Famous American Jazz Musicians

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 1 
Louis Armstrong
(American Writer & Professor of Biochemistry Best Known for His Hard Science Fiction Novels)
Louis Armstrong
4
Birthdate: August 4, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 6, 1971

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter and singer who played an important role in the development of jazz. Thanks to his playing, trumpet became known as a solo instrument and jazz, which was previously known as a collectively improvised folk music, became a soloist's art form. Not surprisingly, Louis Armstrong is widely accepted as the embodiment of jazz. 

 2 
Miles Davis
(Trumpeter and one of the Most Prominent Figures in the History of Jazz)
Miles Davis
5
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 
 3 
Nat King Cole
(Singer and Jazz Pianist Best Known His Soft Baritone Voice)
Nat King Cole
5
Birthdate: March 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: February 15, 1965
Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African-American to host his own show.
 4 
John Coltrane
(One of the Most Influential Saxophonists in Music History)
John Coltrane
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: HaHamlet, North Carolina, United States
Died: July 17, 1967
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is remembered for his significant influence on modern jazz. He was initially part of the Navy band and eventually collaborated with musicians such as Miles Davis. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was canonized by the African Orthodox Church.
 5 
Chaka Khan
(Singer)
Chaka Khan
6
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.
 6 
Bobby Darin
(Pop vocalist who released the hits "Mack the Knife," "Dream Lover," and "Beyond the Sea.")
Bobby Darin
4
Birthdate: May 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 20, 1973
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 7 
Charlie Parker
(Jazz Saxophonist & Developer of the 'Bebop' Style of Jazz)
Charlie Parker
4
Birthdate: August 29, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Died: March 12, 1955

Charlie Parker was an American composer and jazz saxophonist. A highly influential soloist, Parker played a significant role in the development of a form of jazz called bebop. He is also credited with introducing harmonic ideas into jazz, such as chord substitutions and rapid passing chords. His contribution to jazz and bebop made him an icon of the hipster subculture.

 8 
Chet Baker
(Trumpeter and Vocalist Known for Major Innovations in 'Cool Jazz')
Chet Baker
4
Birthdate: December 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yale, Oklahoma, United States
Died: May 13, 1988

Chet Baker was an American vocalist and jazz trumpeter. He achieved recognition during the 1950s and his innovations within cool jazz, a style of modern jazz music, earned him the nickname prince of cool. However, his drug addiction overshadowed much of his professional achievements. His life and work inspired the 2015 drama film Born to Be Blue.

 9 
Jon Batiste
(Musician)
Jon Batiste
4
Birthdate: November 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kenner, Louisiana, United States
 10 
Herbie Hancock
(Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer)
Herbie Hancock
4
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago
 11 
Herb Alpert
(Trumpeter and Co-Founder of the American Record Label 'A&M Records')
Herb Alpert
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Herb Alpert is an American trumpeter who achieved popularity in the 1960s when he led the band Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. He is also credited with co-founding A&M Records. Also a well-known philanthropist, Alpert launched the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980s in an attempt to deal with environmental issues and support youth and arts education.
 12 
Buddy Rich
(Musician)
Buddy Rich
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died: April 2, 1987
 13 
Thelonious Monk
(Jazz Pianist & Composer)
Thelonious Monk
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
Died: February 17, 1982

Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer who was noted for his unorthodox approach and idiosyncrasy during his performance. Mentored by Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk contributed to bebop and was associated with Columbia and Riverside labels. His run-in with the police affected his performance after his New York City Cabaret Card was confiscated following the discovery of narcotics in a car.

 14 
Rita Coolidge
(Musician)
Rita Coolidge
5
Birthdate: May 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lafayette, Tennessee, United States
 15 
Chick Corea
(Jazz musician, Composer)
Chick Corea
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 9, 2021
 16 
Eva Cassidy
(Singer, Guitarist)
Eva Cassidy
4
Birthdate: February 2, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oxon Hill, Maryland, United States
Died: November 2, 1996
 17 
Donald Fagen
(Singer-songwriter, Singer, Pianist)
Donald Fagen
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Passaic, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 18 
Jaco Pastorius
(Musician)
Jaco Pastorius
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 21, 1987
 19 
Peggy Lee
(Singer)
Peggy Lee
4
Birthdate: May 26, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: January 21, 2002
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 20 
Dizzy Gillespie
(One of the Greatest Jazz Trumpeters of All Time)
Dizzy Gillespie
4
Birthdate: October 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States
Died: January 6, 1993

Jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and singer Dizzy Gillespie developed the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge, modifying it with innovative harmony and rhythm. He popularized the bebop style of music and was famous for his signature horn-rimmed spectacles. His contribution to modern jazz earned him the title of the Ambassador of Jazz.

