Bassist Leroy Vinnegar was known as the “Boss of the Walking Bass.” Born July 13, 1928 in Indianapolis, IN, he worked with Wes and Monk Montgomery. He moved to Chicago in 1952 and was in the house band at the famous Bee Hive club. A move to Los Angeles was prompted by an offer to work with Art Tatum, and Vinnegar took advantage of the abundant studio work there to earn money to raise his family. Landing in Portland, OR in the 1980s, he quickly became the most respected elder on the music scene. There is a Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute at Portland State University.
“There’s one man I would like to thank today for making my music career and giving me inspiration: that was Art Tatum. He gave me the inspiration to be where I’m at today.”–Leroy Vinnegar
Clarinetist George Lewis, born July 13, 1900 in New Orleans’ French Quarter, didn’t get national recognition until late in his career. His band was featured in the June 6, 1950 issue of Look magazine, accompanied by photographs taken of the band by Stanley Kubrick. National touring soon followed, and Lewis became a symbol of the New Orleans jazz tradition.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to add to the swing.” –George Lewis
Pete Escovedo turns 77 years old today. “Mister E” has a long history of “family bands,” from his Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet circa 1960, through today’s E Family Band, and his various sextet and orchestras. He’s also a visual artist, producing a large body of work of paintings and drawings in oils, acrylics, latex, enamels, pencil and crayons. And we hear he’s writing a book…
“Remember to never look down on someone unless you are helping them up. Please support the music programs in the schools in your area as our young musicians need our help.” –Pete Escovedo