A new book examines the bandleader and composer's life in the historical context of his times.
Jazz writer Dan Morgenstern and historian Michael McGerr join us to talk Louis Armstrong and bebop, pop ballads, the Cold War and more.
Cafe Society was New York City's first integrated nightclub and a cultural flashpoint for artists, jazz musicians, intellectuals, and activists of the 1940s.
Oscar Peterson as singer, a new book of jazz album covers from the 1960s and 70s, and more.
Afterglow takes a look at satirical and political protest music of the 1930s and 40s, performed by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday and others.
Night Lights offers a jazz tribute to Juneteenth, the African-American holiday marking the end of slavery, with commentary from historian William Wiggins.
An article in the Sunday, November 9 New York Times about the history of African-American visitors to the White House came with a jazz twist at the end involving Sarah Vaughan. Vaughan performed at the White House in 1964 as part of a state dinner hosted by president Lyndon B. Johnson for the prime minister of Japan. In Leslie Gourse’s Vaughan biography pianist Bob James described the singer’s nervousness before her appearance in the East Room, an area with an intimacy that James compared to “working in a living room.”
Jazz vocalist Rene Marie recently sang the melody of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with lyrics from "the black national anthem."
(Note: an extended audio file version includes an interview with Ray Boomhower and clips of Robert Kennedy speaking during the 1968 campaign)
“Indiana can help choose a president.” Those words, which may have a surprising relevance this year, were used by Senator Robert Kennedy to open speeches when he launched his campaign for the presidency in Indiana. In his new book, Robert Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary, Ray Boomhower provides the inside stories of how the New York senator scored an unlikely victory in the heart of the Midwest.
Historian and Indiana University professor Michael McGerr is a man whose scholarly knowledge and personal enthusiasms are infectiously wedded. In Part 2 of this Night Lights interview, Michael talks about the influence of Duke Ellington’s ambitious Black, Brown and Beige suite and the civil-rights movement on later composers who undertook extended black musical histories as well. Michael is a guest on this week’s show, Suite History: Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, John Carter, and the African-American Odyssey…