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.. It includes music written and/or performed by Oliver Nelson, Mary Lou Williams, Nina Simone, and others-much of it recorded shortly after King's death in 1968. Time limits kept me from including even more material in this show, so there's a good chance that I'll do a sequel for next January.
Jazz-around-the-Internet dpt.: Don't miss out on jazz blogger Marc Myers' latest interview series-this one with guitarist Mundell Lowe (who can be heard on the Night Lights program Porgy and Bess: the 1950s Jazz Revival). So far Lowe's talked about working with Billie Holiday, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Parker, Ray McKinley, and Eddie Sauter...and he's just getting started. Part 1 and Part 2 are already posted, with more to follow-another installment in Myers' superlative and ongoing hidden-history-of-jazz project.