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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Known for his theme for “Mission: Impossible” and other TV and movie scores, Schifrin forged his career in the late 1950s and early 60s world of ja...

  • Added: Jun 07, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
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Reissued studio recordings and live performances from jazz artist Eric Dolphy’s penultimate year.

  • Added: Jun 02, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
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Birdland was known as “the jazz corner of the world,” and from 1949 to 1965 it played host to some of the greatest names on the modern jazz scene.

  • Added: May 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
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Over the course of jazz history, it's become a tradition for jazz artists to write musical elegies in memory of fellow musicians that have departed...

  • Added: May 19, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
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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: May 16, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
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Jazz hustler, vocalese master, and preacher of hip Babs Gonzales gets a tribute, featuring his recordings with Sonny Rollins, trombonist Bennie Gre...

  • Added: May 06, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
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A centennial tribute to the bassist and composer, focusing on recordings he made in the 1950s with poet Langston Hughes and other writers and perfo...

  • Added: Apr 17, 2022
  • Length: 59:00
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In the 1950s and 60s, as the Cold War & the civil-rights movement heated up, the U.S. State Department sent jazz musicians on goodwill tours around...

  • Added: Apr 08, 2022
  • Length: 58:59
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This hard-bitten 1957 movie about a desperate publicity agent and a powerful press maven (played by Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, respectively) c...

  • Added: Apr 01, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
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Our 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 of the dec...

  • Added: Mar 26, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
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Music from a new box set of the bandleader’s 1940s and early 50s recordings, along with commentary from set annotator and jazz scholar Jeff Sultanof.

  • Added: Mar 18, 2022
  • Length: 59:01
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Trumpeter Billie Rogers, vibraphonist Marjorie Hyams, and other unsung heroines of the World War II era in jazz.

  • Added: Mar 11, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
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Melba Liston was a pioneering female jazz artist both as a trombonist and as a composer/arranger. We'll trace her career from Gerald Wilson's 1940s...

  • Added: Mar 03, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
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Long before the rise of the black-pride movement in the 1960s, there was the music of Duke Ellington . Born and raised in Washington, D.C. at the t...

  • Added: Feb 20, 2022
  • Length: 59:03
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Diggin' Diz: A Portrait Of Dizzy Gillespie

  • Added: Feb 03, 2022
  • Length: 59:04
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Music tributes to African-American figures such as Paul Robeson and Joe Louis from Count Basie, Clifford Jordan, Charles Mingus and others.

  • Added: Jan 28, 2022
  • Length: 58:59
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As the Blue Note label declined throughout the 1970s, one of its most prolific artists continued to make outstanding records with players such as F...

  • Added: Jan 24, 2022
  • Length: 59:02
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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