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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In light of Ahmad Jamal's passing on April 16, 2023, we're highlighting the pianist’s frequently-overlooked late 1960s/early 70s stretch on the Imp...

  • Added: Apr 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Mark Stryker, author of the new book Jazz From Detroit, joins us again to discuss the city’s jazz legacy.

  • Added: Apr 17, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Bloomington native and longtime Detroit Free Press music writer Mark Stryker joins us to talk about his new book Jazz From Detroit and the musician...

  • Added: Apr 06, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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In the early 1970s trumpeter Freddie Hubbard made a series of records for the CTI label that combined hardbop, funk, modality, and 70s groove.

  • Added: Mar 31, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Described by Charles Mingus as "Bartok with valves for a pencil guided by God,” trumpeter and bandleader Thad Jones became one of the most respecte...

  • Added: Mar 23, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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In the 1960s, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter composed a torrent of music for Art Blakey, Miles Davis, and his own albums as a leader on the Blue N...

  • Added: Mar 10, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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One of the world's most successful music producers got his start as a jazz trumpeter, arranger, and bandleader. We'll hear recordings he made in th...

  • Added: Mar 03, 2023
  • Length: 59:03
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Wes Montgomery was one of the most influential jazz guitarists of his generation. In recent years newly-discovered live recordings have surfaced, a...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Exploring tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s triumphant return to the United States in the mid-1970s and the last years of his career.

  • Added: Feb 19, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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In late 1966 the fiercely individualistic singer and pianist Nina Simone signed with RCA Records and continued her genre-bending explorations of ja...

  • Added: Feb 09, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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Pianist Don Shirley combined classical, jazz, and spiritual influences on the many recordings he made in the 1950s and 60s. A forgotten figure in ...

  • Added: Feb 02, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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The first in a recurring series of shows explores Duke Ellington’s music for the 1959 film Anatomy Of A Murder and John Lewis’ score for Odds Again...

  • Added: Jan 20, 2023
  • Length: 59:02
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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: Jan 19, 2023
  • Length: 59:01
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Vibraphonist Gary Burton was still a teenager when he burst onto the 1960s jazz scene, going on to work with Stan Getz and make a number of memorab...

  • Added: Jan 10, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Jazz recordings in honor of the civil-rights leader made by James Spaulding, Billy Taylor, Herbie Hancock, and others.

  • Added: Jan 05, 2023
  • Length: 59:00
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Ralph Burns was one of a number of young arrangers who emerged in the aftermath of World War II and the peak of the swing era. This tribute feature...

  • Added: Dec 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:05
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Offbeat characters both imaginary and real in musical portrayals by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Slim Gaillard, Cab Calloway, and others.

  • Added: Dec 22, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
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Night Lights celebrates the holidays with jazz from Fats Waller, Joe Williams, Claude Thornhill, and more.

  • Added: Dec 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
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Jazz interpretations of spirituals from John Coltrane, Grant Green, Albert Ayler, and others.

  • Added: Dec 08, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
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A look at the early jazz career and subsequent Peanuts success of pianist Vince Guaraldi, including interviews with jazz critic Doug Ramsey, Guaral...

  • Added: Dec 02, 2022
  • Length: 59:01