Gap Mangione (piano) 1938 :: Birthday greetings to Gap Mangione. Gap is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader from Rochester, New York, United States.
Mangione was born and raised in Rochester; his younger brother is Grammy-winning flugelhornist Chuck Mangione. Members of a music-loving family, both Gap and Chuck took up instruments. In 1958, they started performing together as the Jazz Brothers, eventually recording three albums for Riverside Records.
In 1968, Gap Mangione released his first solo album, Diana in the Autumn Wind, featuring drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Tony Levin in their first recordings, and new compositions and arrangements by Chuck Mangione who conducted as well.
The 1970s brought more solo albums along with tours with his own group and many as featured pianist in his brother’s orchestral performances.
In the 1980s, Mangione began to spend more time playing in and around Rochester and less time on the road. In 1990, he formed the Gap Mangione New Big Band, which remains the premier dance and concert big band in the Rochester area. The New Big Band has released four CDs since 1998. Many major rappers and producers, including Jaylib, Talib Kweli, Guerilla Black, Ghostface Killah, and Slum Village have sampled Gap’s Diana in the Autumn Wind for their recent works.
Today, Mangione continues to make regular appearances at Rochester locations, among them the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa (since May, 1987), Pier 45 at the Port and the Rochester International Jazz Festival, as well as private gigs. He can be found playing solo, with the 14-piece New Big Band, the “New Blues Band” (a quartet) or his sextet. He and Chuck continue to play together, mainly for appearances with symphony orchestras, or with Chuck as special guest with Gap’s big band.
In 2004 he received the Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester.
Hank Jones(piano) 1918-2010 :: Hank Jones was an American jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. Critics and musicians described Jones as eloquent, lyrical, and impeccable.
Hank studied piano at an early age and came under the influence of Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, and Art Tatum. By the age of 13 Jones was performing locally in Michigan and Ohio. While playing with territory bands in Grand Rapids and Lansing in 1944 he met Lucky Thompson, who invited Jones to work in New York City at the Onyx Club with Hot Lips Page.
In New York, Jones regularly listened to leading bop musicians, and was inspired to master the new style. While practicing and studying the music he worked with John Kirby, Howard McGhee, Coleman Hawkins, Andy Kirk, and Billy Eckstine. In autumn 1947, he began touring in Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic package, and from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, and accompanying her in England in the Fall of 1948, developed a harmonic facility of extraordinary taste and sophistication. During this period he also made several historically important recordings with Charlie Parker, which included “The Song Is You”, from the Now’s the Time album, recorded in December 1952, with Teddy Kotick on bass and Max Roach on drums.
Engagements with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman followed, and recordings with artists such as Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery, in addition to being for a time, ‘house pianist’ on the Savoy label. From 1959 through 1975 Jones was staff pianist for CBS studios. This included backing guests like Frank Sinatra on The Ed Sullivan Show. He played the piano accompaniment to Marilyn Monroe as she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy on May 19, 1962. By the late 1970s, his involvement as pianist and conductor with the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ (based on the music of Fats Waller) had informed a wider audience of his unique qualities as a musician.
During the late 1970s and the 1980s, Jones continued to record prolifically, as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianists (including John Lewis and Tommy Flanagan), and with various small ensembles, most notably the Great Jazz Trio. The group took this name in 1976, by which time Jones had already begun working at the Village Vanguard with its original members, Ron Carter and Tony Williams (it was Buster Williams rather than Carter, however, who took part in the trio’s first recording session in 1976); by 1980 Jones’ sidemen were Eddie Gomez and Al Foster, and in 1982 Jimmy Cobb replaced Foster. The trio also recorded with other all-star personnel, such as Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Nancy Wilson.
In 1989, The National Endowment for the Arts honored him with the NEA Jazz Masters Award. He was also honored in 2003 with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Jazz Living Legend Award. In 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. On April 13, 2009, the University of Hartford presented Jones with a Doctorate Degree for his musical accomplishments. Jones recorded over sixty albums under his own name, and countless others as a sideman.
Kenny Burrell (guitar) 1931 :: Bornday greetings to Kenny Burrell. Kenny is an American jazz guitarist. His playing is grounded in bebop and blues; he has performed and recorded with a wide range of jazz musicians.
While a student at Wayne State University, he made his debut recording as a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in 1951, following which he recorded the “Ground Round” single at Fortune Records in Detroit. He toured with Oscar Peterson after graduating in 1955 and then moved to New York City in 1956.
A consummate sideman, Burrell has recorded with a wide range of prominent musicians. He has also led his own groups since 1951 and recorded many well-received albums.
