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Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jazz Singers, Hammerstein and Bastille Day

Monday, July 11

Tonight, we begin a 13-part series, Jazz Singers. Produced by the Smithsonian and hosted by acclaimed singer Al Jarreau, the programs trace the history of jazz singing from the early days to the present, exploring the roots, evolution, key styles, and significant artists in the music.

In hour one, we’ll hear “Steeped in the Blues,” exploring the influence of the blues on countless jazz singers. Such great singers as Big Joe Turner, Joe Williams, Lou Rawls, Billie Holiday, Etta Jones, and LaVerne Butler. Others talk about and demonstrate how jazz singing is “Steeped in the Blues.”

Then in hour two, it’s a “Saturday Night Function.” From the beginning, jazz vocals have dealt with the earthier side of life, as artists such as Dakota Staton, Louis Jordan, O.C. Smith, Oscar Brown Jr., and Jon Hendricks demonstrate in part two of the series.

Tuesday, July 12

Night Train marks the birthdays of Ellington saxophonist Paul Gonsalves and soul-jazz organist Big John Patton. It’s also the birthday of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. We’ll hear the music he created with Richard Rodgers from July featured artist Dr. Lonnie Smith. New albums by singer Melissa Stylianou, guitarist Ron Jackson, and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and in a special tracing his career in hour two of the show.

Wednesday, July 13

Night Train highlights that rare jazz bird – the male jazz vocalist – tonight. We’ll hear both classic and contemporary singers, including Mose Allison, Johnny Hartman, Andy Bey, Kurt Elling, Gregory Porter, and more. We’ll also hear from some great pianists – including Erroll Garner, Fats Waller, and Hank Jones, a classic track from Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery, and Christian McBride’s tribute to the duo and their work with producer Oliver Nelson.

Thursday, July 14

Night Train joins Global Village and Strange Currency to celebrate Bastille Day. We’ll hear music from French jazz artists, jazz projects recorded in France, and related recordings, including Ahmad Jamal in Paris, Shirley Horn’s salute to Paris, and Nina Simone doing a Jacques Brel classic. Along with such French musicians as trumpeter Erik Truffaz, pianist Jacky Terrasson, third stream artists Claude Bolling and Jacques Loussier, and Hot Club of France legends Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Plus a birthday salute to cellist Akua Dixon with music she did as a leader and with Quartette Indigo.

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.