Set in London in the early 1930s, the five-part miniseries is about a black jazz band trying to crack the dance halls and radio playlists. Critic David Bianculli says this music-centered show features full, unpredictable characters and some exceptionally intriguing performances.
In a career that ran from the 1930s into the 1980s, and included work in big bands and rock 'n' roll, the clarinetist, saxophonist and bandleader changed to reflect the times. Herman would have turned 100 on May 16.
The jazz saxophonist and flutist died Thursday at age 85. Fresh Air remembers the musician, whose 1949 improvisation over "I'm in the Mood for Love" became a jazz staple, with highlights from a 1996 interview.
Robin D.G. Kelley's new book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, focuses on the career of the eccentric jazz pianist and composer. It reveals new details about Monk's life, music and mental health problems, and provides a glimpse into the New York jazz scene of the mid-twentieth century.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and the American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis. The book tracks the history of Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, an organization that promoted the development of new jazz styles.
Wynton Marsalis has been playing the trumpet since he was 6, and won his first Grammy at 20 and has 9 total. He's also the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize. His latest album is The Magic Hour. (This Interview first aired Dec. 7, 1994.)
Jazz musician James Moody. Just after World War II, Moody joined the bebop big band of Dizzy Gillespie and played with Milt Jackson. His most famous recording is of an improvisatory piece he performed in 1949, now known as "Moody's Mood For Love." Terry talked to him in 1996, about his CD, "Young At Heart," (Warner Brothers) which had just been released. It is a collection of Frank Sinatra tunes. In this CD, MOODY performed as vocalist, tenor/alto/soprano saxist and flutist.
After over 30 years in the business, Dara he's just released his first solo album, "Olu Dara: In the World: From Natchez to New York" (Atlantic). During the 70s and 80s Dara played in Art Blakey's band, as well as that of advante gardist Henry Threadgill and others. His new CD blends the two worlds and the two sounds that influenced him most: his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi and New York City where he lives now.
John Szwed has written a new biography of Sun Ra, the orchestra leader and piano player who claimed to be from outer space. His new book is "Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra" (Pantheon Books). Szwed is Musser Professor of Anthropology, African American Studies, Music and American Studies at Yale University.
Biographer Laurence Bergreen talks with Terry about his newest book "Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life". It is published by Broadway books. While this is certainly not the first biography of Armstrong, Bergreen used many of Armstrong's previously unexplored personal letters and diary entries. Bergreen traces Armstrong's life from his birth in New Orleans in 1901, through his four marriages, and his many contributions to American Jazz.