Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program

Welcome! 

These transcriptions and recordings of oral histories of NEA Jazz Masters are part of the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

About the NEA Jazz Masters

 

Each year since 1982, the NEA Jazz Master Fellowship honors a select number of living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz during a live, free tribute concert.

 

 About the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program

Established by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 1992, the Program seized the opportunity to document more than one hundred senior jazz musicians, performers, relatives, and business associates. Each interview was conducted by a jazz authority and was recorded on digital audiotape by a professional audio engineer. The interviews average six hours in length and cover a wide range of topics including early years, initial involvement in music, generally, and jazz specifically, as well as experiences in the jazz music world, including relationships to musicians.


Production, transcription, and Web posting was made possible through major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters initiative. For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, click here.

For more information on the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program Collection, use the finding aid or visit the museum's Archives Center, where the collection is housed.

 

Last Names A-E: Jamey AebersoldToshiko AkiyoshiMose AllisonGeorge AvakianDavid BakerDanny BarkerKenny BarronLouie BellsonGeorge BensonCarla Bley, Dave Brubeck, Kenny Burrell, Gary BurtonCandido CameroBenny CarterRon CarterJimmy Cobb, George ColemanChick CoreaBuddy DeFrancoJack DeJohnettePaquito D'RiveraLou DonaldsonDorothy DoneganHarry "Sweets" Edison

Last Names F-H: Art FarmerFrank FosterVon FreemanCurtis FullerBenny Golson, Lorraine GordonJim HallChico HamiltonSlide HamptonBarry HarrisRoy HaynesJimmy HeathPercy HeathLuther HendersonJon HendricksNat HentoffMilt HintonBill Holman, Shirley HornBobby Hutcherson

Last Names I-M: J.J. JohnsonElvin JonesHank JonesQuincy JonesSheila JordanOrrin KeepnewsLee KonitzYusef LateefHubert LawsJohn LevyRamsey LewisDave Liebman, Abbey LincolnMelba ListonCharles LloydJohnny MandelBranford MarsalisDelfeayo MarsalisEllis MarsalisJason MarsalisTom McIntoshJackie McLeanMarian McPartland, James MoodyDan Morgenstern

Last Names N-Y: Jimmy Owens, Wendy OxenhornEddie PalmieriSonny RollinsAnnie RossGeorge Russell, Gunther SchullerJimmy ScottJoe SegalArtie ShawWayne ShorterDr. Billy TaylorClark TerryToots ThielemansMcCoy TynerRudy Van GelderCedar WaltonGeorge WeinFrank WessRandy WestonJoe WilderGerald WilsonNancy WilsonPhil WoodsSnooky Young

SHARING THESE ORAL HISTORIES WITH YOUR MIDDLE OR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS?

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Jamey Aebersold Recorded December 16, 2013

Jamey Aebersold, born in 1939 in New Albany, Indiana is an accomplished jazz saxophonists who is perhaps better well known as a music educator. Aebersold has taught musical improvisation at the University of Louisville; however, his reach as an educator goes far beyond Louisville and throughout the world. Between 1967 and 2013 Aebersold published 133 works in his “Play-a-Long” series of musical education books and CDs. The series not only teaches students how to play along with a composed work, but encourages them to improvise on the given melody; helping to spread one of the basic tenants of jazz music worldwide.

Jamey Aebersold
 

Complete Transcript (97 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Teens leaving jazz camp and pursuing music

Clip 2: MP4
His high school jazz teacher

Clip 3: MP4
How the saxophone became easier to play after age 50

Clip 4: MP4
How his parents do not understand jazz

Clip 5: MP4
The goal of the jazz clinic, and how he has inspired campers


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Toshiko Akiyoshi Recorded June 29-30, 2008

Pianist, band-leader, and composer-arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi has made a vital contribution to the art of big band jazz. Born in Manchuria, Akiyoshi moved to Japan with her parents at the end of World War II. She came to the United States in 1956 to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. In 1973, she and her husband, saxophonist/ flutist Lew Tabackin formed the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra.

Toshiko Akiyoshi
 

Complete Transcript (97 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Toshiko talking about her early development on piano

Clip 2: MP3
Moving to Boston to study at Berkeley School of Music

Clip 3: MP3
Talking about her time performing at Storyville

Clip 4: MP3
The birth of her big band

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Mose Allison Recorded September 13-14, 2012

Mose Allison was born in 1927 on his grandfather's farm near Tippo, Mississippi. In 1946 he joined the United States Army and became a member of the 179th Army Ground Forces Band, playing piano and trumpet. While earning his BA at Louisiana State University, Allison played gigs in the area. In 1956, Allison relocated to New York where saxophonist Al Cohn became an important mentor. His approach to lyric-writing has influenced such noted songwriters as Tom Waits and Elvis Costello.

Mose Allison

Complete Transcript (107 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Allison talking about refusing to do a record with Joe Henry

Clip 2: MP4
Allison talking about his singing

Clip 3: MP4
Allison talking about how he doesn’t like when jazz drummers hit the sock cymbal on beat two

Clip 4: MP4
Allison talking about his relationship with Stand Getz and how he became a part of his band

Clip 5: MP4
Allison on V.P Ferguson, his roommate at Ole Miss

Photo by Michael Wilson


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George Avakian Recorded September 28, 1993

George Avakian was born in Russia to Armenian parents, who moved the family to New York City in the early 1920s. After service in the U.S. Army during World War II, Avakian began his 12-year tenure as a Columbia Records executive, eventually presiding over its Popular Music and International Divisions. From 1959 onward, Avakian served as producer at Warner Brothers, World Pacific, RCA Victor, and Atlantic, among others.

George Avakian

Complete Transcript (112 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
George on how his family came to America

Clip 2: MP3
George on how they used to record in the studio

Clip 3: MP3
George on the invention of the 45

Clip 4: MP3
George on his favorite musician

Clip 5: MP3
George on Duke Ellington

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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David Baker Recorded June 19-21, 2000

David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. was born in 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music, and served as conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra for 22 years. A virtuoso performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker has taught and performed around the world. He has written more than 2,000 compositions, including jazz and symphonic works, chamber music, ballet and film scores.

David Baker
 

Complete Transcript (163 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
David Baker on Lincoln University

Clip 2: MP3
David Baker on Freddie Freeloader

Clip 3: MP3
David Baker on playing at the Five Spot and looking like Thelonious Monk (Part I)

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David Baker on playing at the Five Spot and looking like Thelonious Monk (Part II)

Clip 5: MP3
David Baker on coming to Indiana University

Clip 6: MP3
David Baker on imitation-assimilation-innovation

Clip 7: MP3
David Baker on street musicians recognizing Jamey Aebersold

Clip 8: MP3
"It's why I worked very hard...to get us in a situation where we're not perceived of as special"

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Danny Barker Recorded July 21-23, 1992

A native of New Orleans, this master guitar and banjo player was well known for his humor and storytelling. In 1930 he moved to New York, where he met his wife, vocalist Blue Lu Barker, with whom he frequently recorded. After returning home in 1965, Danny Barker worked for 10 years as an assistant curator for the New Orleans Jazz Museum. He also mentored young musicians through the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band.

Danny Barker

Complete Transcript (113 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Danny Barker on David Jones influencing Coleman Hawkins

Clip 2: MP3
Danny Barker on encountering Sidney Bechet

Clip 3: MP3
Danny Barker tells how he bought his first Ukulele

Clip 4: MP3
Danny Barker discusses the circumstances of moving to New York City for the first time

Clip 5: MP3
Danny Barker talks about his first experiences in New York City

Clip 6: MP3
Danny Barker on his relationship with Jelly Roll Morton

Clip 7: MP3
Danny Barker on working with Jelly Roll Morton for the first time


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Kenny Barron Recorded January 15-16, 2011

With more than 40 albums to his name, pianist and composer Kenny Barron's imprint on jazz is large. Barron started playing professionally in his native Philadelphia as a teenager. Throughout the 1980s, Barron collaborated with the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, touring with his quartet and recording several albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2005 Barron was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame.

Kenny Barron

Complete Transcript (76 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Kenny Barron talks about his early musical influences while growing up in Philadelphia

Clip 2: MP3
Kenny Barron recollects his tours with Dizzy Gilespie

Clip 3: MP3
Kenny talks about his respect for Yusef Lateef

Clip 4: MP3
Kenny Barron talks about his experience with Brazilian music

Clip 5: MP3
Kenny Barron talks about his interesting film score opportunity

Clip 6: MP3
Kenny presents his view on the importance of live music

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts

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Louie Bellson Recorded October 20-21, 2005

Referred to by Duke Ellington as "not only the world's greatest drummer…[but also] the world's greatest musician," Louie Bellson has performed on more than 200 albums, working with such greats as Benny Goodman, Louie Armstrong, and Lionel Hampton. Also a prolific composer, Bellson had more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements to his name. In 2003, a historical landmark was dedicated at his birthplace in Rock Falls, Illinois, inaugurating an annual celebration there in his honor.

Louie Bellson

Complete Transcript (116 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Louie Bellson tells how Louis Armstrong joked with him and Pearl Bailey

Clip 2: MP3
Louie Bellson on joining Benny Goodman's band

Clip 3: MP3
Louie Bellson on joining Duke Ellington's band

Clip 4: MP3
Louie Bellson on learning Ellington music with no drum charts

Clip 5: MP3
Louie Bellson on giving his first arrangement to Duke Ellington

Clip 6: MP3
Louie Bellson on meeting his wife Pearl Bailey

Clip 7: MP3
Louie Bellson on playing Benny Carter's difficult arrangement of Erroll Garner's performance of "For Once In My Life"

Clip 8: MP3
Louie Bellson on performing with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops


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George Benson Recorded April 17-18, 2011

George Benson began his career as a guitarist working the corner pubs of his native Pittsburgh. In the late 1960s he sat in on Miles Davis' Miles in the Skysessions, and also put a personal spin on tunes from the Beatles' Abbey Road. Benson has played with many of jazz's finest instrumentalists, including Stanley Turrentine, Ron Carter, and Freddie Hubbard. He has won ten Grammy Awards.

