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Jazz Musician of the Day: Paul Desmond

Jazz Musician of the Day: Paul Desmond

All About Jazz is celebrating Paul Desmond's birthday today!

Paul Desmond was revered for the pure, gentle tone of his alto saxophone, and the elegant lyricism of his improvisations. For seventeen years he was the lead soloist in the most commercially successful jazz combo ever, the Dave Brubeck Quartet. In an era that worshipped the frenetic, bebop style of Charlie Parker, Paul Desmond found his own sound, a tone that he claimed imitated a “dry martini." It was a sound ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Teddy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Teddy Wilson

All About Jazz is celebrating Teddy Wilson's birthday today!

His airy, effortless style, with its emphasis on lightly accompanied right-hand melody, was a key element in the transition from swing to bebop, and many modern jazz pianists took Wilson's approach as their starting point. His early recordings were percussive and forceful, but as he matured his technique became graceful, almost elegant. He was a gifted artist who used the full range of his instrument to his advantage. His recordings with ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Emil Viklicky

Jazz Musician of the Day: Emil Viklicky

All About Jazz is celebrating Emil Viklicky's birthday today!

Emil Viklicky was born in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), where in 1971 he graduated from Palacky University with a degree in mathematics. While a student he devoted much time to playing jazz piano. In 1974, he was awarded the prize for best soloist at the Czechoslovak Amateur Jazz Festival, and that same year he joined Karel Velebny's SHQ ensemble. In 1976, he was a prizewinner at the jazz improvisation ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gunther Schuller

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gunther Schuller

All About Jazz is celebrating Gunther Schuller's birthday today!

The composer Gunther Schuller is, famously, a man of many musical pursuits. He began his professional life as a horn player in both the jazz and classical worlds, working as readily with Miles Davis and Gil Evans as with Toscanini; he was principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony from age sixteen and later of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra until 1959. In the 1950s he began a conducting career focusing largely on ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Coleman Hawkins

Jazz Musician of the Day: Coleman Hawkins

All About Jazz is celebrating Coleman Hawkins' birthday today!

Coleman Hawkins single-handedly brought the saxophone to the prominence in jazz that the instrument enjoys. Before he hit the scene, jazz groups had little use for the instrument. One player (forgot who) said, “with all due respect to Adolph Sax, Coleman Hawkins invented the saxophone." Hawkins, or “Bean", as he was known as, started playing cello at a young age before switching to the saxophone. He was a lifelong listener of ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: June Christy

Jazz Musician of the Day: June Christy

All About Jazz is celebrating June Christy's birthday today!

June was born as Shirley Luster on November 20, 1925 at the Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois and was raised from the age of three in Decatur, Illinois; and from the beginning always wanted to sing. She was singing with local bands when she was just 13, and later with society bands around Chicago, the big city 150 miles from Springfield, using the name Sharon Leslie. None of her family knew ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Tommy Dorsey

Jazz Musician of the Day: Tommy Dorsey

All About Jazz is celebrating Tommy Dorsey's birthday today!

Trombonist Thomas “Tommy" Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the younger brother of famed jazz clarinetist, Jimmy Dorsey. In early years he was equally well-known as both trumpet and trombone player, recording several hot jazz solos on trumpet in 1920s, including “The Spell of the Blues" with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra for OKeh on 1/26/29. His career closely followed that of brother Jimmy; by 1930 he was one of the most ...

Jazz Musician of the Day: Don Cherry

Jazz Musician of the Day: Don Cherry

All About Jazz is celebrating Don Cherry's birthday today!

Don Cherry was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1936 and raised in Los Angeles, where he first began to play the trumpet and later piano. According to Cherry, his upbringing had everything to do with his interest in music: “Yeah, well I was fortunate to have such great parents…because they've always been around music. My Father was a bartender, and he was very much into the music of the swing ...


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