In the 1970s he began leading seminars about music, particularly Duke Ellington’s. Although the two never collaborated directly, Ellington called Burrell his “favorite guitarist,” and Burrell has recorded a number of tributes to and interpretations of Ellington’s works.
A highly popular performer, Burrell has won several jazz polls in Japan and the United Kingdom as well as in the United States. He has recorded about 106 albums, including Midnight Blue (1963), Blue Lights, Guitar Forms, Sunup To Sundown (1990), Soft Winds (1993), Then Along Came Kenny (1993), and Lotus Blossom (1995).
As of 1996, Burrell has served as Director of Jazz Studies at UCLA, mentoring such notable alumni as Gretchen Parlato and Kalil Wilson.Burrell teaches a course entitled “Ellingtonia”, examining the life and accomplishments of Duke Ellington.
Stanley Jordan(guitar, electric) 1959 :: Happy birthday to Stanley Jordan. Stanley is an American jazz/jazz fusion guitarist and pianist. He began his music career at age six, studying piano, then shifted his focus to guitar at age eleven. He later began playing in rock and soul bands. In 1976, Jordan won an award at the Reno, Nevada, Jazz Festival. He earned a BA in music from Princeton University in 1981, where he studied theory and composition with composer Milton Babbitt and computer music with composer Paul Lansky. While at Princeton in 1979 he played with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie.
Jordan was the first artist to be signed by Bruce Lundvall when the latter became president of Blue Note Records in 1985 and, consequently, Magic Touch was the first release (not reissue) of the rejuvenated label. Magic Touch was #1 on Billboard’s jazz chart for 51 weeks, setting a new record. Jordan also made the startup sound for the old Macintosh computers, Power Macintosh 6100, Power Macintosh 7100, and Power Macintosh 8100.
Jordan has performed in over 60 countries on 6 continents. He has performed at many jazz festivals, including: Kool Jazz Festival (1984), Concord Jazz Festival (1985), and the Montreux International Jazz Festival (1985). During the 1980s Jordan played with Quincy Jones, Michal Urbaniak, and Richie Cole. Stanley Jordan has four Grammy Nominations. His 2011 album “Friends” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Ahmet Ertegun(founder) 1923-2006 :: Ahmet Ertegun was a Turkish American musician and businessman, best known as the founder and president of Atlantic Records, as a leader of the 1950s Rhythm & Blues revolution, and for discovering or championing artists like Eric Clapton; Phil Collins; Genesis; The Rolling Stones; Led Zeppelin; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Aretha Franklin; Ray Charles; Yes; Frank Zappa; and more. He also wrote classic blues and pop songs and served as Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum. Ertegun has been described as “one of the most significant figures in the modern recording industry.” He also co-founded the New York Cosmos soccer team of the original North American Soccer League.
Ahmet’s love for music pulled him into the heart of Washington, DC’s black district where he would routinely see acts such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and countless others. While he did attend Landon School, an affluent all-male private school in Bethesda, Maryland, Ahmet would joke, “I got my real education at Howard.” Despite his affluent upbringing, Ahmet began to see a different world than his affluent peers. Ahmet would later say: “I began to discover a little bit about the situation of black people in America and experienced immediate empathy with the victims of such senseless discrimination. Because although Turks were never slaves, they were regarded as enemies within Europe because of their Muslim beliefs.”
The brothers also frequented Milt Gabler’s Commodore Record Store, assembled a large collection of over 15,000 jazz and blues 78s, and became acquainted with musicians such as Ellington, Lena Horne and Jelly Roll Morton. Ahmet and Nesuhi staged concerts by Lester Young, Sidney Bechet and other jazz giants, often at the Jewish Community Center, which was the only place that would allow a mixed audience and mixed band. They also traveled to New Orleans and to Harlem to listen to music and develop a keen awareness of developing musical tastes.
In 1946, Ahmet Ertegun became friends with Herb Abramson, a dental student and A&R man for National Records, and they decided to start a new independent record label for gospel, jazz, and R&B music. Financed by family dentist Dr. Vahdi Sabit, they formed Atlantic Records in September 1947 in New York City, and the first recording sessions took place that November.
In 1949, after 22 unsuccessful record releases including the first recordings by Professor Longhair, Atlantic had its first major hit with Stick McGhee’s “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee”. The company expanded through the 1950s, with Jerry Wexler and, later, Nesuhi Ertegun on board as partners, and with hit artists including Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, The Clovers, The Drifters, The Coasters, and Ray Charles.