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 wfiuftp@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

58 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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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: Apr 20, 2018
  • Length: 58:59
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In the 1970s George Benson was a crossover star with a smooth pop style, but he’d already established a legacy as a jazz guitarist brimming with ta...

  • Added: Mar 30, 2018
  • Length: 58:58
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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: Mar 30, 2018
  • Length: 59:00
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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 29, 2018
  • Length: 58:59
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Jazz interpretations of Mitchell's music, plus the songwriter's own jazz-influenced recordings from the 1970s.

  • Added: Mar 25, 2018
  • Length: 59:03
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Night Lights celebrates the centennial of jazz pianist and radio host Marian McPartland, with a program emphasizing her own compositions as well as...

  • Added: Mar 16, 2018
  • Length: 59:04
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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 11, 2018
  • 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: Feb 27, 2018
  • Length: 59:01
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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: Feb 16, 2018
  • Length: 59:01
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As the black-pride movement gained momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an increasing number of jazz artists began to incorporate the messag...

  • Added: Feb 16, 2018
  • Length: 58:57
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Longtime jazz and blues producer and radio host Bob Porter joins us to talk about his new chronicle of the mid-20th century soul-jazz movement.

  • Added: Feb 12, 2018
  • Length: 59:01
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A program featuring tributes to inspirational figures such as Paul Robeson , Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr. from Freddie Hubbard, Coun...

  • Added: Feb 02, 2018
  • Length: 58:57
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Tenor saxophonist John Handy gained prominence with Charles Mingus' late-1950s group and went on to record as a leader for both the Roulette and Co...

  • Added: Jan 23, 2018
  • Length: 59:00
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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 21, 2018
  • Length: 59:01
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In the late 1940s the Savoy label recorded many of the rising stars of bebop, including Dexter Gordon, Allen Eager, and Fats Navarro. We'll hear s...

  • Added: Jan 05, 2018
  • Length: 59:00
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Thomas Merton was one of the most influential spiritual writers of the 20th century—and he was also a passionate jazz fan. We’ll talk with jazz mu...

  • Added: Jan 08, 2018
  • Length: 59:00
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Music from Sonny Clark, Thelonious Monk, Jaco Pastorious, Bill Evans, and other artists featured in 2017 reissues and archival releases.

  • Added: Dec 23, 2017
  • 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 05, 2017
  • Length: 59:01
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Holiday jazz from Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, Louis Armstrong, Duke Pearson, Frank Sinatra, and others.

  • Added: Dec 05, 2017
  • Length: 58:59
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In the late 1960s an aging Duke Ellington faced a changing musical landscape and the loss of his longtime writing partner, Billy Strayhorn. How did...

  • Added: Nov 20, 2017
  • Length: 59:02