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

204 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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
Piece image
Featuring recorded performances from the 1966 Monterey Festival by Ellis, Sete, Lloyd and others, including Cannonball Adderley, Randy Weston, and ...

  • Added: Sep 08, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
In the mid-1970s, at the peak of her commercial success, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell took her music in a jazz-influenced direction, working wit...

  • Added: Sep 01, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
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: Aug 25, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
Piece image
A centennial salute to talk-show host and jazz advocate Steve Allen, who also played piano and wrote numerous songs such as “This Could Be the Star...

  • Added: Aug 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
In the 1950s the young French Algerian pianist Martial Solal emerged on the European jazz scene, playing with Sidney Bechet, Lucky Thompson, and Dj...

  • Added: Aug 12, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
A profile of the unsung saxophonist Percy France, whose playing displayed what jazz writer Sascha Feinstein called “an irresistible combination of ...

  • Added: Jul 27, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Throughout jazz history the harp has rarely been heard as a soloing or primary instrument, but in the 1950s and 60s Dorothy Ashby, a musician out o...

  • Added: Jul 27, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
In 1970 trumpeter Miles Davis released Bitches Brew, a landmark album that melded jazz, rock, and other elements into a sound that came to be known...

  • Added: Jul 21, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
In the late 1940s the Savoy label recorded many of the rising stars of bebop, including Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, Allen Eager, and Fats Navarro. W...

  • Added: Jul 18, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Jaco Pastorius transformed the sound of the bass in jazz during his relatively brief career as both a leader and a member of Weather Report. Bassis...

  • Added: Jul 06, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
Piece image
A tour of the city’s 20th-century jazz legacy.

  • Added: Jul 05, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
Piece image
Music of the pianist and composer-arranger who left his stamp on the bebop and hardbop era, as well as an interview with Dameron biographer Paul Co...

  • Added: Jun 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
Known for his theme for “Mission: Impossible” and other TV and movie scores, Schifrin forged his career in the late 1950s and early 60s world of ja...

  • Added: Jun 07, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Reissued studio recordings and live performances from jazz artist Eric Dolphy’s penultimate year.

  • Added: Jun 02, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Birdland was known as “the jazz corner of the world,” and from 1949 to 1965 it played host to some of the greatest names on the modern jazz scene.

  • Added: May 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Over the course of jazz history, it's become a tradition for jazz artists to write musical elegies in memory of fellow musicians that have departed...

  • Added: May 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
Piece image
As Hollywood prepared to adapt George Gershwin’s folk opera to the screen in the late 1950s, jazz artists such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and ...

  • Added: May 16, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
Jazz hustler, vocalese master, and preacher of hip Babs Gonzales gets a tribute, featuring his recordings with Sonny Rollins, trombonist Bennie Gre...

  • Added: May 06, 2022
  • Length: 59:02