Birdland was known as “the jazz corner of the world,” and from 1949 to 1965 it played host to some of the greatest names on the modern jazz scene.
More of the full-length Night Lights interview with historian Michael McGerr about extended jazz works that depict the history of black America.
Historian Michael McGerr discusses Ellington's musical portrayals of the African-American experience.
Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, John Carter, and Wynton Marsalis all undertook a weighty artistic task--to represent the history of African-Americans in music.
Night Lights will begin airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. CST on Chicago's primary jazz station.
At the end of the 1930s jazz impresario John Hammond organized two concerts that showcased African-American music in a prestigious New York City concert hall.
It was a year of raised hopes and devastating tragedy, and the world of jazz continued to reflect both the growing unease and the youthful vitality of the times
Long a troubled star in the mid-20th century jazz world, at the end of his life saxophonist Stan Getz found peace and made some of his finest recordings.
What's the music you hear each week at the beginning and end of "Night Lights"?
Trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Wayne Shorter were two of the leading lights of the 1960s hardbop era.