As a performer, composer, educator, media host, and advocate, Billy Taylor built a boulevard of jazz for listeners around the world to travel.
A look back at musical look-backs from the past year.
Mary Lou Williams' extended work will be performed in its entirety by a large ensemble for the first time since 1945.
The story and music of Dave Brubeck’s professional prelude as a young, experimental West Coast jazz musician.
Billy Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s composing/arranging partner for 27 years, writing “Take the A Train,” “Lush Life,” and many other eventual jazz standards.
Mary Lou Williams' career included everything from Kansas City swing and bebop to expatriate and sacred jazz, a stint as a jazz educator, and a 1977 encounter with avant-garde icon Cecil Taylor.
Autumn’s here, and the time is right for lying in the leaves, with music from Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman, Sonny Rollins and more.
Tony Curtis and SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, CTI reissues coming, the Coltrane album that got you started, a film about Vince Guaraldi, and more.
Brother, where are you? Right here on the bandstand.
In the 1950s and 60s the race for space loomed large in the cultural imagination, and jazz artists such as Duke Ellington and Sun Ra picked up on the theme.
The convergence of two stellar events: the birth of John Coltrane and the beginning of autumn.
A new book examines the bandleader and composer's life in the historical context of his times.
In the late 1950s a former DJ and a journalist realized a dream that would become one of the longest-running live jazz events in the world-a weekend-long outdoor series of concerts in a beautiful central California coastal setting featuring some of the music’s greatest artists.
Work songs go back at least as far as the beginning of recorded human history; whether farming, hunting, cultivating, sailing, or hammering, in the past we often chanted and sang to help us carry out our tasks; and even today, many employees listen to music in their places of work. Historian Ted Gioia joins us to talk about work songs and jazz.
Programs from the Night Lights archives featuring live performances, a signal year, and Thelonious Monk.
Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker revolutionized the sound of jazz and inspired many of his fellow artists in the 1940s and 50s with his flights of innovation in melody, harmony and rhythm. In the decade following his death at the age of 34 in 1955, a series of tribute concerts were held in his honor, as his proteges and others played in his memory.
A young Dennis Hopper, that is, as a curious sailor who meets a most unusual lady at a jazz club in the 1961 movie NIGHT TIDE.
Jazz and the night: moody, evocative music for the evening.
The New York Times reports that the reissue label is in talks with the National Jazz Museum to release music from the William Savory collection on CD.
Abbey Lincoln personified the soul of jazz; Herman Leonard caught it with his camera.
An 80th-birthday tribute to singer Abbey Lincoln, a Jackie McLean documentary, a newly-discovered Nat King Cole concert, and more.
A program about the singer, a movie about the artist.
Tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves is best known for the epic 27-chorus solo he took with Duke Ellington’s orchestra at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956, but in the late 1950s and early 60s he showed his strength in a number of small-group recordings away from the Ellington orchestra as well, made with artists such as Wynton Kelly and Sonny Stitt.
In the spring of 1947 trumpeter Louis Armstrong was 45 years old-considered by some critics and fans to be all but washed up, with his best years behind him and his music made irrelevant by the rising force of bebop. But Armstrong was on the verge of one of the most interesting stretches of his career.
Your contribution could be the one to put us over the top, as Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Lem Winchester and others provide the soundtrack for support.
A special online fund-drive show featuring classic sides from the Prestige label. You can enjoy some great jazz and help us make our goal at the same time!
A new remembrance of Henry Grimes' 2003 return to jazz, Herbie Hancock's latest, and more.
Your connection to Night Lights might be closer than it appears. Why your contribution counts, for another year of Night Lights and more.
"Hey Dad, can I borrow the saxophone keys?" Night Lights pays tribute to the Father's Day holiday with music from Von and Chico Freeman, Duke and Mercer Ellington, Jackie and Rene McLean, and more.
Music for departed jazz musicians, topical songs of World War II, and more.
In the final months of their lives, jazz artists have sometimes made recordings of great power and poignancy. This edition of Night Lights features music from Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Clifford Brown, Stan Getz and more.
