On Afterglow this week, a festive and reflective tribute to Independence Day with music from Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Paul Desmond and more.
Night Lights offers a jazz tribute to Juneteenth, the African-American holiday marking the end of slavery, with commentary from historian William Wiggins.
On the heels of Ghostly Jazz and Popular Song for Halloween Part 1, here’s Part 2, with music from Miles Davis (“Sorcerer”), Sun Ra (“Hour of Parting”), Mildred Bailey (“Smoke Dreams”)…
This week on WFIU’s Afterglow we get into the “spirit” of things, so to speak, with “Ghost of a Song,” a program of otherworldly songs in honor of the Halloween holiday. Prominent among our ethereal cast are Fred Astaire (“Me and the Ghost Upstairs”), Nina Simone (“I Put a Spell On You”), Lambert, Hendricks and Ross (“Halloween Spooks”), Leon Redbone (“Ghost of St. Louis Blues”), Billie Holiday (“Ghost of Yesterday”)…
Night Lights made its debut on WFIU four years ago almost to the day–or night, as it were–with a program called Let Freedom Ring that aired on the eve of the July 4th holiday. I had been working at WFIU for exactly two years, subbing for weekday afternoon jazz host Joe Bourne and producing WFIU jazz specials such as Bix Beiderbecke: Never the Same Way Twice and Jump for Joy: Duke Ellington’s Celebratory Musical. When the syndicated “Worldwide Jazz” show that we carried on Saturday evenings suddenly ceased production, I proposed Night Lights as a replacement to our station manager, Christina Kuzmych.
Season's greetings from Night Lights via holiday ambassador Mr. Cole:
Our annual invocation of holiday jazz this year calls upon the talents of Fats Navarro (”A Bebop Carol”), hipster vocalist Babs Gonzales, tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons, trumpeter Donald Byrd, guitarist Joe Pass, and many other propagators of classic jazz, blowing joyous tidings unto you all. Happy holidays from all of us at Night Lights and WFIU–may you find many great books, movies, CDs, and other “items of interest” under your holiday tree.
We'll hear a clip from trumpeter Shorty Rogers' appearance on the too-hip-to-last early-1960s TV show, Jazz Scene USA.
Beware… Strange Enchantment: Jazz for Halloween, replete with the story of the jazz-loving New Orleans Axeman, from the Night Lights archives. Me, I’ll be spinning lots of jazz CDs this evening to ward off any axe-wielding apparitions while I put…