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Archive for Night Lights Classic Jazz

December 23, 2006

The Night Lights Before Christmas

Our annual holiday program, with cool yule jazz from Mal Waldron, Elvin Jones, Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Booker Ervin, Coleman Hawkins, surprise holiday sounds, and a special Christmas reading from Louis Armstrong.

December 16, 2006

More With Four: Jazz And String Quartets

What happens when a jazz artist meets a string quartet? Find out with Artie Shaw, Lee Konitz, Andrew Hill and Max Roach on "More With Four."

December 9, 2006

The Arrival Of Victor Feldman

How a 1950s British jazz star ended up as a West Coast leader and sideman, playing with Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and others.

December 2, 2006

Don Ellis And The French Connection

The French Connection was a crime drama was based on a real-life early-1960s New York City investigation that resulted in what was, at that time, the largest heroin bust ever in the United States. The film, starring Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider as characters modeled on narcotics officers was a box-office smash and won five Academy Awards.

November 25, 2006

Mary Lou Williams' Zodiac Suite

In 1945 pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams debuted her first extended work, The Zodiac Suite, with musical movements for each sign of the zodiac. Williams was 35 years old, already a veteran of the swing era; she was playing regularly at New York City's Cafe Society, hosting a weekly radio program, and had begun...

November 17, 2006

The Avant-Garde Plays The Great American Songbook

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.

October 28, 2006

Down At The 90th Floor: Dick And Kiz Harp

Dick and Kiz Harp were a husband-and-wife, piano-and-vocals duo who ran their own nightclub (converted from a warehouse and called "The 90th Floor," after a lesser-known Cole Porter song they performed) in Dallas, Texas at the end of the 1950s. They've developed a cult following among jazz-vocal aficionados ...

October 21, 2006

Away From The Spaceways: John Gilmore

Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, who influenced John Coltrane and helped to pioneer the challenging techniques of 1960s avant-garde saxophone, spent most of his career with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, recording outside of Sun Ra’s band on only a handful of occasions.

October 14, 2006

Jazz Workshops: George Russell And Hal McKusick

This edition of Night Lights features the Jazz Workshops, progressive 1950s jazz recorded by pianist/composer/theorist George Russell and saxophonist Hal McKusick. The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop series, begun by A and R man Jack Lewis, was in some respects...

September 23, 2006

Red Trane: The Collaborations Of John Coltrane And Red Garland

John Coltrane and pianist Red Garland, who both worked in Eddie Cleanhead Vinson’s late-1940s group, began playing together again in 1955 as part of Miles Davis’ quintet

September 16, 2006

Jazz Goes Disney

Music has been an important part of the Disney formula ever since the studio began making films in the late 1920s, and the enormous success of the so-called "Magic Kingdom" has pushed many of its movie songs to the...

August 26, 2006

Ain't He Funky Now: Grant Green In The Early 1970s

Green's turn-of-the-decade recordings filtered the new sounds of the late 1960s through jazz guitar.

August 19, 2006

It Came From Texas

It's one of the biggest states in the Union, and throughout the 20th century it was a wellspring of musical vitality, producing artists such as Ornette Coleman, Scott Joplin, Hot Lips Page, and Jimmy Giuffre.

August 12, 2006

When Russell Met Baker

In the summer of 1959 a 27-year-old David Baker and several bandmates from Indianapolis attended the Lenox School of Music...

August 5, 2006

Hip Parade: Early Mark Murphy

Perennially-hip jazz singer Mark Murphy got his start recording for Decca in the mid-1950s, with albums that featured arrangements by Ralph Burns. Decca producer Milt Gabler, who signed Murphy, said he thought the vocalist "every bit as good as...

July 29, 2006

Jazz Advance: Early Cecil Taylor

Delving into the first records of an avant-garde giant.

July 22, 2006

Porgy & Bess: The 1950s Jazz Revival

George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess met with only middling success when it debuted in 1935, but stagings in the 1940s and 1950s ensured its place in musical history. With Hollywood poised to make...

July 15, 2006

Do It Again: Jazz Remakes

Jazz artists have occasionally revisited albums years or decades after their original release, sometimes rerecording them in their entirety. This show features second-time-around treatments from vocalist Helen Merrill and arranger Gil Evans, saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Mal Waldron, Duke Ellington and June Christy.

July 8, 2006

Vibin: Roy Ayers In The 1960s

He's been called "the godfather of acid jazz" and modern-day hiphoppers refer to him as "The Icon Man," but before his R & B success in the 1970s vibraphonist Roy Ayers was renowned by his colleagues for his 1960s jazz performances...

July 1, 2006

Nat King Cole's St. Louis Blues

A so-called “biopic” of the blues composer W.C. Handy’s life, this 1958 movie was Cole’s only role as a leading man, and it also included Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, and Eartha Kitt in its all-black cast, along with the underrated Juano Hernandez as Handy’s father.

