NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has altered the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, but it will still go on, giving students the chance to show their talents virtually. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the program. High school bands from around the country traditionally head to Jazz […]

Jelly Roll Morton famously introduced himself as the inventor of jazz. While that claim has been questioned over time, the New Orleans pianist undoubtedly planted the early seeds of innovation in the genre. Morton was born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe on October 20, 1890, although some sources cite 1885. A Creole, Morton was of Spanish, French […]

The contributions and influence of jazz bandleader Count Basie remains strong to this day. The New Jersey native was born August 21, 1904 in the town of Red Bank. William James Basie was born to parents with musical backgrounds, thus he had little choice but to take to music. As a child, his mother taught […]

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dr. John, the New Orleans singer and piano player who blended black and white musical styles with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl, died Thursday, his family said. He was 77. In a statement released through his publicist, the family said Dr. John, who was born Mac Rebennack, died […]

Charles “Buddy” Bolden is considered by most historians and practitioners of jazz to be the founding father of the art form. A new film Bolden opened in theaters this week examining the life and career of the legendary New Orleans cornetist. Bolden was born September 6, 1877 in New Orleans, La. As a teenager, he […]

Musician Roy Ayers is currently resting at home according to his daughter. The 78-year-old “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” musician was hospitalized Saturday after arriving to Portland’s International Airport for the city’s Soul’d Out Music Festival. “Due to a medical emergency that occurred today April 20, Roy Ayers will not be cleared by doctors in time to […]

Joe Sample made his mark in music early on as part of the Jazz and Funk ensemble, The Crusaders. Today is the late Houston native and legendary keyboardist’s birthday. Sample was born in 1939, and began studying the piano at five years old. He joined bands in high school and while at Texas Southern University. […]

Earl Hines, better known as Earl “Fatha” Hines, was a pianist who was dubbed the “Father of Modern Jazz Piano.” Today is his birthday. Earl Kenneth Hines was born in 1903 in Duquesne, Pa., just 12 miles outside of Pittsburgh. At 17, he became a professional musician, joining singer Lois Deppe’s band at a Pittsburgh […]

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nancy Wilson, the Grammy-winning “song stylist” and torch singer whose polished pop-jazz vocals made her a platinum artist and top concert performer, has died. Wilson, who retired from touring in 2011, died after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, a California desert community near Joshua Tree National Park, her […]

NEW YORK (AP) — A new jazz conference seeks to determine what role jazz can play in today’s society, and it has tapped Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as its keynote speaker. Jazz Congress will hold its inaugural event on Jan. 11 in New York City. While Abdul-Jabbar is best known as a Hall of Fame basketball legend, […]

Ella Fitzgerald would have turned 100 years old this week, and fans are celebrating the “First Lady of Song” around the globe. Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Va. After her father left the family, Fitzgerald’s mother began seeing another man and relocated to Yonkers, N.Y. Historical record says the arrival […]

  Tampa jazz legend Julian “Cannonball” Adderley became proficient in playing the alto saxophone during his time in the Florida town. But it was his move to New York that gave way to his connections with jazz giants Miles Davis, George Duke and Yusef Lateef. Adderley was born September 15, 1928, earning his nickname by […]