Jazz Birthday of the Month

  • Bulee “Slim” Gaillard Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Illustration by Gary Price 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 in Santa Clara, Cuba—or in Burnt Corn, Alabama. They also suggest different birth dates for Gaillard—and different names, including “Buller ...
  • Mildred Bailey Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Jazz Birthday of the Month Illustration by Gary Price 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 d’Alene tribe; her father was of Swiss-German lineage. Both parents were musically inclined and the influence ...
  • Charles Ellsworth “Pee Wee” Russell Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Jazz Birthday of the Month Illustration by Gary Price 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, piano, and drums. It wasn’t until he heard New Orleans reedman Alcide Nunez playing at a ...
  • Bessie Smith Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Jazz Birthday of the Month Illustration by Gary Price 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 laundress to support her six children, died while Bessie was still a child. Her oldest sister, ...
  • Orie Frank Trumbauer Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!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 St. Louis, Missouri, where Frank’s mother directed theater orchestras. Frank studied violin, and tried trombone and piano, before deciding on reed instruments—most famously the C ...
  • Lemuel Eugene Austin Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!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 married a blacksmith named Jim Austin, who insisted the boy take his last name. Music was not encouraged in the Austin household, and Gene ...
  • Jazz Birthday of the Month: Ivie Marie Anderson Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Illustration by Gary Price 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 convent school in Gilroy until age thirteen. She spent two years in Washington D.C. at the National Training School for ...
  • Louis Daniel Armstrong Life is Better with Syncopation. Spread The Word!Jazz Birthday of the Month Illustration by Gary Price 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 he had been born on July 4, 1900.) Growing up severely impoverished in the Battlefield section of ...