Today is May 14.
Drummer Zutty Singleton was born this day in 1898 in Bunkie, La. While he played in several of the important early New Orleans jazz bands, Singleton was best known through his late 1920s record with Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Barney Bigard.
He was an important link from the New Orleans style to the swing drummers who came on the scene in the 1930s. He was one of the first drummers to use wire brushes and the sock cymbal, the forerunner of the hi-hat cymbal.
Soprano saxophone master and clarinetist Sidney Bechet was born this day in 1897 in New Orleans. Throughout his career he was one of the strongest musicians on the classic jazz scene. He created the prime jazz vocabulary for the soprano sax. Bechet also died on this day in 1959 in Paris. He was 62.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
Jazz drummers Elvin Jones, Cindy Blackman and Terri Lyne Carrington were among the players on hand in Norwell, Mass., last week when the Avedis Zildjian Co., one of the world's top cymbal makers, commemorated its 380th anniversary. Jones told the Boston Globe: "When I got out of the Army in 1949, I had just enough money to buy a drum set. I've been using Zildjians ever since. ... There aren't any better cymbals."
On the New York jazz scene... there's a benefit for JazzReach with Jason Moran and The Bandwagon tonight at the Blue Note. The John Stetch trio is at the Jazz Standard tonight. Ted Nash and Odeon are at the Village Vanguard tonight through Sunday. The Jackie McLean quintet is at Iridium through Sunday.
Pianist and singer Barbara Carroll is at Birdland tonight. The Yosuke Yamashita trio is at Sweet Rhythm tonight. The Gino Stinson quintet is at the Zinc Bar tonight. Bill Charlap and Warren Vache are at The Jazz Gallery this evening. The Jim Campilongo trio is at the Knitting Factory tonight.
In and around Boston... the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is at the Regattabar in Cambridge tonight. Blacksole is at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge tonight. Sugar Ray and The Bluetones featuring Monster Mike Welch are at Scullers jazz club in Boston tonight.
Singer Steve Tyrell is at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia tonight and Thursday.
Steve Smith and Vital Information with special guest Bill Evans on sax are at The Regal Room in Archibald, Pa., tonight.
Saxophonist Gene Walker and guitarist Wilbert Longmire are at Nighttown in Cleveland tonight.
In the Chicago area... the Tom Harrell quintet is at The Jazz Showcase this week. Henry Johnson's Organ Express with Chris Forman is at Andy's tonight. Detour is at the Backroom tonight. Mike Finnerty and the Jazz Hippies are at Cafe Ennui tonight. The Urs Leimgruber-Barre Phillips-Jac Demiere trio is at the Empty Bottle. The Bill Porter Orchestra with Rich Fudoli is at Green Dolphin Street tonight.
The Kurt Elling quartet is at the Green Mill tonight. The Brass Tracks Big Band is at Hackney's. Ken Saydak is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. The Sketches in Blue trio is at the 100 South Chop House in Elmhurst tonight. The Bobby Broom trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Jackie Allen and Judy Roberts are at Philander's in Oak Park. The Steve Evans trio is at Pops for Champagne. The Dave Flippo-Donn De Santo duo is at Pops of Highwood tonight.
In New Orleans... the Ted Hefko quartet is at the Blue Nile. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris is at Dos Jefes. The Soul Rebels Brass Band is at El Matador. Lisa Lynn and the Stu Crawford quartet are at Fritzel's. Another Monday is at the Funky Butt tonight. Mark Braud is at Harrah's.
Trumpeter Nicholas Payton is at Lafayette Square. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers are at Le Bon Temps Roule. The Johnny Vidacovich trio is at the Maple Leaf. John Brunious leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. The John Mahoney Big Band is at Snug Harbor tonight. Naked on the Floor is at d.b.a.
On the California jazz scene... the Hank Jones trio is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. The Mike Levan trio is at Steamers Jazz Café in Fullerton. The Tom Culver quintet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks tonight. The Benn Clatworthy quartet is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen. Bill Bruford's Earthworks featuring Tim Garland are at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight.
Tower of Power is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle through Sunday.
In conjunction with tomorrow's 50th anniversary of the famous Quintet conference at Toronto's Massey Hall, there is a series of free panel discussions today at the hall, home to a legendary 1953 bebop performance by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach.
Three panels will explore the challenges and anecdotes behind the concert, the legend, the music and 50-year-old memories. Panelists include musicians who were in the opening band that historic night, as well as jazz journalists who were present.
Tomorrow night, there's a 50th anniversary concert with another all-star quintet featuring Herbie Hancock on piano, Roy Haynes on drums, Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Kenny Garrett on saxes and Dave Holland on bass. A local 17-piece big band, the 2003 Massey Hall All-Stars will open.
On the recording front...
Denmark's SteepleChase label is marking its 30th anniversary with the release of a special boxed set. It is an eight-CD set of late saxophonist Dexter Gordon's "Complete Trio-Quartet Studio Recordings 1974-76." An accompanying 52-page booklet is loaded with hitherto unpublished photos of Dexter and his sidemen.
The tenor giant has been the backbone of the SteepleChase catalog ever since producer and label owner Nils Winther started his label. This box set is a limited edition and will not be remanufactured after available copies run out.
Gordon is featured with guitarist Philip Catherine; pianists Kenny Drew, Barry Harris and Horace Parlan; bassists Sam Jones and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen; and drummers Albert "Tootie" Heath, Billy Higgins, Al Foster, Alex Riel and Tony Inzalaco.
Holland's Criss Cross label is out with several new releases. They include "Wide Horizons" by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander's sextet One For All, Dutch guitarist Jesse Van Ruller's "Circles" with Seamus Blake on tenor sax, Sam Yahel on organ and Bill Stewart on drums, "Mirrors" by Russian trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and Dutch pianist Peter Beets' "Page Two" with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Willie Jones III.
The Adventure Music label has released "Serenata," a duo CD featuring the music of Hermeto Pascoal, played by Jovino Santos Neto on piano and flute and Mike Marshall on mandolin. Special guests include the Brazilian Pascoal on bass flute and melodica on two tracks, as well as percussionists John Santos, Michael Spiro and Aaron Johnston. The material focuses on Pascoal's lyrical and romantic side as a composer of waltzes, chorus and ballads, most of which had never been recorded before.