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Tune in: Stories of Black artists and their celebrated recordings

Nina Simone performs at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, June 1985.
Rene Perez
Nina Simone performs at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, June 1985.

Honoring the contributions of Black jazz and blues artists, KNKX presents a collection of special one-hour programs during Black History Month. Starting next week, Evening Jazz and All Blues will kick off the show with these stories of groundbreaking Black composers and performers.

Discover all the ways you can listen. Here's what's in the lineup:

Fats Waller: If you gotta ask

Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. on Evening Jazz
Waller was one of America's great composers and performers of the 20th century. His songs, stride piano style and on-stage and on-screen antics were legendary, and made him one of the first African-American superstars. Count Basie studied him, and Art Tatum considered Fats the best. Waller's stride piano style influenced Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and many others.

Jazz: The ’59 Sound

Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. on Evening Jazz
An exploration of some of the enduring jazz recordings of 1959, saluting the landmark albums by Miles Davis (Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain), Charles Mingus (Mingus Ah-Um), Dave Brubeck (Time Out) and others that helped make 1959 jazz’s "greatest year."

Miles Davis: The Making of 'Kind of Blue'

Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. on Evening Jazz
Through interviews with musicians Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Cobb, Jackie McLean, David Amram and others, the story of the making of Kind Of Blue, and the lasting impact of this classic jazz recording and biggest selling jazz album of all time.

To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story

Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. on Evening Jazz
The powerful story of a complex person and artist. Nina Simone became a symbol for people and movements through the years, but first and foremost she was a performer. Commentary from colleagues and friends including Odetta, Patti Smith, and journalist David Nathan paint the portrait of an exceptional artist. The program is hosted by Nina's daughter, the vocalist known as "Simone."

Buddy Guy: Can’t Quit the Blues

Saturday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. on All Blues
Buddy Guy tells his own story, looking back on his life and career; from his sharecropping roots in Louisiana, through the all the stops along the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Guy reflects on the first time he "met the blues" on a John Lee Hooker record, the birth of his trademark guitar style, his explosion on the Chicago blues scene, and his influence on many of rock's great guitarists.

Listen for these stories celebrating jazz and blues icons on KNKX during Black History Month.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.