June 2, 2020

Today in History: Duke Ellington

Today in History–April 29–the Library of Congress features jazz great Duke Ellington, born on this date in 1899. Ellington started to play piano at age 7 and wrote his first song–Soda Fountain Rag–at age 15. By his late teens, he was earning enough money to help his parents move into a better house. Ellington's musical versatility was astounding and not limited to jazz; he also wrote oratorios, suites, concertos, and even opera, as well as for the Broadway stage, movies, television, nightclubs, … [Read more...]

Today in History: Ella Fitzgerald

Today in History–April 25–the Library of Congress features Ella Fitzgerald, born on this date in 1917. One of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Fitzgerald got her start at Amateur Night at Harlem's Apollo Theater and went on to win 13 Grammys, including two of the first awarded in 1958. Learn more about this legendary vocal artist by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access some more primary sources. Ella Fitzgerald Was Born from America's … [Read more...]

Today in History: Louis Jordan

Today in History–December 21–the Library of Congress features saxophonist Louis Jordan, debuted two popular singles on rhythm and blues (R&B) charts on this date in 1946. With a style that combined jazz and blues, Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five launched 54 singles in the 1940s, 18 of which songs reached number one. Learn more about this talented musician by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below for related primary sources. Louis Jordan's Record "Let the … [Read more...]

Featured Source: Julian and Julienne

More jazz related posts … [Read more...]

Today in History: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today in History–September 24–the Library of Congress features writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, born on this day in 1896. Named for his distant cousin Francis Scott Key, author of the The Star-Spangled Banner. Fitzgerald also enjoyed instant success with his first writing effort, the novel This Side of Paradise. Five years later Fitzgerald's most celebrated novel, The Great Gatsby, was published. Learn more about this iconic American author by visiting the Today in History section, then click the … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Capturing Character on Camera

The Today in History section for July 10 features Jelly Roll Morton, one of jazz music's primary influences. From 1938 to 1948, William P. Gottlieb took over 1600 photographs of celebrated jazz artists. Carl Van Vechten also took a similar number of photographs of celebrities, including many figures from the Harlem Renaissance. The Library has two great resources for learning about the art of photography and how photographers capture and present a music performer's character on camera, which we … [Read more...]

Today in History: Dizzy Gillespie

Today in History–January 6–the Library of Congress features jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, who died on this date in 1993. Learn more about the terrific trumpeter-composer-bandleader who was one of the key figures in modern jazz music by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below for related primary sources. Dizzy Gillespie from America's Library Dizzy Gillespie, Carl Van Vechten image set Dizzy Gillespie, William Gottlieb image set "Posin'" Down Beat 13, no. 12 … [Read more...]