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

187 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
The 1960s music of pianist Chick Corea, both as a leader and as a sideman with Blue Mitchell, Stan Getz, and Miles Davis.

  • Added: Feb 18, 2021
  • Length: 58:59
Piece image
Though Nat King Cole is remembered today for his popular vocal recordings, this show celebrates his unsung prowess as a modernistic pianist.

  • Added: Feb 11, 2021
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Armstrong biographer Ricky Riccardi joins us to discuss a vital and often-overlooked period of the trumpeter’s career.

  • Added: Feb 07, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
A look at another notable year in the career of jazz giant John Coltrane, including his collaboration with vocalist Johnny Hartman, and newly-disco...

  • Added: Jan 28, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
He could split the stratosphere with his high notes, play you sweet and low with his ballads--and woe to any other trumpeter who showed up ready to...

  • Added: Jan 21, 2021
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
At the beginning of the 1960s saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and pianist Horace Parlan teamed up to make a dynamic run of recordings for the Blue N...

  • Added: Jan 14, 2021
  • 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 10, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Night Lights’ annual round-up of some favorite reissues and new historical releases from the year just passed, including music from Thelonious Monk...

  • Added: Jan 03, 2021
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Hugh Hefner was best known as the founder of Playboy Magazine, but in the early days of his media empire he often showcased jazz performers and spo...

  • Added: Dec 22, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
Piece image
Night Lights pays tribute to the holidays in the mellowest of moods, with music from Joe Pass, Dave Brubeck, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and more.

  • Added: Dec 17, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Voice of America DJ Willis Conover helped popularize jazz around the world during the Cold War. We’ll hear some of his broadcasts and speak with hi...

  • Added: Dec 09, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
In 1957 Curtis Fuller arrived in New York City at the age of 22 and preceded to record with Bud Powell, Jimmy Smith, and John Coltrane, as well as ...

  • Added: Dec 03, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Music from and inspired by the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s international trips to Japan, Mexico, Europe and Asia.

  • Added: Nov 25, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Louis Armstrong was a legendary innovative trumpeter, a vocalist who had a profound impact on jazz singing, and a dynamic entertainer—and he got a ...

  • Added: Nov 21, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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: Nov 12, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Charles McPherson is an alto saxophonist who spent much of his early career under the spell of jazz great Charlie Parker, but who fired the Parker ...

  • Added: Nov 05, 2020
  • 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: Oct 29, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
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: Oct 22, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
Final recordings of jazz greats such as Stan Getz and Billie Holiday.

  • Added: Oct 08, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
Piece image
The music and life of the legendary underground Los Angeles jazz pianist and community activist, with remarks from his biographer Stephen Isoardi.

  • Added: Sep 24, 2020
  • Length: 59:00