George Benson

Complete Transcript (108 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
George Benson discusses the biggest problem for jazz

Clip 2: MP3
George Benson describes his “meanest gig” experience

Clip 3: MP3
George Benson talks about record sales in the jazz world

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Carla Bley Recorded September 9, 2014

Born Lovella May Borg in Oakland, California, Carla Bley is a trailblazing pianist, organist, big bandleader, and composer. Having learned the fundamentals of music from her piano teacher father, Bley is largely self-taught. In 1953, and the age of 17, Bley moved too New York City where she worked as a pianist and cigarette girl at various clubs. She soon began to compose for artists such as Charlie Haden and Gary Burton before branching out to work with big bands, first as part of The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, and later her own band.

Carla Bley

Complete Transcript (60 pages) View PDF 

Clip 1: MP4
Carla Bley: I was starting to listen to the radio

Clip 2: MP4
Carla Bley: I’ve never written with anyone else

Clip 3: MP4
Carla Bley: My father was a piano teacher

Clip 4: MP4
Carla Bley: The music I was writing, which was very difficult

Clip 5: MP4
Carla Bley: The record business


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Dave Brubeck Recorded August 6-7, 2007

Born into a musical family, Dave Brubeck began taking piano lessons from his mother, a classical pianist, at age four. Throughout his career, Brubeck experimented with integrating jazz and classical music. In 1959, he recorded Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. He was honored in the U.S. and abroad, with the National Medal of Arts, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Austrian Medal of the Arts.

Dave Brubeck

Complete Transcript (90 pages) View PDF 

Clip 1: MP3
Dave Brubeck discusses meeting Stan Kenton for the first time

Clip 2: MP3
Dave Brubeck talks about playing at the Band Box club

Clip 3: MP3
Dave Brubeck describes the difficulty of getting a phone after WWII

Clip 4: MP3
Dave Brubeck discusses his move from Fantasy to Columbia Records

Clip 5: MP3
Dave Brubeck describes how Joe Morello joined his quartet

Clip 6: MP3
Dave Brubeck talks about the inspiration for Blue Rondo a la Turk

Clip 7: MP3
Dave Brubeck talks about when he told his parents of his ambitions to be a musician

Clip 8: MP3
Dave Brubeck describes when he performed for Mikhail Gorbachev


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Kenny Burrell Recorded February 16-17, 2010

Kenny Burrell pioneered the guitar-led trio with bass and drums in the late 1950s. Known for his harmonic creativity, lush tones, and lyricism on the guitar, he is also a highly regarded composer. He was born in Detroit in 1931, and while still a student at Wayne State University, he made his first major recording with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Percy Heath, and Milt Jackson. He is a founder of the Jazz Heritage Foundation.

Kenny Burrell

Complete Transcript (81 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Kenny Burrell describes hearing Charlie Parker's quintet

Clip 2: MP3
Describes hearing guitarist Charlie Christian for the first time

Clip 3: MP3
Describes his college experience

Clip 4: MP3
Describes the circumstances surrounding his first record for the Blue Note label

Clip 5: MP3
Discusses playing in Dizzy Gillespie's band

Clip 6: MP3
Discusses what he learned from bassist Ray Brown

Clip 7: MP3
Discusses why Detroit produced so many jazz musicians

Clip 8MP3
On being yourself

Photo by Vance Jacobs, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Gary Burton Recorded May 6, 2016

Gary Burton has been a trendsetter in both the performance of jazz music as well as the development of jazz education. Born in Anderson, Indiana in 1943 he is an American jazz vibraphonist and NEA Jazz Master. As a winner of 7 Grammys and 15 Grammy nominations, he was instrumental in the development of jazz-fusion as well as the revival of the duo concert.  During his 33 years of service as a teacher, Dean of Curriculum, and Executive Vice President, Gary Burton helped to advance jazz education, add popular music to the school’s curriculum, and start Berklee Online.

Gary Burton

Complete Transcript (33 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Gary Burton speaks about his long-standing musical partnership with pianist, Chick Corea and its tumultous beginning.

Clip 2: MP3 
Gary Burton recounts his experience playing with drummer, Roy Haynes as a young musician.

Clip 3: MP3 
Gary Burton elaborates on the importance of being around younger musicians as well as his own natural progression from being the youngest musician on the bandstand to becoming a mentor of young musicians.

Clip 4: MP3
Gary Burton speaks on his introduction to the vibraphone as child in Indiana, his early musical upbringing, and first exposure to jazz music.

Clip 5: MP3
Gary Burton expounds on his initial reluctance to teach, his early years at Berklee, and the work he has done with Berklee to revolutionize jazz education.

Photo by Shannon Finney, courtesy of National Endowment for the Arts


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Candido Camero Recorded March 12-13, 1999

Candido Camero is credited with being the first percussionist to bring conga drumming to jazz. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1921, Candido Camero is known for his contributions to the development of mambo and Afro-Cuban jazz. He has recorded and performed with such luminaries as Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Parker. In 2005, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers recognized him as a "Legend of Jazz."

Candido Camero

Complete Transcript (59 pages) View PDF

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Benny Carter Recorded June 14, 1992

This native New Yorker made memorable impressions as a great bandleader and improviser. Largely self-taught, Benny Carter's first instrument was the trumpet, although the alto saxophone eventually became his principal instrument. He participated in tours with Jazz at the Philharmonic and wrote arrangements for singers including Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. Carter received numerous awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.

Benny Carter

Complete Transcript (145 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Family Musical History

Clip 2: MP3
First Saxophone

Clip 3: MP3
Meeting Count Basie

Clip 4: MP3
First Arrangements

Clip 5: MP3
Why the Saxophone

Clip 6: MP3
1932’s First Orchestra

Clip 7: MP3
Dizzy Gillespie’s Impact

Clip 8: MP3
Writing for Film and TV

Benny Carter Photo Provided Courtesy of Ed Berger


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Ron Carter Recorded May 16, 2011

Ron Carter’s dexterity and harmonic sophistication on the bass have few rivals in jazz history. He has also employed both the cello and the piccolo bass, and is one of the first musicians to use those instruments in jazz settings. His pursuit of music began with the cello, as a student in Detroit public schools. In 1963, he joined Miles Davis in the trumpeter's second great quintet, together with Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Herbie Hancock.

Ron Carter

Complete Transcript (47 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Ron Carter talks about making any bass sound like him

Clip 2: MP3
Ron Carter talks about the advantages of long-term gigs

Clip 3: MP3
Ron Carter talks about his approach to being a sideman

Clip 4: MP3
Ron Carter talks about holding Miles Davis' band together

Clip 5: MP3
Ron Carter talks about the role of the bass

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Jimmy Cobb Recorded July 26-27, 2010

An accomplished accompanist and soloist, Jimmy Cobb is best known for being a key part of Miles Davis' first great quintet in the late 1950s. Largely self-taught, Cobb spent his younger days in his hometown of Washington, DC, playing engagements with Charlie Rouse, Frank Wess, and Billie Holiday, among others. Jimmy Cobb continues to play music in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Jimmy Cobb

Complete Transcript (120 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jimmy Cobb describes how he joined Miles Davis's band

Clip 2: MP3
Discusses dealing with fatigue while playing drums

Clip 3: MP3
Discusses his trio with bassist Keter Betts and pianist Wynton Kelly

Clip 4: MP3
Discusses recording the Kind of Blue album with MIles Davis

Clip 5: MP3
Discusses some experiences with vocalist Billie Holiday

Clip 6: MP3
On practicing

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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George Coleman Recorded November 11, 2014

Renowned saxophonist, composer, and bandleader George Coleman was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. By the age of 17 he was touring with B.B. King and with whom he switched from playing mainly alto to the tenor saxophone. After finishing his tenure with King, in 1963 Coleman went on to play with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock before fronting his own bands. Coleman has also acted in movies such as The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and is an active music educator.

George ColemanComplete Transcript (56 pages) view PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Coleman talking about Roy Eldridge tricking his fellow bandmates with a piano recording

Clip 2: MP4
Coleman talking about playing music in different keys

Clip 3: MP4
Coleman talking about how he had never worked with any musician for over a year

Clip 4: MP4
Coleman gives advice for aspiring jazz musicians

Clip 5: MP4
Coleman discussing how he studied jazz by listening to composers from different genres


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Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea Recorded November 5, 2012

Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea began playing piano and drums at an early age in his hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts. He is known both as a keyboardist and as a composer-arranger. Moving fluidly between jazz, fusion, and classical music throughout a four-decade career, Corea has garnered 16 Grammy Awards. In 2010, he was selected for the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame. He continues to create projects in multifaceted settings for listeners around the world.

Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea

Complete Transcript (36 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
First Coming Across Latin Music

Clip 2: MP3 
On Himself as a Musician

Clip 3: MP3 
Social Aspect and Power of the Group

Clip 4: MP3 
It's All About Composition

Clip 5: MP3 
About Scenario Not Oneself

Clip 6: MP3 
Is Music a Language?


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Buddy DeFranco Recorded November 8-9, 2008

A brilliant improviser and prodigious technician who has bridged the swing and bebop eras, Buddy DeFranco was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in South Philadelphia. He began playing the clarinet at age nine. In 1950, DeFranco joined the famous Count Basie Septet. He toured Europe with Billie Holiday in 1954 and has played with Nat "King" Cole, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Getz, among many others.

Buddy DeFranco

Complete Transcript (105 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Development of clarinet chops and taking lessons

Clip 2: MP3
Auditioning for Tommy Dorsey contest

Clip 3: MP3
Tommy Dorsey as a leader and playing in his band

Clip 4: MP3
Learning classical music repertoire and its value to jazz

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Jack DeJohnette Recorded November 10-11, 2011

Widely regarded as one of the great drummers in modern jazz, this Chicagoan has played with virtually every major jazz figure from the 1960s on, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, and Sonny Rollins. Jack DeJohnette's versatility on the drums is accented by his additional accomplishments as a keyboardist: he studied classical piano for ten years before taking up drums.

