Billy Taylor was a jazz pianist, educator, broadcaster, composer of a civil rights anthem, and the man who dubbed jazz “America’s classical music.”
Mary Osborne started out as a little girl playing violin and guitar on the radio in Depression-era Minot, North Dakota, and listening to jazz broadcasts coming far across the prairie to her from Chicago…then one night she went to a club and heard Charlie Christian play, and her path as a muscian was set.
Sonny Clark was a young pianist with an already-impressive jazz legacy when he began a year-long string of classic hardbop recordings that ended suddenly with his death at the age of 31.
A centennial celebration of the American maestro's relationship with jazz.
Though it received middling reviews, the 1963 concert series included the festival debuts of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, the rollout of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Dizzy For President” campaign, one of jazz legend Jack Teagarden’s last appearances, and a tribute from the Modern Jazz Quartet to Martin Luther King Jr.
How a photographer captured a creative corner of mid-20th-century American culture in images and in sound.
In the early 1950s drummer Shelly Manne settled in California and began a remarkable run of recordings that included experimental jazz, popular interpretations of Broadway scores, music for the TV crime show Peter Gunn, one of avant-garde icon Ornette Coleman’s first albums, and charged live performances at San Francisco’s Black Hawk club.
In the mid-1960s pianist Ahmad Jamal returned to the music scene after a three-year hiatus and formed a new trio that would eventually make an album now considered to be a jazz piano masterpiece.
The latest entry in Night Lights' ongoing series of jazz elegies, with an emphasis this time on recordings from the 1970s and 80s by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, Pat Metheny and others.
From 1949 to 1954 Artie Shaw made a number of big-band, small-group, and even classical recordings that form one of the most dynamic chapters of his career-and the concluding one as well.
As television rocketed into the entertainment culture of mid-20th-century America, musicians and composers, many of them with jazz backgrounds, were called upon to write themes and cues for the wide variety of programs that populated the airwaves.
Veteran producer and radio host Bob Porter, who passed away in April at the age of 80, joined Night Lights several years ago to talk about his book on one of jazz's most popular styles.
In the late 1960s an aging Duke Ellington faced a changing musical landscape and the loss of his longtime writing partner, Billy Strayhorn. How did he respond?
In 1958 trumpeter Miles Davis brought a new pianist named Bill Evans into his sextet who stayed only a few months, but whose influence helped spark one of the most artistically notable and commercially successful albums in the history of jazz.
Jazzing Broadway songs, scoring movies, conducting classical music: Andre Previn could do it all before he'd even turned 30.
From Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder" to John Coltrane's A LOVE SUPREME, from the impact of the Beatles to the avant-garde's October revolution, a notable year.
At the dawn of the 1960s pianist Freddie Redd made several albums for the Blue Note label filled with taut, punchy hardbop compositions.
Drummer Roy Haynes' career reads like a roll-call of jazz history. Hear him with Lester Young, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and others.
A renowned female organist, Scott recorded a number of soul-jazz classics in the late 1950s and 1960s.
In the 1960s Corea made a name for himself playing with hardbop and straightahead jazz artists such as Blue Mitchell, Stan Getz, and Donald Byrd, and recording a stunning trio date, before going on to work with Miles Davis’ revolutionary electric ensembles.
The singing icon was also a master pianist whose rhythms and harmonic language made him an influential jazz modernist.
In 1963 saxophonist John Coltrane made a jazz-vocal masterpiece with Johnny Hartman as well as another album only recently discovered, met a woman who would become his wife and musical partner, and dealt with the temporary loss of his favorite drummer.
He could split the stratosphere with his high notes… play you sweet and low with his ballads… glide with sudden speed through the middle registers and then slow into a cooking groove…and woe to any other trumpeter who showed up ready to jam.
Pittsburgh has produced many great jazz artists, and at the beginning of the 1960s two of them teamed up to make a notable series of albums for the Blue Note label.
This sequel to a previous program of jazz salutes to the civil-rights icon includes music from Bobby Hutcherson, Max Roach, and Herbie Hancock.