Jazz Night In America

Sunday, 8 to 9 pm
  • Hosted by Christian McBride

A national jazz series presented by some of the leading producers of jazz content in the U.S., Jazz Night In America is a weekly syndicated jazz program that reflects our times. It showcases the artists who are on the scene today, at the height of their creative powers, and offers listeners a way to discover and connect with the world of jazz using the technology that's available to them. Christian McBride, the extraordinary bassist and bandleader, is the host of the show.

How to Experience Jazz Night In America:

On The Radio: Every Sunday night, we'll broadcast the one-hour program centered on great concerts and the stories behind them. 

On Wednesday Nights: Every Wednesday at 9 pm through the academic calendar, we'll videocast a streaming video presentation of a concert. It will often be the same show that you hear on-air — except you can hear AND see the full performance. We'll run a live chat, which all are welcome to join. The videocasts are ONLY available on Wednesdays at 9 pm. So don't miss it!

On Demand: Did you miss the radio broadcast? No problem. The audio will be available on demand on our website. Additional content, including highlights from webcasts, documentary features, and other content will be at npr.org/jazznight.

Courtesy of the artist

Got a second? Hop online and wing on over to vuhaus.com (pronounced View House). Click on the videos of 24-year-old Arnetta Johnson. She’s the one out front, playing trumpet with her band, SUNNY, live from WRTI’s performance studio. Watch them. Listen to them.

During World War II, with thousands of men shipping off to war, half a dozen all-female, instrumental big bands toured around America. It was a rarity in a musical world dominated by men and, for the most part, their stories have been erased or minimized in jazz history.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.


A continuity and a break: That's the history of The Bad Plus in a nutshell. An acoustic piano trio with the combustion properties of a post-punk band, it emerged in the early 2000s to an uproar — its surging attack and shrewd repertoire were framed as a radical split from the jazz tradition. Gradually a more perceptive view emerged, one that acknowledged where the band was really coming from.

There's an emblematic photograph of Herbie Hancock on the back cover of his album Sunlight, which he began recording 40 years ago this month. He's depicted against a red backdrop with a Sennheiser vocoder headset on his cranium, which is bowed in deep focus.

Jazz Superstar Christian McBride Still Has That Philly Pride

Apr 30, 2017
Tony Webb / City of Philadelphia, 2016

When the Newport Jazz Festival announced that Philadelphia-born musician Christian McBride would assume the role of its artistic director in 2017, festival founder and current producer George Wein said, "When I first met Christian McBride in 1989, I knew he was someone special.

The bass player, composer, band leader, arts and education advocate strikes people that way.  Along with his stand-out talent and engaging personality, McBride pays attention and seems to live in the moment.  That focus reaps rewards for McBride and for the rest of us.   

Credit: William Gottlieb / Adam Cuerden

The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as "Take The 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Isfahan." But behind the music, Strayhorn's life and identity were complex.

In 1965, the trumpeter, composer and arranger Thad Jones and the drummer Mel Lewis found themselves with a book of Big Band music originally intended for the Count Basie Orchestra — and nobody to perform it. So they made their own.

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands.

Pioneering bassist and composer Jymie Merritt was born in Philadelphia in 1926. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he made a name for himself nationally but also founded a groundbreaking Philadelphia-based band that continues to inspire today’s generation of jazz artists.

NPR’s Jazz Night in America honored Jymie Merritt with a special concert this past January at World Cafe Live. The concert will air on WRTI, Sunday, April 10th at 8 pm. Watch video here!

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