Tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin was born this day in 1928 in Chicago. Griffin now lives in France, returning to the United States once or twice a year to tour the jazz club circuit.
Bass player Aaron Bell was born this day in 1922 in Muskogee, Okla. He recorded with Lucky Millinder and Lester Young in the 1950s before signing on with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1960. He became a free-lance performer, composer and educator in 1962.
On this day in 2001, Verve Records released "Dear Louis," trumpeter Nicholas Payton's centennial tribute to Louis Armstrong, the man who paved the way in their shared hometown of New Orleans.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... Reuben Wilson and the Masters of Groove are at the Jazz Standard through Sunday. The Jimmy Smith quartet is at Iridium tonight through Sunday. Carol Sloane is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. Diane Schuur is at the Blue Note this week. Saxophonist Dave Liebman's big band is at Birdland tonight through Saturday.
Jane Bunnett and Spirits of Havana are at Sweet Rhythm tonight through Sunday. The Brad Jones quartet is at The Jazz Gallery tonight. The Sam Kaufman Big Band is at SWING46 tonight. Trombonist Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at the Nuyorican Poets Café on Thursdays. The Ralph Peterson quartet is at The Triad tonight.
Saxophonist Greg Abate is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
In the Boston area... the Dominique Eade quartet with saxophonist Bill Pierce, guitarist Mick Goodrick and bassist John Lockwood is at The Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Los Changos are at Ryles in Cambridge. Singer Rebecca Parris headlines a benefit for the Poor People's United Fund of Boston at Gallia Restaurant in the city's South End. The Omar Sosa trio is at the Cambridge Multicultural Center tonight.
The Berklee College of Music's Singers' Showcase event, featuring the college's top vocalists, is set for tonight and Friday at the Berklee Performance Center. Former Berklee students who developed their skills in Singers' Showcase include Paula Cole, Susan Tedeschi and Lalah Hathaway. Featured singers at this semester's Singers' Showcase include: Natalie Stovall, Christy Bluhm, Jeremy Ragsdale, Dan McClain, Adam Hodges, Kamaria Ousley, Jessica Payo and the vocal group Blessed.
In Philadelphia... Brian Auger's Oblivion Express is at Chris's Jazz Cafe tonight. The Jon Madof trio is at the High Wire Gallery.
Drummer Winard Harper opens the East Carolina University's Billy Taylor Jazz Festival in Greenville, N.C., tonight with a free jam session at Christine's Restaurant. The remainder of the festival takes place at the Greenville Convention Center tomorrow and Saturday.
In the Chicago area... the Ira Sullivan quartet is at the Jazz Showcase this week. The Ron Friedman quintet is at Andy's tonight. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse. Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra is at the Green Mill on Thursdays. Tim Tobias is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight.
The John Brumbach quartet is at Katerina's. Jim Clark's Jazz People are at the Landmark Inn in Northbrook tonight. The Petropolous Organ Trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston tonight. John Wright is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight. The Dan Cray trio is at Pops for Champagne tonight.
One of the world's great all-around music events -- The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival -- opens its 34th annual edition today, running through Sunday and next weekend at the Fairgrounds Race Course in the Big Easy. JazzFest, as it is called locally, will feature literally hundreds of bands on its dozen stages scattered around the track's 75-acre infield.
Headliners today include Fats Domino, Lucinda Williams, Allen Toussaint, Ivan Neville, Anson Funderburgh, Quintology, Bonerama, and Lizz Wright, plus a variety of local gospel groups, brass bands and Mardi Gras Indian marching bands.
Elsewhere in New Orleans... the Improvisational Arts Council is at the Blue Nile. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott are at Donna's. Wendell Brunious is at Dos Jefes. Evan Howard is at the Funky Butt tonight. Los Hombres Calientes, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen and Henry Butler and the Game are at Howlin' Wolf tonight.
Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe plus Quintology are at Jimmy's Music Club tonight. The Soul Rebels Brass Band is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Lloyd Washington and the Crescent City Joymakers are at the Palm Court tonight. Dave Bartholomew leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. Singers 3 featuring Philip Manuel, Lady BJ and Leah Chase are at Snug Harbor tonight.
Skip Bolen's black and white jazz photographs and Steven Forster's color jazz photographs will be on exhibit today through May 31 at John Stinson Fine Arts in the historic New Orleans Arts District. The exhibit includes images shot in and around New Orleans and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
On the California jazz scene... Elvin Jones Jazz Machine is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Ernie McDaniel, Frank Wilson and Tateng Katindig are at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight. The Dewey Erney-Ron Eschete quartet is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. The Larry Steen World Jazz Ensemble is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Singer Abbey Lincoln is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight through Sunday. Bassist Mary Ann McSweeney's band is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz tonight.
Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and the Afro-Cuban All Stars are at the Metropolis Theatre in Montreal tonight.
The Roy Hargrove quintet is at the New Morning jazz club in Paris tonight.