Sauter's innovative and challenging arrangements gave the big-band sound an artistic sophistication that anticipated the rise of the Third Stream.
Long before the rise of the black-pride movement in the 1960s, Ellington was writing music that celebrated African-American culture, personalities, and history.
Liston was a trailblazer for women in 20th century jazz, a master trombonist and arranger who forged partnerships with some of the music's most key figures.
We think of Charlie Parker as a small-group bebop saxophonist, but he came out of the swing era. What did he sound like in a big-band setting?
Pearson's ensemble was part of a late-1960s big-band renaissance in New York City.
"He writes the unexpected," Mel Lewis once said of his orchestral co-leader Thad Jones.
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.
In the 1940s Woody Herman led three big bands that grew progressively in musicianship and excitement.
The swing era may have been the age of the big bands, but bandleaders often found it worth their while to break small groups out of their larger orchestras.
A hard-swinging big band paired with a jazz legend in the making.