Nat Adderley recorded many albums under his own name while working with his brother's group. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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Nat Adderley: Brotherly Swing

The trumpeter spent many years writing, managing and playing for his brother's celebrated band.

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In the late '80s, Betty Carter achieved sustained recognition upon signing to a major label, which also reissued much of her back catalog. Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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Betty Carter: Fiercely Individual

The intense vocalist blazed her own trail in the jazz industry, powered by her passionate singing.

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Bill Evans continued to perform and record up until his death in 1980. Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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Bill Evans: 'Piano Impressionism'

Evans' lyricism and Western classical flourishes have proven highly influential to today's pianists.

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Bessie Smith, shown here ca. 1935, remained an active performer until her sudden death at age 43. Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

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Bessie Smith: 'Blues Empress'

The singer's feverish growls and impassioned delivery informed nearly all African American music.

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Nat King Cole, May 16, 1960. Fox Photos/Getty Images hide caption

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Nat King Cole: 'The Singer'

Though an elegant piano stylist, Cole became a world-famous entertainer due to his voice.

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Hoagy Carmichael's early music, including the 1927 melody to "Stardust," was heavily influenced by jazz, including the work of his friend and collaborator Bix Beiderbecke. Baron/Getty Images hide caption

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Hoagy Carmichael: 'Stardust Melodies'

With a laid-back, familiar style, he created timeless standards indebted to his early roots in jazz.

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Sarah Vaughan, Jan. 22, 1960. Terry Disney/Central Press/Getty Images hide caption

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Sarah Vaughan: Vocal Virtuosity

The singer, who emerged with bebop, was capable of an extraordinarily wide variety of expression.

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As of 2008, Dave Brubeck still tours extensively with his jazz quartet, often performing his religious works. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way

Unlike most jazz artists, the pianist and composer enjoyed both talent and commercial success.

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Jimmy Witherspoon at the 1972 Monterey Jazz Festival. Courtesy of Concord Music Group hide caption

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Jimmy Witherspoon: Shouting the Blues

With a full, powerful baritone delivery, "Spoon" brought a strong dose of blues singing to jazz.

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Willie "The Lion" Smith was a major influence on Duke Ellington, who wrote several compositions dedicated to him. William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress via flickr.com hide caption

itoggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress via flickr.com

Willie 'The Lion' Smith: Stride Piano Master

The flamboyant pianist was a leading purveyor of the ragtime-based style called Harlem Stride.

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