This Week In Music

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You've got to be some kind of trombonist to be referred to by many as "the world's greatest," but such is the case with Carl Fontana. One of the best-known and most revered trombonists in jazz, Fontana's legacy of musical technique, inventiveness, and his willingness to teach and mentor reverberate to this day.

Born in Monroe, Louisiana on July 18, 1928, Fontana got his first trombone from his dad, bandleader Charles "Collie" Fontana. Carl played in his dad's band as a teen and after graduating from Louisiana State University in 1950, played with the Lee Fortier Band. In 1951 lightning struck when Fontana thrilled the audience while filling in for Urbie Green in Woody Herman's band. The bandleader invited Fontana to join Woody Herman's Third Herd.

Fontana is most noted for developing the trombone technique known as "doodle tonguing," which he used to produce notes both faster and more precisely. Fontana jokingly referred to it as his method of self-defense against saxophone performers. The technique influenced legions of trombonists who followed Fontana in using it to produce full tone with fast-tongued notes. Fontana was also noted for blending bebop with mainstream jazz in his own swing-meets-bebop style

During his career, Fontana recorded 11 albums with Stan Kenton, toured Europe with Kai Winding, and performed with numerous other bands. In 1957 Fontana settled in Las Vegas where he performed with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and Frank Sinatra. Fontana also performed at annual University of Las Vegas concerts, festivals, and all-star jazz events while also mentoring at trombone clinics and master classes throughout North America.

Important Fontana recordings include 1985's The Great Fontana; 1997's The Carl Fontana-Arno March Quintet; Live at Capozzolis's; 1998's The Carl Fontana Quartet: Live at Capozzolis's; First Time Together and Quintet, Vol 3 in 2002; and the 2003 Conte Candoli Quintet (Live). The International Trombone Association awarded Fontana their highest honor in 1998. Fontana died in Las Vegas on October 9, 2003 following complications from Alzheimer's disease.


Honored as the first outdoor music festival devoted exclusively to jazz in the United States, the July 17, 1954 debut at Newport included such luminary performers as Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holliday, and others before a crowd of 11,000 fans. Then called the "First Annual American Jazz Festival," impresario and jazz pianist George Wein cooked up the idea for the Newport event with tobacco heiress Elaine Lorillard. The gathering was an instant success hailed by major newspapers and magazines and indelibly linking jazz with the town of Newport, Rhode Island.

The festival's formula of showcasing numerous world-class acts packed into a scant number of summer days was so successful that it has since been widely imitated. The festival quickly outgrew its original venue in the Newport Casino, yet using both the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park it continues to present established jazz names alongside talented unknowns. Set beside Newport's stunning coast and man-made marvels of architecture, jazz fans annually enjoy three days of quintessentially American music performed by some of the best known names in jazz, and some who will soon go on to be well-known.


Week of July 11, 2011
Event: "His Masters Voice" Trademark Registered

Birthday: Bélla Fleck Born July 10, 1958

Week of July 5, 2011
Event: Benny Goodman and His Band Record "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Birthday: Pinetop Perkins Born July 7, 1913

Week of June 27, 2011
Event: Cab Calloway and His Orchestra Record "St. James Infirmary""

Birthday: Pete Fountain Born July 3, 1930

Week of June 20, 2011
Event: 19 Year-Old Arturo Toscanini Conducts the Rio de Janeiro Orchestra in a Performance of "Aida"

Birthday: Lalo Schifrin Born June 21, 1932

Week of June 13, 2011
Event: New York Jazz Museum Opens

Birthday: Marcus Miller Born June 14, 1959

Week of June 06, 2011
Event: Jelly Roll Morton Records "Jelly Roll Blues" As a Piano Solo

Birthday: Bill Watrous Born June 08, 1939

Week of May 30, 2011
Event: 1962 Bandleader Benny Goodman Leads The First American Jazz Band to Play In The Soviet Union

Birthday: Benny Goodman Born May 30, 1909

Week of May 23, 2011
Event: "In a Precursor to Outdoor Rock Festivals, Ray Charles and B.B. King Perform For 9,000 Fans in Atlanta

Birthday: Miles Davis Born May 26, 1926

Week of May 16, 2011
Event: "When The Saints Go Marching In" Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Birthday: Woody Herman Born May 16, 1913

Week of May 2, 2011
Event: New York's Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center Announces Addition of Rock, Pop, and Jazz Concerts

Birthday: Maynard Ferguson Born May 4, 1928

Week of April 25, 2011
Event: At Decca Studios Charlie Parker Made His First Commercial Recording April 30, 1941

Birthday: Duke Ellington Born April 29, 1899

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