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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Word From Mingus

MingusOn this edition of Night Lights it’s “Word From Mingus,” a program of Charles Mingus’ 1950s spoken-word collaborations with poet Langston Hughes, monologuist Jean Shepherd (who would go on to write and narrate A Christmas Story), and actor Melvin Stewart. We’ll also hear Mingus’ own performance of his piece “Chill of Death,” written when Mingus was a teenager in the late 1930s and recorded for release on the 1972 album Let My Children Hear Music.

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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Weird Nightmare/Jump Monk
Langston Hughes/Charles Mingus — Weary Blues (Verve, 1958)
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Scenes From the City
Charles Mingus — A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry (Bethlehem, 1957)

Notes: Narrated by actor Melvin Stewart; written by actor Lonnie Elders, with assistance from Langston Hughes

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Consider Me/The Stranger/Midnight Stroll/Backstage/Dream Montage
Langston Hughes/Charles Mingus — Weary Blues (Verve, 1958)
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The Clown
Charles Mingus — The Clown (Atlantic/Rhino, 1957)

Notes: Narrated by Jean Shepherd (later author and narrator of the movie A CHRISTMAS STORY).

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The Chill of Death
Charles Mingus — Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia/Legacy, 1972)

Notes: Written by Mingus as a teeanger in 1939; recorded in 1972

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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Outro 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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