Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding has taken the jazz world by storm with her grooving bass lines and her neo-soul vocals. Here, she shows off her talent on Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun” and sings a song that seems to sum up her approach: “Jazz Ain’t Nothing but Soul.”
As NPR’s employees file their federal returns and take up shop in a new building, we look back at an interesting historical moment in the 1940s. A cabaret tax led to more jazz being performed in smaller venues that couldn’t accommodate dancing. Of course, that’s not the only reason why bebop sounds the way it does.