Today is Sept. 1.
Singer Velma Middleton was born this day in 1917 in St. Louis. She sang with Louis Armstrong's big band and his all-stars starting in the 1940s. She died in Sierra Leone in 1961 while touring Africa with Armstrong.
Bass player Bob Bates was born this day in 1923 in Pocatello, Idaho. He was the oldest of three bass-playing brothers, and in fact taught the other two, Norman and Jim Bates. He began commercial work in 1946 with Sonny Dunham and in 1953 joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet, recording on the pianist's "Brubeck Time" album in 1954. He stopped playing jazz in 1956 and died in 1981.
Saxophonist Art Pepper was born this day in 1925 Gardena, Calif. After big band experience with Benny Carter and Stan Kenton, Pepper started recording under his own name in 1952. His career was interrupted several times by imprisonment for drug offenses. After several years of rehabilitation, he recorded and toured prolifically after 1974. Pepper died in 1982.
Bass player and music educator Willie Ruff was born this day in 1931 in Sheffield, Ala. He and pianist Dwike Mitchell have been bandmates since 1946 and formed their own duo in 1955. In 1959 they became the first Western jazz musicians to perform in the Soviet Union after World War Two.
Actress and singer Ethel Waters died this day in 1977 at age 80.
On this day in 1924, the Noble Sissle-Eubie Blake production of "Chocolate Dandies" opened on Broadway. It was a follow-up to their 1921 smash hit "Shuffle Along," the first all-black Broadway musical.
On this day in 1944, trumpeter "Cat" Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the Earle Theatre in Philadelphia. He stayed with Ellington for 24 of the next 27 years, leaving intermittently to free-lance or lead his own band.
This was also the day, in 1968, when Duke Ellington and his orchestra departed the United States on their first tour of Latin America.
On this night in 2001, The Tito Puente Amphitheater in San Juan, Puerto Rico hosted the 35th anniversary show of brothers -- and jazz and salsa veterans -- Larry and Andy Harlow.
Jazz legend Lionel Hampton, who played for several presidents at the White House during his six-decade career, died Saturday of heart failure. He was 94.
"He was an American music legend and will be sorely missed," President George Bush said in a statement Saturday.
Originally a drummer, Hampton developed a mastery of the jazz vibraphone, an instrument that resembles the marimba but with electrically operated valves.
Hampton teamed up with Goodman and Robbin in 1939 on "Flying Home," which became Hampton's signature song.
Hampton was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Ky. After graduating from high school, the 15-year-old Hampton left for Los Angeles to join Reb Spikes's Sharps and Flats.
In 1930, Hampton joined a recording session with Louis Armstrong, and picked up a vibraphone. Hampton ended up playing the instrument on one song and went on to become known as the "King of the Vibes."
As a composer and arranger, Hampton wrote more than 200 pieces, including "Evil Gal Blues" and "Midnight Sun."
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On New York jazz scene... the Don Byron sextet is at the Village Vanguard. The Caribbean Jazz Project with Dave Samuels and Dave Valentin is at the Jazz Standard. Houston Person is at the Blue Note. Hamiet Bluiett's Baritone Nation with James Carter is at Iridium. Trombonist Chris Washburne's Latin jazz band SYOTOS is at Smoke tonight. The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Band is at Birdland tonight. Guitarist Peter Leitch is at Walker's tonight with alto saxophonist Pete Yellin.
Massachusetts' Tanglewood Jazz Festival in Lenox winds down today with the Roy Hargrove quintet, Roberta Gambarini, the Two Siberians and the Dave Brubeck quartet.
The 2002 Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival continues today at Hart Plaza along the Detroit River with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Regina Carter, Curtis Stigers, Mike Longo, Mark Whitfield, D.D. Jackson and Roy Ayers and Ubiquity among the draws. This 23rd annual Jazz Fest concludes tomorrow in the Motor City. Find full details at www.detroitjazzfest.com.
The 2002 Chicago Jazz Festival schedule today for its Grant Park finale includes Jodie Christian's Chicago Jazz Tour, the Kim Cusack Trad Band, the John McLean quartet, Chuchito Valdes' Afro-Cuban Ensemble, the Maggie Brown quintet, Von Freeman's 80th birthday quartet, George Lewis with the NOW, "Jammin' at the Petrillo" Stage with Eric Reed, Seamus Blake, Russell Gunn, Steve Davis, Jim Gailloreto and others, Sphere and Phil Woods.
Elsewhere in and around Chicago, Gal Costa and Dori Caymmi are featured at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. The Malachi Thompson Freebop Band with Gary Bartz is at HotHouse tonight. Ira Sullivan concludes his annual after-fest run at the Jazz Showcase tonight. The Sunday Night Late Show features the Kimberly Gordan trio is at the Green Mill. The Sonny Turner quintet is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium tonight. Kara Kesselring is at Philander's in Oak Park. The Russell Alan Rowe trio is at Pops for Champagne. Mike Finnerty and the Jazz Hippies are at Cafe Ennui. Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman are at The Chambers in Niles tonight.
In New Orleans tonight... the Hot Club of New Orleans swing band is at the Circle Bar. The Shannon Powell quartet is at Donna's. The David Dunbar quartet is at El Matador. Big Sam's Funky Nation and Evan Howard are at the Funky Butt. Larry Sieberth and Victor Atkins are at Le Salon at the Windsor Court. Lucien Barbarin and the Sunday Night Swingsters are at Palm Court. Henry Butler is at Snug Harbor. The Charles Brewer jazz trio is at the Spotted Cat.
On the California jazz scene... drummer Jeff Watts' band is at the Catalina Bar and Grill in North Hollywood tonight. The Bobby Rodriguez quartet is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. The Johnny Blas Latin Jazz Band is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. Pianist Jon Mayer is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. The Vince Lateano quintet is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco for a bebop night feature event. The band Oregon is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight.
The various stages at Seattle's Bumbershoot festival today feature Ramsey Lewis, the Tony Grasso saxophone quartet and the Jovino Santos Neto quintet, along with Brooklyn's 14-piece Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.