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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Songs for Some Jazz Fathers: Shorter, Silver and Wilson

Wayne ShorterThree significant jazz masters will be celebrating milestone birthdays in the next several weeks. On August 25, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter turns 75. On September 2, pianist Horace Silver marks 80 years. And on September 4, bandleader Gerald Wilson–perhaps the last great living link to the swing era–sees in his 90th birthday. I have Night Lights programs in store for all three artists, and I’m sure there will be other jazz-radio tributes around the country. All three long ago established important musical legacies upon which they continue to build. Imagine jazz history without Horace Silver’s compositional kickstarts for hardbop, or without Wayne Shorter’s contributions to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ “second great quintet” (not to mention Weather Report). Horace SilverGerald WilsonAnd can you name any other bandleader who led successful orchestras in the 1940s, 1960s and the 1980s on as Gerald Wilson has done? A triple program salute seems like the least one can do to show a small token of appreciation for what these three keepers of the flame have accomplished… that and a simple note of thanks.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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