Here is an eclectic selection of jazz musicians, born in July. 
Prepared by Louise Levy and Phillip Cant

Erik Friedlander
1 July, 1960

Erik Friedlander is an American cellist and composer based in New York City. A veteran of New York City’s experimental downtown scene, Friedlander has worked in many contexts but is perhaps best known for his frequent collaborations with saxophonist John Zorn. Friedlander started playing guitar at age six and added cello two years later. Apart from his work with Zorn, Friedlander has worked with Laurie Anderson, Courtney Love, and Alanis Morissette, and is a member of the jazz/fusion quartet Topaz. He created the original music for the historical documentary Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites.

Tim Warfield
July 2 1965

“As far as my personal sound? I don’t know if I’ll ever say “this is it.” Though I’m certain I have a strong core to my sonority, I’m still being influenced by both prior musical history as well as music in the present. I’m sure this will continue, so long as I continue to listen and study music.”

Veteran saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr., a native of York, Pennsylvania, began studying the alto saxophone at age nine. He switched to tenor saxophone during his first year at William Penn Sr. High School where he participated in various musical ensembles winning many jazz soloist awards, including second out of forty competitors at the Montreal Festival of Music in Canada. After high school, Warfield attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for two years before leaving to lead and co-lead groups in the Central Pennsylvania and Baltimore/Washington areas.

Ahmed Jamal
July 2, 1930

“You’ve got a big, big problem if you get caught up in what people say. If you’re gonna live for what people say, you might as well lay down and forget it. Because it doesn’t work that way.”

Ahmed Jamal is an American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator. For five decades, he has been one of the most successful small-group leaders in jazz. His Pittsburgh roots have remained an important part of his identity and it was there that he was immersed in the influence of jazz artists such as Earl Hines, Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner. Jamal also studied with pianist James Miller and began playing piano professionally at the age of fourteen, at which point he was recognized as a “coming great” by the pianist Art Tatum. When asked about his practice habits by a critic from The New York Times, Jamal commented that “I used to practice and practice with the door open, hoping someone would come by and discover me. I was never the practitioner in the sense of twelve hours a day, but I always thought about music. I think about music all the time.”

Lonnie Smith
3 July, 1942

Styled Dr. Lonnie Smith, is an American jazz Hammond B3 organist who was a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s. He recorded albums with saxophonist Lou Donaldson for Blue Note before being signed as a solo act. He owns the label Pilgrimage. He was born in Lackawanna, New York, into a family with a vocal group and radio program. Smith says that his mother was a major influence on him musically, as she introduced him to gospel, classical, and jazz music. He was part of several vocal ensembles in the 1950s, including the Teen Kings which included Grover Washington Jr., on sax, and his brother Daryl on drums. Art Kubera, the owner of a local music store, gave Smith his first organ, a Hammond B3.

Judith Durham
July 3, 1943 – August 5, 2022

“I can have a career right into my old age, creating music in some way.
It seems like a lovely way to go through life.”

Judith Durham is an Australian singer, songwriter, piano and jazz musician who became the lead singer of the Australian popular folk music group The Seekers in 1963. The group subsequently became the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States, and have sold over 50 million records worldwide.Durham left the group in mid-1968 to pursue her solo career. In 1993, Durham began to make sporadic recordings and performances with The Seekers, though she remains primarily a solo performer. On 1 July 2015, she was named Victorian of the Year for her services to music and a range of charities.

Johnny Hartman
July 3, 1923 – September 15, 1983

Johnny Hartman was an American jazz  singer who specialized in ballad and earned critical acclaim, though he was never widely known. He sang and recorded with Earl Hines’ and Dizzy Gillespie’s’ big bands and with Erroll Garner= during their heydays. He’s best remembered for his collaboration in 1963 with saxophonist John Coltrane, John Coltrane and Johnny Hardman, a landmark album for both him and Coltrane.

Mike Mainieri
July 4, 1938

“My story is probably not like most vibraphonists. My mother was a very strong-willed woman and I credit her for foresight and tenacity. She listened to a radio show broadcast from Chicago featuring vibraphonist Marjorie Hyams.”

