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Jazz Notes: Goings on in the jazz world

By KEN FRANCKLING, United Press International

Today is Feb. 3.


Trumpet player Snooky Young was born this date in 1919 in Dayton, Ohio. He took up the horn at age 5 and played in the Wilberforce College Band without ever attending the school. He was an irregular member of the Count Basie band from 1942 to 1962.

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Pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong was born this day in 1898 in Memphis, Tenn. She was the toast of Chicago, even before marrying trumpeter Louis Armstrong in 1924 and shepherded the early stages of his career, to the point of straining their marriage, which ended in 1938. She died in Chicago in 1971.


Saxophonist and music educator John Handy was born this day in 1933 in Dallas. His most important experience as developing player came in collaborations with Charles Mingus in the 1950s and early '60s.


On this day in 1927, cornetist Bix Beiderbecke and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer recorded "Singin' The Blues" for the Okeh label. The recording, issued under Trumbauer's name, included the most famous solos ever laid down by either man. It influenced generations of horn players who followed, including Rex Stewart and Lester Young.

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Looking at today's hip happenings...


Longtime Latin jazz conguero and bandleader Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria died early Saturday at a hospital in Miami after suffering three consecutive strokes. The Havana-born Santamaria was 80. He had a major hit in 1963 with his version of Herbie Hancock's tune, "Watermelon Man." His own composition, "Afro Blue," from 1960, is one of the great jazz masterpieces.


On the New York jazz scene... the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is at the Village Vanguard. Les Paul at Iridium. The New York Nonet is at the Blue Note. The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra is at Birdland on most Mondays.


The Afro-Semitic Experience is at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, Conn., tonight.


In Philadelphia... Interplay, with Elliott Levin, Rick Iannacone, Ed Watkins, Ron Howerton, Keno Speller and special guest John Swana, is at Tritone tonight.


In and around Chicago... the William Garcia quartet is at Cafe Bolera tonight. Terry Callier and Beyond are at the Green Mill. Yoko Noge's Jazz Me Blues are at HotHouse. There's an avant-garde jazz jam session with David Boykin, Karl E. H. Seigfried and Mike Reed tonight at the Hotti Biscotti Cafe. Kelly Brand is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. The Long Count Quartet is at Joy Blue. The Mike Kocur trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. Sami Scott is at Philander's in Oak Park. Judy Roberts and Greg Fishman are at Pops for Champagne tonight.

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In New Orleans tonight... Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Bob French and Friends are at Donna's. The Soora Gameela trio is at the Dragon's Den. Jeesok Kim and Soul U Out, featuring Maurice Brown, are at the Funky Butt. Reginald Koeller leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. The Dixie Trio is at the Seaport Cafe. Charmaine Neville is at Snug Harbor tonight. The Rob Wagner trio is at d.b.a.


In California... the Sam Most quartet every Monday in February is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen. The Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Ensemble is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. The John Peace Superband is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. McCoy Tyner is at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.


The line-up is set for the 4th annual SFJAZZ Spring Season in San Francisco. Joshua Redman is artistic director for the series again this year. The lineup includes famed pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio in two performances titled "New Orleans Meets Harlem" and a salsa dance party at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium with Eddie Palmieri. There's also a members-only evening at the Palace of Fine Arts with Herbie Hancock; the return of Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer, plus concerts by Charlie Haden, Dave Brubeck and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto. The series opens March 21 with Marcus Roberts and winds down July 26 with Gilberto.

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On the recording front...


While it is still early in 2003, one of the year's most interesting CDs to date comes from a new group called Project O. It's an organ-based ensemble whose principal members are trumpeter lngrid Jensen, organist Gary Versace and drummer Jon Wikan. They're joined by Jensen's sister, Christine, on alto sax, Seamus Blake on tenor sax and Steve Wilson on alto sax and flute. It's energetic -- and interesting -- as the band tackles a range of originals and reworks a pair of standards, including Mary Lou Williams' "Gloria."

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