Today is May 8.
Cornet player Red Nichols was born this day in 1905 in Ogden, Utah. As a teenager, he idolized the Original Dixieland Jass Band, Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines and Phil Napoleon. As an adult he was a top bandleader in the traditional jazz vein.
Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams was born this day in 1910 in Atlanta. During her 56-year career, she absorbed and synthesized the history of jazz piano into her own style. As a composer and arranger, this jazz explorer was an important contributor to the bands of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Andy Kirk. She died in 1981.
Pianist Keith Jarrett was born this day in 1945 in Allentown, Pa. In his work with Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Charles Lloyd and more so in playing solo, Jarrett solidified his reputation as one of the finest improvisers in jazz.
On this night in 1979, jazz singer Eddie Jefferson was shot to death in front of a Detroit jazz club after a performance. He pioneered the technique of vocalese, which involves creating and singing lyrics that fit classic recorded improvised instrumental jazz solos.
On this day in 2001, the Verve label released bassist Charlie Haden's Latin jazz Grammy-winning recording, "Nocturne," which explored his longstanding interest in Latin music and culture. Collaborators included Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Pat Metheny, David Sanchez, Ignacio Berroa, Joe Lovano and violinist Frederico Britos Ruiz.
Looking at today's hip happenings...
San Francisco's SFJazz organization, which produces the San Francisco Jazz Festival each autumn and a fine spring season concert series, isn't resting on its laurels. The ambitious group now has assembled an all-star resident jazz ensemble.
Saxophonist and Spring Season artistic director Joshua Redman will lead the multi-generational group. It will include Bobby Hutcherson, the dean of modern jazz vibraphonists. Other members will include trumpeter Nicholas Payton, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, pianist Renee Rosnes, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Brian Blade.
Launching next March 2004 as part of the SFJAZZ Spring Season, it will start with an annual multi-week residency in San Francisco -- workshopping new and newly arranged compositions, performing in concert, leading education events for youth and adults, and more.
Following its San Francisco stay, the group will hit the road, touring in other parts of California in 2004 and, in future years, throughout the western states and across the country. The group's annual repertoire will balance works of a great jazz composer of the modern era (i.e., 1950s onward) and new compositions commissioned by SFJAZZ, starting next year with Ornette Coleman, plus works by the eight band members themselves.
The size of the band in performance will be as flexible the music itself, morphing from a full-ensemble octet into various quartets, trios and duos as the situation requires.
Redman says, "The chemistry of this band is going to be wonderful. Each member is a brilliant jazz musician in his or her own right, and a great composer and leader on the jazz scene today. It's very fortunate that they're all willing to commit a five-week period of time to this residency and contribute their creativity.
"I think that we have a great range of ages, styles, and approaches in the group. At the same time, though we all share a common philosophy, or ethos, about jazz. Each of us has tremendous respect and love for the great musicians, styles, and language of jazz as it has evolved over time. But we also each have a great commitment to originality and creativity in the present," Redman said. "We all share a recognition of jazz as a music that is constantly and continually changing, evolving, and innovating over time. And I think we all have a desire to be a part of this change."
On the New York jazz scene... the Barry Harris trio is at the Village Vanguard this week. Flora Purim and Airto are at Iridium. Bucky Pizzarelli, John Bunch and Jay Leonhart are at the Jazz Standard tonight. Marcus Miller and his band are at the Blue Note through Sunday. The Bill Charlap trio with special guests Phil Woods and Frank Wess is at Birdland through Saturday.
George Colligan's quartet is at The Jazz Gallery tonight. Trombonist Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin jazz band is at the Nuyorican Poets Café on Thursdays. Carla Cook is at Sotheby's Bid Jazz Series tonight. Saxophonist Kim Bock's quartet is at the Knitting Factory's Old Office tonight.
In the Boston area... the Dave Holland quintet is at The Regattabar in Cambridge through Saturday. The Four Freshmen are at Scullers jazz club in Boston tonight. Megalodon is at Ryles in Cambridge.
In Philadelphia... singer Jimmy Scott is at Zanzibar Blue through Saturday.
Steve Smith and Vital Information with special guest Bill Evans on sax are at Dowe's on 9th in Pittsburgh tonight.
The Mili Bermejo trio performs on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., tonight as part of the 8th annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.
Tonight's festival concert indoors at the Terrace Theater features the bands of Mary Ann McSweeney, Melissa Walker and Toshiko Akiyoshi.
In the Chicago area... trumpeter Bobby Shew is at the Jazz Showcase this week with Bob Lark and the DePaul University Big Band. The Ron Friedman quintet is at Andy's tonight. Carlos Cannon is at the Backroom through Saturday. There's a jam session with John Bany, Don Stille and Charles Braugham tonight at The Chambers in Niles.
Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra is at the Green Mill. The Scott Amendola band is at HotHouse. Tim Tobias is at Joe's BeBop Café and Jazz Emporium. The John Brumbach quartet is at Katerina's tonight. Jim Clark's Jazz People are at the Landmark Inn. The Petropolous Organ Trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston. John Wright is at Philander's in Oak Park.
Roberta Piket and Alternating Current are at the Java Junction in Stoughton, Wis., tonight.
In New Orleans... the Improvisational Arts Council is at the Blue Nile. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott are at Donna's. Rebecca Barry is at Dos Jefes. 3 Now 4 is at the Dragon's Den. Julia LaShae is at El Matador. Evan Howard and Maurice Brown are at the Funky Butt tonight.
Topsy Chapman is at Harrah's. The Soul Rebels Brass Band is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Lloyd Washington and the Crescent City Joymakers are at the Palm Court. Dave Bartholomew leads tonight's band at Preservation Hall. Troi Bechet is at Snug Harbor tonight. The Panorama Jazz Band and the Royal Rounders are at the Spotted Cat. Kermit Ruffins is at Vaughan's. Poorman's Speedball is at d.b.a.
On the California jazz scene... violinist Regina Carter and her band are at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. The Banda Brothers are at Steamers Jazz Café in Fullerton. The Jan Lundgren trio is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Guitarist Bill Frisell's trio is at Yoshi's in Oakland tonight through Sunday.
Bill Bruford's Earthworks featuring Tim Garland are at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle through Sunday.
Time Warp is at the Western Front in Vancouver, British Columbia, tonight. Kyoto Jazz Massive is at Sonar tonight.