafe.
Charlie Haden's Nocturne with David Sanchez, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ignacio Berroa and Frederico Britos Ruiz is at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh.
Eric Alexander and Harold Mabern are at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club in Washington, D.C., tonight.
The Davis and Dow quartet is at Cafe Del Mar in Miami Shores, Fla., tonight.
On the Chicago area jazz scene... Ty Hanson and Snatch are at Andy's. Bobby Lewis is at the Backroom. The Ken Saydak trio is at The Foundry at Fox Valley Mall. The Grazyna Auguscik quintet is at the Green Mill tonight. Judy Roberts and Two for Brazil are at the Jazz Showcase through Sunday. Bopology is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight.
The Carlos Ortega trio is at Katerina's. Gypsy jazz with the Szaksi Lakatos trio takes place tonight and Sunday at Paprikash. Bobby Broom quartet is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston tonight. Rankinfyle is at Philander's in Oak Park. The Jordan Baskin-Taku Akiyama quartet is at Pops for Champagne. The Dave Flippo Duo is at Pops of Highwood tonight.
George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell and David Boykinah are at the Museum of Science and Industry Auditorium tonight for an AACM Genius Concert tonight. There's a symposium this afternoon on the music of George Lewis.
In New Orleans... the Blue Universe Quartet featuring Sheik Rasheed is at the Blue Nile tonight. Earl Brown's trio is at Cafe Sbisa. David Torkanowsky is at Cobalt. Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias are at Donna's. Wendell Brunious is at Dos Jefes. Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar. Jacques Gauthe and Jamie Wight are at Fritzel's Jazz Pub.
The Devin Phillips quartet and Have Soul Will Travel are at the Funky Butt. Idris Muhammed is at Howlin' Wolf tonight with Johnny Vidacovich, James Singleton, Shane Theriot and Donald Harrison. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are at the Maple Leaf. Lionel Ferbos is the Palm Court. John Brunious leads the band at Preservation Hall. Doug Bickel is at Rene Bistrot. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor tonight.
Patricia Barber is at the Barkley Theater at the Oats Park Art Center in Fallon, Nev., tonight.
In California... James Carter's organ trio is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Gerald Clayton is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks tonight with the Gilbert Castellanos trio. Singer Rebecca Parris is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. Saxophonist Gil Bernal is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen with the John Heard trio tonight. Pieces of a Dream are at Yoshi's in Oakland through Sunday. The Bob DeSena Latin jazz group is at The Deck in Palm Springs tonight.
The Jovino Santos Neto quartet with Hans Teuber, Guil Guimaraes and Byron Vannoy is at Beck's Restaurant in Redmond, Wash.
Omar Sosa's duo tour with Gustavo Ovalles brings them to Clamores in Madrid, Spain, tonight.
On the recording front...
Pianist Mike Longo, former sideman of Cannonball Adderley and Dizzy Gillespie, is just out with his first concert album after some 42 years as a New York-based player and 17 recordings as a leader. "Mike Longo Trio Live" was recorded last fall at the Detroit International Jazz Festival with bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Ray Mosca.
2002 Grammy winner Bob Mintzer is out with another fine big band recording. "Gently" is the tenor saxophonist's 12th CD as a leader for the DMP label. Mintzer uses the session to explore the quiet side of big band music. Clarinets and flutes replace saxophones on several tracks and the brass use mutes on most numbers. He says his goal was "to show that intensity is not necessarily synonymous with volume." His big band won a Grammy last year for its "Homage to Count Basie."