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Ethel Waters

Vocalist and actress Ethel Waters was a key figure in the development of African American culture between the two World Wars. She broke barrier after barrier, becoming the first black woman heard on the radio, the first black singer to perform on television, the first African American to perform in an integrated cast on Broadway, and the first black woman to perform in a lead dramatic role on Broadway. As a singer Waters introduced over 50 songs that became hits, including standards of the magnitude of "St. Louis Blues" and "Stormy Weather." Her jazzy yet controlled vocal style influenced a generation of vocalists, black and white, and her career, encompassing stage, song, and screen, flowered several times in comebacks after tumbling to low points. Born October 31, 1896, in Chester, Pennsylvania, she had to overcome the squalor of her sordid childhood and early struggles

ARTICLE: RADIO

50th Anniversary Blue Notes for June

Read "50th Anniversary Blue Notes for June" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Blue Note 50th anniversaries from June 1970, just two though: Horace Silver (That Healin' Feelin') and Lou Donaldson (Pretty Things). There was also a Reuben Wilson session, but it was never released, and only the 'vault gods' know if it was any good. But you know there's more (don't you?). 21st century music from the Posi-Tone ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Emmet Cohen: Masters Legacy Series Volume 4: Emmet Cohen Featuring George Coleman

Read "Masters Legacy Series Volume 4: Emmet Cohen Featuring George Coleman" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

So here we are, nearly knocking on the door to February 2020, and we're listening to the second of Emmet Cohen's two entrancing, late 2019 releases: Masters Legacy Series Vol. 4 Emmet Cohen featuring George Coleman--a good harbinger for the new year. And heaven knows we could use a boatload of good harbingers these exhausting days. ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

We Grow Accustomed to the Dark

Read "We Grow Accustomed to the Dark" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

This early November broadcast includes new releases from vocalists Andrea Superstein, Marsha Bartenetti, Ben Sidran and pianist Julia Hulsmann with birthday shout outs to guitarist Amanda Monaco, trumpeter Clifford Brown, pianist Dawn Clement, plus vocalists Ethel Waters, Andy Bey, Jay Clayton, Carmen Lundy, Kurt Elling, K.D. Lang, Julie Kelly and Sarah Partridge, among others.

ARTICLE: RADIO

Beyond Category - Duke Ellington in the 1930s (1931 - 1940)

Read "Beyond Category - Duke Ellington in the 1930s (1931 - 1940)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we heard Count Basie emerge as an exciting new voice from Kansas City. In this hour, we return to New York to follow Duke Ellington's innovative path through the 1930s as he experiments with longer musical forms while building one of his greatest bands featuring tenor player Ben Webster and bassist Jimmy ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

November New Releases and Revisiting Alice in Wonderland

Read "November New Releases and Revisiting Alice in Wonderland" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

Happy November! Time to bundle up, run a Marathon, vote and enjoy the last weeks of Fall. In this broadcast, there are birthday celebrations for Roger Kellaway, Clifford Brown and singer Ethel Waters, among others. Also exciting new releases from pianists Myra Melford, Larry McDonough and bassist Alexander Claffy. Playlist Carol Robbins “The ...

Philadelphia Jazz: A Brief History

Read "Philadelphia Jazz: A Brief History" reviewed by Jack McCarthy

This article was first published at the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia website. Jazz began to emerge as a distinct musical style around the turn of the twentieth century, a merging of two vernacular African American musical styles—ragtime and blues—with elements of popular music. New Orleans, the “cradle of jazz," was the most important city ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2016: The Year in Jazz

Read "2016: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

The year 2016 bubbled with events and initiatives to strengthen jazz's place in American and world culture, as well as a variety of venue openings, closings and cancellations. Jazz hit the silver screen in many ways throughout the year, and International Jazz Day continued to thrive--complete with a major all-star concert at the White House. Pop ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Music Is Ecstatic Language

Read "Jazz Music Is Ecstatic Language" reviewed by David Arivett

Leonardo DaVinci once said, “Do you know that our souls are composed of music?" Music and religion are intimately linked, and music is one of the most powerful tools to convey religious meaning. As human beings, we have been given the gift of musical language which can help transform us from our humdrum, everyday existence, into ...

NEWS: RADIO

Harold Arlen This Week On Riverwalk Jazz

This week on Riverwalk Jazz, in rare archival interview clips, Harold Arlen speaks about his career and how he wrote some of his most enduring songs, performed by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and their guests: Nina Ferro, Dick Hyman, Rebecca Kilgore and Carol Woods. The program is distributed in the US by Public Radio International. ...


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