Collection Summary

The Evolution of Jazz Series Collection is made up of 40 episodes of The Evolution of Jazz series, originally broadcast from WGBH from 1953-1954. The Evolution of Jazz was an hour-long weekly radio show that traced the musical and cultural history of jazz from its early years to contemporary forms. The series was produced, written, and hosted by Nathan “Nat” Hentoff, a jazz historian, author, music critic, and civil liberties advocate, who went on to be the first non-musician to be named an NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004. In 1964 the National Educational Radio Network, a precursor to NPR, re-broadcast the series. Episodes of The Evolution of Jazz focused on influential jazz artists and important periods in jazz history, and frequently used recordings to supplement discussions and illustrate jazz styles. Subjects include Duke Ellington, Ragtime, Chicago Jazz, Dave Brubeck, New Orleans Jazz, West African musical influences, Ella Fitzgerald, and the blues.

Collection Background

The Evolution of Jazz series was produced at WGBH and presented under the auspices of Northeastern University by the Lowell Institute Cooperative Broadcasting Council (LICBC). The materials were contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) by the University of Maryland’s National Public Broadcasting Archives in 2013 as part of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) collection.