For Women In Jazz Month 2022, I want to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald. In a 2017 essay, “The Casual Excellence of Ella Fitzgerald,” Prof. Emily J. Lordi wrote: One hundred and one years after her birth and two decades after her death, Ella Fitzgerald’s voice still sounds like your best day, your most clever retort, your … Continue reading Women In Jazz Month: Ella Fitzgerald →
March is “Women in Jazz Month.” It’s also “Women’s History Month.” As the National Museum of American History notes, Ella Fitzgerald was about intersectionality before the term was coined: Fitzgerald succeeded in the male-dominated field of jazz. By overcoming the odds, breaking barriers, and setting precedents, she paved the way for other women to follow … Continue reading Ella Fitzgerald@100 →
Opened circa 1944, the Coronet Club was located on South Broad and Cypress streets. Ada Brown performed here on August 30, 1945. The blues singer appeared in “Stormy Weather” accompanied by Fats Waller. On August 16, 1946, Ella Fitzgerald opened a two-week engagement opposite Tiny Bradshaw and his Orchestra.
Under the proprietorship of Stan Cooper, this West Philly jazz spot was popular in the 1940s and ‘50s. Club Harlem played host to jazz and blues greats such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges, Ella Fitzgerald, Lucky Millender, John Coltrane, Dinah Washington, Bull Moose Jackson, Erskine Hawkins and Nat King … Continue reading Club Harlem →
March is Women in Jazz Month, a time to celebrate and recognize the contributions of women to jazz. As a lifelong activist, I want to celebrate women who used music as a platform for social change. Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is well-known. Ethel Waters’ “Supper Time” is not as well-known. Written by Irving Berlin especially … Continue reading Women in Jazz Month 2019 →
Trumpeter Clifford Brown was 25 when he died in a car crash in 1956. His last performance was at Philadelphia’s famed Music City. Although his life was cut short, Brown left an indelible impact. There are 334 versions of Philly native and NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson’s composition, “I Remember Clifford.” Since 1988, his hometown … Continue reading 2018 DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival →
We all have seen Google Doodles. The drawings “celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.” Google accepts suggestions from the public. You can help one of the most celebrated bluesmen, Muddy Waters, get a Google Doodle. American Blues Scene, a popular website, is petitioning Google to create a Muddy Waters … Continue reading Help Get Muddy Waters a Google Doodle →
This year marks the centennial birthday of several jazz luminaries, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne and Thelonious Monk. Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein was born on August 25, 1918 but the celebrations are already underway. The worldwide festivities will continue until August 25, 2019. Bernstein had a longstanding appreciation of jazz, blues and … Continue reading Leonard Bernstein@100 →
On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the month of June “Black Music Month.” Every president since then has recognized the contribution of black musicians to the nation’s cultural heritage. In 2009, President Barack Obama changed the month-long celebration to “African-American Music Appreciation Month.” The tradition continues with President Donald Trump: During June, we … Continue reading African-American Music Appreciation Month 2017 →
Check out John Lewis on the origins of the Modern Jazz Quartet and his six-month job with Ella Fitzgerald.