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@iu.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

228 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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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: Feb 22, 2024
  • Length: 59:00
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In 1952, bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach formed their own record company in an attempt to assert creative and entrepreneural control o...

  • Added: Feb 15, 2024
  • Length: 58:48
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From the 1940s to the 1990s, several jazz composers undertook several large-scale orchestral compositions that portrayed the journey of black peopl...

  • Added: Feb 08, 2024
  • Length: 59:03
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Billy Taylor was a jazz pianist, educator, broadcaster, composer of a civil rights anthem, and the man who dubbed jazz “America’s classical music.”...

  • Added: Feb 01, 2024
  • Length: 59:02
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Mel Powell was still a teenager when he hit the jazz scene in the early 1940s as the pianist in Benny Goodman’s popular big band. This tribute expl...

  • Added: Jan 28, 2024
  • Length: 59:00
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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: Jan 18, 2024
  • Length: 59:01
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A centennial celebration of Indiana trombonist J.J. Johnson as both composer and innovative instrumentalist.

  • Added: Jan 14, 2024
  • Length: 59:04
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A centennial tribute to Max Roach, who set the pace for modern jazz drumming and became an outspoken activist for civil rights.

  • Added: Jan 07, 2024
  • Length: 59:00
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A look at the historic 1938 Carnegie Hall concert and its 1939 follow up, featuring performances by Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and others.

  • Added: Dec 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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Pannonica de Koenigswarter, aka Nica or “The Jazz Baroness,” was a friend to Thelonious Monk and other jazz artists and inspired a slew of musical ...

  • Added: Dec 20, 2023
  • 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 15, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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After leaving John Coltrane’s group at the end of 1965, pianist McCoy Tyner made an ambitious run of albums for the Blue Note label in the late 196...

  • Added: Dec 10, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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An exploration of Indiana jazz artists in the 1950s cool and West Coast jazz scene, and a look at the pioneering role of David Baker and Jamey Aebe...

  • Added: Nov 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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How two Indiana songwriters and two singing groups influenced the direction of American popular music.

  • Added: Nov 17, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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Saxophonist Charlie Parker is renowned for his small-group recordings, but he also was captured a number of times in large-ensemble settings. This ...

  • Added: Nov 02, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Night Lights takes another long leap back to the year in jazz, featuring music from John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy’s controversial quintet, George R...

  • Added: Oct 29, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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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: Oct 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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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: Oct 13, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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Indianapolis' Indiana Avenue neighborhood produced several of the most influential jazz artists to appear on the post-World War II jazz scene, incl...

  • Added: Oct 06, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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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: Sep 21, 2023
  • Length: 59:00