This Day In Music: February 29
February 28 ~ Birthdays/All ~ March 1
February 29, 2020 ~ Jazz, classical clarinetist, composer Bill Smith, full name William Overton Smith, passed away ~ Leader and sideman. Best known for his association with Dave Brubeck. Also worked with Milton Babbitt, Anthony Braxton, Tom Collier, the Deep Listening Band, Barney Kessel, Gail Kubik, Shelly Manne, Red Norvo, and Pauline Oliveros ~ Smith was born in 1926
February 29, 2012 ~ Pop singer, actor Davy Jones, full name David Thomas Jones, passed away in Indian Town, Florida, USA ~ Rose to fame as a member of 1960s teen idol group the Monkees and its accompanying TV show of the same name. The band recorded over half a dozen albums through the 1970s, including the acclaimed Headquarters and Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd. Jones sang lead on many of the band's best known including I Wanna Be Free and the Billboard Hot 100 No.1 hit Daydream Believer. Following the band's disbandement in 1970, Jones has recorded as a solo artist, reunited with the Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz in Dolenz Jones Byoce & Hart, and has acted for TV and stage productions ~ Jones was born in 1945
February 29, 2000 ~ Jazz saxophonist, bandleader Hidehiko Matsumoto passed away in Tokyo, Japan ~ Bebop saxophonist active since the late-1940s. Leader and sideman. Member of CB Nine, the Six José's, and of the Big Four which also included George Kawaguchi, Hachidai Nakamura, and Mitsuru Ono. Has also collaborated with Hideo Shiraki, Gerald Wilson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Takeshi Inomata, Akira Miyazawa, George Otsuka, and Isao Suzuki ~ Matsumoto was born in 1926
February 29, 1980 ~ Emo, indie rock, punk rock, power pop singer, guitarist, bassist Chris Conley born in Princeton, New Jersey, USA ~ Influenced by the Smiths, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, the Archers of Loaf, and others. Lead singer, rhythm guitarist, co-founding and sole constant member of Saves The Day, best known for their 2003 In Reverie album. Has also recorded as a solo artist and was a member of the collaborative project Two Tongues
February 29, 1976 ~ Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, commonly known as rapper Ja Rule, born in New York, New York, USA ~ Has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Most successful during the early 2000s, especially known for his first three albums Venni Vetti Vecci, Rule 3:36 and Pain Is Love, all of which would receive Platinum certifacation. Both as a solo artist and as an in-demand collaborator would regularly reach the higher ends of the charts with songs such Holla Holla, Between Me And You featuring Christina Milian, Ain't It Funny with Jennifer Lopez, and the Grammy Award-nominated Always On Time featuring frequent collaborator Ashanti
February 29, 1972 ~ Extreme metal drummer Nir Nakav born in Jaffra, Israel ~ Joined extreme metal band Salem in 1998, a band considered pioneers of the oriental metal movement and the Israeli heavy metal scene in general. Notably present on the band's 2002 Collective Demise concept album, regarded as one of their finest
February 29, 1972 ~ Rapper, singer, songwriter, slam poet, writer, actor Saul Williams born in Newburgh, New York, USA ~ Best known as a poet and actor, including lead roles in the 1998 indie film Suam and the 2013 jukebox film Holler If You Hear Me featuring Tupac Shakur's music. Williams has also ventured into music, mostly experimental hip-hop and spoken word. He has performed with artists such as Nas, the Fugees, Christian Alvarez, Blackalicious, Erykah Badu, KRS One, Zack de la Rocha, De La Soul, Buckethead, Krust, and others. Williams released a number of EPs in the late 1990s, leading to a full-length debut LP by 2001, Amethyst Rock Star produced by Rick Rubin, and has continued to record as a rapper since
February 29, 1964 ~ Drummer Martin France born in Rainham, UK ~ Worked with Eivind Sarset, Arild Andersen, Victor Bailey, Django Bates, David Binney, Liane Carroll, Elvis Costello, Palle Danielsson, Johnny Dankworth, Sidsel Endresen, Paul Englishby, Mark Feldman, Mike Gibbs, Arve Henriksen, Charles Hazlewood, Dave Holland, Marc Johnson, John Paul Johnson, Anders Jormin, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Joanna MacGregor, Charlie Mariano, Claire Martin, Bob Mintzer, Nils Petter Molvær, Evan Parker, Jason Rebello, Adam Rogers, Maria Schneider, Gwilym Simcock, J Peter Schwalm, John Surman, Steve Swallow, June Tabor, Ralph Towner, Stephen Warbeck, Bugge Wesseltoft, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, and others
February 29, 1956 ~ Bluegrass mandolinist Mike Compton born in Meridian, Mississippi, USA ~ Mentored by Bill Monroe. Member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Has worked with bluegrass and country artists such as John Hartford, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan, Ralph Stanley, David Grisman, and with pop and rockstars such as Sting, Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello
February 29, 1952 ~ Free jazz, improv saxophonist Harri Sjöström born in Turku, Finland ~ Leader and sideman. Best known for bringing international collaborators onto the Finnisch free jazz, improvisation scene. Closely associated with Cecil Taylor. Founded the Quintet Moderne, co-founded the Player Is with Teppo Hauta-aho and Philipp Wachsmann. Has also worked with Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, Tristan Honsinger, and others
February 29, 1948 ~ Rock, pop rock, soft rock, glam metal singer, violinist, mandolinist Henry Small, full name Henry Cave Small, born in Beacon, New York, USA ~ Member of Scrubbaloe Caine, member of Small Wonder. Enjoyed his greatest success as member of Prism in the early 1980s, notably with the 1981 Small Change which spawned the Billboard Hot 100 top 40 single Don't Let Him Know penned by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. Guested on the Who-bassist John Entwistle's The Rock album released in 1996. Has alaso worked with Eddie Money, Doug Cox, Richie Zito, and others. Small released his solo debut album, Time, in 2002
February 29, 1948 ~ Jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger Richie Cole born in Trenton, New Jersey, USA ~ Active from the late 1960s onwards. Worked with Buddy Rich, Doc Severinsen, Eddie Jefferson, Nancy Wilson, Tom Waits, the Manhattan Transfer, Hank Crawford, Freddie Hubbard, Eric Kloss, Bobby Enriquez, Phil Woods, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Boots Randolph, Oliver Nelson, Anita O'Day, Red Rodney, Janine Santana, and others
February 29, 1944 ~ Producer David Briggs born in Douglas, Wyoming, USA ~ Best known for his longtime association with Neil Young and Crazy Horse, producing or co-producing quintessential Young albums including Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold Rush. Has also worked with Murray Roman, Lost And Found, Alice Cooper (Easy Action), Tom Rush, Spirit, Grin (Grin, 1+1) as well as Nils Lofgren solo (Nils Lofgren, Cry Tough), Kathi McDonald, Nick Cave (Henry's Dream), and others ~ Briggs passed away in 1995
February 29, 1944 ~ Hard rock keyboardist, bassist, guitarist, singer Geoff Nicholls, full name Geoffrey James Nicholls, born in Birmingham, UK ~ Best known as member of Black Sabbath from 1979 through 2004, first appearing on the 1980 Heaven & Hell album. Has also worked with the Boll Weevils, the Seed, Johnny Neal & the Starliners, Quartz and the World Of Oz ~ Nicholls passed away in 2017
February 29, 1940 ~ Singer, songwriter Gretchen Christopher born in Olympia, Washington, USA ~ Formed the Fleetwoods with Barbara Ellis and Gary Troxel. The band was discovered by Dolton Records-producer Bob Reisdorff and would score a number of late 1950s, early 1960s hits. Their debut single Come Softly To Me, Mr Blue and their remake of Thomas Wayne's Tragedy all reached top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100
February 29, 1932 ~ Singer Bing Crosby, backed by vocal quartet the Mills Brothers, records Shine ~ Previously recorded by Aida Overton Walker, the California Ramblers, and Louis Armstrong. Originally published in 1910. Written by Cecil Mack, Lew Brown and Ford Dabney. Crosby's version would feature a studio orchestra conducted by Victor Young and reach the top 10 in 1932
February 29, 1920 ~ Composer, musicologist Marcel Frémiot born in Paris, France ~ Prolific author, writing over 100 books on instrumental, electroacoustic, vocal, choral and film music. Artistic director of several record companies. Professor of the first class of electroacoustic music at the Marseille Conservatory ~ Frémiot passed away in 2018
February 29, 1916 ~ Fannye Rose Shore, commonly known as singer Dinah Shore, born in Winchester, Tennessee, USA ~ Early on in her career, Shore auditioned for by Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey, but would be rejected by all. However, Shore would go on to become the first female solo artist of her era to achieve major chart success scoring numerous hits from the early 1940s through the late 1950s. Well known songs include Yes My Darling Daughter, Jim, Blues In The Night, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, The Gypsy, The Anniversary Song, I Wish I Didn't Love You So, and Dear Hearts And Gentle People ~ Shore passed away in 1994
February 29, 1904 ~ James Francis Dorsey, commonly known as bandleader, saxophonist, clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey, born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Brother of Tommy Dorsey, with whom he also worked under the moniker the Dorsey Brothers. Best known for songs such as I'm Glad There Is You, Oodles Of Noodles and It's The Dreamer In Me. Played the clarinet solo on the seminal Singin' The Blues, recorded in 1927 by Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke. Scored about a dozen No.1 hits with his own orchestra during the 1930s and 1940s, including Pennies From Heaven featuring frequent collaborator Bing Crosby ~ Dorsey passed away in 1957
February 29, 1792 ~ Composer Gioachino Rossini born in Pesaro, Italy ~ Wrote some 40 operas, setting new standards for both comic and serious opera, as well as chamber music and piano pieces. Along with Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini one of the leading composers of the bel canto era. Best known for works such as Otello, L'Italiana In Algeri and most notably The Barber Of Seville ~ Rossini passed away in 1868