Trumpeter James "Bubber" Miley was born this day in 1903 in Aiken, S.C. His "growling" style of playing the trumpet attracted the interest of Duke Ellington, who made him a central figure in his first band.
While Miley only stayed with Ellington for a few years, he had a profound impact on all of Ellington's subsequent music. As the Duke himself once explained, "When Bubber came in, that's when we forgot all about the sweet music."
Bass player and arranger Pierre Michelot was born this day in 1928 in Saint Denis, France. Michelot has worked regularly since the 1940s with American jazz musicians touring Europe, and was a featured musician in the 1985 film "Round Midnight."
Bass player Scott LaFaro was born this day in 1936 in Newark, N.J. He had a brief yet indelible impact on jazz, particularly during his two years with the Bill Evans trio from 1959 to 1961.
LaFaro developed a soloing technique that expanded the role of the bass in piano-led trios, and also developed new types of rhythm playing on the big double bass. He died in a car crash in July 1961 at age 25. LaFaro's last gig was a Newport Jazz Festival appearance the previous weekend with Stan Getz.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
Colorado's Janus Jazz Aspen Snowmass is returning this summer to Aspen proper after a 10-year residence in neighboring Snowmass Valley. The June 19-22 festival will be held at Rio Grande Park in Aspen.
Free concerts are scheduled at a small stage to be erected at the Cooper Avenue Mall adjacent to Wagner Park on Thursday through Sunday afternoons, featuring New Orleans trad-jazz trumpeter and vocalist Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, plus singer Tierney Sutton and others to be announced later.
On the New York jazz scene... the Heath Brothers are at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. The Claudia Acuna quintet Vanguard is at the Jazz Standard this week. Latin singer Albita is at the Blue Note.
There's a tribute to Lionel Hampton at Iridium this week featuring the Terry Gibbs quintet with David "Fathead" Newman, Joey DeFrancesco, Gerry Gibbs and Howard Alden. Pianist Eugene Maslov's trio opens the set each night.
The Jazz Gallery presents the Liberty Ellman quartet tonight. Trombonist Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Thursdays.
The Rachel Z trio is at Sweet Rhythm tonight. The John Hicks-Elise Woods sextet is at Birdland through Saturday with special guest Joe Lovano. The George Coleman quartet is at Smoke through Saturday. The Junior Mance trio opens The Jazz Gallery's new "Early Set @ The Jazz Gallery" series tonight.
In greater Boston... the McCoy Tyner trio is at Ryles in Cambridge tonight and Friday. Singer-pianist Peter Cincotti is at Scullers jazz club in Boston tonight. Singers Jim Porcella and Ida Zecco and Friends present a tribute to Louis Prima and Keely Smith tonight at The Regattabar in Cambridge.
Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound are at Tritone in Philadelphia tonight.
In the Chicago area... Bobby Hutcherson is at the Jazz Showcase this week with Willie Pickens, Kelly Sill and Dana Hall. Singer Rene Marie performs at a benefit for Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers at Hot House tonight. The Ron Friedman quintet is at Andy's tonight. John Bany, Don Stille and Charles Braugham are at The Chambers in Niles. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse.
Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra is at the Green Mill. Tim Tobias is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. The John Brumbach quartet is at Katerina's. The Petropolous Organ Trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston tonight. John Wright is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight.
On the New Orleans jazz scene... the Improvisational Arts Council is at the Blue Nile. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott are at Donna's. Los Tres Amigos are at Dos Jefes. Ryan Burrage and the Rhythmakers are at Fritzel's.
Evan Howard and Maurice Brown are at the Funky Butt. The Soul Rebels Brass Band is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Lloyd Washington and the Crescent City Joymakers are at the Palm Court. Dave Bartholomew leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. Larry Coryell is at Snug Harbor.
In California... vibes player Stefon Harris's 12-piece Grand Unification Theory group is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Pianist Roger Burn is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks with his group Shapes. The Ron Eschete trio is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight.
Spyro Gyra is at Yoshi's jazz club in Oakland tonight through Sunday. Monk's Music Trio with Chuck Bernstein, Si Perkoff and Frank Pasantino hold a CD release party at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco tonight. The Martan Mann trio is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz tonight.
The Roy Hargrove quintet is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle this week.