DeJohnette

Complete Transcript (107 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jack DeJohnette talks about switching his focus to drumset

Clip 2: MP3
Jack DeJohnette discusses his week-long tenure with Coltrane in ’66

Clip 3: MP3
Jack DeJohnette reflects on his days touring with Miles Davis

Clip 4: MP3
Jack Dejohnette talks about his experience in the Blues Brothers 2000

Clip 5: MP3
Jack DeJohnette talks about how local musicians and performances influenced him

Photo by Michael G. Stewart, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Paquito D'Rivera Recorded June 11-12, 2010

Winner of several Grammy Awards, Paquito D'Rivera is celebrated for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. Born in Havana, Cuba, he has appeared at, or composed for, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the National Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Costa Rican National Symphony Orchestra, and Montreal's Gerald Danovich Saxophone Quartet.

Paquito D'Rivera

Complete Transcript (68 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera describes a peculiar method he used to keep in contact with family in Cuba

Clip 2: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera describes his introduction to Bebop

Clip 3: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera describes how he came about touring Europe with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie

Clip 4: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera describes how he went about leaving Cuba for good

Clip 5: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera discusses a jam session in Havana, Cuba with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Stan Getz

Clip 6: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera discusses dropping out of high school to pursue a career in music

Clip 7: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera discusses playing jazz in Cuba after Fidel Castro's rise to power

Clip 8: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera discusses some his early studio work in New York City, playing jingles

Clip 9: MP3
Paquito D'Rivera on the importance of understanding cultural traditions

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Lou Donaldson Recorded June 20 and 21, 2012

Lou Donaldson's distinctive blues-drenched alto saxophone has been a bopping force in jazz for more than six decades. His early work with trumpeter Clifford Brown is considered one of the first forays into hard bop, and his recordings with organist and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Smith led to the groove-filled jazz of the 1960s and '70s.

Lou Donaldson

Complete Transcript (82 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Lou Donaldson speaks about his early influences in jazz

Clip 2: MP3
Lou Donaldson discusses his Navy Band audition after being drafted in 1945

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Lou Donaldson talks about his skills on the baseball diamond

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Lou Donaldson describes the difference between Bebop and Hard Bop

Clip 5: MP3
Lou Donaldson talks about an experience in Baltimore regarding Miles Davis

Photo by Ken Kimery


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Dorothy Donegan Recorded April 5 and 6, 1998

Pianist, vocalist and educator Dorothy Donegan was fluent in several styles of jazz as well as European classical music. In the 1950s, the Chicago native developed a flamboyant performance style, which at times overshadowed her extraordinary piano playing, deep sense of swing, and wide-ranging repertoire.

Dorothy Donegan

Complete Transcript (107 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Donegan recounting a cutting contest with Art Tatum, Hazel Scott, and Erroll Garner

Clip 2: MP3
Donegan talks about performing with Papa Jo Jones and attending his funeral

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Donegan discusses learning from Art Tatum

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Donegan talks about musicians' superstitions


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Harry "Sweets" Edison Recorded August 20, 1993

Harry “Sweets” Edison was a consummate big band section trumpeter and skilled soloist whose ability to enhance a piece without overpowering it was renowned. A self-taught musician, his earliest gig came during high school in Columbus, Ohio, with the Earl Hood band. He went on to back Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Josephine Baker, among others. Edison was a welcome addition to the big bands he worked with, including Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, and Quincy Jones.

Harry “Sweets” Edison

Complete Transcript (93 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Sweets' first solo

Clip 2: MP3
Sweets talking about originality versus imitation

Clip 3: MP3
Count Basie gave Sweets the advice to find a note and stick with it

Clip 4: MP3
Sweets on Count Basie as a bandleader

Clip 5: MP3
Sweets on the Count Basie rhythm section


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Art Farmer Recorded June 29-30, 1995

Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Art Farmer dabbled in piano, violin, and tuba before settling on the trumpet at age 14. Early in his career, he helped to popularize the flugelhorn in jazz. Later, he switched to a hybrid instrument known as the flumpet, which combined the power of the trumpet with the warmth of the flugelhorn. In 1994, a Life Time Achievement Concert was held at Lincoln Center in his honor.

Art Farmer

Complete Transcript (96 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Art Farmer talks about Lester Young’s mastery throughout his career

Clip 2: MP3
Art Farmer discusses the influence of jazz in the 1950’s

Clip 3: MP3
Art Farmer talks about today’s young musicians

lip 4: MP3
Art Farmer elaborates on the dynamics of a jam session

Clip 5: MP3
Art Farmer tells us why the jazz community is incredible


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Frank Foster Recorded September 24-25 and November 22, 1998

Though best known for his work in the Count Basie Orchestra, Frank Foster's saxophone playing style owed more to the bebop of Charlie Parker. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Foster began playing clarinet at age 11 before taking up the alto saxophone and eventually the tenor. He played in Count Basie’s band for 11 years, providing compositions and arrangements for the band. He also was an extremely successful freelance writer, creating works performed by Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra.

Frank Foster

Complete Transcript (178 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Frank Foster tells a funny story about Joe Williams

Clip 2: MP3
Frank Foster on his musical inspiration

Clip 3: MP3
Frank Foster on the names of his songs for the album Manhattan Fever

Clip 4: MP3
Frank Foster describes playing at Indianapolis's Sunset Terrace with the Wilberforce Collegians and Sarah Vaughan sitting in

Clip 5: MP3
Frank Foster gives his definition of Hard-Bop

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Frank Foster on joining Count Basie's band

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Frank Foster on being awe-struck by Count Basie

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Frank Foster discusses playing for segregated audiences

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Frank Foster on how Basie would fine members of the bands

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Frank Foster talks through his composition Four, Five, Six

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Frank Foster describes the different kinds of 'shakes'

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Frank Fosters talks about pranks from members of the Basie band.


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Von Freeman Recorded May 23-24, 2000

A celebrated jazz tenor saxophonist, Von Freeman, was born and raised in Chicago and, outside of his years in the navy (1941-1945) when he played in a military band, he rarely performed outside of the city. Without leaving Chicago, Freeman managed to play with such legends as Charlie Parker, Sun Ra, and Dizzy Gillespie. Freeman actively avoided the road and, seemingly, fame; going so far as to turn down an opportunity from Miles Davis. Freeman credited his relative obscurity for the district and lauded sound he was able to create.

Von Freeman

Complete Transcript (178 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Frank Foster tells a funny story about Joe Williams

Clip 2: MP3
Frank Foster on his musical inspiration

Clip 3: MP3
Frank Foster on the names of his songs for the album Manhattan Fever

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Frank Foster describes playing at Indianapolis's Sunset Terrace with the Wilberforce Collegians and Sarah Vaughan sitting in

Clip 5: MP3
Frank Foster gives his definition of Hard-Bop


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Curtis Fuller Recorded September 25-26, 2010

Curtis Fuller was born in Detroit, and spent 10 years in an orphanage. He took up trombone after a nun took him to see a live jazz performance of Illinois Jacquet's band. Fuller toured with Dizzy Gillespie and the Count Basie band, co-led the quintet Giant Bones with Kai Winding in 1979 and 1980, and played with Art Blakey, Cedar Walton, and Benny Golson in the late 1970s and early '80s.

Curtis Fuller

Complete Transcript (89 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Relationship with John Coltrane

Clip 2: MP3
Lessons from Lester

Clip 3: MP3
Meeting Billie Holiday

Clip 4: MP3
Relationship with Billie Holiday

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Benny Golson Recorded January 8-9, 2009

Benny Golson is as renowned for his distinctive compositions and arrangements as for his innovative tenor saxophone playing. Golson began on the piano at age nine, moving to the saxophone at age 14. He has toured with Dizzy Gillespie, played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and cofounded the group the Jazztet. Golson was born in Philadelphia.

Benny Golson

Complete Transcript (119 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
When Benny Golson saw Lionel Hampton play at the Earle Theater in Philadelphia PA, it became the inspiration he needed to master the saxophone

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Benny Golson broke all the rules when it came to music theory

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Benny Golson talks about the night Dizzy Gillespie asked him to record "I Remember Clifford"

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Benny Golson helps out John Coltrane and Miles Davis

Clip 5: MP3
Benny Golson is his own man and his own style

Photo by Kennith R. Kimery


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Lorraine Gordon Recorded July 7, 2012

During her early career at the Blue Note record label, Lorraine Gordon helped to record and to promote legendary artists including Sidney Bechet and Thelonious Monk. Together with her husband Max, she later owned and operated the famous Village Vanguard, now the longest-running jazz club in New York City. Her memoir is entitled Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time. Lorraine Gordon was born in Newark, New Jersey.

Lorraine Gordon

Complete Transcript (43 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Lorraine Gordon talks about the Newark Hot Club

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Lorraine Gordon talks about how she followed jazz through collecting records and learning its history

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Lorraine Gordon talks about knowing Miles Davis during the 50’s

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Lorraine Gordon reflects on her activism efforts on issues such as women’s rights and peace

Clip 5: MP3
Lorraine Gordon describes the emotions she felt when she received the NEA Jazz Masters award


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Jim Hall Recorded May 12-13, 2011

Jazz guitarist Jim Hall's technique has been called subtle, and his compositions understated; yet his recording career has been anything but modest. He has collaborated with artists ranging from Bill Evans to Itzhak Perlman and performed alongside most of the jazz greats of the 20th century. The Buffalo, New York native was first modern jazz guitarist to receive an NEA Jazz Masters award.

Jim Hall

Complete Transcript (101 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
First Hearing Charlie Christian

Clip 2: MP3
Meeting Sonny Rollins

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Chico Hamilton Recorded January 9-10, 2006

Chico Hamilton was a subtle, creative drummer and skillful bandleader. As a teenager growing up in Los Angeles, Hamilton started playing regularly for the first time with a band that included classmates Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon, and Illinois Jacquet. He has performed with Lena Horne Count Basie, and Chet Baker, and founded the Chico Hamilton Quintet.

Chico Hamilton

Complete Transcript (150 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Chico Hamilton describes the challenge of time keeping

Clip 2: MP3
Chico Hamilton discusses meeting Dexter Gordon

Clip 3: MP3
Chico Hamilton discusses drummer Jo Jones and the Count Basie Orchestra

Clip 4: MP3
Chico Hamilton talks about drummer Art Blakely with the Billy Eckstein Orchestra

Clip 5: MP3
Chico Hamilton discusses his encounter with Illinois Jacquet

Clip 6: MP3
Chico Hamilton discusses meeting Larry Coryell

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Slide Hampton Recorded April 20-21, 2006

A charismatic figure, master arranger, and formidable trombonist, Slide Hampton holds a place of distinction in the jazz tradition. He is the founder of the illustrious World of Trombones: an ensemble of nine trombones and a rhythm section. In 1989, with Paquito D'Rivera, he was musical director of Dizzy's Diamond Jubilee, a year-long series of celebrations honoring Dizzy Gillespie's 75th birthday. Hampton was born in Jeannette, PA.

