An electric performer, Carter was an irrepressible and incomparable practitioner of the jazz vocal tradition. For nearly 50 years, the intense vocalist blazed her own trail in jazz, powered by her passionate, intense singing.
Evans' introspective lyricism and subtle, Western classical flourishes have echoes in a legion of fellow keyboard players. As a leader and composer, he introduced an influential, highly interactive approach to trio and small-group performances.
Through hit recordings and a busy nationwide touring schedule, the singer gave the blues a raw, regal poignancy — and marketability. Her feverish growls and impassioned delivery informed nearly all African American music.
Nat King Cole emerged in the late 1930s as an elegant piano stylist and leader of his influential working trio. But his greatest fame began when he took up a microphone to sing, and soon became a consummate and world-renowned entertainer.
Hoagy Carmichael's early music, including the 1927 melody to "Stardust," was heavily influenced by jazz, including the work of his friend and collaborator Bix Beiderbecke.
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With a laid-back, familiar style, the composer, pianist and singer created popular hits for decades — and logged numerous entries into the great American songbook. When asked about his tuneful gift, he credited his early roots in jazz.
Unlike the vast majority of jazz musicians, the pianist and composer was blessed with both talent and commercial success. His blend of experimental and lyrical approaches made him one of the biggest draws of his day — and ever since.
During a career more than five decades long, "Spoon" brought a strong dose of blues to many of the jazz world's finest bands. With his full, powerful baritone delivery, he was one of the best of the "blues shouters."
The pianist was well-known for his flamboyant behavior, ever-present cigar, and trademark derby hat. But in front of the keys, he was also a leading purveyor of the ragtime-based style called Harlem Stride.