Here is an eclectic selection of jazz musicians, born in September.
Prepared by Louise Levy and Phillip Cant
1 September, 1956
“Some musicians are purist, but I like to mix styles. I like many different types of cultures”.
Essiet is an American jazz double-bassist. Essiet’s parents were Nigerian immigrants to the United States. He studied violin, as a child, then learned both bass guitar and stand-up bass as a high schooler in Portland Oregon. In 1983 he moved to New York City, playing with Abdullah Ibrahim, Art Blakey, Marty Cook, and Ralph Peterson, Jr. Subsequent associations include performing or recording with George Adams, Ron Affif, Kenny Barron. He is the leader of the group “Intercontinental Bush Orchestra”, founded in 1995. In 2018 Benito Gonzalez:, Gerry Gibbs and Essiet Okon Essiet exhilarating tribute to McCoy Tyner, Passion Reverence Transcendence.
2 September, 1928 – 18 June, 2014
“Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles.”
Horace Silver was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, particularly in the hard bop style that he helped pioneer in the 1950s. After playing tenor saxophone and piano at school in Connecticut, Silver got his break on piano when his trio was recruited by Stan Getz in 1950. Silver soon moved to New York City, where he developed a reputation as a composer and for his bluesy playing.
3 September, 1967
Peter Bernstein is an American jazz guitarist. Born in New York City on September 3, 1967, Bernstein began playing piano when he was eight but switched to guitar when he was thirteen, learning the instrument primarily by ear. He studied jazz at Rutgers University with Ted Dunbar, and Kenny Barron. In 2008, Bernstein became part of the Blue Note 7, a septet formed that year in honor of the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. The group recorded the album Mosaic.
4 September, 1946
“Art is constant tension and release. That is where artists live, between the two, or at times, submerged in either. The challenge is never-ending perfection is impossible, it could always be different, better, or worse. It’s not important, just process and striving to be like the man who walks the trapeze maintaining balance.”
Dave Leiberman is an American saxophonist, flautist and jazz educator. He is known for his innovative lines and use of atonality. He was a frequent collaborator with pianist Richie Beirach. In June 2010, he received a NEA Jazz Masters lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
5 September, 1966
Jazz trumpeter and composer Jeff Lofton is a Grammy member and two time SXSW Austin Music Awards winner. Jeff has performed at One World Theater, Stateside at the Paramount, and the Long Center for the Performing Arts since his arrival on the Austin music scene in 2007. Lofton studied composition at the University of South Carolina and moved to Austin in 2007 at the age of 40. Since then his career has grown from being mostly unknown, to a local favorite and to national and international recognition.
6 September, 1967
Claire Martin is an English jazz singer. She grew up in a house “full of music” thanks to jazz-loving parents. She cites Ella Fitzgerald’s Song Books as the inspiration to study singing at the Doris Holford Stage School and in New York and London. Martin collaborated with the Montpellier Cello Quartet, performing arrangements written for her by Rodney Bennett, Mark Anthony Turnage, and Django Bates. This chamber jazz ensemble toured throughout 2014 to promote the album Time and Place.
7 September, 1930
“Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life.”
Sonny Rollins is an American jazz tenor saxophonist who is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. In a seven-decade career, he has recorded over sixty albums as a leader. A number of his compositions, including “St. Thomas”, “Oleo”, “Doxy”, “Pent-Up House”, and “Airegin”, have become jazz standards. Rollins has been called “the greatest living improviser” and the “Saxophone Colossus”.”
8 September, 1977
During her early years, Maggie sat at the piano and studied the complex harmonies and melodies of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. However, while pursuing a degree in classical piano at Michigan State University, her ear began to wander toward jazz music, especially the haunting vocals of Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. This proved to be a significant point, for she not only moved from classical music to jazz, but she also strayed from the piano and focused on her voice.
