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Night Lights Classic Jazz

The Avant-Garde Plays the Great American Songbook

Takes on the standards from Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and more.

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Great American Songbook

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From Judy and Bing to Ayler and Shepp.

The jazz pioneers of the 1960s–artists such as Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, and others–all came up in the entertainment world of the 1940s and 50s, when what we know now as the Great American Songbook was taking hold in the musical canon.

Although we think of these musicians today as groundbreaking innovators who abandoned traditional song form, they all knew it, respected it, and in many cases genuinely liked it.

In this program we’ll hear Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Arthur Schwartz as interpreted by the above players and Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, and Sonny Rollins.

Music Heard On This Episode

Prelude to a Kiss
Archie Shepp — Fire Music (Impulse, 1965)
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Prelude to a Kiss
Archie Shepp — Fire Music (Impulse, 1965)

Notes: Duke Ellington song.

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Get Out of Town
Cecil Taylor — Love for Sale (United Artists, 1959)

Notes: Cole Porter song.

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Embraceable You
Ornette Coleman — This Is Our Music (Atlantic, 1960)

Notes: George & Ira Gershwin song.

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On Green Dolphin Street
Albert Ayler — Holy Ghost (Revenant, 1962)

Notes: As part of the Herbert Katz Quintet.

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What Love
Charles Mingus — Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (Candid, 1960)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Dearly Beloved
Sonny Rollins — Our Man in Jazz (RCA, 1962)

Notes: Jerome Kern-Johnny Mercer song. With Don Cherry on cornet.

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Alone Together (excerpt)
Eric Dolphy — Conversations (Restless, 1963)

Notes: Howard Dietz-Arthur Schwartz song. With Richard Davis on bass.

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Out of This World
John Coltrane — Coltrane (Impulse, 1962)

Notes: Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer song.

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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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