April is here, and that means we're celebrating jazz in a special way on WRTI—all month long. The Smithsonian Institution launched Jazz Appreciation Month in 2002 to herald and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. And since that time we've been honoring jazz greats every April, and so has the City of Philadelphia.
This year marks the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald's birth in 1917, so we're paying tribute to the "First Lady of Song," throughout the month. While there is a never a shortage of Ella’s music on WRTI, a little extra won’t hurt— and we’ll back it up with some Arts Desk features as well.
Speaking of the Arts Desk, there will be plenty of jazz stories coming your way this month, including a visit back to the summer, where Meridee Duddleston and Susan Lewis dove into the influence of prominent jazz festivals. Debra Lew Harder and Bob Craig will continue their walk through the Great American Songbook, and Maureen Malloy will look at 20 years of J. Michael Harrison's show The Bridge on WRTI, and full you in on an innovative pianist who never quite got his due.
Leading up to our jazz celebration, we asked musicians and Arts advocates a burning question – “If you could be listening to any jazz tune right now, what would it be?” During each jazz shift, we will play you their answers, and back it up with their selection.
We want to hear what’s stuck in your head as well! Be sure to make your request each week for our Jazz Request Show, and tune in every Wednesday at 9 pm to hear Courtney Blue play your favorites.