Happy Birthday, Etta James!
Etta James (January 25th, 1938 - January 20th, 2012) was a legendary American singer who performed in the genres of jazz, gospel, blues, soul and rock'n'roll. She is remembered for her many pop hits including: At Last, Roll With Me Henry, Somethings Got A Hold On Me and I'd Rather Go Blind. James' successful career and catalog of 28 studio albums won her six Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. Her life was laced with sadness as she struggled with addiction and drug abuse, but her comeback with album The Seven Year Itch in the late 1980s proved her to be one of the strongest personalities in American music and landed her in many top greatest singers of all time lists.
Happy Birthday Django Reinhardt!
Jean "Django" Reinhardt (January 23, 1910 – May 16, 1953) was a pioneering jazz guitarist and composer who is often credited as the first European jazz musician who significantly influenced the genre. Reinhardt developed a new technique, sometimes known as 'hot' jazz guitar, that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture. His most popular compositions which have since become jazz standards, include "Minor Swing", "Daphne", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing '42", and "Nuages". (Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Happy Birthday, Gene Krupa!
Gene Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz and big band drummer who was slated for the priesthood, until he decided to pursue his love of music. Krupa was known for his highly energetic style and played for the "King of Swing", Benny Goodman's band. Krupa is featured in their hit song, "Sing, Sing, Sing" and his performance includes the first extended drum solos to be recorded commericially. In 1939, Krupa and his Orchestra appeared in Some Like It Hot, and in 1941 he made a cameo appearance in Ball of Fire. Krupa was a highly respected musician and teacher, and his pupils included Peter Criss of KISS and Jerry Nolan from The New York Dolls.
Happy Birthday, Chet Baker!
Chet Baker (December 23, 1929 - May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and flugelhorn player. Although he was known as a jazz musician, he gained critical praise for his vocal ability, particularly on his album, Chet Baker Sings.
Everything changed for trumpeter Philip Dizack when he learned to play a C major scale. An undying love for jazz and a devotion to practice eventually led him to New York City , where he attended the Manhattan School of Music, and won several awards. Philip has just released his second album as a leader: End of an Era.
"What he had was endless curiosity combined with stubbornness. His work list is astonishing, including oratorios, musicals and concertos, as well as hundreds of jazz compositions. This quiet man of jazz was truly a marvel." –Music journalist Ivan Hewett, on Dave Brubeck.
Today in music, we celebrate Dave Brubeck, who passed away this week on Wednesday morning, a day before his 92nd birthday. Dave was an American jazz musician who is remembered for his influence on progressive jazz and heavily improvisational style. His mother Elizabeth was a pianist, whose classically–trained roots also left their signature on Dave's music. Brubeck also composed orchestral ad sacred music, and wrote soundtracks for the animated show, This is America, Charlie Brown. His most remembered compositions include "Take Five", "Time Out", and "Unsquare Dance."
"Be true to yourself; be true to what it is you're hearing and feeling and try to get that to come out in your music."
- John Abercrombie
Louis Armstrong plays for his wife in Giza, Egypt.
Terje Rypdal uses a cane to climb the stairs onto the stage at Le Poisson Rouge, for a rare concert in New York City. The crowd cheers and he waves his cane in recognition. He sits down, picks up his red Fender Stratocaster, and proceeds to unleash a barrage of color.
"When I have a really good guitar sound—like in New York--it sort of opens up and there is some brightness shining and colors."