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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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, […]
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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- October 11th in African American History – Malvin Greston Mal Whitfield
- Elston Gene Howard – February 23rd in African American History
- Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – September 1st in African American History
- August 9th in African American History – Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie Mac” McCullough
- April 1st in African American History – William Manning Marable