At 100: These Performers Left An Indelible Mark On Jazz


The musical similarities among all the folks below might be in short supply, but each of these performers irrevocably changed jazz. Whether it was through Art Blakey’s (he was actually born in 1919, but that’s pretty close) tutelage and encouragement of the best jazz composers ever to record or Dave Brubeck’s chart success, the music is better—and dramatically different—than it would have been otherwise.

Below, DownBeat salutes six iconic artists who were born 100 years ago. DB

Art Blakey, the Mightiest Mentor

The Sound and Myth of Charlie Parker at 100

Dave Brubeck’s Legacy Enters a New Era

Clark Terry Fostered Generations of Performers

Shelly Manne Cultivated a Unique Brand from Behind the Kit

Yusef Lateef, The ‘Evolutionist’

  • McBride__Kahn_copy.jpg

    ​Christian McBride and writer Ashley Kahn meet for a DownBeat Blindfold Test hosted by New York University’s Jazz Studies program.

  • Samara_Joy_%C2%A92023_Mark_Sheldon-4639.jpg

    Samara Joy brought fans to their feet in the middle of her Newport set!

  • 20170912_CeramicDog_EbruYildiz_29-2_copy.jpg

    Ceramic Dog is, from right, Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith and Ribot.

  • 23_Sullivan_Fortner_BFT_APA_Indianapolis_copy_2.jpg

    ​“He was the coolest,” Fortner says of Nat “King” Cole. “Didn’t break a sweat.”

  • 23_Houston_Person_by_Eugene_Petrushansky.jpg

    Person’s esthetic took shape in an era when jazz functioned as neighborhood social entertainment and moved with a deep dance groove.

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September 2023
Kris Davis
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