I have significantly slowed down my leisure reading and substituted it with podcasts. I haven’t given up reading altogether, but I generally go through a period each year where I take a little break from books. Now one of my favorite podcasts for listening to while falling asleep or traveling is NPR’s Jazz Profiles.
Even if you’re not much of Jazz fan, I think that listening to Jazz Profiles is still fairly entertaining at least for anyone who is interested in 20th Century U.S. history. Jazz is such a unique American experience and art form, and the stories of its musicians are very much a part of that experience.
I also have the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary on DVD, and even though the documentary is a great introduction to Jazz and its role in American history, it is simply too focused on a handful of artists. On the other hand, the NPR Jazz Profile series covers the same well-known musicians but also includes others like Wes Montgomery, Johnny Hartman, and Max Roach. To date, I think my favorite episode in the series is the one that discusses the recording of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.