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Jazz Centennials: Legends At 100

Lester Young gave Billie Holiday her nickname: "Lady Day."
William P. Gottlieb
Library of Congress via
Lester Young gave Billie Holiday her nickname: "Lady Day."

Jazz has no shortage of celebrated masters. Historical markers and cultural figures — births, deaths, pivotal releases, Ken Burns — give record labels a chance to highlight old legends in new ways seemingly every year.

This is a bountiful year for centenary festivities, so expect some prime mining of catalog classics from the glory days, resurfaced for an audience still hearing this music for the first time — which is pretty cool, when you get right down to it. Naturally, it's also a chance for another layer of repackaged artwork to frame the source material, not to mention new liner notes about the old liner notes. In that centennial spirit, Take Five presents some old wine in a new bottle with six great Americans who would have turned 100 in 2009.

For more entries in the Take Five series, click here. And don't forget to subscribe to the Jazz Notes newsletter.

Copyright 2009 WBGO

Josh Jackson is the associate general manager for content at WRTI in Philadelphia.