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

146 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Live recordings made at the nightclub in Hermosa Beach, California, featuring Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, and others.

  • Added: Jul 02, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Hank Mobley were two leading exemplars of the 1950s and '60s hardbop sound and recorded together on a number ...

  • Added: Jul 02, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Music of the pianist in tribute to his 90th birthday.

  • Added: Jun 28, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
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Exploring a legendary 1950s New York City jazz club with musician David Amram, who frequented it as both a musician and a listener.

  • Added: Jun 21, 2020
  • Length: 59:02
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A jazz tribute to Juneteenth, the African-American holiday marking the end of slavery, with music from Paul Robeson and Count Basie, John Coltrane,...

  • Added: Jun 11, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Drummer Shelly Manne’s 1950s groups recorded everything from experimental and West Coast jazz to Broadway music and TV themes. We’ll hear selection...

  • Added: Jun 07, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Music from a new box set of the bandleader’s 1940s and early 50s recordings, along with commentary from set annotator and jazz scholar Jeff Sultanof.

  • Added: May 31, 2020
  • Length: 59:02
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In the autumn of 1960 saxophonist John Coltrane played his final gigs with Miles Davis. Davis spent the next three years searching for a new lineup...

  • Added: May 20, 2020
  • Length: 59:03
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Another in our ongoing series of musical tributes to jazz artists who have passed.

  • Added: May 14, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Wes Montgomery, who died in June of 1968, was one of the most influential jazz guitarists of his generation. In recent years newly-discovered live ...

  • Added: May 11, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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At the dawn of the 1960s saxophonist Ornette Coleman shook the jazz world with his revolutionary approach to music. This program features some of t...

  • Added: Apr 30, 2020
  • Length: 59:03
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In the spring of 1945 Duke Ellington undertook a weekly Saturday broadcast to support the war-bond drive. We’ll hear music from these programs as ...

  • Added: Apr 26, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz was a longtime master of melodic improvisation who played a part in some of jazz's most momentous acts of the 1950s and...

  • Added: Apr 16, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Anita O’Day was a dynamic and independent singer from the moment she burst onto the big-band scene in the 1940s. We’ll hear her with Gene Krupa, S...

  • Added: Apr 09, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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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