Here is an eclectic selection of jazz musicians born in February.
1 February, 1969
“If I knew what it was going to look like, I wouldn’t be so excited to be a part of it. Jazz is a music of surprise; its a music of spontaneity. I think jazz musicians live–I know I do–for being surprised and not knowing whats going to come next.”
Joshua Redman is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. In 1991, he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. He was exposed at an early age to a variety of musics and instruments and began playing clarinet at age nine before switching to what became his primary instrument, the tenor saxophone, one year later. Redman cites John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, his father Dewey Redman, as well as the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, the Police and Led Zeppelin as musical influences.
2 February, 1927 – 6 June, 1991
“If you like an instrument that sings, play the saxophone. At its best it’s like the human voice.”
Stan Getz was an American jazz saxophonist. Playing primarily the tenor saxophone, Getz was known as “The Sound” because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman’s big band, Getz is described by critic Scott Yanow as “one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists”. Getz performed in bebop and cool jazz groups. Influenced by João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim, he popularized bossa nova in America with the hit single “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964).
2 February, 1985
Melody Gardot is an American jazz singer. Gardot started music lessons at the age of nine and began playing the piano in Philadelphia bars at the age of 16 on Fridays and Saturdays for four hours a night. She insisted on playing only music she liked, such as Duke Ellington. She released her first album, Worrisome Heart (Verve, 2006), then My One and Only Thrill (Verve 2009).
3 February, 1966
Greg Tardy is an American jazz saxophonist, who has released albums for the record labels SteepleChase Records, J Curve Records, and Impulse! Records. As of May 2015 he is teaching at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has played with Elvin Jones, Avishai Cohen, Aaron Goldberg, Brad Mehldau, and Joshua Redman, among others.
5 February, 1975
Born in Seoul, Korea, she moved to Montreal in 1997 to pursue a professional music career. She holds her Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from the Schulich school of music at McGill University graduating with the distinction of “ Outstanding achievement in Jazz Piano”. At the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2005 her Quintet was nominated for the “Grand prix de jazz General Motors”. Also that year, Min was the recipient of the “ Best New Artist” award from Montreal’s L’OFF Festival de Jazz. In 2008, Min received a commission from CBC to compose a jazz suite for 2 pianos.
5 February, 1944
From 1969 to the early 1980s Mays worked as a studio session musician in Los Angeles. He has been an accompanist to singers Al Jarreau, Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Shelly Manne, Bob Mintzer, Red Mitchell, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bobby Shew, Sonny Stitt, Paul Winter, Phil Woods and Frank Zappa. In 1984, he moved to New York City and began to do more work as a bandleader, composer, and arranger. He has recorded over two dozen albums under his own name, and has been heard on hundreds more by others.
6 February, 1969
Scott Amendola is an American drummer from the San Francisco Bay Area. His styles include jazz, blues, groove, rock and new music. In 2011 Amendola premiered his orchestral work, “Fade To Orange”, performed in conjunction with the Oakland East Bay Symphony as one of the symphony’s New Visions/New Vistas premieres. Amendola was joined by Nels Cline and Trevor Dunn. He is also noted for his use of electronics and synthesizers in his compositions and live performance along with his drumming.
7 February, 1883 – 12 February, 1993
“If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Eubie Blake was an American pianist, lyricist, and composer of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. In 1921, he and his long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans. Blake’s compositions included such hits as “Bandana Days”, “Charleston Rag”, “Love Will Find a Way”, “Memories of You” and “I’m Just Wild About Harry”. The 1978 Broadway musical Eubie! showcased his works.
8 February, 1955
Renee Manning is a gutsy, soulful, jazz vocalist who has blues and R&B leanings. On uptempo material and jazz blues numbers, the native New Yorker can be brassy, aggressive, gritty and hard-swinging. But she has no problem being sensitive and introspective on ballads. In fact, those who listen closely to Manning’s ballad performances may, at times, hear traces of Billie Holiday in her phrasing. But Manning definitely has a bigger voice, and overall, she is a much more robust type of singer than Lady Day — if Manning was a tenor saxophonist, she would be closer to Houston Person or Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis than Stan Getz. Although she is bop-oriented and has been influenced by Carmen McRae and Ella Fitzgerald, not all of her influences are bop influences. Holiday, of course, came out of jazz’s pre-bop era, and Manning occasionally shows an awareness of jazz-influenced classic blues singers like Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, and Ma Rainey.
