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Best of 2021, King Day, Public Domain, Tributes & Jimmy Cobb

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Monday, January 17

Night Train marks Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with music inspired by him and by the Civil Rights Movement. We’ll hear selections from Nina Simone, Dr. Billy Taylor, Duke Ellington, Bobby Watson and more in hour one; and a King Day music special in hour two with more music dedicated to Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 18

At the beginning of every year copyrights on various books, films, and songs expire and the works go into the public domain. As is the annual tradition on the Night Train, we share some of those songs in a special edition of the show, though we will hear more contemporary recordings of the songs, here from Ella Fitzgerald, King & Moore, 2021 show favorite Pat Coil, and more.

We also mark birthdays of Russell Ferrante (with his 2021 release), drummer Al Foster (with McCoy Tyner and 2022 NEA Jazz Master Stanley Clarke), and guitarist Bobby Broom (featured in a concert special in hour two of the show).

Finally, thanks to changes in the copyright law, for the very first time sound recordings enter public domain, starting this year with all recordings made prior to 1923 (an estimated 400,000+ of them). Throughout the year, the Library of Congress will be adding them to the National Jukebox. You can hear them here.

Wednesday, January 19

In conjunction with the January feature looking back at the past year in jazz, Night Train offers a special edition of the show in tribute to jazz artists who passed away in 2021. We’ll hear selections from drummer Charlie Watts, pianist Chick Corea, guitarist Pat Martino, trombonists Slide Hampton and Curtis Fuller, composer Dave Frishberg, and soul jazz organ great Dr. Lonnie Smith (featured also in a special in hour two of the show).

Thursday, January 20

Night Train pays tribute to drummer Jimmy Cobb in a special edition of the show devoted entirely to his music. In hour one we’ll hear Cobb as a leader including music from two of the final albums on which he appeared, and as a guest with Wes Montgomery, Wynton Kelly, Joey DeFrancesco, and with Miles Davis at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Then in hour two, it’s a Kind of Blue special. For many years, Cobb had been the last living member of the lineup that recorded that classic album. The program looks at the making of that Miles Davis album with commentary from a number of jazz masters, including Jimmy Cobb himself, talking about what it was like to be part of that historic and enduringly popular recording.

Chris Heim produces and hosts Global Village, a nationally and internationally distributed world music show; the nightly jazz show Night Train, and Crossroads, KMUW’s twice-weekly blues and R&B show. Chris is also a critic and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Utne, Global Rhythm, Dirty Linen, and Option, among others.