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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An electric performer, Carter was an irrepressible and incomparable practitioner of the jazz vocal tradition. For nearly 50 years, the intense voca...

Bought by KMUN, WMOT, WDCB, WCNY, WJFF and more


  • Added: Aug 21, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 56
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The trumpeter spent many years writing, managing and playing for his brother's celebrated band.

Bought by KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WETF, WUSF and more


  • Added: Aug 21, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 49
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Tommy Flanagan was known for his style and technique; he was one of bebop's most important pianists.

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  • Added: Jul 14, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 53
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She was a gifted trombonist, a crack arranger, and against the odds, a woman in jazz.

Bought by KMUN, WDCB, WMOT, WCNY, WUSF and more


  • Added: Jul 09, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 65
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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 WUSF, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WUSF and more


  • Added: Jun 25, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 61
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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 WUSF, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WUSF and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 62
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.

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  • Added: Aug 16, 2010
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 54
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Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon had a deep, smoky voice and recorded dozens of albums and fronted bands and orchestras.

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  • Added: Jul 02, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 51
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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...

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  • Added: Oct 12, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 41
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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.

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  • Added: May 28, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 43
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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 WUSF, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WETF and more


  • Added: May 14, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 53
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No blues singer can escape the influence of Bessie Smith, "The Empress of the Blues."

Bought by KCNP, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WETF and more


  • Added: May 06, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 60
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In the mid-'50s, the bassist emerged as a truly innovative composer and uncompromising bandleader.

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  • Added: Apr 30, 2008
  • Length: 53:58
  • Purchases: 57
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Charles Mingus was a big man and he played an instrument made for him, the bass.

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  • Added: Apr 23, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 58
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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...

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  • Added: Oct 13, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 48
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Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Gerry Mulligan was a principal figure in the cool jazz movement of the '50s.

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  • Added: Apr 15, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 51
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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 KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WETF, WUSF and more


  • Added: Apr 02, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 53
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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 WFIU, WUSF, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY and more


  • Added: Mar 26, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 59
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Zoot Sims was a natural musician whose warmth, creativity & humor earned him the unreserved admiration of musicians & fans alike.

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  • Added: Mar 19, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 55
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The saxophonist and singer's hard-driving chart toppers made him into a founding father of R&B.

Bought by WUSF, KMUN, WMOT, WCNY, WETF and more


  • Added: Mar 06, 2008
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 55