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Archive for Night Lights Classic Jazz

September 25, 2020

Jazz Jukebox

Jukebox Jazz

Jazz is usually thought of as an album format, but once upon a time you could drop a coin into a slot and fill up a bar or restaurant with the sounds of artists such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Horace Silver spinning off a three-minute-long machine-operated platter.

September 16, 2020

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

Jazz From Monterey, 1963: Dizzy For President!

Though it received middling reviews, the 1963 concert series included the festival debuts of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, the rollout of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Dizzy For President” campaign, one of jazz legend Jack Teagarden’s last appearances, and a tribute from the Modern Jazz Quartet to Martin Luther King Jr.

September 9, 2020

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

Boppin' On Bee Hive

Bee Hive annotator Aaron Cohen joins us to discuss the legacy of a 1970s/early 80s Chicago record label that spotlighted veteran bebop and hardbop artists.

September 3, 2020

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

Rollins '57: Sonny Rollins Takes The Lead

In 1957 tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins was at the peak of his first great period, playing with a confident, swinging, and radical abandon both as a leader and with Max Roach and Miles Davis.

August 29, 2020

Ornithology: A Brief History Of Charlie Parker

Twelve recordings that define one of the 20th century's greatest musicians, as we celebrate the Charlie Parker centennial on Night Lights.

August 19, 2020

Big Band Bird: Charlie Parker With The Big Bands

We think of Charlie Parker as a small-group bebop saxophonist, but he came out of the swing era. What did he sound like in a big-band setting?

August 4, 2020

The Big Bands' Little Bands

The swing era may have been the age of the big bands, but bandleaders often found it worth their while to break small groups out of their larger orchestras.

July 29, 2020

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

Late Art: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers In The 1980s

In the last decade of his life Art Blakey continued to mentor new talent in his Jazz Messengers group, helping to elevate musicians such as Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and Mulgrew Miller.

July 24, 2020

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

Electrifying: Charlie Christian

Christian laid the foundation for the guitar as a significant modern-jazz instrument, creating single-note lines and solos that swung with imagination and vitality.

July 14, 2020

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

After The All-Stars: Live At The Lighthouse 1960-1972

In the 1960s a beacon of West Coast jazz became a destination for hardbop and soul-jazz acts.

July 1, 2020

Ahmad Jamal The Awakening

The Second Great Trio: Ahmad Jamal On Impulse

In the mid-1960s pianist Ahmad Jamal returned to the music scene after a three-year hiatus and formed a new trio that would eventually make an album now considered to be a jazz piano masterpiece.

June 25, 2020

David Amram New York City 1957

Making A New Kind Of Scene: New York City's Five Spot

A small Bowery bar where John Coltrane came into his own with Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman stunned the jazz world with his quartet, and writers, painters, musicians and others formed an at-home underground community. Former Five Spot regulars David Amram and author Dan Wakefield join us.

June 16, 2020

David Amram New York City 1957

The Juneteenth Jazz Jamboree

Juneteenth, the African-American holiday celebrating the end of slavery, has a long tradition of food, games, music and prayer. Our jazz tribute includes musical tributes to freedom from Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Carmen McRae, and John Coltrane, as well as Louis Jordan's homage to the holiday itself, and some odes to African-American athletes.

June 9, 2020

Shelly Manne West Coast Sound

West Coast Manne: Shelly Manne In The 1950s

In the early 1950s drummer Shelly Manne settled in California and began a remarkable run of recordings that included experimental jazz, popular interpretations of Broadway scores, music for the TV crime show Peter Gunn, one of avant-garde icon Ornette Coleman’s first albums, and charged live performances at San Francisco’s Black Hawk club.

June 4, 2020

Woody Herman Decca Mars MGM Mosaic

Woody Herman's Trip To Mars

The music that bandleader Woody Herman recorded in the 1940s and early 50s for several labels, including his own Mars imprint, has been unavailable for decades. Now a recent set from Mosaic Records gives us a chance to hear some lesser-known editions of the clarinetist’s mid-20th century ensembles.

