NPR: Jazz Profiles

NPR: Jazz Profiles

From NPR

This documentary program profiles the legends and legacy of jazz. Hosted by singer Nancy Wilson, the program brings to life the vibrant history of the genre through music, interviews, and commentary. The fascinating stories reflected in this series are very human tales that the news junkie or the jazz aficionado can relate to.More from NPR: Jazz Profiles »

Most Recent Episodes

Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way

Unlike the vast majority of jazz musicians, the pianist and composer was blessed with both talent and commercial success. His blend of experimental and lyrical approaches made him one of the biggest draws of his day — and ever since.

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Oscar Peterson: Piano Master

The famed virtuoso commanded the entire keyboard with incredible dexterity, drive and precision, while performing around the world for more than 50 years, accruing countless honors, awards and critical accolades.

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Tito Puente: 'El Rey'

He was a dynamic percussionist, a masterful arranger and an irrepressible showman. Throughout a career lasting more than 50 years, Puente fused American jazz with Afro-Cuban rhythms, earning him the title King of Latin Music.

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Rosemary Clooney: An American Treasure

For more than fifty years, Rosemary Clooney's simple and exquisite singing style defined her dynamic career. She also appeared in movies and had a star turn on television, but it was her successful and inspired music that cemented her reputation as one of America's finest jazz-based vocalists.

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Duke Ellington: The Composer, Pt. 2

The scope and breadth of Duke Ellington's compositions were far-reaching, drawing many influences together to create a cohesive and diverse sound. Composing consumed Ellington around the clock, and his musical legacy is a timeless contribution to American music.

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Duke Ellington: The Composer, Pt. 1

Duke Ellington composed some of the most enduring music of the 20th century, producing more than one thousand lasting works. With groundbreaking hits such as "Sophisticated Lady" and "Mood Indigo," Ellington vividly communicated universal ideas, while inventing musical concepts that helped elevate jazz to a sophisticated art form.

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Milt Hinton: The Ultimate Timekeeper

Bassist Milt Hinton, known as the "Judge," was considered to be the ultimate timekeeper. With his buoyant tempos and fat, booming sound, Hinton provided the rhythmic foundation for many jazz greats.

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Illinois Jacquet: King Of The Screeching Tenor

Bandleader Illinois Jacquet was recognized as the king of the tenor saxophone. During his long career, Jacquet played with everyone from Basie to Lionel Hampton and gained notoriety for his wild, honking solo in "Flying Home," which heralded a new approach to playing known as the "Texas tenor style."

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Jay 'Hootie' McShann: Kansas City Swingman

"Hootie" to his friends, bluesman supreme Jay McShann served as the living legacy to Kansas City jazz. As bandleader, pianist, singer and composer, McShann was an unsung yet influential figure. During the '40s, his orchestra became an important launching pad for prominent soloists including Charlie Parker.

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Al Grey: The Last Big Time Plunger

Trombonist Al Grey was highly regarded as "the last of the big time plungers" thanks to his skill at using a plumber's plunger to manipulate tones coming from the bell of his trombone. Grey rose to prominence as a soloist and gifted accompanist to singers, developing a unique style playing in the bands of Lionel Hampton and Count Basie.

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