Jazz salutes in song to African-American actors, athletes, and artists.
1960 was the first year of one of the most tumultuous decades in American history. The change that was beginning to come about was reflected in jazz as well.
In 1957 Sonny Rollins was at the peak of his first great period, playing with a confident, swinging, and radical abandon both as a leader and as a sideman.
Night Lights offers a jazz tribute to Juneteenth, the African-American holiday marking the end of slavery, with commentary from historian William Wiggins.
Memphis is renowned for its remarkable contributions to 20th-century popular music. But the city also has an outstanding jazz legacy--"The Memphis Mafia."
When Harry Smith, creator of The Anthology of American Folk Music and dean of American bohemians, received a Grammy just a few months before his death in 1991, he said, “I’m glad to say that my dreams came true–that I saw America changed through music.” In the book Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights, David Margolick proposes that racism–a bedrock element of Americanism–was challenged and ultimately changed by a single song, a song sung by Holiday titled “Strange Fruit.”
Long-term love and art go hand-in-hand on this edition of Night Lights, where we're focusing on couplings both romantic and musical.
Jazz interpretations of the many songs that have been written about the City of Light.
Booker Little was a talented young trumpeter and composer who’d already begun to fulfill his promise when illness struck him down at the age of 23.
Max Roach was a revolutionary bebop drummer, a leader of the classic Clifford Brown-Sonny Rollins hardbop quintet, a social activist, jazz educator and intellectual, a forerunner of Do-It-Yourself recording, and an explorer of the avant-garde…among other things. Max Roach contained multitudes, and his death in August of 2007 reverberated across the jazz world as if it were a long solo being played on a cosmic drumset. This program, an audio snapshot of his career on record, features his work with pianists Herbie Nichols and Bud Powell, his hardbop configurations with Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins…