Born in 1917, Ella Fitzgerald, "the first lady of song", is one of the enduring Jazz artists to have across genre appeal thanks to the various styles she adapted too. She started her career pretty much in the gutter. She would dance and sing for coins on street corners when growing up and her big … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Ella Fitzgerald
Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) was a clarinet and Soprano Saxophone player (amoung many others) who was there at the forefront of Jazz, however I am placing him her for a very specific reason. In 1939 a new record label called Blue Note Records appeared on the scene, and it was to become one of the definitive … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Sidney Bechet
Considering the wide scope of artists in Jazz history, I have picked and choosen who I do posts about. Many are key figures and some interesting but not well known such as Ken Johnson. Anyway here are a few I missed out Fats Waller (1904-1943): "The Cheerful Little Earful" was an all round consummate performer. … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Some who slipped through the cracks.
Ken "Snakehips" Johnson, born Kenrick Reginald Hijmans Johnson was a band leader who was a leading figure in black music in 1930s England, he was born in British Guiana and was sent to the UK by his parents at the age of 15 to study at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School. He developed an interest in … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Ken “Snakehips” Johnson
Django Reinhardt (1910 - 1953) born Jean Reinhardt, was a Belgian born French-Romani gypsy and was to become one of the first jazz talents to emerge from Europe and is still regarded as one of the finest jazz guitarists, his gypsy jazz style can be heard in Jazz Clubs and festivals all over Europe. Django … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Django Reinhardt
Sir George Shearing (1919 - 2011) was born in Battersea to a working class family , he was the youngest of nine children and was blind from birth. He was a rare example of British Jazz musician who made it in the USA, his compositions "Conception" and "Lullaby of Birdland" quickly became Jazz standards. Part … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: George Shearing.
Nat Gonella (1908-1998) was a key player on the British Jazz scene. His first recording was with the Billy Cotton Band and he played with a number of the dance band leaders of the time including Roy Fox, Lew Stone and Ray Noble. It was while with Lew Stone that he formed the Georgians, a … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Nat Gonella
Coleman Hawkins was the original Tenor Saxophone champion of Jazz with his robust tone, lyrical sound and effortless improvisation. He was ahead of his time as a Jazz musician and rapidly found himself unchallenged in the USA and so moved to Europe where he recorded a significant series of recordings with Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Coleman Hawkins.
William "Count" Basie added a fresh and new sound to the Swing scene just as it was getting stale. His piano technique tended to be to offer in fill in pieces to add to the atmosphere as a whole. To add vocal refrains to the music he favoured a more bluesy orientation and hired singers … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Count Basie
Benny Goodman was dubbed the King of Swing, a title he shared with drummer Chick Webb, and his big band proved exceptionally popular do much so that on 16th January 1938 it became the first Jazz Band to perform at Carnegie Hall. At the time the band didn't know they were being recorded and the … Continue reading Jazz Appreciation Month: Benny Goodman