Today is April 22.
Bassist and composer Charles Mingus was born this day in 1922 in Nogales, Ariz. He was one of the great conceptualists in jazz, and also had a penchant for exotic names for his complex compositions.
Some examples of those Mingus classics include "Fables of Faubus," "Orange was the Color of Her Dress, then Silk Blue," "All the Things You Could Be By Now if Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother" and "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife (Are Some Jive-Ass Slippers)."
Mingus helped establish the double bass as a solo voice in jazz, and through his compositional skills turned life into music, and vice-versa. Though he died in 1979, his music lives on through the Mingus Big Band and Mingus Jazz Orchestra, both supervised by his widow, Sue Mingus.
Another master of the double bass, Miles Davis sideman Paul Chambers, was born this day in 1935 in Pittsburgh. He was in Davis's classic quintet from 1955 to 1963. He died in 1969.
Cuban conga and bongo player Candido Camero was born this day in 1921 in Havana. Dizzy Gillespie encouraged him to move to New York in 1952. He helped extend the influences of Afro-Cuban drumming styles on American jazz.
Trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, older brother of tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, was born this day in Pittsburgh in 1928.
West Coast-based tenor saxophonist and big band composer and arranger Don Menza was born this day in 1936 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Pianist Lew Stein was born this day in 1922 in Philadelphia. He worked in the Ray McKinley and Glen Miller bands in the 1940s before performing and recording with Charlie Ventura, Yank Lawson, Kai Winding, Benny Goodman and Sarah Vaughan.
On this night in 2001, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, a member of Miles Davis's band in the late 1980s, was presented the 2001 JAZZPAR prize by the Danish Jazz Center at a concert showcasing her work as a composer, arranger and performer. Mazur was the first Scandinavian to win the prize.
On a sad note... jazz legend Nina Simone died Monday at her home in France. She was 70. Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, the North Carolina native was a classically trained pianist who gained fame with her recordings of blues songs, spirituals and jazz standards.
Considered one of the voices of the American civil rights movement, Simone was best-known for her anthems "Mississippi Goddam" and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," and later the songs "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl" and "Peaches."
(Thanks to UPI's Karen Butler in New York)
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... there's an 82nd birthday celebration tonight for percussionist Candido Camero at Birdland featuring Bobby Sanabria and Ascension. Special guests include Carlos "Patato" Valdes, Larry Harlow, Billy Taylor, Ray Barretto, Nicky Marrero, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Mantilla, Eddie Montalvo, Jimmy Delgado, Cuban Pete, Robby Ameen and Ralph Irizarry.
Carol Sloane is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. Diane Schuur is at the Blue Note this week. The Larry Coryell Power Trio featuring special guests Mark Egan and Paul Wertico is at Iridium tonight and Wednesday. Drummer Ali Jackson's quintet is at the Jazz Standard tonight with trumpeter "E. Dankworth," better known as Wynton Marsalis.
Steve Coleman and Five Elements are at The Jazz Gallery tonight. Bassist Santi Debriano and Circle Chant are at the Zinc Bar tonight and Wednesday. SWING46 features a Tuesday night midtown jazz jam led by Matt Hong. Eric Comstock is featured tonight at Sotheby's in its Bid Jazz Series. Singer-pianist Dena DeRose is guest artist tonight in lecturer Arnold Jay Smith's "Jazz Insights" discussion series on vocalists at New School University.
In the Boston area... alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett is at Scullers tonight and Wednesday. Brian Auger's Oblivion Express is at Ryles in Cambridge tonight. The Aquiles Baez quartet is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. The Evan Parker trio with Alexander von Schlippenbach and Paul Lytton is at Emmanuel Church in Boston.
In Philadelphia... Fowser is at Chris's Jazz Cafe tonight. The Elliott Levin trio is at Bar Noir.
In the Chicago area... the Ira Sullivan quartet is at the Jazz Showcase this week. Men of Note are at Andy's tonight. The Deep Blue Organ Trio is at the Green Mill. Ken Cheney is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight. Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan are at Katerina's. Von Freeman and Friends are at the New Apartment Lounge on Tuesdays.
The Marc Pompe trio is at the 100 South Chop House in Elmhurst tonight. The Ron Perrillo trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Marshall Vente is at Philander's in Oak Park. The Alison Ruble trio is at Pops for Champagne. The Taku Akiyama quartet is at Smoke Daddy. The Kimberly Gordon quartet is at the Underground Wonder.
In New Orleans... the Ted Hefko quartet and VooDoo Tek with Larry Sieberth, Bill Solley, Doug Belote and Eric Traub are at the Blue Nile. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. New Orleans Street Beat is at the Crescent City Brewhouse. The Funkin' Horns and Juan Ferdinand are at the Funky Butt.
The ReBirth Brass Band is at the Maple Leaf. Greg Stafford leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. The Rob Wagner trio is at the Seaport Cafe. The Maurice Brown band featuring Quamon Fowler is at Snug Harbor.
On the California jazz scene... the Gilbert Castellanos quartet is at the Onyx Room in San Diego tonight. Pianist Taylor Eigsti headlines a University of Southern California jazz showcase at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles tonight. Saxophonist Gil Bernal's quartet is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight. The Richard Cruz big band is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. This is John Pisano's Guitar Night with Mimi Fox at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. The Brian Bromberg band is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight and Wednesday.
On the recording front...
The Verve label releases its Regina Carter-Paganini project, "After A Dream," today.
Milestone today releases "State of Mind," the label debut by tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis. The Berkeley, Calif., native is a product of the Berkeley school system -- where his musical contemporaries included Joshua Redman, Benny Green, Peter Apfelbaum, and Craig Handy. Ellis was a member of the Charlie Hunter Trio from 1992 to 1996 before he began a four-year stint with Bob Weir's Ratdog, then worked with Weir in the Other Ones -- the Grateful Dead reunion band -- on their first tour in 1998. The new CD teamed him with Mulgrew Miller, Christian McBride, Vincent Herring and Lewis Nash.
On the recording front... Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Otmaro Ruiz are out today with "Jing Chi Live" on the Tone Center label. The CD documents parts of three nights of the band's six-night run last year at Yoshi's in Oakland.
Trumpeter Randy Brecker today releases "34th N Lex" on ESC Records. This is an urban-tinged tribute to his Manhattan neighborhood that features his brother, Michael Brecker, on tenor sax, David Sanborn on alto sax and Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax, along with former James Brown/P-Funk sideman Fred Wesley on trombone.
The Abby and Norm Group's new album, "Melodic Miner's Daughter," is out today on A to Z Music. The CD features guitarist-bassist-vocalist Abby Aronson Zocher and guitarist/bassist Norm Zocher with their regular bandmates --drummer Brooke Sofferman and pianist Bevan Manson -- plus guest saxophonist George Garzone.
The Sunnyside label is out today with three new CDs. They are pianist Steve Kuhn's trio session "Love Walked In." It teamed him with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Bill Stewart -- on a mix of standards and offbeat jazz material. Argentinean percussionist Minino Garay has released a self-titled recording with Los Tambores del Sur. And singer Helena Noguera is out with "Azul," a session flavored with a blend of the bossa nova and jazz ballad feel.