Primarily recognized as an award-winning, jazz vibraphonist, Mike Mainieri’s equally remarkable talents as producer, arranger, and composer have contributed to shaping the cutting-edge in music…. Raised in a family of performers and musicians, Mike’s training began early. At the age of 14, his own jazz trio was touring with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and by 17 he was playing and arranging for Buddy Rich’s sextet- -a tenure which continued up until 1962. During this period, he also played with such legendary artists as Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery, and at the age of 18 he won the International Jazz Critic’s Award.

Derrick Hodge
5 July, 1979

“In the long run, life, Karma, & God has a way of bringing great opportunities to you if you present.”

Derrick Hodge is an American bassist, composer, record producer, and musical director. He began studying electric guitar at the age of 7, inspired by the playing of West Philadelphia’s Beulah Baptist Church choir’s bassist, Joel Ruffiin. A year later, Hodge switched to electric bass guitar and began playing in the elementary school concert band and orchestra. In junior high, he was introduced to the upright contrabass. At the time, there were no bass instructors so Hodge learned the instrument by using his electric bass technique and by watching the 1st and 2nd violins sitting across from him. And for jazz band, he just played the upright bass as if it were an electric bass, disallowing the lack of instructional resources to be his hindrance. On August 6, 2013, his solo album, Live Today, was released with guest appearances by Common (“Live Today”), vocalist Alan Hampton (“Holding Onto You”), Robert Glasper (“Live Today”).

Tanya Kalmonovitch
5 July, 1970

“The thing about artistic practice is that you can’t fake it. You can’t fake your body being on stage; it’s irreducible. I’ve come to really appreciate embodied forms of practice – the transaction that happens between a performer and an audience member – as a form of radical truth-telling and truth-making.”

Tanya Kalmonovitch now lives in the spaces between modern jazz, classical music and free improvisation. Actively performing in New York City since 2004, she has been named “Best New Talent” by All About Jazz New York, while Time Out New York identified her from a small pool of suspects as “the Juilliard-trained violist who’s been tearing up the scene”. Tanya’s debut recording with her quartet Hut Five was hailed by the Montreal Gazette as “an exceptional recording, one of the more engaging recordings heard in some time”.

Arthur Blythe
July 5, 1940

“I like to play all types of music. … I like music with form, not atonal or aform. … Sometimes they put me into a weird bag and want me to be weird, inaccessible. I think I am accessible.”

Arthur Blythe was an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer. He was described by critic Chris Kelsey as displaying “one of the most easily recognizable alto sax sounds in jazz, big and round, with a fast, wide vibrato and an aggressive, precise manner of phrasing” and furthermore as straddling the avant garde and traditionalist jazz, often with bands featuring unusual instrumentation.

Louie Bellson
6 July, 1924 – 14 February, 2009

My father owned a music store when I was growing up in Rock Falls, Illinois. He could play all the instruments, which you had to do when you owned a music store back then. One day, when I was three years old, he took me to a parade. When the drums passed by, I got so excited I told him wanted to learn to play them.

Known by the stage name Louie Bellson (his own preferred spelling, although he is often seen in sources as Louis Bellson), was an American jazz drummer. He was a composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz educator, and is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums. Bellson was an internationally acclaimed artist who performed in most of the major capitals around the world. Bellson was a vice president at Remo, a drum company. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1985.

Louie Bellson

July 6, 1924 – February 14, 2009

“My first big break was with the Ted Fio Rito band. Fio Rito had a bunch of record hits in the 1930s and did a lot of radio work back then. When he came to my home town in early 1942, I sat in with the band. Ted liked me and offered me a job.”

One of the world’s greatest drummers, Louie Bellson has been an exciting crowd pleaser for over 60 years. A well-respected educator and one of the nicest people in the music business, the still-active Louie Bellson is a class act…. Born Luigi Paolino Balassoni, Bellson won a nationwide Gene Krupa drum contest in 1940 and was heard by Tommy Dorsey, who was quite impressed. The drummer started at the top in 1941, playing with Benny Goodman; after serving in the military, he worked with the big bands of Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James. His trademark was using two bass drums in his set. From the start, Bellson was able to construct fascinating solos that could hold one’s interest for as long as 15 minutes, yet he also enjoyed playing quietly with combos.

