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Illinois Jacquet, Jazz Giant Birthdays: Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and Art Tatum

Monday, October 10

In honor of his birthday today, Night Train steps aside for a two-hour special showcasing contemporary tributes to the great pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. Although he has been gone for some four decades now, Monk remains one of the most revered artists in jazz, and his work is the subject of a continuous stream of covers and tributes. Groups as diverse as The Bobby Broom Trio, The Microscopic Septet, John Beasley & MONK’estra, and the Frank Kimbrough Quartet are among those featured here.

Tuesday, October 11

Night Train marks birthdays of saxophonist Curtis Amy and drummers Billy Higgins and the legendary Art Blakey (featured in a special in hour two). We also check out a historic track from Coleman Hawkins recorded on this date in 1939. And we’ll hear new music from Jeff Coffin, Mark Winkler, and Thomas Linger.

Wednesday, October 12

More music tonight on the Night Train from October featured artist Illinois Jacquet, this time from an album he did with jazz greats Kenny Burrell and Tommy Flanagan. We’ll also mark birthdays of saxophonist Harry Allen (with a version of “Flying Home,” the song that launched Illinois Jacquet’s career), guitarist Ed Cherry (from a new album in tribute to Pat Martino), and organist Mel Rhyne (best known for his work with Wes Montgomery and featured in a special in hour two of the show). Plus, the vocalese classic that sprang from a recording made on this date in 1949.

Thursday, October 13

Night Train marks birthdays of saxophonist Pharoah Sanders (who passed away just last month), bass great Ray Brown, vibes player Terry Gibbs (from a set he did with the late jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco), and piano giant Art Tatum (also featured in a special in hour two of the show). And there’s more music from October featured artist Illinois Jacquet and new music from trombonist Steve Davis, guitarist Bobby Broom and flutist Tom Keenlyside.

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.