Billie Holiday(Lady Day) (1915-1959)
During the 1950’s Billie Holiday rose as a social phenomenon. Born Eleanora Fagan grew up in Baltimore. As a teenager she began singing in jazz clubs. At the age of 18 Billie was spotted by John Hammond and received her first record as part of a studio group led by Benny Goodman. She made big hits including “What a Little Moonlight can do” and “Miss Brown to You.” Holiday began working with Lester Young in 1936, who gave her the nick name “Lady Day”. She was one of the first black women to work with a white orchestra. A musical legend Billie Holiday died at the age of 44. She pionerrerd a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She cowrote a few songs that became jazz standards. "God Bless the Child," "Don't Explain," "Fine and Mellow," and "lady Sings the Blues."
Chick Webb (1905-1939)
Born William Henry Webb, know as Chick Webb was and American jazz ad swing music drummer. Born in Baltimore, he suffered from tuberculosis of the spine. He worked as a newspaper boy to save enough money to buy drums and he first played professionally at age 11. At the age of 17 he move to New York City and began leading his own band in Harlem. His band became the house band at the Savoy Ballroom. He became one of the best-regarded band leader and drummers of the new “Swing” style. Drumming legend Buddy Rich cited Webb’s technique and performances as heavily influential on his own drumming and referred to Webb as “the daddy of them all.” At the Savory in “Battle of the Bands” Chicks often won and was deemed “King of Swing.”
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
One of the most famous musicians of the Harlem Renaissance was Louis Armstrong. Having come from a poor family in New Orleans, Armstrong began to perform with bands in small clubs, and play at funerals and parades around town in New Orleans. He wasn't a small band man for long, though. Louis Armstrong was invited in 1922 to move to Chicago, to play the second cornet in a Creole Jazz Band. However, just two years later, Armstrong moved to New York City, and began playing his music with the FLetcher Henderson Orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom. In 1929, he made his first appearance on the Broadway stage. In his recording of Ain't Misbehavin, he used a pop song, however, interpreted it through jazz. This helped to set the stage for the acceptance of jazz music in the future. In 1942, he married a dancer from the Cotton Club, where his band had performed many times. All throughout the 1950's and 60's, Armstrong appeared in films and made many international tours. Louis Armstrong is one of the most appreciated jazz artists of the Harlem Renaissance, and of all times. People learned to appreciate both jazz, and African American music even more, because of this man. Armstrong played music up until the day he died at 70 years old, on July 6, 1971.