Night Lights Classic Jazz

The James Dean Story

Dean StoryIn 1957 a young Robert Altman (future director of Nashville, MASH, and The Player) co-directed a documentary about James Dean, with a soundtrack written by Leith Stevens (who also scored The Wild One, subject of a previous Night Lights program). The soundtrack was recorded by a group of West Coast jazz musicians led by trumpeter Chet Baker and alto saxophonist/flutist Bud Shank; we’ll hear selections from it, as well as dialogue clips from Altman’s film.

The website James Dean in Death offers all sorts of information about Dean’s final day (9/30/55); you can even take a virtual trip that parallels his movements that fateful morning and afternoon.

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Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Let Me Be Loved (instrumental)
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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The Search
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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People
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Lost Love
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Rebel at Work
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Main Theme from East of Eden
Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra — A Tribute to James Dean (Columbia/Legacy, 1956)

Notes: Music-bed break

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Hollywood
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Fairmount, Indiana
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Success and Then What?
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Let Me Be Loved (vocal version)
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Phillips, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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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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