Today is May 2.
Singer-actor Bing Crosby was born this day in Tacoma, Wash., in 1904. He made some terrific straight-ahead swing jazz recordings in the early 1930s with Bix Beiderbecke, the Rhythm Boys and other small groups produced by Paul Whiteman.
The great jazz drummer Billy Higgins, known for his touch and tasty playing, his effervescent smile and his ardent work as an educator and mentor to younger musicians in the Los Angeles inner city, died this day in 2001 in a California hospital. He had been awaiting a second liver transplant operation.
This was the day, in 1938, when singer Ella Fitzgerald recorded her breakthrough song "A Tisket, A Tasket" with the Chick Webb Band. The dressed-up nursery rhyme rearrangement was the biggest hit Webb's band ever had.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... Hank Jones is at Iridium through Sunday. The Makoto Ozone trio is at the Jazz Standard through Sunday. The Manhattan Transfer are at the Blue Note through Sunday. The Tom Harrell quintet is at the Village Vanguard this week. Saxophonist Jim Snidero is at Smoke tonight and Saturday.
The Three Altos - Sonny Fortune, Gary Bartz and Vincent Herring - are at Sweet Rhythm through Sunday with George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart. Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng is at The Jazz Gallery tonight with his Afrijazz project. Lee Konitz is at Birdland through Saturday. The Bad Plus, Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte are at the Knitting Factory tonight.
The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University presents "Africa Jazz" with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra featuring African drum master Jacub Addy and Odadaa!, tonight and Saturday at Columbia's Miller Theater. There's a drum symposium scheduled tomorrow. "Cymbalism: a Symposium on the Drums in Jazz," is at Held Auditorium at Columbia University. Discussions and demonstrations will feature Steve Berrios, Andrew Cyrille, Roy Haynes, Eddie Locke, Herlin Riley and Leroy Williams.
In the Boston area... the Steve Lacy-Danilo Perez duo is at The Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., tonight and Saturday. Tower of Power is at Scullers jazz club in Boston through Saturday. Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is featured with the Ryles Jazz Orchestra at Ryles in Cambridge tonight.
In Philadelphia tonight... the McCoy Tyner trio is at Convention Center Auditorium tonight. Elio Villafranca is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Café Degas tonight. The Die Like A Dog trio with Peter Brötzmann, William Parker and Hamid Drake is in Bodek Lounge at the University of Pennsylvania's Houston Hall tonight. Alo Brazil is at North by Northwest. Doc Gibbs is at Zanzibar Blue tonight.
The Marcus Miller band is at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh through Sunday.
Sonny Rollins is at the Gaines Theater in Newport News, Va., tonight.
There's a tribute to Tito Puente with music, video and memorabilia at Galeria Quetzel in Cleveland tonight and Saturday.
Roberta Piket and Alternating Current are at Pacchia's in Dayton, Ohio, tonight.
In the Chicago area... Kenny Barron is at Symphony Hall in Chicago tonight with Canta Brasil and the Classical Jazz Quartet. Andy's presents the sixth annual Women of Southport Festival tonight and Saturday with April Aloisio, Eden Atwood, Alexandra Billings, Katherine Davis, Eugenia Elliott, Martha Lorin, Susan May, Christiana Moffa, Joanie Pallatto and Linda Tate.
Saxophonist Eric Alexander's One For All quintet is at the Jazz Showcase this week. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse. Skinny Williams is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium tonight. King Fleming is at Philander's in Oak Park tonight.
Steve Smith and Vital Information with special guest Bill Evans on sax are at New Moon Coffee in Oshkosh, Wis., tonight and Saturday.
Today's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lineup includes Ben Harper, Los Lobos, Robert Randolph, Kermit Ruffins, Marcia Ball, Angelique Kidjo, Regina Carter, Los Hombres Calientes, Alvin Batiste, Coco Robicheaux, the Coolbone brass band and Wendell Brunious. Widespread Panic and the North Mississippi Allstars are at Morris Jeff Municipal Auditorium tonight.
Elsewhere in New Orleans... Kermit Ruffins is at Café Negril tonight. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias and the Treme Brass Band are at Donna's. Have Soul Will Travel is at the Dragon's Den. Ryan Burrage and His Rhythm Makers are at Fritzel's. Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe are at the Funky Butt tonight.
Mark Braud and Topsy Chapman are at Harrah's. The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Los Hombres Calientes are at the House of Blues. The Rob Wagner trio is at Loft 523. Washboard Chaz is at Lounge Lizards. The Ernie Elly Slickshots with Thais Clark are at the Palm Court. Leroy Jones leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall.
Nicholas Payton and Sonic Trance are at Snug Harbor. The Jazz Vipers are at the Spotted Cat. The Radiators plus the ReBirth Brass Band are at Tipitina's. Robert Walter's 20th Congress plus Mofro are at Tipitina's French Quarter club. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the North Mississippi Allstars are at TwiRoPa.
There's a modern jazz jam tonight at Redeemer Presbyterian Church featuring Rebecca Barry, Bruce Elsensohn, Tim Green, Bill Huntington, Ed Livingston, Kevin O'Day, Michael Pellera, Eric Robinson and Bill Solley.
In San Antonio, Texas, tonight... Ken Slavin, Joe Piscatelle and Chuck Moses are at The Emily Morgan Hotel tonight and Saturday. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band is at The Landing.
The Dave Holland quintet is in Nevada tonight at the University of Reno.
On the California jazz scene... pianist Cyrus Chestnut's trio is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. The Frank Potenza-Shelly Berg quartet is at Steamers Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. The Betsyann Faiella quartet is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Orquesta Aragon is at the Sportsman Lodge in Studio City tonight. Susie Hansen's Latin jazz band is at Rattlesnake Park in Los Angeles this morning.
The Kenny Garrett quartet is at Yoshi's in Oakland through Sunday. John Clayton and Bruce Forman are at the intimate confines of The Jazz and Blues Company in Carmel tonight. La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley continues its Bay Area Latin Jazz Legacy Series tonight with a tribute to Benny Velarde, the elder statesman of San Francisco Latin jazz. He performed and recorded with the legendary Cal Tjader in the 1950s, and has led his own ensembles non-stop since 1961. Benny's guests tonight are vibraphonist-flutist Roger Glen, trumpeter Joe Ellis and singer-trombonist Willie Colon.
Chuck Mangione is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle through Sunday.