 21 
George Benson
(Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, Jazz musician, Composer, Jazz guitarist)
George Benson
4
Birthdate: March 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
 22 
Walter Becker
(American Musician, Songwriter and Record Producer)
Walter Becker
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: July 3, 2017
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 23 
Jeff Porcaro
(Former Drummer best known for his work with the rock band Toto, but is one of the most recorded session musicians, working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions)
Jeff Porcaro
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: August 5, 1992
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 24 
Al Jarreau
(Musician)
Al Jarreau
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 12, 2017
 25 
Scatman John
(Musician, Singer)
Scatman John
4
Birthdate: March 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Monte, California, United States
Died: December 3, 1999
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 26 
Ralph Tresvant
(Singer)
Ralph Tresvant
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Roxbury
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 27 
Charles Mingus
(One of The Greatest Jazz Musicians & Composers in History)
Charles Mingus
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogales, Arizona, United States
Died: January 5, 1979
Jazz double bassist and pianist Charles Mingus is remembered for his stints with artists such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock, and was named to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. His scores and recordings are preserved in the Library of Congress.
 28 
Benny Goodman
(Bandleader and clarinetist)
Benny Goodman
4
Birthdate: May 30, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: June 13, 1986
 29 
Thundercat
(Musician)
Thundercat
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 30 
Mel Tormé
(Actor, Singer, Composer, Novelist, Songwriter, Autobiographer, Jazz musician, Television actor, Writer)
Mel Tormé
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: June 5, 1999
 31 
Louis Prima
(Singer-songwriter)
Louis Prima
5
Birthdate: December 7, 1910
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: August 24, 1978
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 32 
Henry Mancini
(Composer Best Known for His Soudtrack for the 'Peter Gunn' TV Series & 'The Pink Panther' Film Series)
Henry Mancini
5
Birthdate: April 16, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Little Italy, Ohio, United States
Died: June 14, 1994
 33 
Jonathan Cain
(Musician Best Known as the Keyboardist and Rhythm Guitarist for the Rock Band ‘Journey')
Jonathan Cain
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jonathan Cain is a singer-songwriter and musician. He is a keyboardist for the rock band Journey. Interested in music from a young age, he attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He began his professional music career in the mid-1970s and played with numerous bands before joining Journey. He is also a solo artist and owns a recording studio. 

 34 
Wendy Carlos
(Musician)
Wendy Carlos
4
Birthdate: November 14, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA
 35 
Chet Atkins
(Guitarist, Jazz musician, Record producer, Jazz guitarist, Classical guitarist, Songwriter)
Chet Atkins
5
Birthdate: June 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Luttrell
Died: June 30, 2001
 36 
Wynton Marsalis
(Trumpeter)
Wynton Marsalis
5
Birthdate: October 18, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
 37 
Chuck Mangione
(Composers)
Chuck Mangione
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, USA
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 38 
Kyle Eastwood
(Actor, Composer, Jazz musician, Music arranger, Jazz guitarist, Film score composer)
Kyle Eastwood
5
Birthdate: May 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 39 
Sarah Vaughan
(Singer)
Sarah Vaughan
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 3, 1990
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 40 
Esperanza Spalding
(Music educator, Jazz musician, Singer)
Esperanza Spalding
4
Birthdate: October 18, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Portland
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 41 
Doc Severinsen
(Musician)
Doc Severinsen
3
Birthdate: July 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arlington, Oregon, USA
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 42 
Danny Carey
(Drummer, Jazz musician)
Danny Carey
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lawrence
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 43 
John Densmore
(Musician)
John Densmore
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 44 
Billie Holiday
(One of the Greatest Jazz Singers from the 1930s to the 1950s)
Billie Holiday
6
Birthdate: April 7, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 17, 1959
Jazz legend Billie Holiday had a tumultuous childhood and ended up in prison due to prostitution. Upon her release, at 14, she started singing using her pseudonym and performed at sold-out Carnegie Hall shows. Nicknamed Lady Day, she was riddled with alcohol and drug issues. She won four posthumous Grammys.
 45 
Tito Puente
(actor, bandleader, conductor, composer, jazz musician, percussionist)
Tito Puente
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 1, 2000
 46 
Keith Jarrett
(Pianist, Composer, Jazz musician, Saxophonist, Songwriter, Musician)
Keith Jarrett
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Allentown
 47 
Bobby Caldwell
(Singer-songwriter, Composer, Jazz musician)
Bobby Caldwell
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
 48 
John L. Nelson
(Musician)
John L. Nelson
4
Birthdate: June 29, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Louisiana, USA
Died: August 25, 2001
 49 
Montell Jordan
(Singer, Singer-songwriter, Record producer)
Montell Jordan
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Height: 6'8" (203 cm)
 50 
Stanley Getz
(Jazz Saxophonist)
Stanley Getz
3
Birthdate: February 2, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 6, 1991