Bobby Keys – Jackson Cunningham
Robert Henry “Bobby” Keys was born on December 18th, 1943 in Slaton, Texas. He just recently passed away on December 2nd, 2014, due to cirrhosis of the liver, at the age of 70. A master of the Bari, Alto, and Tenor Saxophones, Bobby Keys explored many genres of music throughout his career, including jazz, blues, and rock. Bobby started his music career at an early age. At age 15, Keys started touring with Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly. In the next 55 years, he would go on to perform with numerous musical acts, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, The Who, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and all of the Beatles individually. He is most recognized for his long-running work with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. After his iconic Tenor Sax solo in the Rolling Stones’ 1971 “Brown Sugar,” Bobby Keys was often billed at concerts as ‘Mr. Brown Sugar’. Over all, Keys performed in hundreds of recordings, and kept on performing on tour up until his death.
Gene Krupa – Tommy Simon
Gene Krupa was born into a large family in Chicago on January 15, 1909. He grew up playing the saxophone and then switched to drums later on because they happened to be the most inexpensive instrument at his local music store. Gene started playing drums in school and then began joining big bands until he worked his way up the ranks. Gene became extremely popular when he introduced his own style to the world of drumming. He began soloing. Back in the early 1900’s drummers were only seen as time-keepers and noise-makers, but gene stepped outside the box by beginning to compliment other soloists on the drum set and also by soloing himself. Krupa’s drum solos became famous around the world and still influence drummers today. Gene Krupa died October 16, 1973 of a heart attack, but will forever be remembered as the man who made drums a solo instrument.
Django Reinhardt – Erin Kruger
Django Reinhardt was a French Manouche Romani jazz guitarist and composer. Reinhardt is regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all-time, and was influential in that instrument and in the gypsy jazz genre. Reinhardt was born on January 23, 1910 in Liberchies, Pont-á-Celles, Belgium. As a child living in Romani camps, Reinhardt learned how to play the guitar, banjo and violin. At the age of 18, Reinhardt was in a fire accident where he burned the fourth and fifth fingers on his left hand very badly. With time and rehabilitation, Reinhardt had to learn a completely new technique to playing his guitar. In the early 1930s, Reinhardt became very interested in American jazz music, but especially with the work of
American jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. Around this time, he met French violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who also also had in interest in jazz. The two went on to play music together for nearly 15 years.
In 1934, the Quintette du Hot Club du France was formed. It consisted of Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, French bassist Louis Vola, Django’s brother and guitarist Joseph Reinhardt, and guitarist Roger Chaput. Quintette du Hot Club du France was one the earliest and most influential jazz bands in European history. All of the stringed instruments had a unique and original sound, as the rhythm guitarists in the band played percussive sounds behind Reinhardt and Grappelli’s fast-paced and rhythmic solos. The quintet made the gypsy jazz, or hot club jazz, genre popular, which was very popular in Europe. Once World War II broke out in 1939, however, Grappelli left the quintet until 1946. Clarinet players like Hubert Rostaing played the high violin melodies in the quintet during this time. Reinhardt lived in Paris, but his life was at risk during the war because many European Gypsies were executed by the Nazis. His musical talents, in part, were able to keep him alive and escape death. After the War, when Grappelli rejoined the quintet, Reinhardt and his band toured the United States and parts of Europe.
Then, in 1949, Reinhardt recorded, arguably, his most famous recording, Djangology, with Grappelli and three Italian musicians. It was later discovered a few years after his death. Reinhardt died on May 16, 1953 in Fontainebleau, France of a cerebral hemorrhage. Reinhardt was also the father of Babik Reinhardt, who is a famous jazz guitarist in his own right. Many of his grandchildren also play jazz and gypsy music. Reinhardt’s style of jazz was very unique because it sounded different than big band and swing, which was a lot more popular in America. Gypsy jazz was almost like the European response to American jazz music, and it was all inspired by Django Reinhardt. Gypsy jazz’s popularity had died down in the 1950s after
Reinhardt’s death, and with the popularity of bebop. However, since the 1960s and the popularity of the revival folk music and acoustic music, gypsy jazz has left its mark on the world.
Chris Botti – Jacob Wigodsky
Chis Botti is a relatively unheard of musician to the Jazz scene however he is no less incredible. Getting his start at nine he has eventually worked his way up to winning his first Grammy in 2013 and even bringing tears to the eyes of a ravens player before the start of a game his rendition of the national anthem. Born in 1962 and raised in Portland, Oregon he picked up the trumpet at the age of nine originally inspired by Miles Davis’ “My Funny Valentine”. In high school he was selected of McDonalds All American High School Jazz Band where he went on to perform in Carnegie hall for the first time. After high school he studied with many musicians while playing in nightclubs during the weekends. After college he toured with people like Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich here he honed his skills as a jazz musician to where he is today. He then opened up his own studio. After a while Colombia recordings got word of him and from there it all opened up. He has been nominated 5 times for the Grammy award and in 2013 finally received his prize. Throughout his career 4 of his albums has been No. 1 on the Jazz Billboards Albums chart. Even though he is not as well know as many other great musicians, he is no less great with a tone so refined it could almost put you to sleep. He truly is an incredible trumpet player.
Joe Bonamassa – Zander Oakman
Joe Bonamassa, a blues-rock guitarist born May 8, 1977 in New Hartford, NY, has been playing the guitar since a young age. Starting at four years old, his father who also was a guitar player gave him his first guitar. By the age of seven it is reported he was already working on songs by Stevie Ray Vaughan, another very talented guitar player. His first stage performance was when he was just 12 years old, playing an opening for B.B. King in 1989. King was so impressed by the talent of Joe that later he asked Joe to perform at his 80th birthday in 2005. By the 90s, Joe had started his career as a guitar player and has since released 15 solo albums in the last 13 years.
Jack Teagarden – Owen Port
Jack Teagarden was one of the greatest jazz trombone players of the 1900s. Unlike many other trombonists of this time period, Teagarden was known for using lip slurs as melodic devices in his improvisations. In addition, Teagarden also performed jazz differently than most other trombonists of the time period. Instead of playing notes on the lower end of the trombone’s range and playing simple parts, Teagarden chose instead to play high notes relying on his flexible embouchure and alternate slide positions to play faster or more complex parts. Also, unlike the few other trombonists that played higher and more complex parts, Teagarden’s playing style used little articulation, making it sound almost like a vocal part instead of a trombone. During his life-time, Teagarden played in bands with many legendary jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong, Ben Pollack, and Peck Kelley.
Art Tatum – Khalil Khalil
Art Tatum is a jazz pianist who was born on October 13th, 1909 and died on November 5th, 1956. From infancy he suffered from cataracts, which made him go blind in one eye. Art Tatum actually learned the piano by ear and by listening to radio. He had a great memory, which is one the reasons why he learned to play by ear instead. He moved to Columbus school where he studied music and learned braille. He learned how to be very fast and smooth. He performed in Toronto and then New York, he then play at different cities in the Midwest. At almost all of his concerts he played solo. He recorded the song “Wee, Wee, Baby Blues,” which gained national attention and became very popular. His popularity though faded in the 1940’s. He died at the Queen of Angels Medical Center in Los Angels.
John Coltrane – Spencer Arnold
John Coltrane or other named, as Trane was a Jazz player and composer. He liked to work on bebop, hard bop, and just free jazz. He was a big pioneer in the jazz world. He helped lead others to do jazz band. He recorded with more than 50 band sessions as a leader of the group. He is one of the most well known saxophonists in history. He was born in 1926 and died in 1967. He was really talented in what he did. He worked with many other famous musicians through his life like Miles Davis. Overall Trane had way over 50 albums done through his life. Still today he is considered as an amazing saxophonist.
Chick Corea – Ziyu Fan
Born in Massachusetts on June 12 1941, Armando Corea was introduced to piano at the age of four by his father who played the trumpet. His interest in music flourished mainly from self-exploration and outside influences such as Horace Silver (jazz pianist). He later studied music in New York at Columbia University and Juilliard. His career began when he started playing and accompanying other jazz musicians like Herbie Mann. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Corea joined Miles Davis and released several recordings. From the recordings, it was evident that Corea enjoyed trying things out, this included electric instruments such as electric pianos. Corea then formed a group called Return to Forever where he incorporated different styles such as Latin, rock, and funk. This group took upon a jazz-fusion style where both acoustic and electric instruments were used. I chose Corea because he wasn’t afraid to try things out and often times his experiments were out of the norm. For instance, he would pluck the piano strings in some performances, which I found to be very interesting.
Wynton Marsalis – Grace Calderon
Wynton Marsalis is one of the most influential people in jazz history. He is a performer, composer, teacher, and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center. He is an extremely inspirational person. At age 14 he performed with the New Orleans Philharmonic. He was admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center as the youngest student ever admitted at age 17. When he was 20 years old, he created his own band and toured, having over 120 performances per year for 15 years. He was classically trained and has a love for classical composers and works, as well as jazz. He has won 9 Grammy awards. His passion for teaching has led many of his students to be successful. James Carter, Christian McBride, Harry Connick Jr., Eric Reed, and Roy Hargrove are only a few of the students from his workshops. He has made over 70 records including three Gold Records, and they have sold over 7 million copies worldwide. As a composer, he is very inventive and puts new ideas together. He values education in music very greatly and takes every opportunity to help people pursue their passions through every struggle, even if it’s not for music. He is a very influential person who never gives up with anything, and as he told me, how heavy something is depends on how you feel about carrying it.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie – Daniel Guo
Known mainly as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters and for his iconic bent trumpet, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born on October 21, 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina and was the youngest of 9 siblings. His father, James Gillespie was a bandleader, so Dizzy and his siblings had access to a wide range of instruments. Dizzy taught himself piano at age four and learned trombone and trumpet at age 12. At this age, Dizzy dreamt of being a jazz musician and later received a music scholarship to Laurinberg Institute. From this, he began his successful music career. Dizzy jumped from band to band, playing in many different bands such as Teddy Hill’s Band and Cab Calloway’s Orchestra. After being kicked out of Cab Calloway’s Orchestra due to a feud between Calloway and Dizzy, Dizzy began to write big band arrangements and brought popularity to rising genres such as bebop jazz and Afro-cuban jazz. He also made special appearances in television, guest starring in The Cosby Show and Sesame Street. Dizzy died January 6, 1993, aged 73, but his legacy as a jazz musician will remain through history.
Alexandre Silverio – Tyler Douglass
Born in 1975 in Brazil, Alexandre Silverio is one of the few bassoonists in the world who plays both Classical and Jazz. Better known for jazz, Silverio is known for his arrangements of jazz classics for solo bassoon as well as bassoon quartet and quintets, and performs them himself. Silverio uses an amplifier system to make his bassoon heard during jazz pieces, as a jazz band will crush you if you try and play bassoon in one. He is the Principal Bassoonist of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra.
Stanley Clarke – Eric Lund
Stanley Clarke was born on June 30, 1951. He started playing the bass after showing up late to instrument selection day in his elementary school band, and the bass was one of the few instruments left. He then graduated from the Philadelphia Musical Academy and moved to New York City to continue with music. Stanley joined the jazz group Return to Forever lead by Chick Corea and was very successful with them. He also embarked on a solo career with his most well known album School Days. He also began composing music for TV shows and movies. Clarke has also won two grammy awards for his music.
Louis Armstrong – Molly Clark
Louis Armstrong was born August 4th 1901, in New Orleans Louisiana. He was born into a poor family, his grandparents were former slaves. He went to Fisk School For Boys, where he learned to love music. He got a job as a paper boy where he was able to earn some money. He would also find food that had been thrown out, and sell it to help make money, but his family was so poor it wasn’t enough. He dropped out of school when he was 11. He took his music seriously, and often practiced the cornet he had. When he was twenty he began to play in bands, and have extended solos. His mentor invited him in 1922 to exodus in Chicago, to play creole jazz where he would be able to have a decent income. The band he was in was the hottest band in Chicago in the 1920s. He loved working in that band, but was encouraged by his second wife to search for new work. He worked with musicians such as Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Don Redman, Duke Ellington and many more. He lived a long and full career, then died July 6th 1971 of a heart attack.
