Big Band Jazz with Bob Craig

Sunday, 7 to 8 pm

Bob Craig takes you on a musical journey through the evolution of "Big Band Jazz," which started off with the heavy hitters including Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Stan Kenton. They opened the door for Claude Thornhill, Quincy Jones, Thad Jones, and Mel Lewis, who took Big Band Jazz to exciting new places. Bob also covers the soloists who became great bandleaders, such as Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, and the more contemporary big bands, such as the Resonance Big Band, Mike Barone's Big Band, and the MHCC Jazz Band.

Coming Up:

January 24: Big Bands in the 1970s

January 31: A Stan Getz Birthday Celebration

February 7: A New York State of Mind

February 14: Love Songs on Valentine's Day

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands.

If jazz bands were like classic muscle cars measured by power and torque, the high performance Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra was an inexhaustible engine that roared. February 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of this historic 18-member band and All My Yesterdays (Resonance Records) is the double-disc recording that documents their debut performances in February and March 1966.

It's Jazz Appreciation Month, and WRTI is celebrating the local and national jazz greats who have shaped the music we enjoy today. WRTI's Susan Lewis looks at bandleader, composer and pianist Duke Ellington, who wrote over 1700 songs, as well as longer orchestral suites and film scores.

Born To Be Blue: Chet Baker In 5 Songs

Mar 25, 2016

The vocal virtuosity of one of the last century’s jazz giants lives on through those who came after her, scores of albums, and now a U.S. Postal Service stamp. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston and Bob Perkins consider the late, great Sarah Vaughan.

Join us on Valentine's weekend for the classic jazz love songs that can still give you goose bumps! We also have a special contest! 

WRTI's Bob Craig has his picks of the top big band tunes released in 2015. Here's his list!

After 26 years of bringing us the stories and sounds of traditional jazz and swing — early jazz from the streets of New Orleans to the music of Harlem clubs in the '20s — Riverwalk Jazz is coming to an end. The program, adored by WRTI listeners, will air for the last time on Sunday, January 3rd at 6 pm.

You can still listen to podcasts of the show here!

The tremendous trumpeter Terell Stafford says finding talent for the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia was “super easy” because Philadelphia is filled with brilliant musicians. Chemistry is key in the band that Stafford put together in 2013. He says the jazz orchestra is what Philadelphia is about:  jazz virtuosos with ties to the city, focusing on music connected to its past and present.


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