Rulers of Jazz

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12" Wooden Ruler made in U.S.A. of American-grown basswood. The dates listed are the artist’s birth and death years. We also list the instrument that the player was best known for. Having said that, many jazz performers were competent on more than one instrument, and many of them also wrote music. Duke Ellington (1899-1974), listed as a pianist, was one of jazz music’s greatest composers. Chet Baker (1929-1988) was known as a trumpet player, but he also sang wonderfully well. Count Basie (1904-1984) and Benny Goodman (1909-1986), beside being instrumentalists, were brilliant bandleaders.

Just because we have focused mostly on early jazz players doesn’t mean we don’t recognize that there are some terrific younger players and composers working today. Jazz lives!

The “head” image is of New Orleans’ favorite son Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong (1901-1971), a virtuoso trumpet and cornet player with a sophisticated improvisation technique and a gravelly voice. The illustration was influenced by the many photographs made of Armstrong by his friend Jack Bradley, which can be seen in the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York.

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