Pianist Ramsey Lewis, who also broadcasts a daily radio show in Chicago and a Legends of Jazz radio series, is the new show's host. It will include live performances and conversation with musicians.
According to the NEA, the program will be the first weekly national network series about jazz in 40 years.
Tonight's one-hour special will feature appearances by vocalist Jon Hendricks and Nancy Wilson, saxophonists James Moody and Paquito D'Rivera, and impresario George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival. All are winners of the Jazz Masters award, the nation's highest honor for jazz musicians. In addition, the teenage vocalist Ren_e Olstead will perform.