Long before the rise of the black-pride movement in the 1960s, Ellington was writing music that celebrated African-American culture, personalities, and history.
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.
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
Night Lights pays tribute to the holidays in the mellowest of moods.
It was 1961, and America had a new, young president...the Cold War turned up a notch…and jazz continued to evolve in ear-opening ways.
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.
America in the 1920s: Wall Street was on the rise, cops were on the take, jazz was in the air, and alcohol had been banished—but it certainly hadn’t vanished.
Night Lights offers up a free-spirited, pop-culture-alluding Fourth of July jazz tribute.
A convergence of grief, memory and music for Memorial Day.