Could you have guessed who they were? Three giants of jazz on the 1950s TV quiz show.
From 1949 to 1954 Artie Shaw made a number of big-band, small-group, and even classical recordings that form one of the most dynamic chapters of his career-and the concluding one as well.
Recent news about upcoming publications, the state of jazz radio and Hank Jones.
A jazz pianist of swinging grace who gave us 70 years of subtle musical pleasure.
Alto saxophonist Charles McPherson spent much of his early career under the spell of jazz great Charlie Parker-but he fired the Parker sound with his own intense energy and expressive skills.
Mosaic Records will release a set of Rivers' 1970s New York City jazz loft recordings this autumn.
City of big shoulders, city on the make, and city of a hip, subtle, and wryly street-smart hardbop sound-Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s. "Returning the Call" features the MJT + 3's rarely-heard first album, music from pianists John Young and Eddie Higgins, and a 1960 gathering of Chicago jazz talents led by trumpeter Paul Serrano.
It was a year that signaled the start of one of the most tumultuous eras in American history-and the change that was about to come began to be reflected in jazz as well.
An early mix of hiphop and jazz by the late rapper Guru.
The Birth of the Cool was a milestone in modern jazz-a handful of arrangements, compositions, recording sessions, and performances that, as historian Ted Gioia notes, "turned the jazz idiom on its head." This show highlights interpretations by Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, the Modern Jazz Quartet and others.
The story of Herbie Nichols, a pianist, composer and intellectual who grew up in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, an overlooked figure in his lifetime whose music has been celebrated and recorded frequently in the past 25 years, and subject of a new biography. Author Mark Miller joins us for a look at Nichols' life and music.
A video flashback to CBS' jazz introduction for the 1987 NCAA men's basketball championship game.
Music for baseball's Opening Day and a look back at a magical season for the most hated team in the game.
Afterglow highlights Marian McPartland's own compositions and excerpts from a 1975 interview with founding host Dick Bishop.
Night Lights comes to a jazz station with a legendary cinematic connection.
Wayne Shorter was one of the great tenor saxophonists and composers of the modern jazz era, an enigmatic and searching musician and personality who was once labeled by jazz critic Larry Kart as "one of the most dangerous players to ever pick up a horn."
For decades Harlem was the capital of African-American culture in the United States. It inspired all sorts of musical tributes, from celebratory and sensationalistic swing songs to extended concert works by James P. Johnson, Benny Carter and Duke Ellington.
In the late 1950s Thelonious Monk’s star finally began to rise. But even as the pianist hit artistic and commercial peaks, other problems began to set in.
Sonny Clark was a young pianist with an already-impressive jazz legacy when he began a year-long string of classic hardbop recordings that ended suddenly with his death at the age of 31.
Thelonious Monk was 'the high priest of bebop,' a family man, a bohemian icon, and one of the most significant composers of modern jazz.
Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, John Carter, and Wynton Marsalis all undertook a weighty artistic task-to represent the historical journey of African-Americans in music. Historian Michael McGerr joins the program as we play music from all four composers' extended works and talk about their place in jazz history.
Kurt Elling won his first Grammy Sunday night, for his John Coltrane tribute CD "Dedicated to You." Listen to music from the CD and an interview with the singer from a recent Afterglow program.
Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, and Dan Morgenstern are a few of the jazz winners from last night's ceremony.
Chicago is a historic capital of early jazz and post-World War II blues, but in the 1950s and early 60s it also had a thriving hardbop scene. Musicians such as Ira Sullivan, Wilbur Ware and Von Freeman played with a bluesy, brawny edge, suffused with what Chicago native and jazz critic Larry Kart calls "an air of downhome experimentation."
Cafe Society was New York City's first integrated nightclub, the place where Billie Holiday first sang the anti-lynching anthem "Strange Fruit," and a cultural flashpoint for artists, jazz musicians, intellectuals, and political activists of the 1940s.
The weekly round-up of interesting jazz links from around the web.
Some jazz books from the past year that caught Night Lights' eyes.
Releases both historic and modern that grabbed the attention of Night Lights' ears over the past year.