Kings Of Cool

Episodes

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01Mel Torme2012112620130701

Moira Stuart turns her attention to the Kings Of Cool, exploring the lives and careers of some of her favourite jazzmen.

Over this four-part series, we'll be looking at the fascinating lives of Mel Torme, Chet Baker, Lou Rawls, Joe Williams and Billy Eckstine. Moira shares her passion for jazz as she discovers explores the personal journeys of each artists, with the help of notable contributors.

In episode one Moira looks at the life and career of 'The Velvet Fog', Mel Torme, as we immerse ourselves in his legacy through some great archive interviews of the man himself and performing live with the BBC Big Band. We also hear Mel's story through the eyes of those that were part of his journey - his son, Steve March Torme, BBC Big Band leader Barry Forgie and authors Will Friedwald and James Gavin.

Alongside all of this, hear why Mel had a love/hate relationship with Frank Sinatra and just how quickly he penned most famous composition, The Christmas Song.

Following on from last year's Strong and Sassy, jazz lover Moira Stuart turns her attention to the Kings Of Cool, exploring the lives and careers of some of her favourite jazzmen.

02Chet Baker2012120320130708

Moira Stuart continues her voyage of discovery and passion for jazz, by exploring the lives of some of its most prolific male artists.

This week Moira focuses her attention on the life and music of the legendary Chet Baker; the American trumpeter who is as notorious for his music as he is for his colourful life.

With a new interview from James Gavin, the author of the book Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, we find out about the demons that haunted the My Funny Valentine singer.

03Billy Eckstine20121210

Moira Stuart continues exploring her passion for jazz as she discovers more about some of its legendary male icons. This week, the focus turns to Billy Eckstine.

Billy - or "Mr B" as he was affectionately referred to - is known primarily as one of the great American jazz singers and bandleaders of the swing era. As a young man his dream was to pave a career in football. But, after breaking his collarbone, he put paid to that and decided to focus his attentions on music instead; a decision that would change his life forever and lead him to produce some of the greatest jazz music of the 1940s.

Join Moira as she tells the story of this late, great, King of Cool, with the help of those who were lucky enough to be part of his journey and some exceptional music.

03Billy Eckstine2012121020130715

Moira Stuart explores the lives and careers of some of jazz's most prolific male artists. This week she looks at one of the great American jazz singers, Billy Eckstine.

04 LASTLou Rawls And Joe Williams20121217

Moira Stuart continues exploring her passion for jazz as she discovers more about some of its legendary male icons. In this final instalment of the series, she turns her attention singers Lou Rawls and Joe Williams.

Lou Rawls was one of a kind. A baritone singer with a rich, deep and unmistakable voice that scooped him three Grammy Awards. He had a long and successful career, releasing over 60 albums before he sadly passed in 2006.

However, his life was not without its trials and tribulations. Things profoundly changed for Lou in 1958, when he was involved in a near fatal car accident, while touring with The Pilgrim Travelers. He was in a coma for several days and his recovery took over a year, as he fought to regain his memory.

Joe Williams is another singing legend of the jazz scene. He began his career singing in clubs around Chicago, where if he was lucky he would get to take home the tips - sometimes as much as $20. It wasn't long before his talent was given the recognition it deserved and he got his first big break in 1954 singing with the Count Basie Orchestra. From here on in Joe's success continued, and he worked regularly until his death in 1999.

Tune in to join Moira as she explores the lives and music of these late, great Kings of Cool.

04 LASTLou Rawls And Joe Williams2012121720130722