Fats Waller – Cooper Clark
Fats Waller was and still to this day is a very influential and skilled pianist, composer and singer. Waller was a king of the music scene in the modern era, Born in 1904, Kansas city, died 1943. Waller was the son of a preacher so he started out his music career as a young boy playing the organ for church. In 1918 Waller won a piano contest playing the song “Carolina Stout” which he picked up by simply watching another pianist play the song a few days before. Waller got his early living by playing at rent parties and working at a recording studio. Waller’s big break happened at George Gershwin’s party where he wowed the crowd with his piano skills and singing. Many important people where at that party, including an executive of Victor Records. The man arranged for Fats to record. Fats recorded many tunes from there, the lot of them under the name “Fats Waller and his Rhythm”. Waller climbed up from there, eventually touring Europe. Fats Waller died on-board a train back to his hometown of Kansas City from pneumonia.
Elvin Jones – Simon Clark
When the subject of most influential drummers comes up, many household names are tossed around, name including Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa or Art Blakey. However a name that tends to stand out above them all his hands down Elvin Jones. Known for his explosive power, in the jazz world, Elvin Jones was extremely powerful behind the kit, a master of polyrhythms and showmanship. Elvin truly set the standard for Jazz drumming at his time, and holds a huge influence on the evolution of jazz music, especially in the recording aspect of it. Known for his five year recording stint with John Coltrane, a definite and revolutionary style of drum playing is herd equally in every one of Jones records. His sense of timing, dynamics, and phrasing,. Jones brought drumming to the foreground and has ben dubbed the worlds greatest rhythmic drummer. His free-flowing style has been a major influence on myself and many other drummers world wide, and will surely continue to influence the world as music evolves from here.
Art Blakey - Sam Thomas
Art Blakey (1919-1990) had a big impact on forming the sound of hard bop, which is the main style of modern jazz. He passed on his style of playing to many other jazz drummers from his time to the present. His drum technique was hard hits on the snare and featuring accents with the bass drum. Blakey made a name for himself by being in big bands with players including Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine. He was in a jazz band known as “The Jazz Messengers”. They recorded many jazz tunes but some of the best were “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “A Night In Tunisia”, “One By One”, “Free For All”, and “Fuller Love”. Art Blakey’s style influenced my jazz drumming. His unique accents and hits became a modern style that I play now.
Johnny Hodges – Ava Bowman
Though it’s heavily debated, it’s widely accepted that John Keith “Johnny” Hodges is one of, if not the, most influential Saxophonist’s in history. He was born on July 25, 1906, and passed away on May 11th, 1970. He spent much of his time traveling and playing with Duke Ellington’s big band. Before his era, all swing music was played fast and short, using many staccatos, he however changed this. During his solos he elegantly slipped and slid from note to note using heavy vibrato, and the people went wild. Many people copied his style and it is still used by many musicians today. I have always been a big fan of this style and I do my best to mimic it when I play solos.
Wayne Shorter – Zach McCarty
My favorite musician is Wayne Shorter. Drawing inspiration from Lester Young when he was younger, Wayne started saxophone when he was 16. His first album was Introducing Wayne Shorter. He truly hit fame after joining Miles Davis’ quintet, replacing John Coltrane. While he was a member, he formed a fusion group called Weather Report, which featured originally Joe Zawinul on keyboard, Miroslav Vitous on bass, Airto Moreia on percussion, and Alphonse Mouzon on drums. He left the group in ’85 and since then has been in a variety of groups. In 2004 received the Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.
I chose Wayne Shorter as my favorite musician because of the styles he uses while playing. His swing is fast moving and entertaining, which I enjoy. He also uses the full extent of a saxophone’s range, which keeps you intrigued as you are listening.
