Jazz Birthday

Zez Confrey by Joe Busam

Zez Confrey

Edward Elzear “Zez” Confrey was born in Peru, Illinois, on April 3, 1895. Zez grew up in a musical household in which his older brother,

Ben Selvin

Ben Selvin

Benjamin Bernard Selvin was born March 5, 1898, in New York. He began playing violin before age seven and studied to be a concert violinist.

Irving Kaufman

Irving Kaufman

Irving Kaufman was born on February 8, 1890, in Syracuse, New York. At an early age he entered vaudeville with his brothers Philip and Jack.

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was born Sofya Kalish on January 13, 1886, in what is now Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine. She arrived with her family in Boston in

Joe King Oliver

Joseph “King” Oliver

The date and birthplace of Joseph Nathan Oliver are uncertain. The date given by many sources is December 19, 1885. Whenever and wherever he was

Bennie Moten by Joe Busam

Bennie Moten

Benjamin “Bennie” Moten was born on November 13, 1894. Moten grew up in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri’s dance hall district, and developed a

William Red McKenzie

William “Red” McKenzie

William “Red” McKenzie was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 14, 1899, the last of ten children. He rode as a jockey until he

Joe Venuti violin

Joe Venuti

Giuseppe “Joe” Venuti was born in Philadelphia on September 16, 1903. Joe was classically trained as a violinist from an early age. Salvatore Massaro, friend

Nick Lucas

Nick Lucas

Nick Lucas was born Dominic Nicholas Anthony Lucinese on August 22, 1897, in Newark, New Jersey. When Nick was about nine years old, his older

Don Redman

Don Redman

Don Redman was born July 29, 1900, in Piedmont, Mineral County, West Virginia. His parents were musical, so it was natural that he would take

Adrian Rollini cartoon

Adrian Rollini

Adrian Rollini was born in New York on June 28, 1903. Growing up in Larchmont, New York, Adrian proved to be a musical wunderkind; at

Irving Berlin Illustration by Artistgaryprice.com

Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin on May 23, 1888, in Tyumen, Siberia. Israel’s family emigrated to the United States when he was five years

Billy Holiday cartoon

Billie Holiday

Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was born April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, the daughter of Sarah Julia “Sadie” Fagan and Clarence Holiday. Much

Paul Whiteman by ArtistGaryPrice.com

Paul Whiteman

Paul Samuel Whiteman was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 28, 1890. His father Wilberforce was director of music for Denver School District #2. Paul

Chick Webb by ArtistGaryPrice.com

Chick Webb

William Henry “Chick” Webb was born February 10, 1905, in Baltimore, Maryland. From early childhood he was afflicted with tuberculosis of the spine. Owing to

thumbnail Django copy 768x765 - Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt was born January 23, 1910, in Pont-à-Celles, Belgium, into a Belgian family of Manouche Romani descent. Django grew up in Romani encampments near

Connee Boswell

Connee Boswell

Constance Foore Boswell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 3, 1907. Raised in New Orleans, Connie (who later changed the spelling of her

Bunny Berigan ArtistGaryPrice.com

Roland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan

Roland Bernard “Bunny” Berigan was born in Hilbert, Wisconsin, on November 2, 1908, and grew up in Fox Lake. Bunny had learned enough trumpet and

Lee Wiley ArtistGaryPrice.com

Lee Wiley

Lee Wiley was born October 9, 1908, in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. While still in grade school, she aspired to be a singer. Into her teens,

Willard Robison by ArtistGaryPrice.com

Willard Robison

Willard Robison was born in Shelbina, Missouri, on September 18, 1894. His country upbringing and exposure to religion had a profound influence on his songwriting.

Louis Armstrong HT 300 768x768 - Louis Daniel Armstrong

Louis Daniel Armstrong

Louis Daniel Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, according to baptismal records discovered in the mid-1980s. (Armstrong himself maintained that

Ivie Marie Anderson

Ivie Marie Anderson

Ivie Marie Anderson was born July 10, 1904, most likely in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, though she grew up in Gilroy, California. Ivie studied at St.Mary’s

Gene Austin - Lemuel Eugene Austin

Lemuel Eugene Austin

Lemuel Eugene Lucas was born in Gainesville, Texas, on June 24, 1900. Early on, his mother Belle, divorced Eugene’s father, Nova Lucas. She shortly thereafter

Frankie Trumbauer copy 768x768 - Orie Frank Trumbauer

Orie Frank Trumbauer

Jazz Birthday of the Month Illustration by Gary Price Orie Frank Trumbauer was born on May 30, 1901, in Carbondale, Illinois. The family moved to

Pee Wee Russell

Charles Ellsworth “Pee Wee” Russell

Charles Ellsworth “Pee Wee” Russell was born March 27, 1906, in Maplewood, Missouri. He spent his childhood in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he variously studied violin,

Mildred Bailey by ArtistGaryPrice.com

Mildred Bailey

Mildred Eleanor Rinker was born February 16, 1900 (according to researcher Albert Haim), in Tekoa, Washington. Her mother, Josephine, was a member of the Coeur

cropped Slim G - Bulee “Slim” Gaillard

Bulee “Slim” Gaillard

Bulee “Slim” Gaillard was born on January 4, 1916 in Detroit, Michigan—according to some sources. Other sources (including Gaillard himself) indicate that he was born

Fletcher Henderson

James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr.

