Charles Mingus

Airs Thursday, November 12, at 8 p.m. When one thinks of bebop, the first musician that comes to mind is usually Charlie Parker, the pioneering alto-saxophone player and composer. In this episode, we listen to an early disciple of Parker's, alto sax player Charles McPherson, who was born in 1939 and raised in Detroit. Mr. McPherson grew up surrounded by a wealth of great jazz musicians in the motor city jazz scene, and first came to fame himself working with Charles Mingus in the 1960s and early 70s.

Airs Monday, September 7 at 11 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.

Airs Thursday, February 5 at 8 p.m. Many of the most notable achievements in jazz have come through its great composers. Giants such as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and many others always kept the music moving forward through the creation and performance of new compositions. In this episode, we listen to the premiere of new work commissioned by SMF by saxophonist Walter Blanding, Jr. entitled "Tick Tock". The ensemble features Blanding, Marcus Printup on trumpet, Lionel Loueke on guitar, Warren Wolf on vibraphone, Carlos Henriquez on bass and Herlin Riley on drums.

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").

Airs Thursday, May 15 at 8 p.m. The musical style know as bebop is a style of jazz characterized on fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and melody. Developed in the early and mid-1940’s, bebop ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz. The inventors of bebop, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk and a few others understood that the melodic logic of learning how to put together a line when playing was of paramount importance within the form.

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