9 September, 1927 – 18 May, 2004
“The greatest contribution jazz has made in music has been to replace the role of the conductor with a member of the ensemble who, instead of waving his arms to keep time and convey mood, is an active member of the musical statement. That person is the drummer.”
Elvin Jones was an American jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed an interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family’s home in Pontiac, Michigan. He served in the United States Army from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently played in a Detroit house band led by Billy Mitchell. He moved to New York City in 1955 and worked as a sideman for Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.
10 September, 1948
Lorraine Feather is an American singer, lyricist, and songwriter. A native of Manhattan, she was born to jazz writer Leonard Feather and his wife Jane, a former big-band singer. She was named Billie Jane Lee Lorraine for her godmother Billie Holiday, her mother’s former roommate Peggy Lee, and for the song “Sweet Lorraine”. Three of her albums have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category: Ages (2010), Attachments (2013), and Flirting with Disaster (2015).
Harry Connick Jr.
11 September, 1967
“If your record doesn’t sell that well, man, who cares? All the satisfaction I need… comes when I step out onstage and see the people. That’s awesome. I love that.”
Harry Connick Jr. is an American singer, pianist, composer, actor, and television host. He has sold over 28 million albums worldwide. Connick is ranked among the top 60 best-selling male artists in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 16 million in certified sales. He has had seven top 20 US albums, and ten number-one US jazz albums, earning more number-one albums than any other artist in US jazz chart history.
12 September, 1956
Bryan Lynch is a multi-Grammy winning jazz trumpeter. He has been a member of Eddie Palmieri’s Afro-Caribbean Jazz group and has led the Latin Side of Miles project with trombonist Conrad Herwig. He arranged for Japanese pop star Mika Nakashima and producer Shinichi Osawa, has written string charts for Phil Woods, and has played with Maxwell, Prince, and Sheila E. On February 11, 2007, Brian Lynch and Eddie Palmieri won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for Simpático at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. On January 27, 2020, Brian Lynch and the Brian Lynch Big Band won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for the album, The Omni-American Book Club.
13 September, 1925 – 5 June, 1999
Nicknamed “The Velvet Fog”, Mel Torme was an American musician, singer, composer, arranger, drummer, actor, and author. A child prodigy, he first performed professionally at age 4 with the Coon-Sanders Orchestra, singing “You’re Driving Me Crazy” at Chicago’s Blackhawk restaurant. In 1949, he moved to Capitol, where his first record, “Careless Hands,” became his only number-one hit. His versions of “Again” and “Blue Moon” became signature songs. His composition California Suite, prompted by Gordon Jenkins’s “Manhattan Tower,” became Capitol’s first 12-inch LP album. Around this time, he helped pioneer cool jazz.
15 August, 1925 – 23 December, 2007
Oliver Lake is an American jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer, poet, and visual artist. He is known mainly for alto saxophone but he also performs on soprano and flute. He has appeared on more than 80 albums as a bandleader, co-leader, and side musician.
15 September, 1928 – 8 August, 1975
“Understanding is the least important thing when it comes to digging jazz because, like anything else, jazz is a form of entertainment. It is created to be enjoyed, not understood like you read a blueprint.”
Cannonball Adderley was an American jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s. Adderley is remembered for his 1966 soul jazz single “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, a crossover hit on the pop charts (it was also covered by the Buckinghams). He worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, on his own 1958 Somethin’ Else album, and on the seminal Davis records Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959).
16 September, 1925 – 11 November, 1999
Charlie Byrd was an American jazz guitarist. Byrd was best known for his association with Brazilian music, especially bossa nova. In 1962, he collaborated with Stan Getz on the album Jazz Samba, a recording which brought bossa nova into the mainstream of North American music. Byrd played fingerstyle on a classical guitar.
17 September, 1926 – 23 January, 2001
Known professionally as “Brother” Jack McDuff or “Captain” Jack McDuff, was an American jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who was most prominent during the hard bop and soul-jazz era of the 1960s, often performing with an organ trio. He is also credited with giving guitarist George Benson his first break.