The cemetery’s administration office is currently closed. Due to the weather conditions, the cemetery’s grounds are closed to the general public for walking and sightseeing. The cemetery’s grounds are open to vehicular traffic for visitation of loved ones, however, please be aware that conditions might not be suitable for visitors to walk to the gravesite, and visitors will have to make that determination when they arrive. Pedestrians coming to visit loved ones may be escorted by our security personnel, to the gravesite, but there is no guarantee that the security personnel will be able to find the location due to conditions at the gravesite.
Jazz Musicians | The Woodlawn Cemetery | Bronx, NYC, Westchester County
Notable People Jazz Musicians admin
A “Free Jazz” violinist, William Vincent Walker was raised in the Bronx. His talent for music was recognized at an early age and he was placed in a special school for musicians. Drafted into the Army, Bang was sent to Vietnam, a traumatic experience that greatly influenced his music. He was a member of Sun Ra’s band and was a founding member of the String Trio of New York.
An innovative saxophonist credited for his leading role in the “Free Jazz” movement of the 1960’s, Coleman was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2007. In his early years, he was known for playing a plastic alto sax that produced a unique sound pushing the traditions of the music. Recognized as an innovative force, Coleman was awarded a NEH Jazz Master Fellowship and was also a MacArthur Foundation fellow.
An innovator in hard bop and fusion, Davis came to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1959, he released the studio album Kind Of Blue, one of the greatest jazz recordings of all time.
Often considered “America’s greatest composer,” Ellington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969. His career spanned more than fifty years, and included illustrious compositions such as “Satin Doll,” “Mood Indigo,” and “Solitude.”
The “Father of the Blues” was born in Florence, Alabama, and rose to fame when his songs were published and played across America. His signature song, “St. Louis Blues,” is inscribed on his grave. He is also known for writing “Beale Street Blues” and “Memphis Blues.”
Credited as the jazz pioneer that turned a comic tenor saxophone into a romantic horn, Hawkins played with the Fletcher Henderson orchestra when he first came to New York. The Missouri native is best remembered for his classic 1939 recording “Body and Soul.”
Jacquet created an entirely new style and sound for the tenor saxophone in the early 1940’s, elevating the instrument to a colorful and pre-eminent role in the world of jazz music. In 1942, at the age of nineteen, Jacquet was catapulted to immediate international fame with his classic solo on the very first recording of his career, “Flying Home.”
Jackson was one of the co-founders of the famous Modern Jazz Quartet, whose popularity he attributed to “an uncanny ability to take classical music and improvise on it, integrating it with jazz and pop.”
On top of the Hillcrest Plot at Woodlawn Cemetery, the newly developed area of the cemetery containing a portion of the Jazz Corner, there is a striking memorial to Frankie Manning, the swing dancer known as the “Ambassador of the Lindy Hop.”
Born in New York, alto saxophone player McLean started out at a young age with many of the jazz greats including Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. He was recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts and was the founder of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford.
The leader of King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band served as a mentor to Louis Armstrong and is credited with giving the young musician his first coronet. A New Orleans native, Oliver recorded duets with pianist Jelly Roll Morton and is considered one of early pioneers of jazz music.
Drummer, percussionist and composer, Roach was considered one of the most important influencers on jazz. He performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Clifford Brown. Roach was an activist in the civil rights movement.
Raised in Washington, DC, Whetsel (Whetsol) came to New York with Duke Ellington and played with his orchestra in New York at the Kentucky Club and Cotton Club. He left the band to study medicine at Howard University, but returned to play with Ellington when he was on vacation from school.
This innovative drummer came to New York from Washington, DC with his friend “Duke” Ellington at the age of nineteen. He played with the Duke Ellington orchestra for thirty years; in his autobiography Ellington wrote, “He was not the world’s best reader of music, he was the world’s best percussionist reactor.” Greer was known for his experimental use of cymbals, bells and chimes.
Considered one of the great jazz trumpet players, Williams was known for his “growling, muted horn”, and played primarily with the Duke Ellington orchestra. When he came to New York he started out with the Chick Webb orchestra, then he took a job with Ellington. He moved on to the Benny Goodwin orchestra and was with that band at the time of the historic Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. Williams wrote the jazz classic Round Midnight with Thelonious Monk.
For a decade, Terry was known as a trumpeter with the Tonight Show band. He gained his wealth of experience playing with Count Basie and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Clark Terry performed on over 900 recordings, considered one of the most recorded trumpet players of all time. He was a well respected educator; he received the NEH Jazz Masters Award and a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2010.
The Baltimore native played piano with big bands, smaller groups and several jazz greats including: Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Chu Berry, Roy Eldridge and Lester Young. A few months before his death from tuberculosis, Hart recorded under his own name including the first studio appearance of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
Born in Philadelphia, Wilder was classically trained and turned to jazz where there were more opportunities. He served in the Marines in World War II. Wilder played with Jimmy Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. Wilder played trumpet on several movie scores, accompanied vocalist Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis. He was awarded the NEH Jazz Masters award in 2008.
With a career that spanned several decades, Jonah Jones played with some of the most famous jazz bands and sold millions of records with his version of “On the Street Where you Live”, and Baubles, Bangles and Beads”. He played with some of the earliest bands including McKinney’s Cottonpickers and went on to work with Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson. He performed with Cab Calloway for over a decade. In the fifties he had a regular engagement at the Embers club and in 1959 he won a Grammy the album “I Dig Chicks”.
The longtime bass player for Bobby Short, grew up in Hamilton Heights. In 1937 he joined the Chick Webb Orchestra and played bass behind Ella Fitzgerald on all her early hits. Later he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne and also played with the symphony at Radio City Music Hall.