Herman “Junior” Cook was born on July 22, 1934 in Pensacola, Florida. After playing with Dizzy Gillespie in 1958, Cook gained some fame for his longtime membership in the Horace Silver Quintet until 1964. He went on to play with band mate Blue Mitchell until ’69.
Through his association with Mitchell he would play alongside Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, George Coleman, Louis Hayes, Bill Hardman, McCoy Tyner, Bertha Hope and Horace Silver to name a few. In addition to many appearances as a sideman in which he contributed his talents on more than three-dozen sessions, Cook recorded as a leader for Jazzland, Affinity, Catalyst, Muse, and Steeplechase.
As an educator, he taught at Berklee School of Music during the 1970s and by the early 1990s he was playing with Clifford Jordan and also leading his own group. Junior Cook, the tenor saxophonist who played in the hard bop style, died in his New York City apartment on February 3, 1992.
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Plas John Johnson Jr. was born on July 21, 1931 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Along with his pianist brother Ray, he first recorded as the Johnson Brothers in New Orleans in the late 1940s. He then toured with R&B singer Charles Brown and after military service moved to Los Angeles and began session recordings as a full-time musician. There he backed artists such as B. B. King and Johnny Otis as well as scores of other R&B performers.
An early supporter was Maxwell Davis, who hired him to take over his own parts so that he could concentrate on producing sessions for the Modern record label. Recruited by Capitol Records in the mid-1950s, Johnson also played on innumerable records by Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others.
For the next twenty years Plas remained a leading session player averaging two sessions a day and playing everything from movie soundtracks to rock and roll singles, by such artists as Ricky Nelson, Bobby Vee, the Beach Boys and a number of instrumental groups.
By 1963, Johnson soloed for the television series The Odd Couple’s theme, recorded Ella Fitzgerald’s Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer Songbooks; and worked with Motown playing with the likes of Marvin Gaye and The Supremes.
In 1970, Johnson joined the studio band of the Merv Griffin Show while playing with a number of jazz and swing bands of the period. The soul-jazz and hard bop tenor saxophonist is probably most widely known for his solo on Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther Theme”. He continues to record and perform, particularly at jazz festivals.
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Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge: 1 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana / Telephone: 317-638-5588 Fax: 317-638-2977 / Contact: General Manager – Jeff Randolph.
When in Downtown Indy… Indulge Yourself In The Finer Things at Nicky Blaine’s featuring live jazz Monday through Thursday from 9:00p.m. to 1:00a.m. In addition, the lounge offers a world-class selection of wine, port, single malt scotches and vodkas. The menu features the most exquisite appetizers to compliment the great cocktail selection. You’ll dine and enjoy the jazz surrounded by luxurious appointments that include fine wood paneled walls, plush carpeting, comfortable sofas and wingback chairs.
Bill Dillard was born on July 20, 1911 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and started playing the trumpet at age 12. He established his early reputation on recording sessions with jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton and at the age of 18, Dillard went on to record with Spike Hughes, Henry “Red” Allen, Bill Coleman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie and Django Reinhardt.
He made his theater debut in “Carmen Jones” and sang in several other Broadway productions, including “Regina,” “Beggars Holiday,” “A Temporary Island” and “Lost in the Stars.” He also appeared on television as Joe the bartender in the soap opera “Love of Life,” and as the King of Babylon in “Green Pastures.”
Dillard was well known for his work with the big bands of Benny Carter, Luis Russell and Teddy Hill. He also had a prolific acting career on Broadway. The trumpeter and vocalist imported to Denmark the sounds of early 20th century New Orleans but it wasn’t until he was 79 that he released his only album as a solo improviser that released in 1991 with the Michael Boving’s Rhythmakers.
Swing jazz trumpeter, actor and vocalist passed away just four years later on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, January 16, 1995.
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When Did You Leave Heaven was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 from the movie Sing Baby Sing. Richard A. Whiting and Walter Bullock composed the music and lyrics. Alice Faye, Adolphe Menjou, Gregory Ratoff, Ted Healy, Patsy Kelly and Paul Stanton.
The Story: Singer Joan Warren is fired from her job at the Ritz Club and seeks help from theatrical agent, Nicky Alexander. Taking her to Mr. Brewster, president of the Federal Broadcasting Company, she auditions but does not get the job due to upper class snobbery. Back at the club packing her bags she is convinced to audition for drunken actor Bruce Farraday. Pictures taken, scandal ensues and a radio contract is offered to Warren if Farraday will perform with her. Tricking Brewster into believing it to be true they plan to broadcast from Kansas City but Farraday exonerates Warren and honestly secures the radio contract for her.