Jazz and Blues Birthdays: Land and Irma | February 18, 2013


Harold Land
Photo credit: Francis Wolff © Mosaic Images

Harold Land  1928-2001

Saxophonist Harold Land was raised in San Diego, and moved to New York to pursue his music career.  He’s best known for his short but influential time with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet in 1954 and 1955.  Land had to move back to California to take care of his family, and the work he did there with Curtis Counce, Bobby Hutcherson, Blue Mitchell and Red Mitchell was outstanding.  He also became a professor at UCLA’s Jazz Studies Program.

“Jazz is a music that really allows a person to express his deepest self, his most personal self – Africa being the primary source of jazz. Naturally, improvisation and swing are a part of jazz, improvisation being the key.”  –Harold Land


Irma Thomas credit:

Irma Thomas  1941

The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas can’t remember a time when she didn’t sing.  Her early collaborations with bandleader Tommy Ridgeley and songwriter Allen Toussaint made her a star in New Orleans, but national recognition  didn’t come until 1991’s Grammy nomination for the album “Live, Simply the Best.”  Irma is one of those “natural” musicians, one who keeps time on stage with her whole body, and puts her whole soul into the song.

“It’s just something about the way we, as performers from this city, the way we do things.  We hear extra sounds in our heads — extra beats, extra backbeats, extra rhythms that people from other parts of the United States just don’t understand or get.”–Irma Thomas


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