Ray Brown – Cooper Clark
Ray Brown with his contribute to the Jazz Culture, defined the modern Jazz
Rhythm section we know today. He has won multiple Grammies, and has played in bands with many other famous musicians of his time such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and many more. ! Ray Brown was born on October 13th, 1926 in Pittsburgh. He had always loved music when he was younger, and started piano lessons when he was young. Upon getting to high school, he realized there were many piano players to compete with his High School. Ray wanted to start a new instrument that not many people in his school played that he could get into Bands and Jazz Bands easily with. He wanted to switch to trombone, seeing that it was not as much of a popular instrument. Ray Brown grew from a not so fortunate family, so he could not afford to buy a trombone. As Ray’s school, there was an extra upright bass, and the School Orchestra needed a Bass player so he took it up. This decision caused Ray Brown to live a life of a Famous Jazz Musician, and get into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
After Graduating from High school, Ray had made a name for himself, and played in more than five big bands. His talent payed off when he was called to be in Dizzy Gillespie’s band because of his style of playing. Ray Brown played with intensity, swing, and precision. Dizzy featured Ray Brown right off the bat with a new single - “One Bass Hit” playing in the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. Ray Brown’s band in includedMilt Jackson on vibes, Kenny Clarke on drums, and John Lewis on Piano. These four musicians formed what is known today as the Modern Jazz Rhythm Quartet. Many Jazz bands today are simply four people because of this band starting the trend back in 1952.
Sonny Rollins – Justas Balsys
Sonny Rollins was born in New York City in 1930 right in the heart of beginning jazz music and bands. He received his first saxophone at the age of 13 and when he began high school, he went to a Frank Sinatra concert which changed his life about music. He began his music carrier playing piano, then switched to alto saxophone and then finally settled with the tenor saxophone. In 1950, at the age of 20, he was arrested for an armed bank robbery and spent 10 months in jail before being released. After that he became a volunteer at the Federal Medical Building and while helping those who were addicted to drugs, he himself cured his heroin addiction. In 1956, he recorded his first album and probably most well known album as well, called Saxophone Colossus. He also created an album part of the piano trio and has kept on playing for live audiences even to this day. He has created many compositions including St. Thomas, Doxy, and our very own Oleo.
Dave Weckl – Zach Dukes
Dave Weckl was born in St. Louis, Missouri on the 8th of January in 1960. He started playing drums at just eight years old. While he was in high school, he played in a jazz band and received awards for his drumming. Dave would also work with multiple local music groups in his free time, including more professional pop and rock groups when he was 16. He went to the east coast in 1979 to go to the University of Bridgeport Connecticut to study music. Dave started to get recognized by drumming greats like Peter Erskine. He then went on to do the Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour, radio and TV jingles even recorded with big artists like Robert Plant. He was even inducted into Modern Drummer’s hall of fame and named “one of the best 25 drummers of all time.”
Rashawn Ross – Sam Tarin
Born on January 16th 1979, is from the Virgin Islands. He currently is touring with
Dave Mathews and has been since about 2006 which is when he became a full on member instead of just playing irregularly. Since 2006 he has appeared in about 450 shows. He is a very good player with an even better range than most people in todays world. Unfortunately not many people know about him because the only fame he has is mainly from the Dave Mathews Band. However Rashawn has appeared with more artists such as The Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Warren Haynes, and many more.
Tony Williams – Simon Clark
Tony Williams, born December 12, 1945 is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential jazz drummers of the 1960’s. Playing along side legends such as trumpeter Miles Davis and Stanley Clarke. Williams is widely considered a pioneer of Jazz-fusion as well as claiming title to the inventor of the blast beat, forever changing the drumming world by introducing this beat to elements of punk rock and heavy metal drumming. Tony was involved in many various branches of music aside from his groundbreaking drum career, branches such as composing, producing, and band leading. Combining post-bop and jazz fusain styles with invocative music through his timeless bands and acts suck as the Tony Williams Lifetime, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Alan Dawson, Public Image and more. Tony paved the way into diverse styles of music through his playing and is still remembered today for his influential takes at jazz drumming.
