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 Jackie McLean, Charles Mingus, and Nina Simone and themes ranging from jazz recordings of spirituals to avant-garde interpretations of the Great American Songbook, Night Lights also features many lesser-known talents of post-1945 jazz, such as saxophonist J.R. Monterose, trumpeter Freddie Webster, and piano/singer duo Dick and Kiz Harp.
Apr 5th: 'Maiden Voyage: Herbie Hancock In The 1960s'
Night Lights pays tribute to the pianist and composer with a look at his recordings both as a leader and with Miles Davis in the 1960s.
Apr 12th: 'The Jazz Monk: Thomas Merton'
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 musician and Merton friend Dick Sisto, and we’ll hear excerpts from experimental jazz meditations and reflections that Merton recorded in his hermitage, as well as some of the jazz that Merton enjoyed and referred to in his writings. We’ll also hear from Jason Bivins, author of Spirits Rejoice!, a book about jazz and American religion.
Apr 19th: 'Ella '57: Ella Fitzgerald Flies High'
We celebrate Ella Fitzgerald's centennial with a look at one of the singer's busiest and most memorable years on record.
Apr 26th: 'Ellington Ending'
In the last years of his life, and no longer with the services of longtime writing partner Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington continued to compose memorable music. Historian Michael McGerr talks with us about Ellington’s late period works and years.
Mar 29th: 'The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby'
Dorothy Ashby emerged from the storied mid-20th-century Detroit jazz scene as a creative virtuoso on an instrument not often employed in the jazz world. We'll hear some of the recordings she made from the late 1950s to the end of the 1960s.
Mar 22nd: 'Nica’s Tempo: More Hipsters, Flipsters and On-The-Scenesters'
A second chapter in Night Lights' gathering of musical odes to colorful characters in the history of jazz, with a special emphasis on scene patron Nica de Koenigswarter, who inspired tributes by Thelonious Monk, Gigi Gryce, and others.
Mar 15th: 'Jazz Women Of The 1990s'
Night Lights' decade-by-decade story of women in jazz continues with Maria Schneider, Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Cassandra Wilson and more.
Mar 8th: 'Jazz Women of the 1980s'
The music of Geri Allen, Emily Remler, Cassandra Wilson, Carla Bley, and others.