Long-Form Jazz: Out of the Harlem Renaissance
The long-form jazz composition \u2014 spanning the jazz suite and symphonic works - is said to have blossomed during the Harlem Renaissance, as early as James P. Johnson. Duke Ellington grappled with the form for a good part of his career. Composers in the jazz realm often coupled long-form compositions with grand themes in black history. This NPR survey samples five examples of long-form jazz composition, including excerpts from Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige, Oliver Nelson and a haunting piece by Wadada Leo Smith, honoring Rosa Parks.