Photo: Herman Leonard

Ella Fitzgerald

The best known and most popular jazz artist of all time, often referred to as The First Lady of Song

Miles Davis

When he appeared at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival some people thought he'd died: that day proved the rebirth of his career. In the space of four short years Davis changed the face of jazz

Thelonious Monk

Monk remains one of the central pillars of the modern jazz era, a man who actually created a unique, idiosyncratic language that often stood apart from any particular genre

Charles Mingus

Like several classical composers Charles Mingus achieved the ideal of a ‘folk art.’ While the celebratory stomp of ‘Better Get It In Your Soul’ sums this up brilliantly the reflective, immensely elegiac composing of The Black Saint And The Sinner...

Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins' improvisations are a stream of brilliant ideas on phrasing, timing and timbre that enable him to skate over a given chord sequence for endless bars without losing the listener’s interest

Eric Dolphy

With a penchant for stark, sometimes acerbic themes set to rhythms that move abruptly from swing to pedal point, Dolphy delighted in making music with a brash, daredevil energy

Ornette Coleman

Coleman’s alto saxophone playing had great originality, the tone pushing the tradition of ‘the cry’ towards a kind of dawn-of-time character whereby some notes conspired to pierce and graze the air due to careful articulation

Bud Powell

Bud Powell developed a style that had a sweeping grandeur when he played at the high tempos beloved of the gifted horn players – such as Gillespie and ‘Fats’ Navarro – he admired and worked with

Count Basie

Along with Duke Ellington’s, Basie's band became one of the most popular of the swing era, delighting audiences with a joyous, rousing groove

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