Slide Hampton

Complete Transcript (117 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Slide Hampton family band

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Slide Hampton talking about Art Blakey band's sound

Clip 3: MP3
Difference between the Montgomery family band and the Hampton band

Clip 4: MP3
Difference between composition, orchestration and arranging music

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Barry Harris Recorded August 20, 2010

Barry Harris is part of an exceptional crew of Detroit-bred jazz musicians who rose through the extraordinary arts education program in the public school system during the 1930s and 1940s. Harris was house pianist at one of the hottest Detroit jazz spots, the Blue Bird Lounge, where he backed such traveling soloists as Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, and Lester Young. By the early 1980s, Harris' acumen as a teacher of promising pianists had become legendary.

Barry Harris

Complete Transcript (36 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Barry Harris speaks about his ability to write music spontaneously

Clip 2: MP3
Barry Harris discusses his view on why Jazz should be as valued as classical

Clip 3: MP3
Barry Harris reminisces his experience listening to Charlie Parker

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Roy Haynes Recorded May 15, 1994

A favorite sideman for many artists because of his crisply distinctive drumming style, Roy Haynes spent the late 1940s to mid-1950s, working with such greats as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Kai Winding. He later played in Monk's band at the Five Spot Cafe before forming his own band in 1958. He joined Corea's Trio Music band in 1981. Roy Haynes was born in Roxbury, MA.

Roy Haynes

Complete Transcript (79 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Roy Haynes talks about John Coltrane

Clip 2: MP3
Roy Haynes describes how he avoided being drafted to the Army

Clip 3: MP3
Roy Haynes discusses the culture of Harlem and New York City

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Roy Haynes talks about playing at the Apollo Theater

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Roy Haynes tells what Lester Young calls a job

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Roy Haynes wants Sonny Rollins to call him back

Clip 7: MP3
Roy Haynes describes being misunderstood as a drummer.


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Jimmy Heath Recorded January 9, 2010

Starting on alto saxophone (and acquiring the nickname "Little Bird" due to the influence of Charlie "Yardbird" Parker), one of Jimmy Heath's first gigs came in a band led by Nat Towles, out of Omaha, Nebraska. Returning to his native Philadelphia, Heath briefly led his own big band with a saxophone section including John Coltrane and Benny Golson. Heath has made over 100 recordings and composed over 100 original works.

Jimmy Heath

Complete Transcript (26 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jimmy Heath describes playing with his brothers, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert Tootie Heath

Clip 2: MP3
Jimmy Heath discusses composing music

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Jimmy Heath discusses jazz education

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Jimmy Heath discusses making connections in the music industry

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Jimmy Heath discusses the composition of his piece "Fashion or Passion"

Clip 6: MP3
Jimmy Heath on his connection with Washington, D.C.

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Percy Heath Recorded July 23, 2001

Percy Heath was the backbone of the popular jazz group Modern Jazz Quartet, and a superb bassist so sought after that he appeared on more than 200 jazz albums. Heath played with the MJQ, off and on, from its beginning in 1952 for more than 40 years. His talents on bass were also much in demand as the house player for both Prestige and Blue Note record labels.

Percy Heath

Complete Transcript (72 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Early relationship with John Coltrane

Clip 2: MP3
Improvisation and the MJQ

Clip 3: MP3
Role of the bass, MJQ collaborations with symphonies, Milt Jackson's musicianship

Clip 4: MP3
Kenny Clarke's departure from the MJQ, relationship between bass and drums in jazz

Clip 5: MP3
Milt Jackson's musicianship and the craft of improvisation

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Luther Henderson Recorded August 28-29, 1993

When he was four, Luther Henderson moved from Kansas City to Harlem with his family and became neighbors with Duke Ellington. Ellington was a major influence on Henderson's musical life. Beginning in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Henderson adapted and orchestrated some of Ellington's larger works. In addition, he contributed to albums recorded by the Royal Philharmonic, Mandy Patinkin, Anita Ellis, and others.

Luther Henderson

Complete Transcript (62 pages) View PDF


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Jon Hendricks Recorded August 17-18, 1995

Jon Hendricks largely grew up in Toledo, Ohio, one of 17 children. He helped create the singing style known as "vocalese," or crafting songs and lyrics out of the note sequences of instrumental solos. A gifted lyricist, he has contributed lyrics for Count Basie, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, and Art Blakey, brilliantly mirroring their instrumental effects.

Jon Hendricks

Complete Transcript (95 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jon Hendricks on composing with a pianist

Clip 2: MP3
Jon Hendricks on Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross

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Jon Hendricks on memorizing music

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Jon Hendricks on pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell

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Jon Hendricks on racism in the 1960's

Clip 6: MP3
Jon Hendricks on studio recording

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Jon Hendricks on the Depression

Clip 8: MP3
Jon Hendricks on trumpeter Miles Davis and perfection


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Nat Hentoff Recorded February 17-18, 2007

One of the major voices in jazz literature, Nat Hentoff has written about and championed jazz for more than half a century. Hentoff began his education at Northeastern University in Boston, his hometown, and went on to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University. In addition to his status as a renowned jazz historian and critic, Hentoff also is an expert on First Amendment rights, criminal justice, and education and has written a number of books on these topics.

Nat Hentoff

Complete Transcript (80 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Nat Hentoff talks about interviewing Bob Dylan

Clip 2: MP3
Nat Hentoff on expressing individuality

Clip 3: MP3
Nat Hentoff discusses George Frazier

Clip 4: MP3
Nat Hentoff discusses interviewing Malcolm X

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Milt Hinton Recorded August 12-13, 1992

Like many African-American families in the early part of the 20th century, bassist Milt Hinton's family migrated north from Mississippi to Chicago, where he was raised. Hinton's early career experience was centered around the Cab Calloway Orchestra. He played with Louis Armstrong between 1952-55, then became a staff musician for CBS, one of the first African-American musicians welcomed into the TV studios.

Milt Hinton

Complete Transcript (159 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Playing With Cab Calloway

Clip 2: MP3
Photography

Clip 3: MP3
Favorite Recording Sessions


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Bill Holman Recorded February 18-19, 2010

Bill Holman's unique and complex arrangements have long been appreciated by musicians and critics alike, although the Californian’s work is best known on the West Coast. After writing for Charlie Barnet, in 1952 he began his association with Stan Kenton, for whom he would compose (and perform) for many years to come. To date, Holman has won three Grammy Awards.

Bill Holman

Complete Transcript (84 pages) View PDF 

Clip 1: MP3
Bill Holman describes a trip to Europe with the Stan Kenton band

Clip 2: MP3
Bill Holman describes being influenced by Gerry Mulligans writing for the Stan Kenton band

Clip 3: MP3
Bill Holman describes writing for singer Tony Bennett and the Count Basie band

Clip 4: MP3
Bill Holman describes a trip to Europe with the Stan Kenton band

Clip 5: MP3
Bill Holman discusses his worst chart for Stan Kenton

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Bill Holman explains how Stand Kenton's brass section grew from 8 to 10 players

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Bill Holman on asking questions while arranging a piece of music

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Bill Holman on writing for drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich

Clip 9: MP3
Bill Holman talks about the west coast jazz scene in the early 1950's

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Shirley Horn Recorded June 13-14, 1996

Shirley Horn began leading her own group in the mid-1950s, and in 1960 recorded her first album, Embers and Ashes, which established her reputation as an exceptional and sensitive jazz vocalist. Born in 1934 in Washington, DC, she studied classical piano as a teenager at Howard University's Junior School of Music. In 1990, she collaborated with Miles Davis on her critically acclaimed album You Won't Forget Me.

Shirley Horn

Complete Transcript (101 pages) View PDF


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Bobby Hutcherson Recorded December 8-9, 2010

As a child in Los Angeles, Bobby Hutcherson studied piano with his aunt, but his interest in becoming a professional musician was sparked after hearing vibraphonist Milt Jackson playing on a recording of the Thelonious Monk song "Bemsha Swing." His sound and innovative style on the vibraphone helped revitalize the instrument in the 1960s, adding an adventurous new voice to the free jazz and post-bop eras.

Bobby Hutcherson

Complete Transcript (66 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Bobby Hutcherson on creating something new

Clip 2: MP3
Bobby Hutcherson on scales

Clip 3: MP3
Bobby Hutcherson on playing thoughtfully

Clip 4: MP3
Bobby Hutcherson on Randall Kline and the Collective

Clip 5: MP3
Bobby Hutcherson on music's place in life

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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J.J. Johnson Recorded February 26-27, 1994

Often referred to as the "Charlie Parker of the trombone" due to his uncanny musical dexterity and fluency, James Louis "J.J." Johnson dominated his instrument for more than 40 years. In the late 1950s, he began to gain recognition as a composer. In 1987, he returned to his hometown Indianapolis and began playing, touring, and recording again.

Louis "J.J." Johnson

Complete Transcript (131 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
J.J. Johnson on being articulate

Clip 2: MP3
"I am not at all preoccupied with speed"

Clip 3: MP3
J.J. Johnson on opening for Coleman Hawkins at the Three Deuces

Clip 4: MP3
J.J. Johnson on Dizzy Gillespie

Clip 5: MP3
J.J. Johnson on Miles Davis' caring nature

Clip 6: MP3
J.J. Johnson on why he bought his first car and the reason behind it, a great JJ and Kai Winding story

Clip 7: MP3
J.J. Johnson on the red Ferrari and Miles Davis


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Elvin Jones Recorded June 10-11, 2003

The youngest of ten siblings, Elvin Jones began learning the drums during his middle school years in his hometown of Pontiac, Michigan. His propulsive style powered the John Coltrane Quartet during his six-year stint with the group and influenced countless percussionists that followed him over the past 40 years. He toured extensively with his group Jazz Machine and made later recordings with Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman, Dave Holland, and Bill Frisell.

