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.
The inspiration came from a late-night party, a convergence of Hollywood glamour and early civil-rights activism with one of America's greatest jazz orchestras.
A number of radio stations around the country have picked up the Night Lights show Dear Martin: Jazz Tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. Station links and air dates follow:KSJD-Cortez, Colorado: Monday, Jan. 21 at 1 p.m…
Today would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 79th birthday if he were still alive, and his absence from American public life for the past 40 years remains as one of the great tragedies of our recent history. The official holiday commemorating his birth takes place next Monday, but in remembrance of his actual birthday I wanted to let readers and listeners take note of the 2006 Night Lights program Dear Martin: Jazz Tributes to Martin Luther King Jr.…
On December 27, 1927, the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein musical Show Boat made its Broadway debut at the Ziegfield Theater.
We'll hear an interview with Oscar Brown Jr, a pioneer of early 1960s vocal jazz.
Media pundits a-twitter about deadpan satirist Stephen Colbert’s leap into the 2008 primaries need only look to the jazz world for a precedent: trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie’s historic 1964 challenge to incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican nominee Barry Goldwater. And while the jury is still out on whether…
The day Louis Armstrong told the U.S. government to go to a very choice place: David Margolick’s article in the New York Times yesterday provides some historical elaboration. (Margolick is the author of Strange Fruit: the Biography of a Song.) There’s also an online NPR story, Remembering Louis Armstrong’s Little Rock Protest. For more about Armstrong and how the politics of the era mixed with jazz, check out our previous program Jazz Goes to the Cold War.