March 9, 1930 Ornette Coleman, jazz saxophonist, trumpeter and composer, was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Coleman began touring with rhythm and blues shows in 1949 and in 1958 led his first recording session, “Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman.”
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 22, 1929 Fred Anderson, jazz tenor saxophonist, was born in Monroe, Louisiana. Anderson taught himself to play the saxophone as a teenager and moved with his family to Evanston, Illinois in the 1940s. In 1965, he was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians which was a collective [...]
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 [...]
January 23, 1993 Thomas Andrew Dorsey, the father of gospel music, died. Dorsey was born July 1, 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia. He learned to play blues piano as a young man. In the 1920s, Dorsey was known for playing the blues and is credited with composing more than 400 blues and jazz songs, including [...]
October 29, 1969 George Murphy “Pops” Foster, jazz string bassist, died. Foster was born May 19, 1892 in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. By 1907, Foster was playing professionally, working in bands such as King Oliver’s and Kid Ory’s. In 1929, he moved to New York City where he played with various bands, including Louis Armstrong’s.
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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- July 30th in African American History – John Garang de Mabior
- August 12th in African American History – Jean-Michel Basquiat
- March 17th in African American History – Myrlie Beasley
- February 9th in African American History – Beau Jack
- July 18th in African American History – Willa Beatrice Brown Chappell