BLUES ARTIST BIRTHDAY:

Robert “Barbecue Bob” Hicks (1902) - Barbecue Bob is one of the unsung heroes of the Piedmont blues style. With the records that he made during the 1920s, Hicks played a twelve-string guitar like the big city boys, bringing the instrument's richness of sound to his traditional country-blues style. Hicks helped define the "Atlanta blues" sound that would become incorporated into the more expansive Piedmont blues style. Hicks' guitar technique borrowed heavily from the traditional clawhammer banjo playing style, and he was also known to play bottleneck slide on both the six-string and twelve-string guitar. Unlike other country bluesmen of the era that would later be re-discovered during the 1960s, other than an Eric Clapton cover of Hicks' "Motherless Chile Blues," Barbecue Bob's talent has sadly been overlooked. Still, his work and records paved the way for many bluesmen that would follow. Catching the flu in the fall of 1931, the disease lead to pneumonia and eventually tuberculosis.  He died on October 21, 1931 at the age of 29.

JAZZ ARTIST BIRTHDAY:

Harry Connick, Jr. (1967) - With very few exceptions, the career of Harry Connick, Jr. can be divided in half.  His first two albums encompassed straight-ahead New Orleans jazz and stride piano while his later career (which paralleled his rising celebrity status) alternated between more contemporary New Orleans music and pop vocals.  In 1989, Connick got his big break: a month-long engagement at the Algonquin Hotel.  The show attracted a great deal of press attention, particularly after legendary singer Tony Bennett saw a performance and proclaimed, "Connick could be the next Frank Sinatra."  He was then approached by director Rob Reiner to record an album of standards for the soundtrack to his 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally.  The movie became a smash hit, fueling double-platinum album sales for the soundtrack, which also garnered Connick his first Grammy Award.  By 1990, he had three albums on Billboard's pop chart.  As he continued to release best-selling album after best-selling album, Connick developed a persona in the media as something of a throwback, a modern-day heartthrob to match the romantic crooners of a bygone era.  His thick drawl, Soutnern manners and slicked-back hair became his calling cards.  Some critics insisted that Connick's music was an inferior
imitation of other, better artists.  "I've learned that people latch onto labels and stereotypes," he later said.  "There was a period when I was asked in every single interview how I liked being the new Frank Sinatra ... I think people will soon realize that I do a lot more than interpret old songs."

JAZZ ALBUM RECORDED:

Stan Kenton – The Formative Years (1941)
Track Listing:
1. El Choclo
2. Gambler’s Blues
3. Lamento Gitano
4. The Nango
5. Tabu
6. This Love of Mine
7. Reed Rapture
8. Concerto for Doghouse
9. Adios

Review by John Bush at Allmusic:
Though the title Formative Years may conjure images of a band just beginning to find its way in the competitive world of swing music, the Stan Kenton Orchestra heard on these recordings -- its very first two sessions, from September 1941 and February 1942 -- is already assured and distinctive. With charts by Kenton or Joe Rizzo, the band reflects a heavy Latin influence, opening with Angel Villoldo's "El Choclo" featuring an excellent, brassy chart by Rizzo and progressing through Margarita Lecuona's "Tabu" to Enric Madriguera's closing "Adios." Though few of these musicians survived the transition to the orchestra's popular success by the mid-'40s, Kenton is in full command of the extroverted style that expanded on the influence of Jimmie Lunceford's band and made his band one of the best of the postwar era.
 


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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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