Ringo Starr
7 July, 1940

Ringo Starr is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including “Yellow Submarine”, “With a Little Help from My Friends” and their cover of “Act Naturally”. He also wrote and sang the Beatles’ songs “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”, and is credited as a co-writer of others. Starr said his favourite drummer is Jim Keltner, with whom he first played at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971. The pair subsequently played drums together on some of Harrison’s recordings during the 1970s,on Ringo and other albums by Starr, and on the early All-Starr Band tours.

Joe Zawinul
July 7, 1932 – November 9, 2007

“I am an improviser, … I improvise music. Whatever you want to call it all, it is all improvised music. I may capture it and go back and write it down for others, but it was originally improvised.”

Joe Zawinul was an Austrian jazz keyboardist and composer. First coming to prominence with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Zawinul went on to play with Miles Davis and to become one of the creators of jazz fusion, a musical genre that combined jazz with rock. He co-founded the groups Weather Report and The Zawinul Syndicate. He pioneered the use of electric piano and synthesiser, and was named “Best Electric Keyboardist” twenty-eight times by the readers of Down Beat magazine.

Herb Harris
8 July, 1968

Herb Harris began his musical journey on clarinet at age 12. Upon entering high school, he switched to alto saxophone, a more “manly” instrument in the marching band, then switched to tenor saxophone at age 17. His interest in jazz peaked when he heard a recording of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. Early on, he admired the sound and style of Dexter Gordon. Other influences include Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, and Charlie Parker.

Kendrick Scott
July 8, 1980

“Accordingly, our music is played with passion and sincerity. In every note, written and unwritten, the listener is exposed to an array of complex emotions.” written and played to evoke.”

Kendrick Scotts an American jazz drummer, bandleader, and composer. He is the founder of the record label World Culture Music. …Upon graduation from high school in 1998, Kendrick was awarded a scholarship to attend the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, majoring in Music Education. Since graduating from Berklee in 2002,[1] Scott has performed with a variety of name artists including the Jazz Crusaders, guitarist Pat Metheny, saxophonists Joe Lovano and Kenny Garrett, vocalists Dianne Reeves, Lizz Weight, Gretchen Parlato and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, to name a few.

Colin Bailey
July 9, 1934

Colin Bailey is British-born American jazz drummer.

His first band was the Nibs, when he was 7, which consisted of two accordions, banjo and drums. He toured with Winifred Atwell from 1952-1956, and performed at the London Palladium for Queen Elizabeth (1952). He lived in Australia from 1958 into the early 1960s, playing in the staff band for Channel 9 TV. In Sydney he played with Bryce Rohde  and the Australian Jazz Quartet, backing musicians such as Dizzy Gillespis and Sarah Vaughan. When the AJQ toured the U.S., Bailey was hired by Vince Guaraldi, With Monty Budwig on bass. This trio played with Jimmy Witherspoon, Ben Webster, and Gene Ammons for the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. In 1970, Bailey became an American citizen. He spent six years as Ed Shaughnessy’s backup in The Tonight Show Band, and starred in Fernwood Tonight in a drumming/comedy role in 1977-78.

Ivie Anderson
10 July, 1905 – December, 1949

Ivie Anderson’s singing career started around 1921 when she performed in Los Angeles. In 1924 she went on tour with the musical Shuffle Along. By 1924 and 1925, she had performed in Cuba, the Cotton Club in New York City, and Los Angeles with the bands of Paul Howard, Curtis Mosby, and Sonny Clay. In 1928, she sang in Australia with Clay’s band and starred in Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club in Los Angeles in April. Soon after, she began touring in the United States as a solo singe. In 1931, she became the first full-time vocalist in the Duke Ellington orchestra. Her career for the next dozen years consisted of touring in the United States with Ellington. She sang in Ellington’s first European performance in 1933. Her first appearance on record, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”, was a hit. In 1940, she recorded “Solitude”, “Mood Indigo”, and “Stormy Weather”.

