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

191 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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In 1986 Miles Davis began what would prove to be his final run of recordings, working with new collaborators and making some surprising sideman app...

  • Added: Jan 13, 2022
  • Length: 58:59
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It was a year of raised hopes and devastating tragedy, and the world of jazz continued to reflect both the growing unease and the youthful vitality...

  • Added: Jan 02, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
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A celebration of the iconic drummer, featuring the music of his big bands and small groups, as well as some of his vocal recordings and excerpts fr...

  • Added: Dec 31, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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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: Dec 26, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Swinging round the yule log with music from Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, violinist Eddie South, pianist Charles Brown, singer June Christy, and ot...

  • Added: Dec 19, 2021
  • Length: 59:04
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A tribute to the Chairman of the Board, featured in small-group and big-band jazz settings throughout his storied career.

  • Added: Dec 09, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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Interpretations of the pianist's compositions by John Coltrane and others.

  • Added: Dec 05, 2021
  • Length: 58:56
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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: Nov 22, 2021
  • Length: 59:03
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In the late 1940s jazz impresario Norman Granz decided to produce a forerunner of the modern box-set that documented the current jazz scene, a foli...

  • Added: Nov 19, 2021
  • Length: 58:58
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In 1971, Columbia Records signed four of modern jazz's greatest artists. Within two years all four were gone. What happened?

  • Added: Nov 12, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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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: Nov 04, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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Elmo Hope was a highly-respected compatriot of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell whose 1950s and 60s recordings as a leader and sideman constitute a u...

  • Added: Nov 03, 2021
  • Length: 58:59
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Music for the holiday from Duke Ellington, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Kay Starr, and others.

  • Added: Oct 24, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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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: Oct 17, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has become a prominent and sometimes-controversial spokesperson for jazz. In his late teens and early twenties, however, ...

  • Added: Oct 07, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
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Our centennial salute to a pioneer of world-music influences in jazz concludes with a look at his career after moving to New York City at the start...

  • Added: Oct 03, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
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A profile of the unsung saxophonist Percy France, whose playing displayed what jazz writer Sascha Feinstein called “an irresistible combination of ...

  • Added: Sep 26, 2021
  • Length: 59:04
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Throughout the 1950s jazz promoter George Wein ran a Boston nightclub that showcased some of the music’s most notable performers.

  • Added: Sep 17, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
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In the 1960s drummer Chico Hamilton moved on from his 1950s West Coast chamber jazz sound with a new group that featured musicians such as Charles ...

  • Added: Sep 12, 2021
  • Length: 59:03
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We often think of jazz in terms of albums, but mid-20th-century jazz was a popular artform on jukeboxes and singles as well.

  • Added: Sep 03, 2021
  • Length: 59:02