Jazz Profiles

Series produced by NPR Music

Series image

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
Piece image
He is now hailed as one of America's greatest musical eminences. But Duke Ellington's early career is the story of how a bright yet unremarkable te...

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


  • Added: Nov 07, 2007
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 56
Piece image
Bob Brookmeyer had a unique voice on valve trombone and piano. He was a composer and arranger of compelling, brilliant music and became one of the...

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


  • Added: Feb 09, 2012
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 39
Piece image
He was an avatar of free improvisation and the first to bring electronics and synthesizers into jazz. But he was also a pianist for the Fletcher He...

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


  • Added: Oct 30, 2007
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 68
Piece image
A thoroughly modern musician, Red Norvo brought the mallet instruments to jazz.

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


  • Added: Oct 24, 2007
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 60
Piece image
Red Norvo is the lesser known of the two early pioneers of the vibraphone in jazz (the other is Lionel Hampton). This show looks at the multi-facet...

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


  • Added: Oct 16, 2007
  • Length: 53:57
  • Purchases: 56
Piece image
Thelonious Monk's sound is one of the most recognizable in modern jazz. An original on and off the bandstand, he launch pad of modern bebop, and al...

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


  • Added: Oct 10, 2007
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 68
Piece image
Billie Holliday could take any song and make it her own. Her personal battles are legendary and it was that pain that fueled her songs. But, her im...

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


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 78
Caption: Wes Montgomery poses in studio., Credit: Chuck Stewart
In his short but prolific recording career Wes Montgomery reinvented the jazz guitar, while his name -- and his sound -- became synonymous with the...

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


  • Added: Oct 12, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 68
Caption: Erroll Garner practices in London during a 1963 tour., Credit: Keystone/Getty Images
The composer of "Misty" was a virtuoso pianist whose unique homegrown technique delighted audiences.

Bought by WCNY, KASU, WFIU, WUSF, WNMU-FM and more


  • Added: Oct 04, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 60
Caption: Charlie Parker in performance., Credit: Getty Images
The legendary alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was one of those rare artists who seemed to change the world of jazz. In the second of a two-part Jaz...

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


  • Added: Oct 04, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 60
Caption: Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, Credit: Getty Images
It's safe to say that without Charlie Parker, the music we now call bebop might never have existed. In the first of a two-part Jazz Profiles, we ex...

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


  • Added: Oct 04, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 61
Piece image
Drummer Max Roach was one of the most innovative and influential musicians in jazz.

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


  • Added: Sep 20, 2011
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 57
Piece image
Blessed with impeccable timing and a smooth, mellow timbre, Mel Tormé was known during his heyday as "The Velvet Fog."

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


  • Added: Oct 04, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 54
Piece image
Louis Armstrong left not one but two great legacies in American music. His trumpet defined the role of the jazz soloist and revolutionized jazz its...

Bought by KASU, WCNY, WFIU, WUSF, Prairie Public and more


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 53
Caption: Louis Armstrong, in a 1944 publicity photograph., Credit: Getty Images
Before Louis Armstrong ever sang a duet with Ella Fitzgerald or Bing Crosby, there was just a lanky young man with a bright, beautiful horn. That y...

Bought by KASU, WCNY, WUSF, WFIU, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and more


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 58
Caption: Louis Armstrong, pictured here in 1956, produced hit films and records throughout his long career., Credit: Getty Images
By his early thirties, Louis Armstrong had already revolutionized jazz forever. Working with his mentor "King" Oliver in Chicago, Armstrong explore...

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


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 55
Caption: A young Louis Armstrong., Credit: Getty Images
It is hard to overstate the incredible reach of Louis Armstrong. The music he made touched everyone who heard it, and revolutionized American enter...

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


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 59
Caption: Mary Lou Williams, Credit: Michael Ochs Archives
Mary Lou Williams was not only present for nearly every development in jazz music -- she was influential to most of them. In her compositions, arr...

Bought by WMOT, WCNY, Prairie Public, WMOT, KMUN and more


  • Added: Apr 30, 2010
  • Length: 54:31
  • Purchases: 64
Piece image
Sidney Bechet was the undisputed king of the soprano saxophone and also one of the most innovative and original clarinetists in jazz.

Bought by WMOT, KASU, WCNY, Prairie Public, WUSF and more


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 56
Piece image
Johnny Hartman was the quintessential romantic balladeer. The only singer to record with John Coltrane — on the iconic album John Coltrane & Johnny...

Bought by WMOT, KASU, WCNY, WUSF, WMOT and more


  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 54