Kirk Whalum
11 July, 1958

“I hope these songs impact peoples lives in the positive, make people think about love. If people can feel something more substantive and profound, through a beautiful song, like, Ill Make Love to You or I Said I Love You, even if for a moment, then I am happy. If they can touch that deeper place and feel a bit of what I felt when I played these songs, then Ive done my job.”

Kirk Whalum is an American jazz saxophonist and songwriter. He toured with Whitney Houston for more than seven years and soloed in her single “I Will Always Love You”, the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. Whalum has recorded a series of well-received solo albums and film soundtracks, with music ranging from pop to R&B to smooth jazz. His musical accomplishments have brought him a total of 12 Grammy nominations. He won his first Grammy award in 2011 for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do”, featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside lifelong friend and writer Jerry Peters.

Tomasz Stanko
July 11, 1942 – July 29, 2018

“Improvisation is all about making a mistake and not even trying to correct it, because you know it’s already too late. If you were a composer, you would correct it – but as an improviser, you can only justify it!”

Tomasz Stanko was a Polish trumpeter and composer. Stańko was associated with free jazz and the avant-garde….In 1962, Tomasz Stańko formed his first band, the Jazz Darings, with saxophonist  Janusz Muniak, pianist Adam Makowicz, bassist Jacek Ostaszewski, drummer Wiktor Perelmuter. Inspired by Omette Coleman and the innovations of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and George Russell, the group is often cited by music historians as the first European group to play free jazz. In his later years, he collaborated with pianist Krzysztof Komeda  on Komeda’s album Astigmatic, recorded in late 1965.[2][3] In 1968, Stańko formed a quintet whose members were Janusz Muniak (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute), Zbigniew Seifert (alto sax and violin), Bronisław Suchanek (bass), Janusz Stefański (drums, percussion). In 1975, he formed the Tomasz Stańko-Adam Makowicz Unit.

Paul Gonsalves
July 12, 1920 – May 15, 1974

“Duke was my idol from the start. He did something for jazz. He gave it class”.

Paul Gonsalves, 1964 was an American jazz tenor saxophonist best known for his association with Duke Ellington. At the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Gonsalves played a 27-chorus solo in the middle of Ellington’s  “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”, a performance credited with revitalizing Ellington’s waning career in the 1950s.

Bill Carrothers
13 July, 1964

“When I was a kid, I hated piano lessons. Mom made me. So if you’re a kid and/or you hate the piano as much as I did, hit the “back” button on your browser now.”

Bill Carrothers is a jazz pianist and composer based in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He has cited Clifford Brown, Shirley Horn, and Oscar Peterson as influences on his development as a musician. Carrothers performs without shoes to better feel the piano pedals and sits in a chair rather than on a traditional piano bench in order to achieve his preferred seating height. Carrothers was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz in 2004 and was nominated for the Les Victoires du Jazz (French Grammy Award equivalent) in 2005 and 2011.

Albert Ayler
July 13, 1936 – November 25, 1970

“Music is the healing force of the universe.”

Albert Ayler was an American avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.

After early experience playing R&B and bebop, Ayler began recording music during the free jazz era of the 1960s. However, some critics argue that while Ayler’s style is undeniably original and unorthodox, it does not adhere to the generally accepted critical understanding of free jazz. In fact, Ayler’s style is difficult to categorize in any way, and it evoked incredibly strong and disparate reactions from critics and fans alike.[3] His innovations have inspired subsequent jazz musicians.

Lauren Sevian
July 14, 1979

“After struggling with the alto, I tried the baritone and discovered my “voice”. Been with it ever since!”
“Jazz is such a powerful cultural statement that it’s almost as if it’s intertwined with society.”

Lauren Sevian has been performing professionally since the age of 12, first on the piano, then on the saxophone. At the age of 16 she won the Count Basie Invitational soloing competition, which led to a feature performance with the Basie Band. By the age of 17 she had already performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, & the Village Vanguard.