Elvin Jones

Complete Transcript (113 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Elvin Jones talks about cymbals

Clip 2: MP3
Elvin Jones talks about being captivated by the drums

Clip 3: MP3
Elvin Jones talks about being inspired by Duke Ellington

Clip 4: MP3
Elvin Jones compares drums to crayons

Clip 5: MP3
Elvin Jones talks about learning by listening


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Hank Jones Recorded November 26-27, 2004

Hank Jones, a member of the famous jazz family that includes brothers cornetist Thad and drummer Elvin, served as a pianist in a vast array of settings, always lending a distinctive, swinging sensibility to the sessions. Although born in Mississippi, Jones grew up in Pontiac, Michigan, listening to such performers as Earl Hines, Fats Waller, and Art Tatum.

Hank Jones

Complete Transcript (134 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Different audiences and how most audiences are oriented to rock, not jazz

Clip 2: MP4
Duke Ellington

Clip 3: MP4
How important it is to practice regularly and how much of a difference it makes

Clip 4: MP4
The impact of church music

Clip 5: MP4
Jones talks about his studio work in New York

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts

 


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Quincy Jones Recorded September 7, 2008

Born in Chicago and raised in Seattle, Quincy Jones began learning the trumpet as a teenager. He moved to New York City in the early 1950s, finding work as an arranger and musician with Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Lionel Hampton. He has distinguished himself in just about every aspect of music, including as a bandleader, record producer, musical composer and arranger, trumpeter, and record label executive. He has worked with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Frank Sinatra, to Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson.

Quincy Jones

Complete Transcript (44 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Michael Caine teaches Quincy Jones Cockney Slang

Clip 2: MP3
Michael Caine teaches Quincy Jones Cockney Slang

Clip 3: MP3
Quincy Jones talks about the birth of African rhythm and Blues


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Sheila Jordan Recorded August 29-30, 2011

Sheila Jordan is not only one of the premier singers in jazz, but she is known for her stimulating vocal workshops as well. Jordan, née Dawson, grew up in Pennsylvania's coal mining country with her grandparents, singing in school and on amateur radio shows. Upon moving to New York City in the early '50s, Jordan sang in clubs and at jam sessions with some of the city's jazz giants, including Charles Mingus, Herbie Nichols, and Parker.

Sheila Jordan

Complete Transcript (70 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Sheila Jordan talks about the influence music had on her as a young girl in Detroit

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Sheila Jordan describes how Charlie Parker’s musical skill captivated her interests

Clip 3: MP3
Sheila Jordan elaborates on her first professional recording experience with George Russell

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Sheila Jordan talks about her skill of improvising lyrics and her composure on stage

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Sheila Jordan talks about how she is grateful to still sing later in her life


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Orrin Keepnews Recorded December 10, 2010

Orrin Keepnews is a New York based jazz producer and co-founder of historic record labels Riverside, Milestone, and Landmark. Over his 60 years in the industry, Keepnews has signed and produced work from countless artists, including Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, and Wes Montgomery. He has also been instrumental in the re-issuing of many jazz legends including Louis Armstrong.

Orrin Keepnews

Complete Transcript (70 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Decline in Jazz

Clip 2: MP3
Exposure to Jazz

Clip 3: MP3
On Bruce Lundvall

Clip 4: MP3
Refusing a Piano

Clip 5: MP3
Role of Producers

Photo by Frank Stewart, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Lee Konitz February 14-15, 2010

Lee Konitz was one of the more distinctive alto saxophonists in jazz since Charlie Parker, pairing his individual style and voice with a strong sense of innovation. Born to an Austrian father and a Russian mother in Chicago, Konitz as a youth studied clarinet, then alto saxophone with various teachers. Today, the 85 year-old divides his time between residences in the United States and Germany and continues to travel and perform around the globe.

Lee Konitz

Complete Transcript (94 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Lee Konitz discusses his relationship with Charlie Parker

Clip 2: MP3
Lee Konitz reflecting on his legacy

Clip 3: MP3
Lee Konitz recalling receiving the NEA Jazz Master Award

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Yusef Lateef Recorded June 21, 2000

Yusef Lateef was born William Emanuel Huddleston in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A virtuoso on traditional jazz instruments saxophone and flute, he also enriches his music through mastery of such Middle Eastern and Asian reed instruments as the bamboo flute, shanaishofarargol, and taiwan koto. A major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades, he was one of the first to bring a world music approach to traditional jazz.

Yusef Lateef

Complete Transcript (66 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Yusef Lateef talks about the seriousness and the emotional side of music

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Yusef Lateef talks about the innovations of Dizzy Gillespie

Clip 3: MP3
Yusef Lateef talks about Charles Mingus' approach to composing

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Yusef Lateef talks about the tradition of developing a unique sound in jazz

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Yusef Lateef renames "jazz" as "autophysiopsychic music"

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Hubert Laws Recorded March 4-5, 2011

Hubert Laws won a classical scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, studying with master flutist Julius Baker. At the same time, he was gigging at night, playing with jazz and Latin musicians including Mongo Santamaria, Lloyd Price, and John Lewis. He is one of the very few to specialize on the flute in jazz, and has become the premier musician on the instrument. In three decades of playing, he has also mastered pop, rhythm-and-blues, and classical genres.

Hubert Laws

Complete Transcript (134 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
The Classical Flute

Clip 2: MP3
Differences in Classical and Jazz Approach

Clip 3: MP3
Julius Baker and Jazz

Clip 4: MP3
Classical Composers

Clip 5: MP3
Working with Quincy Jones

Clip 6: MP3
Stevie Wonder

Clip 7: MP3
Bridging Classical and Jazz

Photo by Ken Kimery


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John Levy Recorded December 10-11, 2006

John Levy was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1912. As a musician, he performed as a bassist, however he is also renowned as a leading representative of jazz musicians and the first African American personal manager. Levy's client roster over the years has included Nat and Cannonball Adderley, Arsenio Hall,Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Ramsey Lewis, Wes Montgomery, Joe Williams, and Nancy Wilson. Levy has received a certificate of appreciation from Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Los Angeles Jazz Society.

Additional classroom materials regarding the oral history of John Levy are also available.

John Levy

Complete Transcript (99 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3 
John Levy on friendships and segregation

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John Levy on how he learned bass

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John Levy on entering the world of music

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"The president of the black musician's union called..."

Clip 5: MP3 
John Levy on Duke Ellington

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John Levy on the publishing business

Clip 7: MP3 
John Levy on Wilson Pickett

Photograph by Leroy Hamilton, courtesy of John & Devra Hall Levy


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Ramsey Lewis Recorded September 28-29, 2011

With a style that springs from his early gospel experience, classical training, and deep love of jazz, pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis has built a decades-long career as one of America's most popular performers. Born in Chicago, he began taking piano lessons at the age of four and credits his teacher with awakening him to the communicative power of music. Active in community affairs, especially on behalf of youth, Lewis helped organize the Ravinia Festival's Jazz Mentor Program.

Ramsey Lewis

Complete Transcript (87 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Ramsey Lewis learns how to “make the piano sing” from his teacher Dorothy Mendelsohn

Clip 2: MP3
Ramsey Lewis talks about how attitudes changed after the hit record In The Crowd by the Ramsey Lewis Trio

Clip 3: MP3
Ramsey Lewis discusses the influence the Modern Jazz Quintet and Oscar Peterson had on him

Clip 4: MP3
Ramsey Lewis talks about the errors the educational system has placed on Jazz

Clip 5: MP3
Ramsey Lewis talks about a good word of advice from Billy Taylor

Clip 6: MP3
Ramsey Lewis talks about Proclamation of Hope, his musical piece dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln

Clip 7: MP3
Ramsey Lewis describes his regard for music

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Dave Liebman Recorded January 4-5, 2011

Born in Brooklyn, soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman founded Free Life Communication, a cooperative of several dozen young musicians that became an integral part of the fertile New York "loft" jazz scene in the 1970s. Throughout his career, Liebman has also worked on the international jazz scene, playing with influential European musicians Joachim Kühn, Jon Christensen, and Bobo Stenson.

Dave Liebman

Complete Transcript (166 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Seeing Coltrane for the first time

Clip 2: MP3
Playing with Elvin Jones

Clip 3: MP3
First Recording with Miles

Clip 4: MP3
The Meaning of Music

Photo by Frank Stewart, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Abbey Lincoln Recorded December 17-18, 1996

Strongly influenced by Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, both of whom she met early in her career, Abbey Lincoln's distinctive vocal style, thought-provoking writing, and spirited personality secured her a place among the jazz luminaries. Lincoln was born in Chicago and raised in rural Michigan. She also acted, appearing in the films Nothing But A Man and For Love of Ivy and on television in Mission: Impossible and The Flip Wilson Show.

Abbey Lincoln

Complete Transcript (68 pages) View PDF

Clip 1:MP3
How the greats influenced modern singers

Clip 2: MP3
The voice as the greatest instrument

Clip 3: MP3
The individual as the greatest instrument

Clip 4: MP3
Stage fright

Clip 5: MP3
On modern music

Photo by Katja Von Schuttenbach


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Melba Liston Recorded December 4-5, 1996

Although a formidable trombone player, Melba Liston was primarily known for her composition and arrangements. Growing up in Los Angeles, some of her first work during the 1940s was with two West Coast masters: bandleader Gerald Wilson and tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. During the 1960s, Liston co-led a band with trumpeter Clark Terry, and wrote for the Duke Ellington orchestra, as well as Tony Bennett and Eddie Fisher. Her career helped pave the way for women in jazz in roles other than as vocalists.

Melba Liston

Complete Transcript (68 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Melba Liston talks about the differences between writing music Mingus and Monk

Clip 2: MP3
Melba Liston talks about being accepted as a female musician while performing in various countries during the State Department Tours

Clip 3: MP3
Melba Liston explains how she arranges music


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Charles Lloyd Recorded October 20, 2014

Born in Memphis, Tennessee and known, among other accomplishments, for helping break ground for the jazz scene on the west coast, Charles Lloyd is a seasoned saxophonist and flute player. After playing with masters such as Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, and Cannonball Adderley, Lloyd formed his own group and, in 1966, recorded Forest Flower: Live at Monterey, which was one of the first jazz albums to sell over one million copies. Lloyd is praised for his unique ability to blend jazz and world music.