Miles Davis – Molly Clark
Miles Davis is a famous jazz trumpet. He was born May 26th 1926, and died
September 28th 1991. When he was young his family moved to St. Louis, Illinois. He started studying music when he was 13, when he got a trumpet from his father, and got lessons from a local musician by the name of Elwood Buchanan. By the time he was 16 he was playing professional music when he wasn’t in school, and when he was 17 he spent a year playing in Eddie Randles band, The Blue Devils. He went back to complete he final year of high school, and after he completed high school he moved to New York, to attend Juilliard School of music. When he got to New York he tried contacting Charlie Parker, and when he finally met him he became a musician who had a band and played nightly. He played in many 52nd street clubs.
Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) – TK Kim
My favorite (or only heard) jazz musician is Troy Andrews. Known as Trombone Shorty, he was born on January 2nd, 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana. As he grew up, he joined in brass band parades and became a bandleader at six years old. A couple of groups he’s been in were the Stooges Brass Band and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Troy has been featured with U2, Green Day, NBC’s TV series, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Trip,” and HBO series Treme.
His current (as os 2009) project is a funk-pop-hip mix with Mike Ballard, Dan Oestreicher, Tim McFatter, Pete Murano, and Joey Peebles to create a band named Orleans Avenue. Troy has played in a variety of concerts and groups, and traveled across the world in places like the UK, Australia, and Japan.
Even with all his credentials, I respect Trombone Shorty as a jazz musician not just because of his music, but because of the Trombone Shorty Foundation. This foundation (created in 2012) helps schools across New Orleans receive decent instruments donated by Troy Andrews. Their mission is "to preserve and perpetuate the unique musical culture of New Orleans by passing down its traditions to future generations of musicians.”
Charlie Parker – Anna Shehan
Charles Parker Jr. was born on August 29, 1920. Charlie first started playing the saxophone at the age of 11. He joined his school band at the age of 14 using a school owned instrument. Charlie’s parents both provided him with a background in music. His mother even taught him about the basics to improvising. In the 1930‘s his family lived in Kansas city, Missouri. He left school early to pursue his passion. From 1935-1939 he worked in Kansas city with a variety of local jazz and blues groups. In 1940 he visited New York for the first time. He stayed for nearly a year participating in jam sessions and working with other local bands. Charlie’s name first appeared in the music press in the 1940’s. 1945 was the first time “Yardbird” Parker led his first band. He then took the Gillespie to Hollywood where they played a six-week nightclub. He took a small break until 1947. His very last gig was on March 5, 1955 in a club called Bird land also named after him. He died seven days later on march 12, 1955. I personally love listening to his music. Some of my favorites are Confirmation and Donna Lee. It was a sad day when the jazz legend was put to rest in Lincoln cemetery in Missouri. He will always be remembered as a big part of jazz.
Gerry Mulligan – Jackson Cunningham
Gerald Joseph “Gerry” Mulligan was born on April 6, 1927 in Queens, New York, New York. He died at the age of 68 on January 20, 1996 in Darien, Connecticut. Gerry is also known as Jeru. Mulligan is known as one of the leading baritone saxophonists on jazz history, and has preformed in many jazz groups with big names such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Paul Desmond. Gerry Mulligan has won Down Beat magazine’s reader poll for most outstanding Baritone Saxophonist of the year 42 years in a row. Along with that impressive feat, he won a 1981 Grammy for best jazz instrumental Performance by a Big Band, for his group’s (Gerry Mulligan and his Orchestra) album, Walk on the Water. Along with his Grammy, he received three Grammy nominations. Gerry received the key to the city of Trieste, Italy in 1989. In 1994, he joined the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame, Lionel Hampton School Hall of Fame, Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, and the Philadelphia Music Foundation Hall of Fame.
Frank Sinatra – Alli Vester
Frank Sinatra is possibly one of the most famous jazz musicians of all time. He has hits like Summer Wind, The Way You Look Tonight, and Fly Me to the Moon. Sinatra was born Francis Albert Sinatra on December 12, 1915 in New Jersey. He never graduated from high school and only attended 47 days before being expelled for rowdy conduct. Sinatra began singing for tips at the age of 8. He started to sing professionally in the 1930’s. Sinatra was signed to Columbia Records in 1943 and released his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra in 1946. He is best known for singing with big bands and swing style music. Sinatra died on May 14, 1998 in Hollywood.
