In the spring of 1945, as World War II finally began to draw to a close, Duke Ellington began “Your Saturday Date With the Duke,” a series of weekly broadcasts sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department to promote the sale of war bonds. The sets featured classics from the Ellington songbook, pop hits of the day, obscure Ellington/Strayhorn compositions rarely or never recorded by the band, and pitches from Ellington and MCs to buy war bonds, along with occasional news bulletin interruptions. Ellington’s 1945 band, removed only a couple of years from the celebrated Blanton-Webster era…
Trumpeter Sonny Berman died at the age of 21 in 1947, leaving behind only a few brilliant solos, most of them recorded with Woody Herman's big band.
Carter wrote jazz standards, mastered two instruments, opened doors for black composers in Hollywood, and served as a mentor to many young jazz musicians.
Compilations are usually anathema to jazz aficionados, but Allen Lowe's Devilin' Tune project offers a highly compelling tour of music history.
"Betty Roche was an unforgettable singer," Duke Ellington wrote of his former vocalist in 1973. "She never sounded like anybody but Betty Roche."
"Full Nelson" looks at the 1960s studio big-band recordings of saxophonist, arranger, and composer Oliver Nelson.
As the swing era gave way to new and challenging sounds, a generation of bandleaders was forced to take notice.
The Sweethearts were a racially-integrated, all-female, and all-swing big band, taking their pathbreaking act on the road during World War II.
Trumpeter Freddie Webster, who influenced both Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, is one of the great lost-legend stories of jazz.