Today is Nov. 15.
Drummer Gus Johnson was born this day in 1913 in Tyler, Texas. He was a sideman for singers Lena Horn and Ella Fitzgerald, and also powered the big bands of Jay McShann, Earl Hines, Count Basie and Woody Herman. Johnson's aggressive, dance-like style made him one of the best drummers Count Basie had after Papa Jo Jones left the band.
Tenor saxophonist Seldon Powell was born this day in 1928 in Lawrenceville, Va. He was a busy studio and free-lance musician in New York, working at times in the big bands of Benny Goodman, Woody Herman and Gerry Mulligan.
On this day in 1934, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey recorded their theme song, "Sandman," for Decca.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, the Louie Bellson Big Band is at Pace University's Downtown Theatre tonight as part of Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights in Jazz concert series. Bellson will play works from the Ellington, Strayhorn and Bellson songbooks. The Ron Carter nonet is at Birdland. Violinist Didier Lockwood is at Joe's Pub tonight. Saxophonist Greg Tardy's trio featuring drummer Rashied Ali is at The Jazz Gallery tonight. The Knitting Factory schedule tonight includes Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, with Thomas Carbou, Pierre Diaz, David Liebman and Ralph Alessi. Flute player Andrea Brachfeld's septet presents a workshop/performance on the role of the flute in Afro-Cuban Music tonight at The Collective (541 Avenue of the Americas).
In and around Boston, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano leads his Flights of Fancy band with Dave Douglas at the Regattabar in Cambridge tonight through Saturday.
Drummer T.S. Monk's sextet is at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia tonight and Friday.
Tuck and Patti are featured tonight and Friday at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.
The Four Freshmen are at Nighttown in Cleveland tonight.
On the Chicago jazz scene, John Bany, John Young, Ron Friedman and Robert Shy are at Andy's. Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra is at the Green Mill. Malachi Thompson and Africa Brass are at HotHouse tonight. The Clayton Brothers band is at the Jazz Showcase. Erwin Helfer and the Chicago Boogie Ensemble are at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. Temple Schultz is at Philander's in Oak Park. Los Hombres Perdido are at Pops for Champagne.
Violinist Jean Luc Ponty's quartet performs tonight at Shank Hall in Milwaukee.
On the New Orleans jazz scene, singer Rene Marie and the Peter Martin trio are at Snug Harbor tonight. The Albert Ankrun Project is at the Arcadian Beer Garden tonight. Mark Adams is at Cobalt. Jason Marsalis is at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. The Soul Rebels Brass Band is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Pianist Paul Longstreth has the spotlight tonight at Le Meridien Hotel. John Brunious leads the band at Preservation Hall tonight. The jazz underground series at Loyola University's Danna Center features a Billie Holiday tribute tonight with Leah Chase, Phillip Manuel, Michael Pellera, James Singleton and Troy Davis. Photon is at El Matador. The Panorama Jazz Band is at the Spotted Cat. Piano great Eddie Bo is at the Storyville District Jazz Parlor. The Treme Brass Band is at Sweet Lorraine's tonight. Jesse Lewis is at the Stationhouse Grill tonight. The Navy Brass Quintet performs this afternoon at the Jazz National Historical Park.
On the California jazz scene, guitarist Pat Martino's trio with Joey DeFrancesco and Byron Landham is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight. Kenny Burrell is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood. Jackie McLean and the Cedar Walton trio are at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Ellen Johnson and the Mark Massey trio are at Steamer's Jazz Café in Fullerton tonight.
Singer Mayra Caridad Valdés is at the Kola Note in Montreal tonight.
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis's quartet is at the Teatro Circo in Cartaagena, Spain, tonight. Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa's septet is at the Gran Teatro Falla in Cadiz, Spain.
On the recording front...
The Latin jazz documentary "Calle 54" by Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba was released this week for retail sale in VHS and DVD formats. The work pays tribute to 13 Latin jazz greats through live concert footage and brief interviews. The DVD includes Trueba's 59-minute documentary, "Calle 54: Side B," a Latin Jazz history lesson, which has more extensive interviews. The DVD also includes extensive bios and discographies of the 13 musicians, including the late Tito Puente and Arturo O'Farrill.