Charles Lloyd

Complete Transcript (76 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Lloyd on spiritual life

Clip 2: MP4
Lloyd discussing his chance to be in California, and his encounter with nuns

Clip 3: MP4
Lloyd on seeking sounds

Clip 4: MP4
Lloyd discussing his experience in Goa

Clip 5: MP4
Lloyd on his mentor, Master Collette


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Johnny Mandel Recorded April 12-20, 1995

Johnny Mandel is considered one of the nation's top composer/arrangers in jazz, pop, and film music. In the 1940s, he played the trumpet with Joe Venuti and Billy Rogers, and trombone in the orchestras of Boyd Rayburn, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, Georgie Auld, and Chubby Jackson. Mandel has received five Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for Tony Bennett's performance of "The Shadow of Your Smile."

Johnny Mandel

Complete Transcript (179 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Johnny Mandel explains his early polyphonic arranging for jazz band

Clip 2: MP3
Johnny Mandel discusses Gil Evans, his influences and associates

Clip 3: MP3
Johnny Mandel discusses the process of scoring music for films

Clip 4: MP3
Johnny Mandel explains his approach towards orchestration

Clip 5: MP3
Johnny Mandel talks about writing the theme for the critically acclaimed movie MASH

Photo by Frank Stewart, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Branford Marsalis Recorded May 24-25, 2012 

Branford Marsalis is the son of Ellis Marsalis. For two years during the 1990s, Branford was the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, making jazz more widely known to the general public. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Branford teamed with Harry Connick, Jr. and Habitat for Humanity to create Musicians' Village in the city's Upper Ninth Ward to assist New Orleans musicians.

Branford Marsalis

Complete Transcript (160 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Branford Marsalis talks about the uniqueness of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins

Clip 2: MP3
Branford Marsalis explains the importance of connecting with the audience

Clip 3: MP3
Branford Marsalis talks about his experience with the Tonight Show

Clip 4: MP3
Branford Marsalis talks about joining Sting’s band

Clip 5: MP3
Branford Marsalis talks about receiving the NEA Jazz Master Award

Photo by Frank Stewart, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Delfeayo Marsalis Recorded January 13, 2011

Delfeayo Marsalis has proven himself a well-regarded jazz producer, working with various family members throughout the years. His insistence upon recording "without usage of the dreaded bass direct" for Branford in the 1980s was a crucial change in jazz recording techniques over the past 20 years. As a noted trombonist, Delfeayo has both played on his brothers' albums and fronted his own band.

Delfeayo Marsalis

Complete Transcript (38 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Delfeayo Marsalis describes the atmosphere of growing up with Branford, Wynton and Ellis

Clip 2: MP3
Delfeayo talks about how the Trombone became an extension of his personality

Clip 3: MP3
Delfeayo reflects on his experiences with Ray Charles early in his career

Clip 4: MP3
Delfeayo talks about the impact Elvin Jones and Art Blakey

Clip 5: MP3
Delfeayo talks about recording the Pontius Pilate Decision


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Ellis Marsalis Recorded November 8-9, 2010

Ellis Marsalis was born in New Orleans, in 1934. Although the city was noted for Dixieland and rhythm-and-blues, Ellis was more interested in bebop. In addition to his skillful piano playing, he became the director of jazz studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school in 1974, mentoring such contemporary artists as Terence Blanchard, and Harry Connick, Jr.

Ellis Marsalis

Complete Transcript (79 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Ellis Marsalis talks about why he did not enjoy the musical atmosphere of Los Angeles

Clip 2: MP3
Ellis Marsalis talks about his experience in teaching and with the NEA

Clip 3: MP3
Ellis Marsalis talks about the aspects of jazz education

Clip 4: MP3
Ellis Marsalis talks about the contribution and recognition of Louis Armstrong

Clip 5: MP3
Ellis Marsalis gives a depiction on how Mardi Gras was years ago


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Jason Marsalis Recorded November 7, 2010

Jason Marsalis, the youngest of the Marsalis sons, took up drumming at age six and began sitting in with his father's band at age seven, then made his recording debut at age 13 on Delfeayo's Pontius Pilate's Decision. He joined the band Los Hombres Calientes with Irvin Mayfield and Bill Summers in 1998, playing on their first two albums, which blended Afro-Cuban and Latin American elements with jazz.

Jason Marsalis

Complete Transcript (47 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jason Marsalis talks about deciding to give up violin to pursue the drums

Clip 2: MP3
Jason Marsalis talks about his classical influences

Clip 3: MP3
Jason Marsalis talks about being captured by Return to Forever

Clip 4: MP3
Jason Marsalis talks about the impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans music

Clip 5: MP3
Jason Marsalis talks about fusing classical and jazz in Gershwin's "Concerto in F"


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Tom McIntosh Recorded December 9-10, 2011

Though not well known outside of jazz circles, the unique voice of composer and arranger Tom "Mac" McIntosh made him a favorite of Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Milt Jackson, and Tommy Flanagan, among other jazz giants. McIntosh was born and raised in Baltimore. After a stint with the Army, he attended Juilliard and later became an active participant in the New York jazz scene as a trombone player and composer.

Tom McIntosh

Complete Transcript (57 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Tom McIntosh talks about his influence on established jazz musicians early in his career

Clip 2: MP3
Tom McIntosh Talks about his unheralded experience while composing music with Isaac Hayes

Clip 3: MP3
Tom McIntosh reflects on the impact of his father’s musical background

Clip 4: MP3
Tom McIntosh describes his amusing ‘first’ gig experience

Clip 5: MP3
Tom McIntosh mentions his first rehearsal experience with Charles Mingus

Clip 6: MP3
Tom McIntosh discusses his early challenges while working for Paramount Pictures

Clip 7: MP3
Tom McIntosh reflects on his Army band audition in Germany

Clip 8: MP3
Tom McIntosh chats about his audition for the Benny Golson/Art Farmer jazztet


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Jackie McLean Recorded July 20-21, 2001

Possessing one of the most recognizable alto saxophone sounds, Jackie McLean explored the cutting edge of jazz creativity. He grew up in a musical family in New York City: his father was a guitarist and his stepfather owned a record store. During McLean's busiest period in the 1950s, he worked with pianist George Wallington, drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and bassist Charles Mingus. McLean and his wife Dollie founded the Artists Collective, a community center and fine arts school, primarily for troubled youth.

Jackie McLean

Complete Transcript (131 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Playing with Dizzy Gillespie

Clip 2: MP3
Meeting Bud Powell

Clip 3: MP3
Playing with Miles Davis

Clip 4: MP3
The Artist Collective

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Marian McPartland Recorded January 3-4, 1997 and May 26, 1998

Best known as host of the weekly national radio program Piano JazzMarian McPartland has helped to popularize the genre with a broad audience. Her mother was a classical pianist, and enrolled Marian at the famed Guildhall School of Music in London. In 1963, she worked with the Benny Goodman Sextet, and in 1965 she began her radio career at WBAI in New York. She has received numerous awards, including a DownBeat Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Marian McPartland

Complete Transcript (177 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: WMA
Marian McPartland on audiences talking while she plays

Clip 2: WMA
Marian McPartland on perforaming with Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge

Clip 3: WMA
Marian McPartland on talking to an audience

Clip 4: WMA
Marian McPartland on Thelonious Monk

Clip 5: WMA
Marian McPartland on original vs. familiar tunes

Clip 6: WMA
Marian McPartland on Ray Charles


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James Moody Recorded August 19-20, 1993

A champion of Dizzy Gillespie's music, James Moody was accomplished on the tenor and alto saxophones, as well as on the flute, despite being born partially deaf. Moody was an engaging entertainer, captivating audiences with his personal charm and wit. Although born in Savannah, he was raised in Newark, New Jersey. His interest in jazz was sparked by a trumpet-playing father who gigged in the Tiny Bradshaw band. He led his own bands, and worked alongside Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, with whom he co-led a three-tenor sax band.

James Moody

Complete Transcript (121 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
James Moody discusses what he could do if he could do anything

Clip 2: MP3
James Moody talks about when he became interested in music

Clip 3: MP3
James Moody discusses being drafted into the Air Force and learning that
white German prisoners of war had more rights than Negro American soldiers

Clip 4: MP3
Moody pretends to be Milt Shaw's valet in order to get a bath

Clip 5: MP3
The circumstances under which Moody recorded Moody's Mood for
Love and found out he had a hit

Clip 6: MP3
Jazz at the Philharmonic with Moody, Clark Terry, and T-Bone
Walker: "Woman, you must be crazy"

Clip 7: MP3
James Moody tells a few stories about his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie

Clip 8: MP3
James Moody talks about his favorite musicians

Clip 9: MP3
James Moody describes how he would like to be remembered

Clip 10: MP3
James Moody talks about his first recorded solo


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Dan Morgenstern Recorded March 28-29, 2007

Dan Morgenstern is a jazz historian, author, editor, and educator who has been active in jazz since 1958. Born in Germany and reared in Austria and Denmark, Morgenstern came to the United States in 1947. He was chief editor of DownBeat from 1967 to 1973. He served on the faculties of the Institutes in Jazz Criticism, jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Music Critics Association. He is on the faculty of the Masters Program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University and is Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies there.

Dan Morgenstern

Complete Transcript (83 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Dan Morgenstern discusses his role as the editor of Downbeat

Clip 2: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes how his family newspaper was taken away by the Nazis

Clip 3: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes escaping from Austria to Denmark

Clip 4: MP3
Dan Morgenstern remembers his first encounter with jazz

Clip 5: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes jazz in Denmark

Clip 6: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes escaping to Sweden Part I

Clip 7: MP3
Escaping to Sweden Part II

Clip 8: MP3
Dan Morgenstern talks about becoming interested in jazz after the war

Clip 9: MP3
Dan Morgenstern discusses how he began collecting jazz books

Clip 10: MP3
Dan Morgenstern talks about meeting and becoming friends with Tad Dameron

Clip 11: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes booking Art Tatum for his first solo piano concert

Clip 12: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes discovering a record of Coleman Hawkins singing

Clip 13: MP3
Dan Morgenstern describes his interview with Ornette Coleman

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Jimmy Owens Recorded September 10-11, 2011

Jimmy Owens is a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, and music education consultant. His advocacy for the rights of jazz artists led to the founding of the Jazz Musician's Emergency Fund, a program of the Jazz Foundation of America. Owens attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, and studied composition with Henry Bryant and trumpet with Donald Byrd. Owens is an active advocate for jazz artists’ rights.

