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Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz

Abbey Lincoln

Pop songs, protest, poetic musings – vocalist Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010) explored a passionate spectrum of styles on her way to being hailed as the premiere jazz singer of her time. Geoffrey Smith picks highlights from a unique career.

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Sutton, Hyman and Wellstood

Ever since the 1920s, stride piano has been party-time music, and it still is. Geoffrey Smith celebrates its two-fisted, tuneful energy with three modern stride masters, Ralph Sutton, Dick Hyman and Dick Wellstood.

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Anita O’Day and June Christy

Anita O’Day (1919-2006) and June Christy ( 1925-1990) were queens of big band singing in the 1940s and 50s, starring with Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton before going solo. O’Day was hot, Christy was cool, and Geoffrey Smith compares their styles and careers.

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Chet Baker

The fallen angel of West Coast jazz, Chet Baker (1929-88) won a huge popular following as trumpeter and vocalist while fighting a life-long battle with drugs. Geoffrey Smith surveys a troubled, iconic talent

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Kenny Wheeler

In honour of what would have been Kenny Wheeler’s 85th birthday, Geoffrey Smith chooses favourite works by the revered trumpeter-composer who died last October, including excerpts from his portrait of Don Quixote, Windmill Tilter.

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Joe Harriott

Jamaica’s gift to British jazz, altoist Joe Harriott (1928-73) mixed bebop fire with intuitive, free-form improvisation and Indo-Jazz fusion, producing a series of groundbreaking recordings before his early death. Geoffrey Smith salutes a rare talent.

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Sonny Rollins Road Shows

On the day tenor saxophone legend Sonny Rollins turns eighty-nine, Geoffrey Smith celebrates the man hailed as the greatest living jazz musician with a selection of tracks from Rollins’ own archive of road show performances, including such classics as “Don’t Stop the Carnival”.

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Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts

Deeply if unconventionally religious, Duke Ellington regarded the three Sacred Music Concerts of his last years as “the most important thing I have ever done.” Geoffrey Smith selects highlights from these passionate, exuberant, personal works combining song, dance and the great Ellington band.

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Bill Coleman

Though trumpeter Bill Coleman (1904-1981) played with Fats Waller and Coleman Hawkins, he made his main career in France, with the likes of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Geoffrey Smith salutes a shining expat star.

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