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 survey of the singer's 1960s recordings with Cannonball Adderley, George Shearing, Gerald Wilson, and others.

  • Added: Sep 21, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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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: Sep 16, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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A program of music from the very first Monterey Jazz Festival. Featured artists include Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mullligan, Dave Bru...

  • Added: Sep 09, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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A program featuring the 1970s music of alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, including commentary from Desmond friend and biographer Doug Ramsey.

  • Added: Sep 01, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Exploring the emergence of a kinetic jazz scene in 1920s Indiana, with commentary from historian James Madison and others.

  • Added: Aug 26, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Jazz scholar and Lester Young box-set annotator Loren Schoenberg joins us as we look at the music the saxophonist made in the years following a dif...

  • Added: Aug 21, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Jazz theorist George Russell and the young trombonist David Baker formed a progressive-bop group at the beginning of the 1960s so modern that it wa...

  • Added: Aug 13, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Hank Mobley were two leading exemplars of the 1950s and '60s hardbop sound and recorded together on a number ...

  • Added: Aug 05, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Live recordings made at the nightclub in Hermosa Beach, California, featuring Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, and others.

  • Added: Jul 27, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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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: Jul 23, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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In the years following World War II, Black American jazz musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Kenny Clarke, and Bud Powell took up residence in France,...

  • Added: Jul 06, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Armstrong biographer Ricky Riccardi joins us to discuss a vital and often-overlooked period of the trumpeter’s career.

  • Added: Jun 29, 2023
  • 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: Jun 15, 2023
  • Length: 59:03
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Ellington kept his orchestra together in a changing economic landscape, continuing to create memorable music and expanding his compositional horizons.

  • Added: Jun 08, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Nat King Cole’s short-lived 1956-57 variety show was canceled for lack of advertisers, but it made an invaluable cultural contribution and blazed a...

  • Added: Jun 01, 2023
  • Length: 58:58
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In the last decade of his life Art Blakey continued to mentor new talent in his Jazz Messengers group, helping to elevate musicians such as Wynton ...

  • Added: May 09, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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Recordings that pianist Bill Evans made as a sideman and as a leader in the year following his bassist Scott La Faro’s death in an automobile accid...

  • Added: May 09, 2023
  • Length: 59:03
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Music of the Terre Haute, Indiana, big-band leader whose 1940s orchestra helped pave the way for cool jazz.

  • Added: May 09, 2023
  • Length: 59:03
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Carla Bley is renowned today for her big-band writing, but it was small-group recordings of her work in the 1960s that introduced her to the jazz w...

  • Added: May 07, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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An overview of the pianist and composer's career--one of the longest-running and most creative in the history of American jazz. We'll hear music fr...

  • Added: Apr 27, 2023
  • Length: 59:00