Ask any children of the 1970s or '80s how they were first exposed to jazz, and chances are that memory will have a cartoon attached.
At Christmastime, it was Vince Guaraldi's drifting-snow swing behind the Peanutsgang's bittersweet holiday celebrations in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
For the rest of the year, though, it was the sneakily educational, improbably hip songs of Schoolhouse Rock! The short films aired on Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1985 (returning briefly in the '90s), teaching sugar-addled kids about math, grammar, and history through indelibly catchy songs and charming animation.
What those kids didn't realize was most of the series' best-loved songs – among them "Conjunction Junction," "Three Is a Magic Number," and "Electricity, Electricity" – were written and often performed by Bob Dorough, a hipster bebop vocalist who counted Miles Davis and Blossom Dearie among his collaborators. Dorough brought the same wit and playfulness that he employed in his music for adults to his educational tunes.