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8 Musicians That Have Me Jazzed Up

I am jazzed up because today is national jazz day! Jazz has roots in blues and ragtime, and is originated in the African American communities. Not only have there been jazz artists that have taken the world by storm, but even non jazz artists have been inspired and have added some of the rhythmic melodies to their songs. In honor of national jazz day, I’m sharing eight musicians that have me jazzed up!

Miles Davis

  • Davis was an American trumpeter, a bandleader, and a composer
  • He left his mark as one of the most influential figures in jazz history.
  • He played with jazz bands until he studied at the Institute of Musical Art (now called Julliard) but skipped many classes
  • He was a leading figure in the bebop style of jazz
  • Some of his albums include: Kind of Blue, In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Birth Of The Cool

Nina Simone

  • She was an American singer, song writer, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist
  • She was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon and developed the name Nina Simone over time
  • She sang songs of love, protest, and black empowerment
  • Being angered by American racism, she left the US and lived in Barbados and Europe.
  • Some of her albums include I Put A Spell On You, Baltimore, Little Girl Blue, and Wild Is The Wind.

Bessie Smith

  • Born as Elizabeth Smith, she was known as the Empress of the blues
  • She made her first recordings in 1923 where she sold more than 2 million copies
  • The subjects that her songs hit on included poverty and oppression, and stoic acceptance of defeat at the hands of an indifferent world
  • She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Some of her albums include The Blue Biography, Bessie Smith Album, Empress Of The Blues, and Empress Of The Blues Vol 2

Thelonious Monk

  • American pianist and composer
  • He was among the first creators of modern jazz
  • His music was known for its humorous quality
  • Some of his albums include Brilliant Corners, Underground, Solo Monk, and Straight No Chaser.

Billie Holiday

  • She was an American jazz and swing music singer
  • She was given the name Lady Day by saxophonist Lester young
  • Breaking new ground, she became one of the first female African American vocalists to work with a white orchestra
  • Holiday was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • some of her albums include Lady In Satin, Billie Holiday Sings, All Or Nothing At All, and Body And Soul

Ray Charles

  • Often call “The Father of Soul” and preferred being called “Brother Ray” amongst friends and other musicians
  • He was a blind American musician that was best known for pioneering the soul music genre
  • He combined blues, gospel, and jazz to create groundbreaking hits
  • Some of his albums include Genius Loves Company, Hallelujah I Love Her So, The Genius Hits The Road, and Friendship

Duke Ellington

  • Wrote his first song called “Soda Fountain Rag” while working a job selling soda
  • He was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1999 in recognition of his musical genius
  • Ellington’s career spanned more than half a century where he wrote thousands of songs
  • He had a blend of melodies, rhythms, and movements that gave a new experience
  • Some of his albums include Ellington At Newport, The Popular Duke Ellington, Ellington Uptown, and Ellington Indigos

Ella Fitzgerald

  • She made her stage debut at the Apollo Theater in 1934 at age 17
  • Fitzgerald became the first African American woman to win a Grammy in 1958 where she won two awards for Best Jazz Performance and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
  • Her last performance was in Carnegie Hall, which was her 26th performance at the venue
  • Some of her albums include Ella and Louis, Sunshine Of Your Life, Ella Fitzgerald And Billie Holiday At Newport, and Like Someone In Love

These jazz musicians left their mark and are inspirations for current jazz and non-jazz musicians. The impacts of jazz will forever live on and should be appreciated not just today, but every day.

Who is your favorite jazz artist? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Jazz is one of my favorite genres and Ella Fitzgerald is definitely my favorite with Ray Charles being next in line. Thank you for sharing these facts!

    • Yes! They’re so amazing! I’m glad that you liked the post. Thanks for reading and commenting ♥

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