Tag Archives | Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame
Thaddeus Joseph “Thad” Jones

March 28th in African American History – Thaddeus Joseph “Thad” Jones

March 28, 1923 Thaddeus Joseph “Thad” Jones, jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader, was born in Pontiac, Michigan. Jones was a self taught musician and began playing professionally at the age of 16. He served in the United States Army band from 1943 to 1946. In 1954, Jones joined the Count Basie Orchestra where he contributed […]

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Nathaniel Adams “Nat King” Cole

March 17th in African American History – Nathaniel Adams “Nat King” Cole

March 17, 1919 Nathaniel Adams “Nat King” Cole, jazz pianist and singer, was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Cole learned to play the organ from his mother and began performing in the 1930s with the King Cole Trio. They signed with Capitol Records in 1943 and revenue from Cole’s recordings accounted for so much of Capitol’s […]

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John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery

March 6th in African American History – John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery

March 6, 1923 John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery, jazz guitarist, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montgomery started playing the guitar at the age of 19 and initially recorded with his two brothers as the Montgomery Brothers.

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Dexter Keith Gordon

February 27th in African American History – Dexter Keith Gordon

February 27, 1923 Dexter Keith Gordon, jazz tenor saxophonist and actor, was born in Los Angeles, California. Gordon played the clarinet from the age of 13 before switching to the saxophone at 15. Between 1940 and 1943, Gordon was a member of the Lionel Hampton Band and in 1943 he made his first recording under […]

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Nat King Cole

February 15th in African American History – Nat King Cole

February 15, 1965 Nat King Cole, jazz pianist and singer, died. Cole was born Nathaniel Adam Coles on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. He began performing in the 1930s with the King Cole Trio and in 1943 they signed with Capitol Records.

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Freddie Hubbard

December 29th in African American History – Frederick Dewayne “Freddie” Hubbard

December 29, 2008 Frederick Dewayne “Freddie” Hubbard, jazz trumpeter, died. Hubbard was born April 7, 1938 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He began playing the trumpet in his school band at the Jordan Conservatory. In 1958, he moved to New York City and began playing with some of the best jazz players of the era. In 1960, […]

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Milton John Hinton

December 19th in African American History – Milton John Hinton

December 19, 2000 Milton John Hinton, the dean of jazz bass players, died. Hinton was born June 23, 1910 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. While attending high school, he learned to play the bass horn, tuba, cello, and the double bass. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, he worked as a freelance musician in Chicago, Illinois, […]

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