Cornetist Rex Stewart was born this day in Philadelphia in 1907. He succeeded Louis Armstrong in Fletcher Henderson's orchestra where he quickly proved himself a highly charged and energetic soloist. Stewart developed the technique of playing half-valve notes on the trumpet to create quarter-tones and freaky half-vocal sounds.
Duke Ellington recognized the potential of what Stewart was doing and hired him, then wrote and rearranged songs just for Stewart's unique style during his 11-year stay in the band, from 1934 to 1945.
Tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate was born this day in 1915 in Sherman, Texas. One of the great Texas tenors, Tate spent nine years with Count Basie, then spent 21 straight years in residence at Harlem's famed Celebrity Club. Tate died in 2001.
Drummer Dave Bailey was born this day in 1926 in Portsmouth, Va. He's best known for his work with Gerry Mulligan from 1954 to 1968 as well as with Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer, and for his work as executive director of New York's Jazzmobile program.
On this day in 1946, Dizzy Gillespie first recorded the song that became one of his best-known and most important compositions. "A Night in Tunisia" helped fuse Afro-Cuban rhythms with Afro-American jazz.
On this night in 2002, there was a Chicago saxophone summit featuring Von Freeman, Mwata Bowden, Ari Brown, Duke Payne and Eric Schneider at Tuley Park Auditorium.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
In New York... Regina Belle is at The Blue Note this week. Nicholas Payton, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Terrell Stafford and David Weiss celebrate the music of Lee Morgan, Booker Little and Freddie Hubbard through Sunday at Iridium. The Mark Turner trio is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. Eddie Henderson's quartet is at Smoke tonight. The Eric Revis quintet is at The Jazz Gallery tonight.
Jazz at Lincoln Center presents the Louis Hayes All-Stars at the Stanley H. H. Kaplan Penthouse. The Jazz Standard's "Winter Blues Week" series features Lucky Peterson tonight and Sunday. The Michael Musillami-Mario Pavone quintet and the Tom Christensen quintet are at the Knitting Factory tonight. The Craig Handy quintet is at Birdland. Howard Johnson's Ho-Jo Four are at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem.
On the Massachusetts jazz scene... the Ron Carter quartet is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is at Scullers in Boston tonight with special guest David Sanchez.
In Philadelphia... the Barbara Walker Story is at Zanzibar Blue tonight. The John Howie Orchestra is at Chris's Jazz Cafe.
The Historic Strasburg Inn in Lancaster County, Pa., continues its Strasburg Jazz Festival through Sunday. Performers today and tonight include John Brubaker, J.D. Walter, Hornaculture, The Reese Project and headliner "Papa" John DeFrancesco's trio.
There's a "Tribute to Count Basie" with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra tonight at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, as part of the Lakeland Jazz Festival.
In Chicago... Sonny Fortune is at the Jazz Showcase for two more nights. The Joan Hickey quintet is at Andy's tonight. Detour is at the Backroom. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse tonight. The Ken Saydak trio is at The Foundry at Fox Valley Mall. The Grammy-winning Bob Mintzer Big Band is at the Green Mill. Bopology is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium.
Andreas Kapsalis is at Katerina's with Jamie Gallagher and Darrin Garvey. The Voodoo Kings are at Michael's Jazz Bistro in Glen Ellyn. Los Hombres Perdido are at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Rankinfyle is at Philander's in Oak Park. Savoir Faire is at Pops for Champagne.
Pianist Lenore Raphael is at Cafe Del Mar in Miami Shores, Fla., tonight.
In New Orleans... Greg Dawson and Crosswinds are at Bally's. The Blue Universe Quartet featuring Sheik Rasheed is at the Blue Nile. The Earl Brown trio is at Cafe Sbisa. Heather and the Monkey King are at Cobalt. The Leroy Jones quintet is at Donna's. Otra is at the Dragon's Den. Jeremy Davenport is at the Ritz Carlton's French Quarter Bar.
Astral Project and the Devin Phillips quartet are at the Funky Butt. Lionel Ferbos is at the Palm Court. Pete Fountain is at his club in the Hilton Hotel tonight. John Brunious leads the band at Preservation Hall tonight. Idris Mohammed and Donald Harrison are at Snug Harbor tonight. Archie and Simonia Milton are at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park this afternoon.
The annual Lionel Hampton Festival at the University of Idaho campus in Moscow continues tonight with a main stage concert featuring Lou Rawls, Hank Jones, Jeff Hamilton, Bucky Pizzarelli, Russell Malone Lewis Nash, John Clayton, Kenny Barron, Roy Hargrove, Claudio Roditi, Igor Butman, George Mraz, James Moody, Ethel Ennis, Bill Watrous, Benny Powell and Jane Jarvis.
In California... Patricia Barber is Catalina's Bar & Grill in Hollywood through Sunday. Mose Allison is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Jack Sheldon's California Cool quartet is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. The Pete Jolly trio is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks.
Trumpeter Carl Saunders is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight with the John Heard trio. The Bob DeSena Latin jazz group is at The Deck in Palm Springs. The James Carter trio is at Yoshi's in Oakland through Sunday with special guest David Murray.
Trumpeter Dave Douglas brings his sextet to British Columbia's Vancouver East Cultural Centre tonight.