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.
Aug 2nd: 'It’s All In The Game: Louis Armstrong 1947-57'
A look at Louis Armstrong's life and music in the years following World War II, including interviews with jazz writer Dan Morgenstern (whose notes on Armstrong for a recent box-set won a Grammy) and historian Michael McGerr.
Aug 9th: 'The Greatest Bass Player In The World: Jaco Pastorius'
Jaco Pastorius transformed the sound of the bass in jazz during his relatively brief career as both a leader and a member of Weather Report. Bassist Jeremy Allen joins the program to discuss Pastorius' significance.
Aug 16th: 'Martial Solal: The Early Years'
1950s and early 60s recordings by the French pianist.
Aug 23rd: 'Big Band Bird: Charlie Parker With The Big Bands'
Saxophonist Charlie Parker is renowned for his small-group recordings, but he also was captured a number of times in large-ensemble settings. This show features him with Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Machito, on dates under his own name, and more.
Aug 30th: 'First Fusion: Jazz-Rock Pioneers Of The 1960s'
Miles Davis' 1970 album Bitches Brew is often seen as the birth of the fusion movement. On this show we delve into some of the jazz-rock groups that preceded Davis' landmark double-LP.
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.
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 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 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.