Pat Metheny – Christian Hanus
Pat Metheny was born into a musical family on August 12, 1954 in Kansas City.
He didn’t start playing the guitar until he was 12. By 15 he was playing with some of the best jazz musicians in the KC area. At age 18 he was the youngest teacher ever at the university of Miami. At the age of 19 he was the youngest teacher ever at Berklee College of Music. He doesn’t just play jazz, he plays classical and rock to name a few. His accomplishments are numerous. He has won 20 grammies in 12 different categories, many Jazz. He also won 7 consecutive grammies for 7 consecutive albums with the Pat Metheny Group. Since 1974 Pat Metheny has been averaging 120-240 shows a year.
Herbie Hancock – Abigail Innis
Herbie Hancock is a jazz pianist who has been playing since he was only a wee seven years old. When he was only eleven years old, he played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major, K. 537 (Coronation). He graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in music and, weirdly enough, electrical engineering even though everybody was like ‘bro, you’re a crazy good musician’. He recorded his first album Takin’ Off in 1962. “Watermelon Man”, one of the songs in the album, caught Miles Davis’ attention, who saw him as one of the most promising talents in jazz and asked Hancock to be in his band. And of course Hancock said yes, like one of the world’s best jazz musicians was like ‘yo be in my band’ and he was like ‘ummmm you’re famous okay’. He also wrote on of the most awesome jazz compositions called Chameleon. But everybody already knew that. Herbie Hancock is actually still alive and in June 2010 released the Imagine Project, his most recent album. And even though he’s still alive and doesn’t teach children not to smoke like Nat King Cole did, he’s still pretty awesome.
Ionian - The Ionian mode is the same as the C Major scale. All the white keys on the piano from C to C. The whole-half step pattern is WWHWWWH. Ionian is used in nearly all Western music, from Acid Jazz to Zydeco.
Dorian – The Dorian mode begins on the second degree of the Major scale and in the key of C goes from D to D on the white keys of the piano. The pattern of whole and half steps is WHWWWHW. This scale goes with ii chords, minor chords and minor 7th chords. Why is this scale is associated with the ii chord? If you start on the 2nd degree (there’s the ii) of the major scale and play an octave, you’ll have this scale. The chord built from this scale is the ii chord. Just like any scale or more, there are 12 Dorians, corresponding to the 12 key signatures. The Dorian mode is a minor-sounding scale used in rock, jazz, blues, fusion and many other genres.
Phrygian - You’ve probably caught on to the pattern by now. Phrygian begins on the third degree of the Major scale and in the key of C is E to E on the white keys of the piano. The whole-half step pattern is HWWWHWW. This mode has a Spanish flavor and is used in jazz, flamenco music, fusion, and speed metal. Twelve of these, too. In fact, there are 12 of each type of mode because there are 12 different key signatures.
Lydian - Lydian begins on the 4th degree of the Major scale and in the key of C is from F to F on the white keys of the piano. Whole-half step pattern is WWWHWWH. You might see this mode in jazz, fusion, rock, or country music. It’s like a major scale with a raised 4th which gives this scale an odd sound.Lydian mode ascending.
Mixolydian - Mixolydian begins on the fifth degree of the Major scale, and in the key of C is G to G on the white keys. Whole-half step pattern is WWHWWHW. This mode shows up in jazz, rockabilly, country, blues, and rock.
Aeolian - Also known as the natural minor scale, the Aeolian mode begins on the sixth degree of the Major scale. In the key of C it’s from A to A on the white keys. WHWWHWW. This mode appears in all kinds of music: jazz, pop, country, Rock, blues, heavy metal, classical, and on and on.
Locrian - The Locrian mode has a very exotic and other-worldly sound. All because of the placement of those half steps. You’ll find Locrian in fusion and in jazz. The Locrian mode begins on the seventh degree of the Major scale, and is B to B in the key of C.
The following list is musicians you should need to listen to. The names are all links that will send you to a recording/video/website for that specific musician.