The Sound of Jazz was a one-hour program that aired on CBS Sunday, December 8, 1957 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, live from CBS Studio 58, the Town Theater at 851 Ninth Avenue in New York City, New York.
The show was one of the first major television programs to broadcast jazz on American network television. To this day, it is recognized not only as a landmark moment for jazz in history, but also as the best jazz program that was produced for the small screen.
The program was hosted by New York Herald-Tribune media critic John Crosby and jazz writers Nat Hentoff and Whitney Balliett served as its primary music consultants.
The Sound of Jazz brought musicians from different eras of jazz up to that point – from the Swing era to the “modernists.” Performers included Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Jo Jones and Coleman Hawkins.
It also re-united Billie Holiday with her estranged long-time friend and collaborator, saxophonist Lester Young. Sadly, both Young and Holiday would be dead within two years of the show.
The Sound of Jazz was released as a recording by Columbia Records in 1958. This was actually the recording of a regeardal session that preceded the CBS telecast and does not include all the artists who would later perform on the show.