Night Lights

Series produced by WFIU

Series image

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

209 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
The first in a recurring series of shows explores Duke Ellington’s music for the 1959 film Anatomy Of A Murder and John Lewis’ score for Odds Again...

  • Added: Jan 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
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: Jan 19, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Vibraphonist Gary Burton was still a teenager when he burst onto the 1960s jazz scene, going on to work with Stan Getz and make a number of memorab...

  • Added: Jan 10, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Jazz recordings in honor of the civil-rights leader made by James Spaulding, Billy Taylor, Herbie Hancock, and others.

  • Added: Jan 05, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Ralph Burns was one of a number of young arrangers who emerged in the aftermath of World War II and the peak of the swing era. This tribute feature...

  • Added: Dec 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:05
Piece image
Offbeat characters both imaginary and real in musical portrayals by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Slim Gaillard, Cab Calloway, and others.

  • Added: Dec 22, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
Piece image
Night Lights celebrates the holidays with jazz from Fats Waller, Joe Williams, Claude Thornhill, and more.

  • Added: Dec 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
Jazz interpretations of spirituals from John Coltrane, Grant Green, Albert Ayler, and others.

  • Added: Dec 08, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
A look at the early jazz career and subsequent Peanuts success of pianist Vince Guaraldi, including interviews with jazz critic Doug Ramsey, Guaral...

  • Added: Dec 02, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Exploring the brief but profound musical relationship between trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans that resulted in the landmark album Kind...

  • Added: Nov 22, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Night Lights explores Hoagy Carmichael’s Hollywood period, which yielded the hit songs “Two Sleepy People,” “Ole Buttermilk Sky,” and “In The Cool,...

  • Added: Nov 17, 2022
  • Length: 58:59
Piece image
Highlighting pianist Ahmad Jamal’s frequently-overlooked late 1960s/early 70s stretch on the Impulse label.

  • Added: Nov 13, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
Piece image
A tribute to arranger and composer Eddie Sauter, whose music was recorded by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Red Norvo, and Stan Getz, as well as his ow...

  • Added: Nov 06, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Night Lights takes another time-capsule journey back into a specific year, featuring the music of Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Jimmy Smith, Herbie Han...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2022
  • Length: 58:55
Piece image
Smoke dreams, sorcerors, ghosts, and stalking monsters! We'll experience those paranormal jazz encounters with those spectors through the music of ...

  • Added: Oct 20, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
A program about American jazz artists performing in Europe in the late 1940s, including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and others.

  • Added: Oct 17, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
In the mid-1970s Don Schlitten, a former art and musical conservatory student who had made a name for himself over the past 20 years as a jazz prod...

  • Added: Oct 06, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
Piece image
In 1953 a Gary, Indiana couple started a label that would become one of the most significant black-owned record companies in America. We’ll hear th...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Long a troubled star in the mid-20th century jazz world, at the end of his life saxophonist Stan Getz found peace and made some of his finest recor...

  • Added: Sep 26, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Recordings that saxophonist John Coltrane made with Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, and the rhythm section of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jo...

  • Added: Sep 13, 2022
  • Length: 59:01