9 February, 1961
Steve Wilson is an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, who is best known in the musical community as a flutist and an alto and soprano saxophonist. He also plays the clarinet and the piccolo. Wilson has maintained a busy career working as a session musician, and has contributed to many musicians of note both in the recording studios, but as a sideman on tours. Over the years he has participated in engagements with several musical ensembles, as well as his own solo efforts.
10 February, 1947
At the age of seven he began his violin studies with Paulina D’Ambrozzio, when he was 15 he took up piano, studying with Ayrton Vallim and by seventeen he was already a professional musician. As a musician and arranger he has worked with some of the most representative Brazilian names; along with this he has released 25 albums under his name. During the 60’s he led his own trio and toured with singers Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento. Adolfo wrote tunes that gained him great success and have been recorded by such artists as Sérgio Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Herb Alpert, Earl Klugh, Dionne Warwick, and others.
11 February, 1978
“If you listen from when it began to now, you can hear the development. People don’t realize that now, but jazz has always been there.”
Jaleel Shaw is an American jazz alto saxophonist he received a master’s degree in Jazz Performance in May 2002. He was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition that year. In 2008 he was awarded ASCAP’s 2008 Young Jazz Composer Award. Shaw released his first CD, Perspective in 2005. In 2006 Shaw played as a member of the legendary World Saxophone Quartet, appearing on their album Political Blues. In 2008 Shaw released his sophomore recording Optimism. His most recent album, Soundtrack of Things to Come.
12 February, 1955
Bill Laswell is an American bass guitarist, record producer, and record label owner. He has been involved in thousands of recordings with many collaborators from all over the world. His music draws from funk, world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles.
13 February, 1921 – 25 May, 1955
Wardell Gray was an American jazz tenor saxophonist who straddled the swing and bebop periods. As a teenager, he started on the clarinet, but after hearing Lester Young on record with Count Basie, he was inspired to switch to the tenor saxophone. Gray’s first musical job was in Isaac Goodwin’s small band. When auditioning for another job, he was heard by Dorothy Patton, a young pianist who was forming a band in the Fraternal Club in Flint, Michigan, and she hired him. After a very happy year there, he moved to Jimmy Raschel’s band and then on to the Benny Carew band in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
14 February, 1979
Having made Boston, MA his home for the past 22 years, Jason was recently named to the inaugural class of the Boston Artist in Residence Fellowship for Music Composition. In 2011 and 2017, he was named a Fellow in Music Composition by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In 2014, Jason was honoured as a recipient of the French American Cultural Exchange Jazz Fellowship where he collaborated with French pianist Cedric Hanriot, collaborating on an album entitled “City of Poets” and touring the United States and Europe. Jason won 1st Place in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and was cited in the June 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine as one of the “Top 25 trumpeters of the Future”.
15 February, 1944
Henry Treadgill is an American composer, saxophonist and flautist. He came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles rooted in jazz but with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating other genres of music. He has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid. He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album In for a Penny, In for a Pound, which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 2014.
16 February, 1945
“They told me to play what I felt. Hey, I’m a Jazz musician, that’s what I do.”
Pete Christlieb is a jazz bebop, West Coast jazz and hard bop tenor saxophonist. Christlieb has worked with many musicians, such as Louie Bellson, Chet Baker, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Tom Waits, Steely Dan, Warne Marsh. Christlieb played the sax solos on Steely Dan’s hit song “Deacon Blues” from the album Aja; Natalie Cole’s Grammy award-winning album Unforgettable; and the extended tenor sax solo on the song “FM (No Static at All)” from the movie of the same name.
17 February, 1923 – 24 December, 2014
Buddy DeFranco was an Italian-American jazz clarinetist. In addition to his work as a bandleader, DeFranco led the Glenn Miller Orchestra for almost a decade in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was playing the clarinet by the time he was 9 years old and within five years had won a national Tommy Dorsey swing contest. He began his professional career just as swing music and big bands—many of which were led by clarinetists like Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman—were in decline. While most jazz clarinet players did not adapt to this change, DeFranco successfully continued to play the clarinet exclusively, and was one of the few bebop clarinetists.
21 February, 1933 – 21 April, 2003
Known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.