Fats Waller seemed to pack 10 lifetimes of fun into his 39 years on the planet. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive hide caption

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Evening Standard/Hulton Archive

Charlie Christian was a forerunner in establishing the musical language of bebop. Greg Murray hide caption

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Greg Murray

Nate Wooley doesn't play trumpet as much he plays on the trumpet. Daniel Sheehan/EyeShotJazz hide caption

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Daniel Sheehan/EyeShotJazz

Steve Wilson introduces five alto saxophonists who've mastered this beast of a horn. John Abbott hide caption

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John Abbott

Hans Reichel's daxophone is a block of wood that changes the vibration frequency of a wooden blade inside another block with contact microphones. Above, the daxo tongues. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Claudia Acuna. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Latina Jazz: Spanish-Speaking Vocalists

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Tito Puente, above playing in London, was one of the best percussionists of any era. Simon Ritter/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

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Simon Ritter/Redferns/Getty Images

Muddy Waters pioneered Chicago's now-signature electric blues. Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

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Keystone/Getty Images

Folk Art is Joe Lovano's 21st recording for the Blue Note label. He gives a generous nod to Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango on the stand-out track, "Dibango." Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Thanks to fellow bassist Milt Hinton's prodding, Oscar Pettiford moved to New York and became one of bebop's most innovative musicians. Courtesy of Bethlehem Archives hide caption

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Courtesy of Bethlehem Archives

Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" is a New Orleans funk staple and a template for the New Orleans piano style. Eric Bookhart/Harvest Records hide caption

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Eric Bookhart/Harvest Records

There's more to jazz flute than Anchorman's Ron Burgundy. Courtesy of Dreamworks SKG hide caption

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Courtesy of Dreamworks SKG

Lionel Hampton was the first musician to use the vibraphone on a jazz recording. Reg Davis/Getty Images hide caption

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Reg Davis/Getty Images

Sonny Sharrock (pictured here with Linda Sharrock, then his wife) approach his guitar like Albert Ayler played his saxophone — fiercely, yet tenderly out of bounds. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist