Jazz Profiles

Series produced by NPR Music

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This series profiles the legends and legacy of jazz. Hosted by Nancy Wilson, each episode brings to life the vibrant history of the genre through music, interviews, and commentary.

Singer Nancy Wilson hosts this Gold Medal award-winning, documentary series chronicling the people, places and events in jazz.

Jazz Profiles features jazz topics that are varied and all-encompassing. The program focuses largely on individuals, in particular artists who are still living and performing. Musicians who have been featured in-depth on Jazz Profiles include Dave Brubeck, Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Parker. The series has covered significant anniversaries of the dearly departed, the instruments of jazz, jazz cities, jazz families and more.

By combining archival recordings, interviews and narration, each program in the series tells an informative and engaging story that celebrates the music and those who make it. The appeal of Jazz Profiles is broad, ranging from the news junkie to the jazz aficionado. The music-to-talk ratio of the program is approximately 50/50. Hide full description

Singer Nancy Wilson hosts this Gold Medal award-winning, documentary series chronicling the people, places and events in jazz.Jazz Profiles features jazz topics that are varied and all-encompassing. The program focuses largely on individuals, in particular artists who are still living and performing. Musicians who have been featured in-depth on Jazz Profiles include Dave Brubeck, Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Parker. The series has covered significant anniversaries of the dearly departed, the instruments of jazz, jazz cities, jazz families and more.By combining archival recordings, interviews and narration, each program in the series tells an informative and engaging story that celebrates the music and those who make it. The... Show full description


85 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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The virtuoso bassist, who doubled on cello, was one of the most sought-after musicians of his time.

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, WJFF, KIOS-FM Omaha Public Radio, KENW and more


  • Added: Nov 26, 2012
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 51
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The iconic singer was also an elegant pianist whose tight groups popularized the jazz piano trio.

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, Troy Public Radio, WUSF, WDCB and more


  • Added: Feb 06, 2008
  • Length: 53:56
  • Purchases: 47
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Nat King Cole...we all know the voice, but he was much more than a stylish balladeer.

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, Troy Public Radio, WUSF, WJFF and more


  • Added: Feb 06, 2008
  • Length: 53:56
  • Purchases: 45
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The immense yet under sung tenor saxophonist helped shape what became known as soul jazz and R&B.

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, WUSF, WJFF, KMUN and more


  • Added: Feb 20, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 50
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Pianist Bill Evans turned out to be one of the most influential pianists of his generation. Before his untimely death in 1980, he had made nearly 1...

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, WJFF, KMUN, KIOS-FM Omaha Public Radio and more


  • Added: Feb 27, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 48
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The saxophonist and singer's hard-driving chart toppers made him into a founding father of R&B.

Bought by WART FM, WMOT, WUSF, WJFF, KMUN and more


  • Added: Mar 06, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 49
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Zoot Sims was a natural musician whose warmth, creativity & humor earned him the unreserved admiration of musicians & fans alike.

Bought by WMOT, WART FM, KIOS-FM Omaha Public Radio, WJFF, WUSF and more


  • Added: Mar 19, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 47
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Behind Sarah Vaughn's striking voice, and unique musicianship, laid a heart and soul that continue to move people all over the world.

Bought by WMOT, WART FM, WUSF, WJFF, KMUN and more


  • Added: Mar 26, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 52
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As a player whose incredible longevity linked him to the jazz pioneers, Benny Waters reemerged late in life as one of the great, unsung saxophonist...

Bought by WMOT, WART FM, WJFF, KMUN, KENW and more


  • Added: Apr 02, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 46
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Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Gerry Mulligan was a principal figure in the cool jazz movement of the '50s.

Bought by WMOT, WART FM, WJFF, KIOS-FM Omaha Public Radio, KMUN and more


  • Added: Apr 15, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 44
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Pianist Bud Powell was admired by his contemporaries as an adventurous original with a style marked by unrivaled virtuosity. Today, he is remembere...

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KMUN, KRPS and more


  • Added: Oct 13, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 38
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Charles Mingus was a big man and he played an instrument made for him, the bass.

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KMUN, KENW and more


  • Added: Apr 23, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 46
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In the mid-'50s, the bassist emerged as a truly innovative composer and uncompromising bandleader.

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KMUN, KENW and more


  • Added: Apr 30, 2008
  • Length: 53:58
  • Purchases: 45
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No blues singer can escape the influence of Bessie Smith, "The Empress of the Blues."

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KMUN, KENW and more


  • Added: May 06, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 52
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In a career spanning more than 50 years, the legendary "arranger's arranger" created his music using a diverse palette of musical colors, both with...

Bought by WART FM, WUSF, WCNY, WJFF, KENW and more


  • Added: May 14, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 46
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The story picks up with the death of Benny Moten and the genesis of Count Basie's first band at the Reno Club in Kansas City.

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, WFIU, KENW and more


  • Added: May 28, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 38
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He's been called a musician's musician, one whose original approach made him the envy of virtually every pianist in jazz. Well-known for his flambo...

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KENW, KRPS and more


  • Added: Oct 12, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 33
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Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon had a deep, smoky voice and recorded dozens of albums and fronted bands and orchestras.

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KENW, WMOT and more


  • Added: Jul 02, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 43
Caption: Abbey Lincoln., Credit: Leon Morris/Redferns/Getty Images
Abbey Lincoln was a legendary jazz singer who believed in singing as a political act. She died August 14, 2010 in Manhattan. Lincoln was 80.

Bought by WART FM, WCNY, WJFF, KENW, KRPS and more


  • Added: Aug 16, 2010
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 45
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John Coltrane's never-ending quest for musical improvement and self-awareness distinguished his playing and compositions in the '60s.

Bought by WART FM, WCQS, WCNY, WJFF, WUSF and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 52