In the fall of 1997, Lauren came to NYC to attend the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. She received numerous awards throughout the years, nominated for several years from 2008 for the Downbeat Critics Poll “rising star” baritone saxophone, a SESAC jazz award for “Blueprint”, and is now a Grammy award winner for the Mingus Big Band’s “Live at the Jazz Standard” (2011).

Ron Kaplan
15 July, 1953

Ron Kaplan’s musical style is reminiscent of the great singers of the 1950’s continuing the tradition of performing songs from the Popular and Jazz Standards of the Great American Songbook. Critics note Kaplan’s phrasing, tone, diction, relaxed style, and his ability to get to the heart of a song with his own mark of musicianship, while featuring superb musicians in his live performances and on his recordings, enjoyed around world.

Petros Klampanis
July 15, 1981

“The bass sound is a combination of percussion and human voice. Sometimes during a performance the bass sound is either percussive or approaches the role of the voice, depending on the musical needs of the moment.“

Named a “Bass Ace” by Bass Player Magazine, composer and bassist Petros Klampanis grew up in Greece. In addition to his appearances in the US, he has performed at the JazzAhead Festival in Bremen, XJazz Festival in Berlin, and others.

His 3rd album, Chroma, released by Motema records, was awarded as the best Live album of 2017, by the Independent Music Awards and was featured in radio and press outlets including WBGO. …His 4th album ‘Irrationalities’ was released in October 2019 by Enja/Yellowbird. It a trio album, featuring long-time collaborators Kristjan Randalu and Bodek Janke. JazzTimes praised it as ‘A dazzling, multifaceted thing of Beauty’. ‘Irrationalities’ received 3 awards at the 2020 Independent Music Awards: ‘Jazz Instrumental’ & ‘Vox Pop’ for the track ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ and ‘Jazz Producer’ for Petros Klampanis.

Anton Schwartz
16 July, 1967

“I always aim to write the music I’d like to hear. A lot of great music out there doesn’t hold my attention the way Stevie Wonder does. I like music that goes someplace. I write for my own impoverished attention span, and it seems to serve me well.”

Anton Schwartz is an American jazz saxophonist and composer based in Seattle. He left the program to become a full-time musician, but not before earning a Master of Science degree along the way. He has released five CDs as a leader, on his own Antonjazz label. They have garnered extensive national radio play and strong reviews. Recent performances by Schwartz include an hourlong concert of unaccompanied saxophone for the 2013 San Francisco Jazz Festival and as a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall (2014).

Vince Guaraldi
July 17, 1928 – February 6, 1976

“I don’t think I’m a great piano player, but I would like to have people like me, to play pretty tunes and reach the audience. And I hope some of those tunes will become standards. I want to write standards, not just hits.”

Vince Guaraldi was an American jazz pianist noted for his innovative compositions and arrangements and for composing music for animated television adaptations of the Peanuts comic strip including their signature melody, “Linus and Lucy” and the holiday standard“. Tjader’s “Christmas Time is Here”. He is also known for his performances on piano as a member of ‘s 1950s ensembles and for his own solo career. His 1962 composition “Cast Your Fates to the Wind” became a radio hit and won a Grammy Award in 1963 fo Best Original Jazz Jazz Composition.

David King
18 July, 1965

David King has been playing guitar since he was eight but it became a serious concern when, in his teens he started going to gigs at Glasgow’s legendary venue The Apollo in the early eighties witnessing guitar hero’s galore including Alex Lifeson, Angus Young, and Andy Summers. Having exhausted all possibilities in various bands he returned to his home studio and gained a degree in Media Music Composition recognized by the Film Music Institute of Los Angeles. David has just completed his debut album of guitar instrumentals encompassing some smooth jazz grooves with a hint of fusion and just for the hell of it the occasional big rock solo to!

Theo Croker
July, 18 1985

“I make music for people to include in their life to help them deal with their hardships, to deal with their loves and their emotions. That’s the job I’ve been blessed with. To me, that’s what makes it relevant. It’s not for me. It’s coming out of me and spreading into the world. That’s why it matters.”

Theo Croker, is coming straight out of Leeburg, Florida by way of Shanghai, China, this bold young soul-jazz newcomer, grandson of New Orleans trumpet legend Doc Cheatham is fortified by tradition with no lack of contemporary electricity to propel him into the future..

He is a Grammy Award nominee, three-time Echo Award nominee, as well as a Theodore Presser Award recipient.Croker has released five studio albums —Fundamentals (2006), In the Tradition (2009), Afro Physicist (2014), Escape Velocity (2016) and Star People Nation (2019).”

Carmell Jones
July 19, 1936 – November 7, 1996

“Critics described Carmell as one of the finest trumpeters on the early 60s West Coast scene, a disciple of Clifford Brown. “Like Brownie, Jones had a sweetly powerful sound and dazzling technique that never interfered with his creativity, musical responsibility or his humility”

Carmell Jones was an American jazz trumpet player….He started piano lessons at age five, and trumpet lessons at age seven. His first professional work was with Kansas City greats Nathan Davis, Cleanhead Vison and Frank Smith. He moved to California in 1960 and worked as a studio musician for several years, including in the orchestras for two movie soundtracks,  ‘Seven Days in May’’ and ‘The Manchurian’ ‘, the latter starring Frank Sinatra. He released two albums as a leader for Pacific Jazz  at this time, while recording as a sideman with Bud Shank, Onzy Matthews, Curtis Amy, Harold Land, and Gerald Wilson. He toured with Horace Silver in 1964-65, and was on Silver’s seminal 1965 Blue Not album Song for My Father.

Bob McHugh
July 20, 1946

Bob McHugh is an American jazz pianist, composer and educator. He has recorded for Outstanding Records, Alliance Records, Perception Records and Lunge Music. He has performed with Ray Mantilla, Ron Naspo, Andrew Cyrill and Joe Morello. Bob was the favorite artist on Sky Jazz (2008), and Anima Jazz in Pisa, Italy (2005). He has made guest appearances on local New York radio stations. McHugh performed at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack, NewJersey from (1993 to 2006). He was the Commissioned composer for NJMTA state piano competition, (1998 and 1999). The National Federation of Music Club has included his original compositions as ‘required compositions’ for National Festivals (2000-2008). His compositions are on the required list for NYSSMA state festivals (2008). He has won an ASCAP grant every year since 1989, and is currently featured on ASCAP’s Jazz Podcast #4.

Sonny Clark
July 21, 1931 – January 13, 1963

“Working together for long periods of time, we get to know each other we’ll…
 which help our music…”

Sonny Clark was an American jazz pianist who mainly worked in the hand bop idiom.

While visiting an aunt in California at age 20, Clark decided to stay and began working with saxophonist  Wardell Gray. Clark went to San Francisco with Oscar Pettiford and after a couple months, was working with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco  in 1953. Clark toured the United States and Europe with DeFranco until January 1956, when he joined The Lighthouse All-Stars, led by bassist Howard Rumsey .

Wishing to return to the east coast, Clark served as accompanist for singer Dinah Washington in February 1957 in order to relocate to New York City. In New York, Clark was often requested as a sideman by many musicians, partly because of his rhythmic comping. He frequently recorded for Blue Note Records as one of their house musicians..

Al Di Meola
July 22, 1954

“Forget about every other lesson in the book. You have to be able to tap your foot
or else none of what you doing you are not gonna have any control of your symptom.”

Al Di Meola is an American guitarist. He attended Berklee College of Music in the early 1970s. At nineteen, he was hired by Chick Corea to replace Bill Connors in the pioneering jazz fusion band Return to Forever with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. He recorded three albums with Return to Forever, helping the quartet earn its greatest commercial success as all three albums cracked the Top 40 on the U.S. Billboard pop albums chart. He could play so fast, that he was sometimes criticized for playing too many notes.

As Return to Forever was disbanding around 1976, Di Meola began recording solo albums on which he demonstrated mastery of jazz fusion, flamenco, and Mediterranean music. His album Elegant Gypsy (1977) received a gold certification. In 1980 he recorded the acoustic live album Friday Night in San Francisco with Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin.

Steve Lacy
July 23, 1934 – June 4, 2004

“The soprano has all those other instruments in it. It’s got the soprano song voice, flute, violin, clarinet, and tenor elements and can even approach the baritone in intensity.”

Steve Lacy was an American jazz saxophonist and composer recognized as one of the important players of soprano saxophone. Coming to prominence in the 1950s as a progressive dixieland musician, Lacy went on to a long and prolific career. He worked extensively in experimental jazz and to a lesser extent in free improvisation, but Lacy’s music was typically melodic and tightly-structured. Lacy also became a highly distinctive composer, with compositions often built out of little more than a single questioning phrase, repeated several times.

The music of Thelonious Monk became a permanent part of Lacy’s repertoire after a stint in the pianist’s band, with Monk’s songs appearing on virtually every Lacy album and concert program; Lacy often partnered with trombonist Roswell Rudd  in exploring Monk’s work. Beyond Monk, Lacy performed the work of jazz composers such as Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington  and Herbie Nichols; unlike many jazz musicians he rarely played standard popular or show tunes.

Jon Faddis
July 24, 1953

“We didn’t even call it bebop yet,” Gillespie told me in 1990.
“The word came about because people didn’t know what tunes we were playing.
“So folks would come up to us and say, ‘Hey, man, play that tune, you know the one you played the other night, which goes like: Ye de bop, do dob it dop, be bop, doo doo.’
So that’s how we they started calling our music bebop.”

Jon Faddis is an American jazz trumpet player, conductor, composer, and educator, renowned for both his playing and for his expertise in the field of music education. Upon his first appearance on the scene, he became known for his ability to closely mirror the sound of trumpet icon Dizzy Gillespie, who was his mentor along with pianist Stan Kenton and trumpeter Bill Catalano.”

Johnny Hodges
July 25, 1907 – May 11, 1970

“Never the world’s most highly animated showman or greatest stage personality,
but a tone so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes –
this was Johnny Hodges. This is Johnny Hodges.” – Duke Ellington’s eulogy for Johnny

Johnny Hodges was an American alto saxophonist, best known for solo work with Duke Ellington’s big band. He played lead alto in the saxophone section for many years. Hodges was also featured on soprano saxophone, but refused to play soprano after 1946. He is considered one of the definitive alto saxophone players of the big band era (along with Benny Carter ). After beginning his career as a teenager in Boston, Hodges began to travel to New York and played with Lloyd Scott, Sidney Bechet, Luckey Roberts and Chick Webb. When Ellington wanted to expand his band in 1928, Ellington’s clarinet player Berney Bigard recommended Hodges. His playing became one of the identifying voices of the Ellington orchestra. From 1951 to 1955, Hodges left the Duke to lead his own band, but returned shortly before Ellington’s triumphant return to prominence – the orchestra’s performance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival.

JoAnne Brackeen
July 26, 1938

“The music that I play appears to originate in silence,” she explained.
“The silence forms vibrations and colors that come into my body.
It’s like a very energetic feeling but it doesn’t yet have sound.
And I go to the piano and find the sound.”

JoAnne Brackeenis an American jazz pianist and music educator.attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. She was a fan of pop pianist Frankie Carle before she became enamored with the music of Charlie Parker. In the 1950s she performed with Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards and Charles Brackeen. She and Brackeen married and moved to New York City in 1965. She performed with Chick Corea, Freddie McCoy, and Ornette Coleman. She played with Joe Henderson  (1972–75) and Stan Getz (1975–77) before leading her own trio and quartet. Brackeen established herself as a cutting edge pianist and composer through her appearances around the world, and her solo performances also cemented her reputation as one of the most innovative and dynamic of pianists.

Joel Harrison
July 27, 1969

“In his twenties, after graduating from Bard College, Harrison undertook what he calls “the classic Jack Kerouac search for America,” hitchhiking cross-country and exploring the rich diversity contained between its coasts. “I wanted to figure this country out.” Sure I was a little naive, yet that search still resonates in my music.”

