Legends of Jazz T-Shirt Collection 2020
William John Evans (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly played in trios. His use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, "singing" melodic lines continue to influence jazz pianists today.
John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of his career, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.
Charles Parker Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and the leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber.
Thelonious Sphere Monk (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire. Monk's compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists and are consistent with his unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of switched key releases, silences, and hesitations.
Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9 or 19, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, and composer. In the 1960s, he was one of the founders of free jazz, a term he invented for his album Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. His "Broadway Blues" and "Lonely Woman" have become standards and are cited as important early works in free jazz. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Jean Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953), known by his stage name Django Reinhardt, was a Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer, regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. He was the first jazz talent to emerge from Europe and remains the most significant. With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt formed the Paris-based Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934. The group was among the first to play jazz that featured the guitar as a lead instrument. Over the last few decades, annual Django festivals have been held throughout Europe and the U.S., and a biography has been written about his life.
Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock. In 1993, the Library of Congress acquired Mingus's collected papers in what they described as "the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the Library's history".
David Warren Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. Many of his compositions have become jazz standards including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting both his mother's classical training and his own improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures as well as superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities. Often incorrectly attributed to Brubeck, the song "Take Five", which has become a jazz standard, was composed by Brubeck's long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Appearing on one of the top-selling jazz albums, Time Out, "Take Five" has endured as a jazz classic associated with Brubeck.
Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic and rhythmic complexity previously unheard in jazz. His combination of musicianship, showmanship, and wit made him a leading popularizer of the new music called bebop. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks, and his light-hearted personality provided some of bebop's most prominent symbols. In the 1940s Gillespie, with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.
Chesney Henry Baker Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals (Chet Baker Sings, It Could Happen to You). Jazz historian Dave Gelly described the promise of Baker's early career as "James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one." His well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety and fame. Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and '80s.
William James "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984)was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound.
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. Her accolades included fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor who was among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
Arthur Blakey (October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Blakey made a name for himself in the 1940s in the big bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine. He then worked with bebop musicians Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In the mid-1950s, Horace Silver and Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers, a group that the drummer was associated with for the next 35 years. Blakey was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1981), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998 and 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1991.
Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer. Nicknamed "Sassy" and "The Divine One", she won four Grammy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was given an NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1989.
John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968) was an American jazz guitarist. One of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, Montgomery was known for an unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb and his extensive use of octaves, which granted him a distinctive sound. His recordings up to 1965 were oriented towards hard bop, soul jazz, and post bop, but around 1965 he began recording more pop-oriented instrumental albums that found mainstream success. His later guitar style influenced jazz fusion and smooth jazz.
Leonard Joseph Tristano (March 19, 1919 – November 18, 1978) was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and teacher of jazz improvisation. He played with leading bebop musicians and formed his own small bands, which soon displayed some of his early interests – contrapuntal interaction of instruments, harmonic flexibility, and rhythmic complexity. His quintet in 1949 recorded the first free group improvisations. Tristano's innovations continued in 1951, with the first overdubbed, improvised jazz recordings, and two years later, when he recorded an atonal improvised solo piano piece that was based on the development of motifs rather than on harmonies. He developed further via polyrhythms and chromaticism into the 1960s, but was infrequently recorded.
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