Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Miriam Makeba (1932-2008)
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Glenn Miller (1904-1944)
Joachim Nicolas Eggert (1779-1813)
Buddy Tate (1913-2001)
Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress,” and “the complete entertainer.” Then who is this song stylist (that’s the descriptive title she prefers) whose voice embodies the nuances of gospel, blues, and jazz? Her colleague and long time friend Joe Williams used to call her “the thrush from Columbus.”
Francis Albert Sinatra [was born] in Hoboken, New Jersey. Although his mother had hoped that he would be the first person in the family to attend college and was disappointed that he did not finish high school, she encouraged his ambition to be a singer. His father, on the other hand, was opposed and insisted that he should find a job. The young Sinatra worked briefly as a truck driver for a newspaper, a riveter in a Hoboken shipyard, and a fruit hauler. By 1932, he had decided that he wanted to be a professional singer.
His break came in 1937, when he and three instrumentalists, billed as the Hoboken Four, won on the Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour. After some touring, the group disbanded. Harry James signed Sinatra to sing with his orchestra, and on July 13, 1939, two weeks after his debut as a big-band vocalist at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Sinatra cut his first disc, “From the Bottom of My Heart,” with the orchestra.
James graciously freed Sinatra from his contract when the singer received a more lucrative offer from bandleader Tommy Dorsey in December 1939. By 1942 Sinatra’s fame had eclipsed that of Dorsey, and the singer yearned for a solo career.
Between 1943 and 1946, Sinatra’s solo career blossomed as the singer charted a slew of hit singles. Sinatra made his movie acting debut in 1943. In 1945, he won a special Academy Award for The House I Live In, a 10-minute short made to promote racial and religious tolerance on the home front. Sinatra’s popularity began to slide in the postwar years (but) in 1953, he made a triumphant comeback, winning a supporting actor Oscar for From Here to Eternity.
In the mid-’70s Sinatra’s career slowed down, but in mid-1980, after a five-year recording hiatus, he released Trilogy which included a version of “Theme From New York, New York” that the city fervently adopted. In 1985, he was accorded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack on May 14, 1998, in L.A.
Baker, Josephine (3 June 1906-12 Apr. 1975), dancer, singer, and civil rights activist, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Eddie Carson, a musician, and Carrie Macdonald. Her parents parted when Josephine was still an infant, and her mother married Arthur Martin, which has led to some confusion about her maiden name. Very little is known about her childhood, except that she was a witness to the East St. Louis riot in 1917.
Josephine Baker…began her career in “tent shows,” touring musical ensembles that played mostly in the southern states. Her first success was as a comic dancer in a show…Her Broadway debut was in The Chocolate Dandies at the Colonial Theatre in September 1924…
Subsequent appearances in New York City…led to Baker’s engagement as one of the featured performers in La Revue Nègre, an all-black show…La Revue Nègre was destined to become one of the key influences in Parisian theater and visual arts in the late 1920s.
Speech at the March on Washington~ http://www.blackpast.org/1963-josephine-baker-speech-march-washington
FBI files~ http://vault.fbi.gov/josephine-baker
Born in Chicago, Illinois in the United States, into a large, impoverished family of immigrants. Goodman experienced hard times while growing up. Encouraged by his father to learn a musical instrument, Goodman and two of his brothers took lessons; as the youngest and smallest he learned to play the clarinet. These early studies took place at the Kehelah Jacob Synagogue and later at Hull House, a settlement house founded by reformer Jane Addams. From the start, Goodman displayed an exceptional talent and he received personal tuition from James Sylvester and then the renowned classicist Franz Schoepp. Before he was in his teens, Goodman had begun performing in public and was soon playing in bands with such emerging jazz artists as Jimmy McPartland, Frank Teschemacher and Dave Tough. Goodman’s precocious talent allowed him to become a member of the American Federation of Musicians at the age of 14 and that same year he played with Bix Beiderbecke. By his mid-teens Goodman was already established as a leading musician, working on numerous engagements with many bands to the detriment of his formal education.
The summer of 1932 saw Benny organise his first band which starred singer Russ Columbo. The second band that he formed (in 1934) got a job at Billy Rose’s Music Hall. This band made some great recordings and began appearing on the 3-hour NBC radio program called “Let’s Dance.”
After this, the Benny Goodman Orchestra began touring (with not so fantastic results) until August 21, 1935, when the Benny Goodman Orchestra opened in the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. After playing a few dance tunes, he told the band to play some Fletcher Henderson arrangements. The mostly young crowd promptly started something of a riot. After this public approval of the music – this thing called “Swing” – there was no looking back!
His was the most popular and influential swing band of the 1930s and ‘40s, and his unique trios, quartets and sextets shaped small-band Jazz style. Before Benny, clarinet was rarely a lead instrument for a band. His success made it the most popular instrument for other bandleaders like Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey and Woody Herman.
Benny Goodman Discography: http://www.discogs.com/artist/254768-Benny-Goodman