Today is Dec. 23.
Trumpet great Chet Baker, the horn player whose sound mirrored his soft, haunting vocals, was born this day in 1929 in Yale, Oklahoma. Dogged by heroin addiction for most of his career, he died in Amsterdam in 1988 after falling or being pushed out a hotel window.
Alto saxophonist Frank Morgan was born this day in 1933 in Minneapolis.
On this night in 1938, producer John Hammond produced the first of three "From Spirituals to Swing" concerts at Carnegie Hall. These historic events were a way to showcase African-American music from its beginnings to the jazz scene of the late 1930s. It was the first major concert at Carnegie Hall to star black performers in front of an integrated audience.
On this day in 1939, Frank Sinatra left the Harry James Band for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He was making $75 a week.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene, pianist Kenny Barron's trio winds down a weeklong run at Iridium tonight. Pianist Cedar Walton's quartet ends a week with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean tonight at the Village Vanguard, but picks up again on Tuesday with alto player Vincent Herring in the lineup. The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, now led by the late bandleader's son Arturo, is at Birdland tonight. Trombonist Chris Washburn's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at Smoke tonight. Guitarist Peter Leitch and saxophonist Bobby Watson team up at Walker's tonight. The Knitting Factory's Jewsapalooza festival is in full swing through mid-week. Matt Dariau and Yuri Lemeshev perform there tonight with their Recycled Klezmer Orchestra.
Singer Rebecca Parris's quintet, featuring pianist George Mesterhazy and tenor saxophonist Bob Kindred, is at The Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., this afternoon and evening for a wintery blend of holiday and straightahead jazz.
On the Chicago jazz scene, Judy Roberts and Jackie Allen are at the Jazz Showcase this afternoon, while Greg Fishman and Paulhino Garcia present their Two For Brazil project tonight. The Nate Lepine trio is at California Clipper. The Chicago Jazz Orchestra is at Fitzgerald's. Sonny Turner's quintet is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium on the Navy Pier. The Russell Rowe trio with McKinley Carter is at Pops for Champagne tonight.
In New Orleans tonight, singer Topsy Chapman is featured with David Torkanowsky tonight at Donna's. Drummer Johnny Vidacovich leads the band at the Funky Butt tonight. Harold 'Duke' Dejean's Olympia Brass Band is at Preservation Hall. Leigh 'Lil Queenie' Harris is at Snug Harbor. Singer Philip Manuel is featured tonight in the free Christmas Concert series at historic St. Louis Cathedral. Adonis Rose, Peter Martin, Roland Guerin and Brice Winston are at Sweet Lorraine for some jam-style jazz that often draws surprise guests.
On the California jazz scene, the Greg Adams band is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood. Guitarist Charlie Hunter is at Yoshi's in Oakland for matinee and evening performances that end his weeklong run. The Alcatraz Angels Jazz Band is at Dick's Restaurant in San Leandro this afternoon. Yancy Taylor and the Jazz Experience are at The Fifth Amendment in Oakland. Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill are at The Plush Room in San Francisco.
There's a free Latin jazz holiday concert this evening on La Plaza de las Luces in San Juan, Puerto Rico featuring four of the island's best cuatro players. They are Pedrito Guzman, Neftaly Ortíz, Edwin Colon Zayas and Millito Cruz. Musical director Jose Furito Rios has assembled a strong band of local musicians to perform with the special guests.