Night Lights Classic Jazz

The Night Before Christmas

Duke Pearson Merry Ole SoulThis week on Night Lights it’s “The Night Before Christmas,” with Christmas-Eve jazz from Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, Louis Armstrong, Duke Pearson, Frank Sinatra, and more. “The Night Before Christmas” airs at 11:05 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, on WFIU.

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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Angels We Have Heard on High/Joy to the World
Joe Pass — Six-String Santa (Laserlight, 1992)
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Christmas Night in Harlem
Louis Armstrong — A Traditional Jazz Christmas (GRP/Decca, 1955)

Notes: With the Benny Carter Orchestra.

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Swingin' for Christmas
Gene Ammons — A Traditional Jazz Christmas (GRP/Decca, 1948)
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Merry Christmas Baby
Ramsey Lewis — Sound of Christmas (MCA/Chess, 1961)
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Be-Bop Santa Claus
Babs Gonzales — Hipsters' Holiday (Rhino, 1955)
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A Bebop Carol
Fats Navarro — Fat Girl (LP) (Savoy, 1947)
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White Christmas
Charlie Parker — Complete Live Performances on Savoy (Savoy, 1948)

Notes: Dec. 25 broadcast

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O Little Town of Bethlehem
Duke Pearson — Mosaic Select (Mosaic, 1969)

Notes: Midpoint music bed. Also on the album MERRY OLE SOUL.

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Silent Night
Dinah Washington — What a Wonderful Christmas (Hip-O, 1953)
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What Child Is This?
Vince Guaraldi — A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy, 1965)
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Christo Redentor
Donald Byrd — A New Perspective (Blue Note, 1963)

Notes: Duke Pearson's composition.

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An Old-Fashioned Christmas
Duke Pearson — Mosaic Select (Mosaic, 1969)

Notes: Outtake from the MERRY OLE SOUL sessions.

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A Child is Born
Organissimo (Big O Records, 2005)

Notes: Jim Alfredson on organ, Joe Gloss on guitar, Randy Marsh on drums.

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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Frank Sinatra — A Jolly Christmas (Capitol, 1957)
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The Christmas Song
Dexter Gordon — The Panther (Prestige, 1970)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 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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