August 8, 2017

Jazz Centennial

The centennial of the first jazz recording by the Original Dixieland Jass Band titled “Livery Stable Blues” is observed this year (see our blog dated 2/26/17) . If an extraterrestrial had heard their rendition they could never have imagined the diversity and the artistic heights that jazz would accomplish in the hundred years that followed. A significant portion of that history began coincidentally in 1917 with the birth of an impressive number of future jazz stars. Most significant were the innovators of bebop, Thelonious Monk, born on October 10, and John “Dizzy” Gillespie, born in the same month on the 21st. Two other notable artists whose technical skills have never been surpassed are Buddy Rich, born on September 30, and Ella Fitzgerald, born on April 25 (see our blog dated 4/25/17). Those four musicians alone qualify 1917 as an important year in jazz history.
Other notable musicians who were born in 1917 include vocalists Lena Horne (October 4), Jo Stafford (November 12), and Dave Lambert (June 19); pianist Tadd Dameron (February 21); bassist Curly Russell (March 19); and Latin percussionist Mongo Santamaria (April 7). Perhaps a future jazz artist has already been born in 2017 and will contribute to the ever-evolving story of this music.

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