New Orleans pianist, composer, raconteur and the self-proclaimed “inventor of jazz” is featured through original Library of Congress music and oral history sessions, and interviews with jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern. Pervasive influence of Morton’s music includes the swing-era sounds of Benny Goodman to recent revivals by Dr. Michel White and Wynton Marsalis.
The music and life of 88 year-old Herb Jeffries, lead singer and last surviving member of Duke Ellington’s legendary “Blanton-Webster” band of the early 1940s. Jeffries, called “the Bronze Buckaroo,” was also the first black star of a cowboy movie; his theme song, “I’m a Happy Cowboy” comes from the 1938 western “Harlem on the Prairie.”
Step right up! It’s a sonic tonic for the mid-Winter blues as we turn to the healing power of music ranging from the “Hadacol Boogie” to “Dr. Jazz.” Includes a visit with New Orleans piano man Eddie Bo, who also offers advice in the healing arts, and a trip to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum in to find “Love Potion # 9.”
The spirit of the late Civil Rights leader informs this bittersweet, but uplifting look back and ahead. Includes jazz pianist McCoy Tyner’s reflections on great piano “professors,” his own life in the avant-garde, and his musical and spiritual associations with the legendary late saxophonist John Coltrane. Plus a visit with jazz and classical composer/performer Hannibal Lokumbe regarding his “African Portraits” with the Chicago Symphony.
We test your resolve with music about food, drink and the good life, as well as songs that ask us to keep our promises to ourselves and one another. Tempting visits with some of New Orleans great cooks from Commander’s Palace restaurant to Tee Eva’s Praline Shop. Artists featured for their topical tunes include Cab Calloway, Otis Redding and Southern Culture on the Skids.