Roy Book Binder (1943) - A student and friend of the Rev. Gary Davis, he is equally at home with blues and ragtime, he is known to shift from open tunings to slide arrangements to original compositions, with both traditional and self-styled licks. His storytelling emphasis is another characteristic that makes his style unique. Binder was born in Queens, New York, United States. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Navy and undertook a tour of duty in Europe. He bought his first guitar at a military base in Italy. After his enlistment was up, he returned to New York where he met one of his lifelong friends, Dave Van Ronk. Impressed with his friend's playing, Binder sought out Davis who also lived in New York, and became first a student of Davis and later a chauffeur and tour companion. Much of Binder's original material was based on his time on the road with Davis.  By the mid-to-late 1960s Binder was recording for both Kicking Mule and Blue Goose Records. In 1969, he toured England with Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup and Homesick James.  After meeting another of his life's influences, the bluesman Pink Anderson, Binder released his first album, Travelin' Man, on Adelphi. The album was named after one of the songs that Binder learned from Anderson.  In 1973 he began a partnership with fiddler Fats Kaplin, and they recorded the Git Fiddle Shuffle in 1973. Binder and Kaplin performed together for three years, playing numerous concerts and recording a second album, Ragtime Millionaire in 1977. After this partnership dissolved, Binder began touring the country, living in a motor home, and concentrating on live performances. During the 1980s, Binder released several albums, including Bookeroo in 1988. Binder has been described as a “guitar pickin' hillbilly bluesman”, and has released eleven albums. He has performed at most major blues and folk festivals in the United States and Europe, including Merlefest. Notables that have shared the stage with Binder include Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, John Jackson, Sonny Terry, Doc Watson, Ray Charles, and Brownie McGhee. Binder has appeared regularly on Nashville Now, and has been included in Sheldon Harris' book, The Blues Who's Who.  Binder is a veteran guitar instructor, and can often be found teaching at the Fur Peace Ranch with Jorma Kaukonen and others whose lives have been influenced by Davis. There he demonstrates songs, turnarounds, chord variations, right hand methods, and many of his own powerful adaptations and unique approaches to the blues.  Binder's album, Hillbilly Blues Cats (Rounder), was named as one of the ten most essential acoustic guitar albums of 1992. 


Jimmy Blanton (1918) - Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jimmy Blanton was an influential jazz double bassist. He is credited with being the originator of more complex pizzicato and bowed bass solos in a jazz context than previous bassists.  Blanton originally learned to play the violin, but took up the bass while at Tennessee State University, performing with the Tennessee State Collegians from 1936 to 1937, and during the vacations with Fate Marable. After leaving university to play full time in St. Louis with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra (with whom he made his first recordings), he joined Duke Ellington's band in 1939. Though he stayed with Ellington for only two years, Blanton made an incalculable contribution in changing the way the double bass was used in jazz. Previously the double bass was rarely used to play anything but quarter notes in ensemble or solos but by soloing on the bass more in a 'horn like' fashion, Blanton began sliding into eighth- and sixteenth-note runs, introducing melodic and harmonic ideas that were totally new to jazz bass playing. His virtuosity put him in a different class from his predecessors, making him the first true master of the jazz bass and demonstrating the instrument's unsuspected potential as a solo instrument. Such was his importance to Ellington's band at the time, together with the tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, that it became known as the Blanton–Webster band. Blanton also recorded a series of bass and piano duets with Ellington, In 1941, Blanton was diagnosed with tuberculosis, cutting short his tenure with Ellington. His last recording session was cut on September 26, 1941 in Hollywood. Blanton died the following year after retiring to a sanatorium in California, aged 23, on July 30, 1942.


Donald Byrd – The Creeper (1967)
Track Listing:
1. Samba Yantra
2. I Will Wait For You
3. Blues Medium Rare
4. The Creeper
5. Chico-San
6. Early Sunday Morning
7. Blues Well Done

Review by Scott Yanow at Allmusic:
This LP was trumpeter Donald Byrd's final album in the hard bop idiom and it went unissued until 1981. For the last time, Byrd was heard in prime form in an acoustic format. His notable sextet also included altoist Sonny Red, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Miroslav Vitous, and drummer Mickey Roker. With the exception of Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You," all of the songs were composed by either Byrd, Red, or Corea and, although none of the originals caught on as standards (or have been performed since), together as a whole they give one a lot of variety in the then-modern hard bop field. Pity that this album has been out of print since the mid-'80s.

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    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.


    October 2012
    September 2012
    August 2012