This Week In Music

Share:  Twitter Myspace

If Jazz music is to be considered one of the true American art forms, then Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington would be the 20th century equivalent to Rembrandt. As one of the most prominent figures in jazz history, Ellington's influence stretches into all corners of music from blues to gospel, film scores to classical. Born on April 29th, 1899, Ellington was the son of pianists, and started his music training at the age of seven. Like other musicians of the era, a move to New York City would prove to be a turning point in Ellington's career, as he successfully performed at some of the most exclusive clubs in Harlem. When the depression hit and gigs in New York slowed, Ellington took his band on the road, touring across the country while maintaining exposure via radio. The peak of the band was in the 1940's – as Ellington and several other creative arrangers crafted music for the unique voices in Duke's big-band ensemble. Throughout the following decades Duke's music remained popular despite the growing trend of rock-n-roll and country music. During his lifetime Ellington received numerous awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and an Honorary PHD from the Berklee College of Music.


Legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker influenced a generation of be-bop musicians, but few know that his very first commercial recording was as a sideman with pianist Jay McShann. In 1938, Parker joined McShann's territory band which spent time touring throughout the southwest United States, as well as Chicago and New York. Players commented that Parker sounded "like a machine", no doubt referring to his incredible technical skill. The recording titled "Swingmatism" would prove to be the very first in a career full of music the likes of which the listening public had never experienced before.


Week of April 18, 2011
Event: Pipeless Organ Patented by Laurens Hammond April 24, 1934

Birthday: Tito Puente Born April 20, 1923

Week of April 4, 2011
Event: Herp Alpert Born April 4, 1939

Birthday: Freddie Hubbard Born April 7, 1938

Week of March 28, 2011
Birthday: Michael Brecker Born March 29, 1949

Birthday: Herp Alpert Born March 31, 1935

Week of March 14, 2011
Event: Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony Is Performed for the First Time March 23, 1792

Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685

Week of March 7, 2011
Event: Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Recorded Auld Lang Syne March 7, 1939

Birthday: Leon Bismark (Bix) Beiderbecke March 10, 1903

Week of February 28, 2011
Event: Miles Davis Records "Kind of Blue" on Columbia Records March 2, 1959
Birthday: Frédéric Chopin Marc 1, 1810

Week of February 21, 2011
Event: Duke Ellington Records "The Queen's Suite"
Birthday: Dexter Gordon February 27, 1923

Week of February 14, 2011
Event: Sonny Rollins Records his Title Track "The Bridge" February 14, 1962
Birthday: Buddy DeFranco February 17, 1923

Week of February 7, 2011
Event: Rhapsody in Blue is Performed for the First Time February 12, 1924
Birthday: Marion "Buddy" Childers February 12, 1926

Week of January 31, 2011
Event: Frank Sinatra Debuts on Radio's "Your Hit Parade" February 6, 1943
Birthday: Stanley "Stan" Getz February 2, 1927

Week of January 24, 2011
Event: Original Dixieland Jazz Band Makes the First Jazz Record January 30, 1917
Birthday: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart January 27, 1756