Music producer John Hammond and jazz critic for Down Beat magazine John McDonough discuss: Hammond's career; the artists he worked with; the artists he was the first to sign; social reform; and more. The following musical excerpts are played: "7 Come 11"; "Sauce"; "Talking Union"; "Blowing In the Wind"; "Today I Sing The Blues"; and "Live Embers".
Discussing the book "The New Grove Dictionary of American Music". They talk about American music and musicians of all kinds and from different periods. Includes Charles Ive's song "At the River" sung by Cleo Laine in the middle of the program.
Studs Terkel interviews Mary Lou Williams and her manager, Father Peter O'Brien. They discuss music, musicians, and instruments. Some clips of piano music playing at the end.
Talking about jazz with Charles Delaunay at the Hotel Pas de Callais in Paris.
Shel Silverstein discusses his books and children's literature, and art. Shel Silverstein discusses his contemporaries, art, and life experiences.
Singer Harry Belafonte discusses Black music including spirituals and jazz and how it has contributed to American culture.
Helen Humes discusses her career and touring with Count Basie and his orchestra. John McDonough is present for the interview and contributes. Songs sung by Helen are played throughout the interview: "He May Be Your Man", "Song of the Wanderer", "If I Could Be with You for One Hour Tonight" (2 recordings- one from 1940 and one from 1977), "Unlucky Woman", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Today I Sing the Blues", and "They Raided the Joint". Music has been removed for copyright reasons.
Art Hodes discusses his history and influences on his career as a jazz and blues pianist. He tells stories of musicians he has worked with and how he keeps his performances fresh after playing for so many years. Music by Art Hodes is played throughout: "Chimes Blues", "Tennessee Waltz", "Grandpa's Spells", "Just a Closer Walk with Thee","Cakewalkin' Babies from Home", "Blues 'N Booze", and "Riverside Blues".
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss the history of music and how black music influenced white music. Studs reads a quote from her book where she quoted Lerone Bennett. Garland also reads from her book a few times. They discuss how music changed over time for blacks from spirituals to slave songs to the blues because it was a reflection of their lives. Garland explains how blacks used music to help them through their trials and frustrations.
Terkel comments and presents the music of Chanticleer, an acapella ensemble, comprised of 12 all male voices. Chanticleer discusses the following: the group vocal composition; the groups history; various recordings; and their influences. Chanticleer performs the following songs live on air: "Benedicamus Domino", "If Ye Love Me", "O Sacrum Convivium", "Nude Descending a Staircase", "When I Fall in Love", "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well", and "Magnificat a 12".
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss various musicians that she mentions in her book and their influence on black music. Garland explains the music of young black artists and how commercialization of music gave blacks an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. Garland talks about how Fannie Lou Hamer used music to express her message in the Civil Rights Movement and as a women's rights activist. Studs and Garland discuss various black female artists and their music.
Angelou discusses: her early life; her international travels; dancing; blues and jazz music; and the book "Youngblood" by John Oliver Killens. Musical selections have been removed due to copyright.