Jimmy Owens

Complete Transcript (76 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jimmy Owens talks about his musical experiences in Africa

Clip 2: MP3
Jimmy Owens talks about the times he spent traveling with Lionel Hampton

Clip 3: MP3
Jimmy Owens discusses the business side of music

Clip 4: MP3
Jimmy Owens talks about Jimmy Owens Plus

Clip 5: MP3
Jimmy Owens talks about meeting Miles for the first time when he was 14

Photo by Ken Kimery


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Wendy Oxenhorn Recorded March 24, 2016

NEA Jazz Master, Wendy Oxenhorn has led a life of service to the arts and humanity.  After a knee injury halted her career in ballet, Wendy Oxenhorn dedicated her life towards helping others.  She co-founded Street News, a newspaper business that provided work for the unemployed and later started Children of Substance, a public program designated to assist the children of drug abusers.  As the Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America, Wendy Oxenhorn has helped to provide struggling musicians with financial assistance, health care, and performance opportunities.

Wendy Oxenhorn

Complete Transcript (42 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3 
Wendy Oxenhorn elaborates on her upbringing, the ending of her life in ballet, and the shift in direction that followed suit.

Clip 2: MP3
Wendy Oxenhorn sheds light on the dire living conditions of the youth in New York City and the beginning of her career in social work.

Clip 3: MP3
Wendy Oxenhorn speaks about her work with Children of Substance, an organization formed to help the children of substance abusers and Street News, a newspaper created to provide legitimate employment for NYC panhandlers.

Clip 4: MP3
Wendy Oxenhorn elaborates on her early work with the Jazz Foundation of America, the mission of the foundation, and the strides that have been taken to assist struggling artists around the nation.

Clip 5: MP3
Wendy Oxenhorn speaks about the detrimental effect events such as the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina have had on the livelihoods of countless musicians.

Photo by Shannon Finney, courtesy of National Endowment for the Arts


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Eddie Palmieri Recorded July 8, 2012

Known as one of the finest Latin jazz pianists of the past 50 years, Eddie Palmieri is also known as a bandleader of both salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the melody and complexity of his jazz influences: his older brother Charlie, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and McCoy Tyner. In 1988, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, recorded two of Palmieri's performances for its archives.

Eddie Palmieri

Complete Transcript (50 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
On the term Latin Jazz

Clip 2: MP3
Music can be Exciting

Clip 3: MP3
Racial Profiling

Clip 4: MP3
Troubles of being a Cuban in America

Clip 5: MP3
Unfortunate Categorization of Latin

Photo by Ken Kimery


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Sonny Rollins Recorded February 28, 2011

With more than 50 years in jazz, Theodore "Sonny" Rollins' towering achievements on the tenor saxophone are many, and he continues to be an exciting and fiery musician in concert. He served as a sideman on sessions with Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Art Farmer, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. In 2010, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Theodore "Sonny" Rollins

Complete Transcript (50 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Sonny Rollins talks about what attracted him to jazz

Clip 2: MP3
Sonny Rollins talks about approaching established musicians during his early years

Clip 3: MP3
Sonny Rollins describes what makes a good improvisation as well as his positioning on stage

Clip 4: MP3
Sonny Rollins talks about his repertoire outside of the usual jazz standards


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Annie Ross Recorded January 13-14, 2011

Annie Ross was born in England, and raised in Los Angeles. She began her singing career in Europe, working with musicians such as James Moody, Kenny Clarke, and Coleman Hawkins. Between 1957 and 1962, her group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recorded seven albums, including the one that put them in the spotlight: Sing A Song Of Basie. Ross also is an accomplished actress and has appeared in a number of films, including Superman III, Throw Mama from the Train, and Pump Up the Volume.

Annie Ross

Complete Transcript (56 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Annie Ross discusses her experience when she first came to America at Ellis Island

Clip 2: MP3
Annie Ross describes her act for a competition sponsored by MGM when she was a young girl

Clip 3: MP3
Annie Ross reflects on her musical experiences in Paris

Clip 4: MP3
Annie Ross describes her experience singing for Duke Ellington as a young 14 year old girl

Clip 5: MP3
Annie Ross talks about her struggle and ability to overcome the substance abuse lifestyle associated with musicians

Clip 6: MP3
Annie reflects on why it is so important to respect musicians

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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George Russell Recorded May 3-5, 2004

George Russell was a composer and one of the most important jazz theorists of the latter half of the 20th century. His theories on modes influenced Miles Davis and Bill Evans, leading to the creation of Davis' masterpiece, Kind of Blue. In addition to teaching and lecturing at conservatories and universities, Russell was the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and grants, including a MacArthur award, two Guggenheim fellowships, and election to the Royal Swedish Academy.

George Russell

Complete Transcript (111 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Modal Thinking

Clip 2: MP3
Gil Evans and Sound

Clip 3: MP3
Publishing the Book

Clip 4: MP3
Music and Meaning

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Gunther Schuller Recorded June 3-4, 2008

Gunther Schuller was born in New York City in 1925. At age 17, he joined the Cincinnati Symphony as principal horn. Two years later, he joined the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera while also becoming active in the New York bebop scene, performing and recording with such greats as Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus. Schuller wrote more than 180 compositions in a wide range of styles and won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in music forOf Reminiscences and Reflections. He also received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Gunther Schuller

Complete Transcript (87 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Early introduction of Duke Ellington on the radio

Clip 2: MP3
The expansion of writing for strings, French horn in jazz

Clip 3: MP3
Talking about Ornette Coleman

Clip 4: MP3
Gunther's development in conducting for orchestras

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Jimmy Scott Recorded September 23-24, 2008

For more than five decades, Jimmy Scott numbered among the jazz world's best singers. Billie Holiday once named him as a vocalist she admired. Scott was born in 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a child was diagnosed with Kallmann syndrome, a rare condition that prevented him from experiencing puberty. Because of his condition, his voice never changed, giving his singing an almost otherworldly sound.

Jimmy Scott

Complete Transcript (66 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Jimmy Scott talks about how Lester Young launched him into performing

Clip 2: MP3
Jimmy Scott is truly his own man

Clip 3: MP3
Jimmy Scott plays with Charlie Parker at the famous Birdland club

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Joe Segal Recorded October 6, 2014

Joe Segal, the legendary jazz promoter, first heard jazz in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Earl Theater. After a tenure in the army Segal enrolled in Roosevelt University in Chicago where he started presenting jazz shows as a member of the student jazz club. Though he no longer holds membership to the club he still presents shows through The Jazz Showcase. Segal’s Showcase, having been established in 1947, is the oldest continuous jazz venue in the windy city. The Jazz Showcase has presented shows in over 63 venues. 
 

Joe Segal

Complete Transcript (45 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Joe Segal almost meeting Sidney Bechet in Philadelphia.

Clip 2: MP3
Joe Segal having Charlie Parker play with the Jazz All Stars.

Clip 3: MP3
Joe Segal talking about the concept of the Matinee.

Clip 4: MP3
Joe Segal talking about making the Jazz Showcase a hangout for musicians, and letting them in free.

Clip 5: MP3
Joe Segal talking about James Moody.


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Artie Shaw Recorded October 7-8, 1992

Immensely popular and startlingly innovative, Artie Shaw rose to prominence in the 1930s as a swing bandleader, master clarinetist, and boundary-crossing artist, who infused jazz with the influences of modern European composers. Born in 1910, he left New Haven, Connecticut, at age 15 to tour as a jazz musician. During 1938, with a swing band line-up that briefly included Billie Holiday as vocalist, he recorded Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine," which propelled him to the forefront of big band leaders.

Artie Shaw

Complete Transcript (100 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: WMA
Artie Shaw on Begin the Beguine

Clip 2: WMA
Artie Shaw on a recording trick

Clip 3: WMA
Artie Shaw on hiring Billie Holiday

Clip 4: WMA
Artie Shaw on hiring Billy Butterfield


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Wayne Shorter Recorded September 24, 2012

Equally renowned as a composer and saxophonist, Wayne Shorter has contributed many songs to the jazz canon while helping to evolve the genre over the last 40 years. He has received nine Grammy Awards. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he is a major influence on the generations of musicians who have entered the scene since the 1970s. In 2001, he began touring and releasing recordings with a new quartet comprised of Danilo Pérez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums.

Wayne Shorter

Complete Transcript (26 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
How to Treat People

Clip 2: MP3
Charlie Parker’s Violin Book

Clip 3: MP3
Removing Ego to Play Without a Net

Clip 4: MP3
Showing the Struggle

Clip 5: MP3
Remembering Stan Getz

Photo by Thomas Dorn


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Dr. Billy Taylor Recorded November 19, 1993

After growing up in Washington, DC, Dr. Billy Taylor earned a degree at Virginia State College. He spent the 1940s playing clubs on New York's famed 52nd Street, where he performed with the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Stuff Smith, Slam Stewart, and Don Redman. His adroit piano playing enabled him to cross over freely from swing to the then-burgeoning modern jazz called bebop.

Dr. Billy Taylor

Complete Transcript (122 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor discusses the impact of Charlie Parker's death on the jazz community

Clip 2: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor describes his first paying gig as a jazz musician

Clip 3: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor discusses his motivation to play the piano as a kid

Clip 4: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor discusses Jelly Roll Morton in Washington, D.C.

Clip 5: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor talks about first learning of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

Clip 6: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor remembers picking his major in college

Clip 7: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor recalls how his father secretly supported his college education

Clip 8: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor remembers moving to New York for the first time

Clip 9: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor talks about moving to New York and going straight to Minton's and playing with Ben Webster

Clip 10: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor describes auditioning for Ben Webster and meeting Art Tatum at the same time

Clip 11: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor describes his relationship with Charlie Parker Part I

Clip 12: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor discusses his relationship with Charlie Parker Part II

Clip 13: MP3
Dr. Billy Taylor describes how he came to name one of Dizzy Gillespie's tunes


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Clark Terry Recorded June 15 and 22, 1999

Clark Terry is the consummate freelance musician, able to add a distinctive element to whatever band or jam session of which he is a part. His exuberant, swinging horn playing was an important contribution to Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's bands. In addition, his use of the flugelhorn as an alternative to trumpet influenced Art Farmer and Miles Davis, among others. As a jazz educator he was one of the earliest active practitioners to take time off from the road to enter the classroom, conducting numerous clinics and jazz camps.

