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

178 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Selections from Mosaic Records' long-awaited collection of previously unreleased late 1930s and early '40s broadcasts from Coleman Hawkins, Count B...

  • Added: Jul 24, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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A centennial tribute to pianist and jazz educator Billy Taylor.

  • Added: Jul 18, 2021
  • Length: 59:03
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This musical profile of a trailblazer for women instrumentalists in jazz features Osborne's 1940s recordings with Mary Lou Williams and others, two...

  • Added: Jul 09, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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Recordings the hardbop pianist made in his last year as a leader and with Jackie McLean, Grant Green, and others.

  • Added: Jul 02, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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Bernstein’s music performed by Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong and others, as well as som...

  • Added: Jun 30, 2021
  • Length: 58:58
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Music from the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival includes Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Jack Teagarden (just a few months before his death), and Dizzy Gi...

  • Added: Jun 09, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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Author Sam Stephenson talks with us about the legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith and the ways in which his life intersected with New York City'...

  • Added: Jun 10, 2021
  • Length: 58:59
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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 06, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Highlighting pianist Ahmad Jamal’s frequently-overlooked late 1960s/early 70s stretch on the Impulse label.

  • Added: May 27, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Another in our ongoing series of musical tributes to jazz artists who have passed, featuring music from Charles Mingus, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis and...

  • Added: May 20, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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A tribute to the clarinetist featuring his bop-influenced 1949 big band and his early-1950s small-group recordings.

  • Added: May 13, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Music for television shows has often been created or recorded by jazz musicians, including Oliver Nelson, Neal Hefti, Shelly Manne, Vince Guaraldi,...

  • Added: May 06, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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Longtime jazz and blues producer and radio host Bob Porter passed away in April at the age of 80. On a previous Night Lights show he joined us to ...

  • Added: May 02, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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In the last years of his life, and no longer with the services of longtime writing partner Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington continued to compose mem...

  • Added: Apr 22, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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Exploring the brief but profound musical relationship between trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans that resulted in the landmark album Kind...

  • Added: Apr 15, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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We'll hear music from the 1950s recordings of multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, one of the first artists to incorporate world-music influences in...

  • Added: Apr 08, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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A tribute to the 1950s jazz recordings of the late pianist and composer Andre Previn.

  • Added: Apr 01, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Lee Morgan's hardbop hit "The Sidewinder," the avant-garde October Revolution movement, and the impact of the Beatles are some of the highlights we...

  • Added: Mar 27, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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At the dawn of the 1960s, pianist Freddie Redd made several albums for the Blue Note label filled with taut, punchy hardbop compositions, including...

  • Added: Mar 19, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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A centennial celebration of the pianist, singer, actress, and civil-rights activist, whose music drew on influences from classical to boogie-woogie...

  • Added: Mar 11, 2021
  • Length: 59:00