Jazz Birthdays: Ethel Waters (1896) and Illinois Jacquet (1922)

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Ethel Waters was a superstar singer of her time who went on to a distinguished career in theater and film. Her music still sounds good today. Her voice has a wonderful purity, intonation and range, with an emotional intensity that she controls to great effect. One of the earliest jazz singers in the 1920s, she influenced such singers as “Joe Turner, Bing Crosby, Ivie Anderson, Lee Wiley, Mildred Bailey, Connie Boswell, and Ella Fitzgerald.” Some examples of her work are “When Your Lover Has Gone“, “West End Blues“, “Dinah“, “Am I Blue“, and “I’ve Found A New Baby“.

Illinois Jacquet was a big-sounding saxophonist who is credited with starting the r & b saxophone sound and influencing the early rock and roll sound. He was a skilled improviser who sometimes went into the more raw, raucous, and excited mode of playing. Elements of his stylings and way of playing the tenor sax can be heard in Sonny Rollins and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. Here Jacquet plays “Blue Mood” and a lovely version of “Robbins Nest” with excellent soloing, and for a sample of his much later work, there’s “C-Jam Blues”.

1:24 am on October 31, 2012