Jazz Birthdays: Art Tatum (1909), Terry Gibbs (1924), Ray Brown (1926), Lee Konitz (1927), and Pharaoh Sanders (1940) ,

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Art Tatum was a jazz pianist of unmatched virtuosity in his time and ever since. For those who have never heard of him or heard his beautiful music, here are links to a few of his songs, here, here and here.

Terry Gibbs is a vibraphonist and band leader who grew up in a musical family. To survive in the music business for over 60 years, Gibbs has had to move around, adapt, and find new opportunities as tastes have changed. In this video, he performs with Terry Pollard, with whom you will be  impressed. Gibbs communicates joy. Bassist Chubby Jackson says of him “He’s learned how to put a grin on music.”

Master bassist Ray Brown is known for his long collaboration with pianist Oscar Peterson from 1951 to 1966, and it is in the trio with Ed Thigpen on drums that I’ve seen him play. Here’s a video of a 1980 reunion with Peterson. Brown enjoyed playing and showed it. He had a big sound, listened and interacted beautifully with others with whom he performed, evidently had terrific ears, and soloed with the best of them. Consequently, he was in heavy demand.

Lee Konitz is a composer and alto saxophonist with a light airy tone and touch who strives for lyricism, beauty, intuitive and relaxed improvisation, and expressiveness, an approach that has been called cool. Lester Young had a huge influence on him. Lennie Tristano mentored and taught him, and he absorbed elements of Charlie Parker. He himself influenced Art Pepper and Paul Desmond. He plays “All of Me“.

Pharaoh Sanders, tenor saxophonist, when asked “What’s your hope for the future?” answered: “Peace and happiness.” His given name is Ferrell, but others called him Pharaoh. He has been an exponent of free jazz and modal jazz, playing music that is often spiritual and inspirational and ardently loved by his fans. A sample is “Harvest Time”.

4:03 am on October 13, 2012
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