Clark Terry

Complete Transcript (150 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Clark Terry describes how Jimmie and Ernie Wilkins joined Count Basie's band

Clip 2: MP3 
Clark Terry on being late to an Ellington engagement

Clip 3: MP3
Clark Terry talking about opening with the George Hudson band for Illinois Jacquet

Clip 4: MP3 
Clark Terry tells how he accidentally insulted Duke Ellington

Clip 5: MP3 
Clark Terry talks about playing high notes


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Toots Thielemans Recorded August 31 and September 1, 2011

Harmonica player, guitarist, and whistler Jean Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans has been credited by jazz aficionados as being among the greatest jazz harmonica players of the 20th century, improvising on an instrument better known in folk and blues music. Born in Brussels, he immigrated to the United States in 1952, getting a chance to play with Charlie Parker's All-Stars. His performance so impressed George Shearing that he invited Thielemans into his band, where he stayed until 1959.

Jean Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans

Complete Transcript (80 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Toots talks about how he wasn’t received with open arms when he went to New York City

Clip 2: MP3
Toots discusses the early influence jazz had on him

Clip 3: MP3
Toots talks about impressing George Shearing at Carnegie Hall

Clip 4: MP3
Toots talks about his relationship with pianists throughout his career

Clip 5: MP3
Toots talks about his honors outside of music

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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McCoy Tyner Recorded December 7-8, 2011

McCoy Tyner's propulsive style of piano playing was an integral part of the John Coltrane Quartet in the early 1960s. His rich chord clusters continue to be copied by many young jazz pianists. Growing up in Philadelphia, Tyner's neighbors were jazz musicians Richie and Bud Powell, who were very influential to his piano playing. While experimenting with his sound, Tyner has eschewed the use of electric pianos, preferring the warm sound of an acoustic piano, and earned five Grammy Awards for his recordings.

McCoy Tyner

Complete Transcript (83 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP4
Tyner talking about big bands

Clip 2: MP4
Tyner talking about how he wanted to try something different

Clip 3: MP4
Tyner on improvising 

Clip 4: MP4
Tyner talking about his old home/mother’s beauty shop 

Clip 5: MP4
Tyner talking about orchestration

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Rudy Van Gelder Recorded November 5, 2011

Rudy Van Gelder is considered by many to be the greatest recording engineer in jazz. He has recorded practically every major jazz musician of the 1950s and 1960s on thousands of albums. The signature Van Gelder sound features a clearly defined separation among the instruments, ensuring that every sonic detail is clear and audible. This was accomplished by the strategic placement of instruments in the studio, though his exact technique has always been a closely guarded secret.

Rudy Van Gelder

Complete Transcript (44 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Live Recording in Clubs

Clip 2: MP3
Building a Studio

Clip 3: MP3
Pressures of Working in the Studio

Clip 4: MP3
About Coltrane

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Cedar Walton Recorded October 2-3, 2010

Cedar Walton was first taught piano by his mother, growing up in Dallas, Texas. One of Walton's most significant musical associations was with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. During his years with Blakey (1961-64), Walton stepped forward as composer, contributing originals such as "Mosaic," "Ugetsu," and "The Promised Land" to the group's repertoire. Some of his compositions, including "Bolivia," "Clockwise," and "Firm Roots," have become standards.

Cedar Walton

Complete Transcript (116 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Cedar Walton talks about the feeling he received when listening to composers such as Shostakovich and Stravinsky

Clip 2: MP3
Cedar Walton discusses his relationship with John Coltrane

Clip 3: MP3
Cedar Walton talks about music in his current life

Clip 4: MP3
Cedar talks about his work with Stevie Wonder

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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George Wein Recorded May 11, 2011

A professional pianist from his early teens, George Wein led a band in his native Boston, frequently accompanying visiting jazz musicians. In 1950, he opened his own club, formed the Storyville record label, and launched his career as a jazz entrepreneur. He is renowned for his work in organizing music festivals, and in particular for creating the Newport Jazz Festival, an event that, according to the late jazz critic Leonard Feather, started the "festival era."

George Wein

Complete Transcript (44 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
George Wein recounts Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars visiting his club

Clip 2: MP3
George Wein on surviving in an atmosphere you love

Clip 3: MP3
George Wein defines what a real jazz musician is

Clip 4: MP3
George Wein describes the difference of music across cultures

Clip 5: MP3
George Wein on giving talent an opportunity to be heard

Photo by Vance Jacobs, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Frank Wess Recorded January 10, 2010

A multi-instrumentalist whose inspired solos have kept big-band jazz fresh and vital into the present, Kansas City native Frank Wess is revered as a smoothly swinging tenor saxophone player in the Lester Young tradition, as an expert alto saxophonist, and as one of the most influential, instantly recognizable flutists in jazz history.

Frank Wess

Complete Transcript (23 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Frank Wess on connecting with the audience

Clip 2: MP3
Frank Wess on improvisation and folk music

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Frank Wess on learning when to stop

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Randy Weston Recorded October 23, 2009

Pianist and composer Randy Weston has spent most of his career combining the rich music of the African continent with the African-American tradition of jazz, mixing rhythms and melodies into a musical hybrid. He toured 14 African countries with his ensemble in 1967 on a State Department tour, eventually settling in Rabat, Morocco. He later moved to Tangier, opening the African Rhythms Club in 1969. Since returning to the U.S. in 1972, he has lived in his native Brooklyn, NY.

Randy Weston

Complete Transcript (20 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Randy Weston describes his experiences in Japan after his sister's funeral in New York, NY on September 11, 2001

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Randy Weston describes playing in Alexandria, Egypt in 2002

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Randy Weston Describes the influence of African music on Western musicians

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Randy Weston describes the Jazz festival he organized in Tangier in 1972

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Randy Weston discusses hardship and spirituality in relation to music

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Randy Weston discusses his inspiration for recording solo piano albums.

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Joe Wilder Recorded January 9, 2010

Joe Wilder grew up in Colwyn, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. His father was a bassist and bandleader. The trumpeter has played with a virtual Who's Who of jazz -- Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Quincy Jones, John Lewis, Charles Mingus, George Russell, and Dinah Washington, to name just a few.

Joe Wilder

Complete Transcript (129 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Joe Wilder discusses bandleader Jimmie Lunceford

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Joe Wilder discusses his teaching philosophy

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Joe Wilder on going to school with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco in Philadelphia, Pa.

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Joe Wilder on musical communication and bassist Keter Betts

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Gerald Wilson Recorded February 15, 2010

Gerald Wilson's use of multiple harmonies is a hallmark of his big bands, earning him a reputation as a leading composer and arranger. He was born in 1918 in Shelby, Mississippi. After his family moved to Detroit in 1934, he was able to concentrate on his music and was soon playing professionally. He has contributed his skill as an arranger and composer to artists ranging from Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and Ella Fitzgerald to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to his guitarist-son Anthony.

Gerald Wilson

Complete Transcript (59 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Gerald Wilson describes an experience with Duke Ellington

Clip 2: MP3
Gerald Wilson describes writing the second jazz waltz in history

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Gerald Wilson discusses his Grammy award nominations

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Gerald Wilson discusses his Mexican influences and his tune "Viva Tirado"

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Gerald Wilson discusses his relationship with trumpeter Miles Davis

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Gerald Wilson discusses how he became leader of his first band in Los Angeles, California

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Gerald Wilson discusses the origins of his tune "Yard-dog Mazurka"

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Gerald Wilson discusses trumpeter Eugene Snooky Young

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Gerald Wilson discusses writing for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and meeting composer William Grant Still

Clip 10: MP3
Gerald Wilson talks about his relationship with multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Nancy Wilson Recorded December 6, 2010

Nancy Wilson began her singing career on the Columbus, Ohio, club circuit while still in high school, and in 1956 she became a member of Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Band. During her years recording as a solo artist with Capitol Records, she was second in sales only to the Beatles. Although she often has crossed over to pop and rhythm-and-blues recordings, she still is best known for her jazz performances. Wilson also hosted NPR's Jazz Profiles, a weekly documentary series, from 1986 to 2005.

Nancy Wilson

Complete Transcript (67 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Nancy Wilson talks about her approach when singing in the studio

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Nancy Wilson talks about how the events of JFK’s assassination effected her. She always talks about singing for movies

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Nancy Wilson talks about her efforts during the Civil Rights movement beside activists such as Martin Luther King

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Nancy Wilson discusses her work for the Nixon and Johnson administration

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Nancy Wilson talks about her association with the comedian Aresnio Hall

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Phil Woods Recorded June 22-23, 2010

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Philip Wells Woods has devoted himself to the alto saxophone since the age of 12. Woods performed in Buddy Rich's quintet and toured Europe with Quincy Jones and the U.S.S.R. with Benny Goodman. He remains active internationally as a bandleader, composer-arranger, and soloist.

Philip Wells Woods

Complete Transcript (66 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Phil Woods describes meeting saxophonist Charlie Parker for the first time

Clip 2: MP3
Phil Woods discusses his first saxophone lesson

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Phil Woods discusses horn troubles and motivation

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Phil Woods on being a well-rounded musician

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Phil Woods on composing music

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Phil Woods on doing what you love to do

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Phil Woods on how to keep a band together

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Phil Woods recalls playing in Russia with clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts


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Snooky Young Recorded February 24-25, 2009

Known for his prowess with the plunger mute, Eugene Edward "Snooky" Young's trumpet playing was most often heard in the context of the big band. For 30 years, he was heard every weeknight as a member of The Tonight Show orchestra. Young led his own band in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and performed with both Lionel Hampton and Count Basie. His work appeared on numerous soundtracks, including The Color Purple.

Eugene Edward "Snooky" Young

Complete Transcript (126 pages) View PDF

Clip 1: MP3
Snooky talking about Roy Eldridge

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Snooky joining Jimmie Lunceford band

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Talking about his band and its members

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Tonight Show band and Dizzy Gillespie

Photo by Tom Pich, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts