On this day in 1728, the Swiss mathematician Johann Heinrich Lambert was born. He proved that Pi was an irrational number. Joseph-Michel, the older of the Montgolfier Brothers was born in 1740. They invented the hot air balloon. The “Father of Modern Chemistry” Antoine Lavoisier was born in 1743. Playwright Zona Gale was born in 1874. The great painter Rufino Tamayo was born in 1899. It is hard to describe his style, but his work reminds me of Paul Klee—only better.
Novelist Christopher Isherwood was born in 1904. Mother Teresa was born in 1910. Cartoonist Brant Parker was born in 1920. He created and drew The Wizard of Id—which wasn’t bad. Film director Pyotr Todorovsky was born in 1925. Jazz musician Peter Appleyard was born in 1928 and only died last month. Here he is doing “Tangerine” (it’s really good):
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis is 53. I remember hearing that when Jay Leno first asked him to be the house band for the Tonight Show, Marsalis turned him down. When he told the band about it, they made him go back and take the offer. I can see how this was. Marsalis was the star of the show; for him, the touring was probably nice. But the guys in the band liked the idea of a good paying gig where they could go home every night. Anyway, Marsalis didn’t last long. I don’t think he liked Leno much. I can’t blame him.
The day, however, belongs to the great singer and guitarist Leon Redbone who is 64 today. Look, I don’t have any particular reason for giving the day to him. I just really like his work. His voice is great, but mostly I like the old songs that he sings. Here he is doing “Lazy River” and “Mr. Jelly Roll Baker”:
Happy birthday Leon Redbone!