This Week In Music

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Joseph William "Pinetop" Perkins was one of the last of the Mississippi bluesmen. The blues pianist and vocalist, who in his youth was a friend of the legendary Robert Johnson, started his musical career as a guitarist and transitioned to piano after suffering injuries to his left arm in a fight.

Perkins' blues career started toward the end of the 1920s, and his piano style influenced several generations who followed him. Perkins' distinctive sound was the result of playing horn lines with his right hand and bass lines with his left. Though Perkins never played swing himself, his style of boogie is a clear precursor to the swing band sound.

He performed with Sonny Boy Williamson and toured extensively with performers like B.B King, Robert Nighthawk, and Earl Hooker. During this time, Perkins found himself recording a 1953 session at Sun Records during which he cut a version of "Pinetop Smith's Boogie Woogie," which earned him the name Pinetop Perkins from that time on. A high point in Perkins' career came in the 1960s and '70s when Perkins played some of his most brilliant solos as pianist for the Muddy Waters Band. Perkins and other Muddy Waters Band members later started their own Legendary Blues Band, touring and recording for Rounder Records.

When he left the Legendary Blues Band in his 80s, Perkins, who had usually been a sideman, embarked on an ambitious and successful solo career. While releasing 15 solo records in as many years Perkins also garnered several Grammy nominations. In 2000 Perkins received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. At the 2005 Grammys Perkins was given a lifetime achievement award. Perkins' collaboration with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on the Telarc release Joined at the Hip earned the pair a 2010 Grammy for Best Traditional Blues CD. Perkins died on March 21, 2011.


Benny Goodman and his band record "Sing, Sing, Sing" Louis Prima's song "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)" became what amounted to a big band era anthem when it was recorded by Benny Goodman and his band in 1937 (Victor 36205). The song was an enormous hit for Goodman and it was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The July 6, 1937 recording at a Hollywood session featured Goodman on clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, and Chris Griffin on trumpets; Red Ballard and Murray McEachern on trombone; Hymie Schertzer and George Koenig on alto sax; Art Rollini and Vido Musso on tenor sax; Jess Stacy on piano; Allan Reuss on guitar; Harry Goodman on bass; and Gene Krupa's iconic drum performance giving the song its instantly identifiable beat.

Arranger Jimmy Mundy blended Prima's original tune with riffs from Chu Berry's "Christopher Columbus," extending the piece beyond the typical 3 minutes usually allotted to a popular song. The Mundy arrangement ran 8 minutes and 43 seconds. That meant it couldn't fit on one side of a 10" 78-rpm record, so it was pressed to take up both sides of a 12" 78. From its release the relentlessly energetic recording was one of the most recognizable jazz records ever made.


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