Tag Archives | Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame
Lester Bowie

November 8th in African American History – Lester Bowie

November 8, 1999 Lester Bowie, jazz trumpeter and composer, died. Bowie was born October 11, 1941 in Frederick, Maryland but raised in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of five, he began studying the trumpet with his father who was a professional musician. In 1966, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he worked as a […]

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Milton Jackson

October 9th in African American History – Milton Jackson

October 9, 1999 Milton Jackson, jazz vibraphonist and composer, died. Jackson was born January 1, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. He was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie who hired him for his sextet in 1946. Around 1950, Jackson formed his own group, the Milt Jackson Quartet which in 1952 was renamed the Modern Jazz Quartet.

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Ed Blackwell

October 7th in African American History – Ed Blackwell

October 7, 1992 Ed Blackwell, jazz drummer, died. Blackwell was born October 10, 1929 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began his career in the 1950s and first came to national attention as the drummer with Ornette Coleman’s quartet around 1960. Blackwell was one of the great innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, […]

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Miles Dewey Davis III

September 28th in African American History – Miles Dewey Davis III

September 28, 1991 Miles Dewey Davis III, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, died. Davis was born May 26, 1926 in Alton, Illinois. By the age of 16, Davis was a member of the musical society and playing professionally. In 1944, he moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. In […]

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September 27th in African American History – Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell

September 27, 1924 Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell, jazz pianist, was born in New York City. At an early age, Powell learned classical piano, but by eight became interested in jazz and by 15 was playing in his brother’s band. His debut recording was with Cootie Williams’ band in 1944. In 1947, he made his debut […]

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Bessie Smith

September 26th in African American History – Bessie Smith

September 26, 1937 Bessie Smith, blues singer, died. Smith was born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1912, she was hired as a dancer with the Moses Stokes troupe which included Ma Rainey. By the early 1920s, Smith had starred with Sidney Bechet in “How Come?,” a musical that made its way to […]

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Lionel Leo Hampton

August 31st in African American History – Lionel Leo Hampton

August 31, 2002 Lionel Leo Hampton, jazz vibraphonist and band leader, died. Hampton was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky. While still a teenager, he played the xylophone and drums. In 1936, he joined the Benny Goodman Quartet, making it one of the first racially integrated jazz groups to record and play before wide […]

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