Big Band Jazz with Bob Craig

Sunday, 6 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.

Ways to Connect

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

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!

Frank Sinatra was born 100 years ago on December 12th, and there have been any number of stars in the entertainment world during that century. But WRTI’s Kile Smith looks at what truly sets him apart from all the rest.


In 1964, near the end of his career, Billy Strayhorn accompanied himself on a live recording of one of his best-known songs. It starts:

I used to visit all the very gay places

Those come-what-may places

World-class musician and Philadelphia native Christian McBride is presenting his widely acclaimed The Movement Revisited at the Merriam Theater on Saturday, November 21st at 8 pm. WRTI's Bob Craig spoke with McBride about the evolution of the show.

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