Ornette Coleman performs during the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2010. Peter Van Breukelen/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

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Les Paul's career as a guitarist and innovator led him to play jazz, pop and country with other legendary musicians for decades. Courtesy of the Les Paul Foundation hide caption

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Doris Funderburk directs The Darlinettes. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro hide caption

itoggle caption Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Bruce Lundvall attends a ceremony hosted by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which produces the Grammy Awards. In addition to his role as record executive, he also once served as director of the Recording Academy. Noel Vasquez/Getty Images hide caption

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Charles Lloyd's new album is Wild Man Dance. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Ralph Sharon, who performed with Tony Bennett for over 40 years, plays in his hometown of Boulder, Colo. in 2010. Scott D. Smith/Retna/Corbis hide caption

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Billie Holiday has become a mythic presence in absentia. William Gottlieb/Getty Images hide caption

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Jazz Night In America

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding

Most artists belong to their times. But Holiday, born 100 years ago Tuesday, fits in the present.

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Clark Terry wasn't just a trumpeter with flawless technique; he was also, according to one peer, a "natural-born educator" who devoted much of his later career to passing on his immense musical knowledge. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Christian McBride is the host of NPR's Jazz Night In America. Anna Webber/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Anna Webber/Courtesy of the artist

At 84, acclaimed jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal is still recording and touring Karen Michel hide caption

itoggle caption Karen Michel

Herbie Hancock and Pharrell Williams performed Williams' hit "Happy" at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz hide caption

itoggle caption Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

A short phrase New Orleans musicians use to communicate is identical to a common mockingbird call. Sven Halling/Getty Images hide caption

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Steve Coleman practices in his backyard in Allentown, Penn. Jeff Fusco/Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Fusco/Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Stefano Bollani (center) and the musicians who back him on the new album Joy in Spite of Everything. From left: Mark Turner, Bill Frisell, Jesper Bodilsen, Morten Lund. Paolo Soriani/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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On a new record called Connections: Mind the Gap, tuba player Bob Stewart sums up his career with a showcase of the instrument's versatility. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Velma Middleton is accompanied by Louis Armstrong at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival. Paul S;ade/Getty hide caption

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Bassist Charlie Haden in 1978. Haden died on Friday in Los Angeles. Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis

Mobbed by teenage girls wherever he went, Billy Eckstine at one time rivaled Frank Sinatra's popularity. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Charles Gayle was honored with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Vision Festival. On the event's opening night, Gayle performed as his alter ego, Streets the Clown. John Rogers for NPR hide caption

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Horace Silver performs for television in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1979. JazzSign/Lebrecht Music & Arts/Corbis hide caption

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Drummer Art Blakey, who recorded for Blue Note from 1954 to 1965, in the studio. Francis Wolff/Blue Note Records hide caption

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"In my music I speak of unknown things, impossible things, ancient things, potential things," Sun Ra said in a 1980 documentary. May 22, 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the composer and bandleader's birth. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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Rufus Reid has played with just about everybody in the mainstream jazz world. His latest project, Quiet Pride, is based on works by the late sculptor and civil rights activist Elizabeth Catlett. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist