BLUES ARTIST BIRTHDAY:

John Lee Hooker (1917), blues singer and guitarist, came from a cotton-sharecropping family.  He learned the blues from his stepfather and various visiting Delta bluesmen, constructing his first instrument from strings made of rubber inner tube nailed to a barn. He left home at 14, sang with gospel groups, and ultimately moved to Detroit in 1943.  Hooker made his first recording, the rhythm and blues hit "Boogie Chillun" in 1948.  Accompanying himself on electric guitar, he recorded more than 100 albums, mainly of slow blues or fast boogies, and toured throughout the United States.  After Hooker was "discovered" by the white blues-rockers of the 1960s, he recorded with several rock musicians and influenced a generation of players and singers.  After a fifty year career of remarkable staying power and flexibility, Hooker entered the period of his greatest popularity and influence after his 70th birthday.  He again reached a wide public with his albums The Healer (1989) and Don't Look Back (1997).  He won three Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.  Hooker fell ill just before a tour of Europe in 2001 and died in June 21st at the age of 83, two months before his 84th birthday.

JAZZ ALBUM RECORDED:

The Modern Jazz Quartet – Pyramid (1959)
Track Listing:
1. Vendome
2. Pyramid (Blues for Junior)
3. It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got
      that Swing)
4. Django
5. How High the Moon
6. Romaine

Review by Scott Yanow at Allmusic:
This is a strong recording from the Modern Jazz Quartet, with inventive versions of John Lewis' "Vendome," Ray Brown's "Pyramid," Jim Hall's "Romaine," and Lewis' famous "Django," along with cooking jams on "How High the Moon" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." The MJQ had become a jazz institution by this time, but they never lost their creative edge, and their performances (even on the remakes) are quite stimulating, enthusiastic, and fresh.
 


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    BLUES BITS & JAZZ JOTS 
    is a historical timeline for birthdays of blues and jazz artists and jazz album recording dates.  As our research progresses, we'll add more categories.  Look for updates each week, normally Mondays through Fridays, when we find something to share.

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