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Happy 101st Birthday, Ivy Benson

Jazz Age Music reports that Ivy Benson was born on this day in 1913. Here is what the site says about her:

Ivy Benson was born in 1913, in Holbeck, a suburb of Leeds, West Yorkshire. She was a very accomplished musician on electric organ, piano, saxophone and clarinet, and led a renowned all girls band for over 40 years. The interest in music came from her father, who played various instruments in the Leeds Symphony Orchestra and other smaller ensembles as diverse as theatre pit bands and a musical comedy group “The Ten Loonies”.

I don’t know much about Benson, but it seems pretty obvious that a woman in that age who became a virtuoso saxophone player and led an all-woman band was a ground breaker.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.