The Life You Give: Carla Bley *1936 or 1938

A highly regarded pianist, composer, and arranger, Carla Bley has been at the forefront of avant-garde jazz and modern creative music since the '60s. She initially emerged as a composer, working closely with her first husband, pianist Paul Bley, as well as progressive artists like George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre. She is a founder of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Carla Bley *1936 or 1938

The Life You Give: Keith Jarrett *1945

Keith Jarrett, born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., is a jazz pianist, composer, and saxophonist considered to be one of the most original and prolific jazz musicians to emerge during the late 20th century. He was also a noted classical pianist.A child prodigy, Jarrett began studying the piano at age three and performed… Continue reading The Life You Give: Keith Jarrett *1945

The Life You Give: Ron Carter *1937

Ron Carter, born Ronald Levin Carter, on May 4, 1937 in Ferndale, Michigan, USA, is known for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), House of Gucci (2021) and What Happens in Vegas (2008). He was previously married to Janet Hasbrouch. The epitome of class and elegance without the stuffiness, Ron Carter has been a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ron Carter *1937

The Life You Give: Duke Ellington *1899

Duke Ellington, born Edward Kennedy Ellington, April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., is the pianist who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of his time. One of the originators of big-band jazz, Ellington led his band for more than half a century, composed thousands of scores, and created one of the most distinctive… Continue reading The Life You Give: Duke Ellington *1899

The Life You Give: Carmen McRae *1920

Carmen McRae, born April 8, 1920, New York, N.Y., U.S.A., is the jazz vocalist and pianist who from an early emulation of vocalist Billie Holiday grew to become a distinctive stylist, known for her smoky voice and her melodic variations on jazz standards. Her scat improvisations were innovative, complex, and elegant.McRae studied classical piano as… Continue reading The Life You Give: Carmen McRae *1920

The Life You Give: Billie Holiday *1915

Billie Holiday, born Elinore Harris, on April 7, 1915, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., is the jazz singer considered to have been one of the greatest from the 1930s to the ’50s.Eleanora (her preferred spelling) Harris was the daughter of Clarence Holiday, a professional musician who for a time played guitar with the Fletcher Henderson band. She… Continue reading The Life You Give: Billie Holiday *1915

The Life You Give: Ornette Coleman *1930

Ornette Coleman, born Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman, on March 9, 1930, in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A., is the jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader who was the principal initiator and leading exponent of free jazz in the late 1950s. Coleman began playing alto, then tenor saxophone as a teenager and soon became a working musician in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ornette Coleman *1930

The Virtuous Black XXVI: Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, born Ella Jane Fitzgerald, on April 25 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A., is the jazz singer who became world famous for the wide range and rare sweetness of her voice. She became an international legend during a career that spanned some six decades. As a child, Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer,… Continue reading The Virtuous Black XXVI: Ella Fitzgerald

The Virtuous Black XXV: Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, born August 4 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., was leading trumpeter and one of the most influential artists in jazz history. He grew up in dire poverty in New Orleans, Louisiana, when jazz was very young. As a child he worked at odd jobs and sang in a boys’ quartet. In 1913… Continue reading The Virtuous Black XXV: Louis Armstrong

The Virtuous Black XXIII: Wynton Marsalis

The most famous musician in contemporary jazz, Wynton Marsalis had a major impact almost from the start. In the early '80s, it was major news that a young and talented Black musician would choose to make a living playing acoustic jazz rather than fusion, funk, or R&B. Marsalis' arrival on the scene started the "Young… Continue reading The Virtuous Black XXIII: Wynton Marsalis

The Virtuous Black XX: Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk, born Thelonious Sphere Monk, on October 10 1917, in Rocky Mount, N.C., U.S.A., is the pianist and composer who was among the first creators of modern jazz.As the pianist in the band at Minton’s Playhouse, a nightclub in New York City, in the early 1940s, Monk had great influence on the other musicians… Continue reading The Virtuous Black XX: Thelonious Monk

The Life You Give: Nat King Cole *1919

Nat King Cole, born Nathaniel Adams Cole, on March 17 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.A., is the musician hailed as one of the best and most influential pianists and small-group leaders of the swing era. Cole attained his greatest commercial success, however, as a vocalist specializing in warm ballads and light swing.Cole grew up in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Nat King Cole *1919