For this week’s post we are looking at some jazz legends, don’t worry if your legend is missed, this is only part one, more will come. There is a range of different backgrounds and instruments this week, so hopefully there will be an artist for everyone. Throughout the post I will try to include some well known tracks for each artist, but also some less well known tracks for any jazz veterans reading.
To start this week, we are looking at the incredible Ella Fitzgerald. She was a jazz singer who was famous for her bright and engaging vocal tone. She was born in Newport News, Virginia in the United States in 1917 and recorded all the way up to 1980 – achieving a total of 13 Grammy awards.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myRc-3oF1d0 – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) – technically another Duke Ellington as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr_EX9Ppfjw – All Of Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa5PO5BpfkY – One Note Samba
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ5ToNi_Fo0 – Full 1969 Montreux set
Up next is Duke Ellington, arguable one of the great jazz composers of all time. He was born in 1899 in Washington, D.C., United States and was active on the jazz scene between 1914 and 1974 and led his own orchestra, aptly known as the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Some of his most famous compositions include; Mood Indigo, Take the A Train and Satin Doll – to name only a few!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb2w2m1JmCY – Take the A Train
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlpcJhNyDI – C Jam Blues
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVh6yeCTKm4 – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Tivoli Garden 1969, full set.
Next up is the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker. Parker was born in Kansas City in the United States in 1920 and sadly died aged only 34 in New York CIty (1955). Although he had a relatively short career in comparison to the other greats on the list, he is still one of the most important jazz figures ever. In the mid 1940’s, along with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, he started the Bebop movement and created a new way of playing over chord changes – drastically changing the way many musicians play.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7CHDscLREk – Summertime
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FToIJd2IhFk – Donna Lee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbRyAzjkvBc – Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, The Legendary Town Hall Concert New York 1945
Finally, we have yet another key figure in the stylistic development of the jazz genre, trumpeter Miles Davis. He was born in Alton, Illinois, United States in 1926 and was active between 1944 and 1991. His most famous work was arguably his album, Kind Of Blue, released in 1959 in conjunction with Columbia Records.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpB7-8SGlJ0 – Autumn Leaves
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKEfyXPt91U – My Funny Valentine, live in Milan, Italy (1964)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYbLEjyrLZc – One For Daddy-O
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9QXpfvgSVk – Kind of Blue full album, Definitely a must listen.
Thank you for taking time to read through this blog post! A new post will usually be uploaded every Monday/Tuesday and will be around the topic of music in some form. If you have any feedback or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment, or visit my website!