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Jazz Birthdays: Payton and Gershwin | September 26, 2012

Nicholas Payton 1973

A brilliantly talented and versatile trumpeter from New Orléans, Payton took up the trumpet at the age of four and played with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band at age nine.  He’s become known as prolific and sometimes  incendiary blogger, insisting that the word “jazz” is racist and outdated, and calling for “jazz” to be referred to as “black American music” or BAM.

“[Louis Armstrong is] the father of us all, regardless of style or how modern we get. His influence is inescapable. Some of the things he was doing in the 20’s and 30’s, people still haven’t dealt with.” – Nicholas Payton

George Gershwin  1898-1937

One of America’s most beloved popular musicians and songwriters, George Gershwin was only 25 years old when his jazz-influenced “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York’s Aeolian Hall at the concert, “An Experiment in Music.”   He wrote popular songs, Broadway musicals, Hollywood film scores and classical pieces.  Most of his work is considered “The Great American Songbook” and many of his songs are jazz standards.

“Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise.”–George Gershwin

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