Night Lights

Series produced by WFIU

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Night Lights, is a weekly thematic one-hour jazz radio program hosted by jazz aficionado David Brent Johnson, focusing on jazz from the 1945-1990 era.

Night Lights, is a weekly one-hour jazz radio program hosted by David Brent Johnson, focusing on jazz from the 1945-1990 era—a timespan that, as Johnson notes, “weirdly parallels Miles Davis on record and the Cold War.”

Covering artists such as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Nina Simone, and themes ranging from jazz in the movies and television to the music’s connection to the civil-rights movement, Night Lights also features many lesser-known talents of post-1945 jazz. “Night Lights is a program of jazz in sound, story, and song,” says Johnson. “I try to make each show a sort of cultural narrative about whatever artist or theme I’m highlighting. It’s great music and interesting history, and I want the program to reflect that.”

"Each week, David sheds light on jazz artists and little-known corners of jazz history through smart research and interviews, dramatic narration and thoughtfully selected recordings. The result is an indispensable educational resource that is engaging and illuminating. Through David’s soothing and intelligent voice, Night Lights provides a rewarding gateway to the music for curious listeners unfamiliar with jazz as well as those who are seasoned jazz fans. I’ve listened to David for years and always learn something new."—Marc Myers, a Wall Street Journal contributor, JazzWax.com founder and author of Why Jazz Happened and Anatomy of a Song

“One of public radio's real multi-platform pioneers.”—Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR’s A Blog Supreme

“In an era of uninformed radio presenters and borderline music, David Brent Johnson’s well-researched and delightfully eclectic Night Lights program stands out.”—Jazz writer and producer Chris Albertson

“David Brent Johnson is a bright light of American cultural life.”—Loren Schoenberg, author of The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide To Jazz and founding director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Night Lights made its debut on WFIU in July 2004 and can now be heard on stations across the country.

For syndication information, please contact LuAnn Johnson at lujohnso@indiana.edu.

For help subscribing please email prxhelp@prx.org.

Find us at http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/.

Click here to watch and download our video teaser for Night Lights.

Night Lights is a production of WFIU at Indiana University in Bloomington. Hide full description

Night Lights, is a weekly one-hour jazz radio program hosted by David Brent Johnson, focusing on jazz from the 1945-1990 era—a timespan that, as Johnson notes, “weirdly parallels Miles Davis on record and the Cold War.” Covering artists such as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Nina Simone, and themes ranging from jazz in the movies and television to the music’s connection to the civil-rights movement, Night Lights also features many lesser-known talents of post-1945 jazz. “Night Lights is a program of jazz in sound, story, and song,” says Johnson. “I try to make each show a sort of cultural narrative about whatever artist or theme I’m highlighting. It’s great music and interesting history, and I want the program to reflect that.” "Each week, David sheds light on jazz artists and... Show full description


Additional Files

137 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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In the 1960s Herbie Hancock seemed to be everywhere on the jazz scene, recording both as a leader for Blue Note and as a sideman with Miles Davis a...

  • Added: Apr 02, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Jazz hustler, vocalese master, and preacher of hip Babs Gonzales gets a centennial tribute, featuring his recordings with Sonny Rollins, trombonist...

  • Added: Mar 25, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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We take a look at Ella Fitzgerald in 1957, one of the singer's busiest and most memorable years on record.

  • Added: Mar 21, 2020
  • Length: 59:04
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In 1952 Billie Holiday began her last great period on record with a series of small-group sessions that capture the twilight glow of a jazz star.

  • Added: Mar 12, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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In the 1980s a new generation of women jazz musicians emerged who expanded their predecessors' push against the patriarchal boundaries of the jazz ...

  • Added: Mar 06, 2020
  • Length: 59:02
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Ted Gioia, author of book The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, (who's also the author of The History of Jazz and West Coast Jazz), joins us on this e...

  • Added: Feb 28, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Mark Stryker, author of the new book Jazz From Detroit, joins us again to discuss the city’s jazz legacy.

  • Added: Feb 21, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Bloomington native and longtime Detroit Free Press music writer Mark Stryker joins us to talk about his new book Jazz From Detroit and the musician...

  • Added: Feb 14, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Nat King Cole’s short-lived 1956-57 variety show was canceled for lack of advertisers, but it made an invaluable cultural contribution and blazed a...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2020
  • Length: 58:58
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In January 1943, bandleader and composer Duke Ellington took his orchestra into Carnegie Hall for the first time and chose to make his debut with a...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
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Saxophonist Jimmy Heath spent much of the 1950s off of the jazz scene, but when he returned, he made a string of albums for the Riverside label tha...

  • Added: Jan 24, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
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Longtime jazz and blues producer and radio host Bob Porter joins us to talk about his recent chronicle of the mid-20th century soul-jazz movement.

  • Added: Jan 17, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
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With the centennial of Prohibition at hand, we dive into the impact of the 18th Amendment on the emerging jazz scene of the 1920s with historian Mi...

  • Added: Jan 10, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Pianist Don Shirley combined classical, jazz, and spiritual influences on the many recordings he made in the 1950s and 60s. A forgotten figure in ...

  • Added: Jan 02, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Night Lights’ highly subjective annual review of the year’s most compelling reissues and historical discoveries, including music from Nat King Cole...

  • Added: Dec 29, 2019
  • Length: 59:00
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In the 1960s, Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, and some other jazz artists began to write religious or so-called “sacred jazz,” to be performed i...

  • Added: Nov 14, 2019
  • Length: 59:00
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Night Lights celebrates the holiday season with from Paul Bley, Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery, June Christy, and more.

  • Added: Dec 12, 2019
  • Length: 58:57
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A 90th-birthday-week salute to two veteran pianists influenced by bebop piano master Bud Powell.

  • Added: Nov 14, 2019
  • Length: 59:00
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In 1969, Manfred Eicher founded what would become one of the world’s most successful and influential jazz record labels. We’ll hear recordings from...

  • Added: Dec 01, 2019
  • Length: 58:59
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A centennial-year tribute to arranger and composer Eddie Sauter, whose music was recorded by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Red Norvo, and Stan Getz, a...

  • Added: Oct 24, 2019
  • Length: 58:59