Joe Harrison is an American jazz guitarist, singer, composer, and arranger.…and graduated from Bard College, New York, in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in composition and performance.Harrison has identified the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers Band and Washington guitarist Danny Gatton as early influences. Having begun his career as a musician in Boston during the early 1980s, Harrison moved to the Bay Area of San Francisco, where he led several musical ensembles and became a session musician. Since 1999, he has been based in New York City. His mentors and teachers have included Joan Tower, Ali Akbar, W.A.Mathieu, and Charlie Banacos.

Allan Brown
July 28 1944 – 13 June 2015

Allan Browne was an Australian jazz drummer and composer first known for his work in The Red Onion Jazz Band in the 1960s.Browne won the ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album in ARIA Music Awards of 1990 and ARIA Music Awards of 1996 with Paul Grabowsky Trio. Browne was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2013 for service to music as a jazz musician, and to the community.

Alan Lee
29 July 1936

“My trouble was finding someone to teach me. In fact there was nobody – there still isn’t. So I taught myself by listening to records. A year l later I made my debut…”

Alan Lee is an Australian bandleader, vibraphonist, guitarist and percussionist. He was one of the first Australian jazz musicians to fuse classical music with jazz and to utilize Latin American rhythms in his music. He led several jazz bands in Melbourne and Sydney from late 1950s through the 1980s. His recorded albums include Gallery Concerts (1973, Cumquat Records 12-03), The Alan Lee Jazz Quartet (1973, Jazznote), Moomba Jazz ’76, Live from the Dallas Brooks Hall (1977, 44 Records 6357708), and Alan Lee and Friends: Jazz at the Hyde Park Hotel (1990, Request Records 1511) among others.

Joe Beck
July 29, 1945 – July 22, 2008

“I know it’s going to respond the way I want it to night after night. When I go into a venue, there are a lot of unknowns … the acoustics, how well I’ll connect with the audience, that sort of thing. So, having an instrument now that is all I could ever want in a guitar is a major plus.”

Joe Beck was an American jazz guitarist who was active for over 30 years.

Born in Philadelphia, Beck moved to Manhattan in his teens, playing six nights a week in a trio setting, which gave him an opportunity to meet various people working in the thriving New York music scene. By the time he was 18, Stan Getz hired him to record jingles, and in 1967 he recorded with Miles Davis. By 1968, at age 22, he was a member of the Gil Evens Orchestra.

Beck played in a variety of jazz styles, including jazz fusion, jazz bop, mainstream soul- jazz, and jazz , but also respected rock stylists and cross-over players (he was good friends with Larry Coryell ) and briefly flirted with rock music styles himself in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

James Spaulding
July 30, 1937

“I have no elitist concepts about Jazz. I would not be the musician I am today without experiencing invaluable music styles that are at the roots of African American black life and culture.”

James Spaulding has established his reputation as a masterful soloist for ensemble performances, and for many years was among the busier sidemen for Blue Note Records. An exceptional saxophonist and flutist, he is one of the many fine artists to come out James has worked with Sun Ra, Freddie Hubbard, Max Roach, and more…of the Indianapolis, Indiana area. James is a modernist, with solid roots in classical jazz; his saxophone style is an extension of the Charlie Parker influence, but his overall concept incorporates much of the broad jazz saxophone heritage.

Hank Jones
July 31, 1918 – May 16, 2010

“When you  listen to a pianist, each notes should have an identity,
each note should have a soul of its own.”

Hank Jones was an American jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. Critics and musicians described Jones as eloquent, lyrical, and impeccable. In 1989, The National Endowment for the Arts honored him with the NEA Jazz Masters Award.[He was also honored in 2003 with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Jazz Living Legend Award. In 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. On April 13, 2009, the University of Hartford presented Jones with an honorary Doctorate of Music for his musical accomplishments.

Jones recorded more than 60 albums under his own name, and countless others as a sideman, including Cannonball Adderley’s celebrated album Somethin’ Else.