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.
Feb 20th: 'Duke Ellington's Black, Brown And Beige.'
In January 1943 Duke Ellington debuted a landmark 43-minute musical portrayal of the African-American experience at Carnegie Hall. We'll hear music from it as well as commentary from Wynton Marsalis, Ellington biographer Harvey Cohen, and Ellington himself.
Feb 27th: 'Nancy Wilson: Jazz Her Way – Nancy Wilson in the 1960s'
Wilson was a jazz singer who transcended genres. Her narrative drive and tone expanded her appeal beyond jazz audiences. We’ll hear music made at the height of her success in the 1960s, when she created jazz classics with Cannonball Adderley , Hank Jones , George Shearing , and Gerald Wilson.
Mar 6th: 'Nat King Cole: The Jazz Pianist.'
The first of a two-part centennial celebration, focusing on Cole’s unsung prowess as a piano player.
Mar 13th: 'The Jackie Robinson Of Television: The Nat King Cole Show.'
Nat King Cole’s short-lived 1956-57 variety show was canceled for lack of ratings and advertisers, but it made an invaluable cultural contribution and blazed a trail for later African-American TV hosts.
Mar 20th: 'One for Marian: Marian McPartland'
Known to listeners around the world as both a performer and radio host, McPartland embodied the best of what jazz has to offer. She was a complex and original musician steeped in the history of the music and yet endlessly modern. We’ll feature some of her finest work.
Mar 27th: '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.
Feb 13th: 'From Naptown To Paris: Wes Montgomery Live.'
Wes Montgomery, who died in June of 1968, was one of the most influential jazz guitarists of his generation. In recent years newly-discovered live recordings have surfaced, and we'll hear some of them along with classic dates from New York City's Half Note and other venues.
Jan 23rd: 'The Benny Golson Songbook.'
Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson has penned some of the most notable compositions of the modern jazz era, including “Whisper Not,” “Along Came Betty,” and “I Remember Clifford.” We’ll hear performances of those pieces and more by Lee Morgan, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and the Jazztet.