James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr., was born in Cuthbert, Georgia, on December 18, 1897. His parents were both educators, and his mother gave him and

Eddie South

Edward Otha South

Edward Otha South was born in Louisiana, Missouri, on November 27, 1904. His family relocated to Chicago while Eddie was a child, and there his

Annette Hanshaw artistgaryprice.com

Annette Hanshaw

Catherine Annette Hanshaw was born October 18, 1901, in New York City. Born into a relatively well-to-do family, she sang at hotels owned by her

Anderson Meade “Lux” Lewis

Anderson Meade “Lux” Lewis

Image faked in a pinch because of an email snafu. Read about it here. Gary Price will be back with a new illustration next month. Anderson

JIMMY RUSHING artistgaryprice.com

James Andrew Rushing

James Andrew Rushing was born in Oklahoma City on August 26, 1901. Born into a musical family, he studied music theory at Oklahoma City’s Douglass

Cootie Williams Artistgaryprice.com

Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams

Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams was born in Mobile, Alabama, on either July 24, 1908 (according to Encyclopedia Britannica) or July 10, 1911 (according to Wikipedia).

Jimmy Lunceford 768x768 - James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford

James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford

James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford was born June 6, 1902 on a farm near Fulton, Mississippi. His family moved to Oklahoma City before Jimmie was a

Artie Shaw 768x768 - Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, better known as Artie Shaw, was born on May 23, 1910 in New York City, but grew up in New Haven, Connecticut.

Red Norvo

Red Norvo

Joseph Kenneth Norville, aka Red Norvo, was born March 31, 1908 in Beardstown, Illinois. Young Kenneth had piano instruction in childhood, but his deep interest

Eubie Blake

James Hubert “Eubie” Blake

James Hubert Blake was born February 7, 1887 in Baltimore, Maryland. Eubie was the sole surviving child of former slaves, and showed musical aptitude in

Gene Krupa 300 768x768 - Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

Eugene Bertram Krupa was born in Chicago on January 15, 1909, the youngest of Bartley (Bartłomiej) and Anna Oslowski Krupa’s nine children. Though Gene’s parents

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway

Cabell Calloway III was born in Rochester, New York on Christmas Day, 1907. Cab’s family was upper middle class: his mother, Martha Eulalia Reed was

Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Randolph Hawkins

Coleman Randolph Hawkins was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 21, 1904. He played cello and piano from childhood but at the age of

Art Tatum by Artistgaryprice.com

Art Tatum

Arthur Tatum, Jr. was born in Toledo, Ohio, on October 13, 1909. Art was severely visually impaired from birth; however, his parents were both accomplished

George Gershwin by ArtistGaryPrice.com

George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. Gershwin, whose name at birth was Jacob Gershwine, had a typically rough-and-tumble childhood, roughhousing

Jack T FINAL 300 768x770 - Jack Teagarden

Jack Teagarden

Weldon Leo “Jack” Teagarden was born in Vernon, Texas on August 20, 1905. Jack grew up in a musical household; his mother taught piano and

Charlie Christian 300 768x772 - Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian

Charles Henry “Charlie” Christian was born in Bonham, Texas on July 29, 1916. After moving the family to Oklahoma City while Charlie was still a

Lena 768x768 - Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 30, 1917. Lena’s background was solidly middle-class, and her paternal grandparents, Edwin and Cora

Fats Waller Ink Portrait

Fats Waller

Thomas Wright Waller, forever known to us as “Fats,” was born in New York City on May 21, 1904. The youngest child of a clergyman,

Bix Beiderbecke by Gary Price

Bix Beiderbecke

This month we celebrate cornetist, pianist, and composer Leon Bix Beiderbecke, born March 10, 1903. Reams of biographical prose, criticism, hearsay, and speculation have been

James P Johnson

James P. Johnson

This month we salute composer, teacher, arranger, and master of stride piano James Price Johnson, born February 1, 1894 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Johnson

Ella - Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia. Ella moved with her mother and stepfather to Yonkers, New York in

Duke Ellington illustration

Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C. “Duke” was a natural sobriquet for Ellington, whose dignified, easy grace reflected his

Bessie Smith for Andy 768x768 - Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith was born April 15, 1894, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her father died shortly after Bessie was born, and her mother, who worked as a


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