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Work Songs in Jazz and Popular Music
Airs Monday, September 1 at 10 p.m. Work songs gave laborers a way of transforming their toil into something more meaningful, of enriching their everyday lives through music. How did the influence of the work song emerge in the recordings of artists such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Nat Adderley, Dave Brubeck and other musicians? Jazz historian Ted Gioia, author of Work Songs, joins Night Lights for a Labor Day look at the work song's relationship to jazz and popular music. Other featured artists include Louis Armstrong (his ode to Pullman porters, "Red Cap"), Cassandra Wilson (her cover of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman") and Sting (with saxophonist Branford Marsalis joining him for the tribute to English coal-miners, "We Work the Black Seam").