Airs Tuesday, February 25 at 10 p.m. The artistic collaboration between Duke Ellington and composer/ arranger Billy Strayhorn is one of the most important in the history of American music. It's the subject of the music documentary,"The Magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn" presented by the AAPRC Network this month.
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 Thursday, December 4 at 8 p.m. When you survey the history of the piano in 20th century American music, there are several individuals, composers and standards, particularly within jazz and popular songs. Performing a recital that traverses these figures and movements, while ensuring that your renditions remain original, is quite a challenge. In the spring of 2013, pianist Marcus Roberts played a concert at our festival that surveyed a broad cross section of 20th century American music. While he's been featured in a variety of musical contexts at our festival over the past decade, Marcus played a 75-minute recital that included distinctive interpretations of works by Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington as well as some original works and gospel pieces. Tune in to hear highlights from this 2013 SMF concert by the inimitable Marcus Roberts.
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 Monday, July 14 at 11 a.m. On this week's broadcast concert from the Pittsburgh Symphony, music director Manfred Honeck returns to lead the orchestra in Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. In between, pianist Denis Matsuev will take the stage for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and he'll also perform Improvisation of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train.”