June 24, 2006

Strange City: The Secret Music Of Herbie Nichols

When pianist Herbie Nichols died of leukemia at the age of 44 in 1963, he left behind dozens of unrecorded compositions. Some of them were entrusted to friend and trombonist Roswell Rudd, while others remained undiscovered for decades, until the efforts...

June 17, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Jazz Cameos

Even if you don't usually listen to jazz, chances are that you've heard Sonny Rollins, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Hugh Masekela, Chet Baker, and other jazz luminaries... did you know that it was Rollins soloing on the Rolling Stones' "I'm Just Waiting on a Friend"?...

June 10, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

The Lighthouse All-Stars

Exploring a musical cornerstone of the 1950s West Coast jazz movement.

June 3, 2006

Detour Ahead: Mary Ann McCall

Mary Ann McCall, whom Johnny Mandel once called "the greatest of all the big band singers," is a secret heroine of American jazz vocal music. Little-known today, and not widely recorded during even the most active periods of her career, she has sometimes...

May 27, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Turn Out The Stars II: Jazz Elegies

Jazz compositions in remembrance of musicians who have passed.

May 13, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

The Subterraneans: Putting Beats And Jazz On The Big Screen

This 1960 movie is the only film adaptation of a Jack Kerouac novel to date, employing a jazz score and Gerry Mulligan as a hip, saxophone-playing priest.

April 15, 2006

Songs Of Peace

This week on Night Lights it's "Songs of Peace." We'll hear instrumental themes using "Peace" as a title from John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Horace Silver, as well as Louis Armstrong's 1970 take on John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance," Bill Evans' improvisation on Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" that came to be known as "Peace Piece," Mahalia Jackson's a capella version of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday," and more.

April 8, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

We'll Keep Loving You: Jackie McLean

A special tribute to the late alto saxophonist, Jackie McLean, who passed away on Friday, March 31, 2006.

April 1, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Electrifying: Miles Davis At The Cellar Door

In December of 1970 Miles Davis took what some consider to be his last great quintet into a Washington, D.C. jazz club for a four-night stand. Columbia Records recorded all four evenings, but until recently, only material from the last night...

March 25, 2006

The Late Miss D: Dinah Washington On Roulette, 1962-63

"The Late Miss D" features the 1962-63 Roulette recordings of Dinah Washington, who died at the age of 38 in 1963. Washington's Roulette period offers a mix of ballads with strings, blues, pop, and big-band jazz. Often overshadowed by her Mercury years, her final recordings show her maintaining the same high standards of soulful performance.

March 11, 2006

You Better Go Now: Jeri Southern

Pianist and torch-jazz singer Jeri Southern recorded half a dozen albums for Decca in the 1950s, scoring hits with songs such as "When I Fall in Love," "Joey," and "You Better Go Now." Her intimate, near-speaking approach to vocals...

March 4, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Ghosts Of Yesterday: Billie Holiday And The Two Irenes

An iconic singer, a songwriter (or two) named Irene, lost love and inspiration, and a history-mystery of identity.

February 25, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Black Vocal Harmony Groups Of The 1930s And 1940s

In the decades before doo-wop, soul, and rock ‘n roll, there was an explosion of African-American singing ensembles that paved the way for the later styles.

February 18, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Gigi Gryce, Part 2: Rat Race Blues

What happened to saxophonist, composer, and music-publishing pioneer Gigi Gryce? Gryce co-biographer Michael Fitzgerald joins us again this week for the answer.

February 11, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Gigi Gryce, Part 1: Social Call

Gryce was a comrade and equal to some of the greatest names in jazz in the 1950s.

February 4, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Say It Loud: Black-Pride Soul Jazz

Music by Lou Donaldson, Gil Scott-Heron, Freddie Roach, Jackie McLean, and others.

January 28, 2006

Piano Noir: Ran Blake

This week on Night Lights it's "Piano Noir: Ran Blake". Pianist and composer Ran Blake has earned an international reputation with his recordings and with his work as a Third Stream educator at the New England Conservatory of Music. His music has been strongly influenced by the genre of film noir; in this...

January 21, 2006

Charlies Tolliver On Strata East In The Early 1970s

In the early 1970s, as recording opportunities for more adventurous hard-bop musicians dried up, trumpeter Charles Tolliver and pianist Stanley Cowell started their own label, Strata East, partly in order to document the activities of their quartet Music Inc. The aesthetic results were in some ways an extension of...

January 13, 2006

Hugh Masekela and Byrds

Dear Martin: Jazz Tributes To Martin Luther King Jr.

King was a jazz fan, and eloquently expressed his admiration for the music; numerous jazz musicians repaid the compliment.

January 7, 2006

Java Jive: Jazz Coffee Songs

On this edition of Night Lights it's "Java Jive: Jazz Coffee Songs," a caffeinated brew of music to help keep your weekend warm. The program includes classics such as Sarah Vaughan's "Black Coffee" (as well as Sonny Criss' mid-1960s instrumental version) and obscurities such as the Larks' "Coffee, Cigarettes and Tears," in addition to Jeri Southern's "Coffee, Cigarettes and Memories"...

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