May 26, 2020

Woody Herman Decca Mars MGM Mosaic

Miles Between: Miles Davis 1961-1963

As the 1960s began Miles Davis entered a period of transition, first trying to find a saxophonist to replace John Coltrane and then a new rhythm section.

May 17, 2020

Mingus Changes Two

Turn Out The Stars Volume 6

The latest entry in Night Lights' ongoing series of jazz elegies, with an emphasis this time on recordings from the 1970s and 80s by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, Pat Metheny and others.

May 11, 2020

Mingus Changes Two

From Naptown To Paris: Wes Montgomery Live

Five decades after Wes Montgomery's death in 1968, newly-discovered live recordings continue to emerge.

May 6, 2020

Mingus Changes Two

The Ornette Coleman Songbook

Ornette Coleman's music shook up a generation of jazz artists, but some of them almost immediately began to play it.

April 28, 2020

Ellington Treasury shows

The Duke Is On The Air: Duke Ellington's Summer 1945 Treasury Department Shows

In 1945, as World War II wound down in Europe and the U.S. ramped up for an invasion of Japan, Duke Ellington undertook a weekly broadcast on behalf of the war effort, playing music and encouraging civilians to buy war bonds.

April 16, 2020

Ellington Treasury shows

Lee Konitz: the Verve Years

Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who died on April 15, 2020 at age 92, was a longtime master of melodic improvisation who played a part in some of jazz's most momentous acts--the Claude Thornhill big band and the Miles Davis Birth of the Cool nonet in the late 1940s, and the Lennie Tristano groups of the 1950s and early 1960s.

April 13, 2020

The Swingin' Jezebel: Anita O'Day In The 1940s

In the 1940s the young singer Anita O’Day became a sensation on the big-band scene, performing one of jazz’s first racially-integrated duets and courting what would become a lifelong reputation as an independent spirit

April 9, 2020

Brilliant Corners Summer 2020

"Thomas Merton Experiments with Meditations on Jazz": A Poem And A Night Lights Program

"The great chain of witnesses": a poem by Betsy Sholl in the new issue of Brilliant Corners drew its inspiration in part from a Night Lights show.

April 6, 2020

Brilliant Corners Summer 2020

Maiden Voyage: Herbie Hancock In The 1960s

In the 1960s Herbie Hancock seemed to be everywhere on the jazz scene, recording both as a leader for Blue Note and as a sideman with Miles Davis and others.

March 30, 2020

Babs Gonzales

How Professor Bop Paid His Dues: Babs Gonzales

Babs Gonzales was the toastmaster of the bebop world, a vocalese hipster who made the scene and lived to sing and write about it.

March 24, 2020

Ella Fitzgerald 1957

Ella '57: Ella Fitzgerald Flies High

In 1957 singer Ella Fitzgerald recorded close to one hundred tracks as her career continued to soar in the wake of signing with Norman Granz’s Verve label.

March 16, 2020

Ella Fitzgerald 1957

Late Lady: Billie Holiday On Verve In The 1950s

In 1952 Billie Holiday began her last great period on record with a series of small-group sessions that capture the twilight glow of a jazz star.

March 9, 2020

Ella Fitzgerald 1957

Jazz Women Of The 1980s

A decade that saw female artists making further inroads into the male-dominated world of jazz.

March 2, 2020

Ella Fitzgerald 1957

Jazzing The Cool With Ted Gioia

Keep it cool: jazz historian Ted Gioia joins us for the music and meaning of Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bix Beiderbecke, Miles Davis and more.

February 27, 2020

Alice Coltrane Universal Consciousness

Detroit Jazz Artists On Night Lights

Explore some of the notable musicians who emerged from the 20th century Detroit jazz scene.

February 25, 2020

Geri Allen

Made In Detroit: Jazz From The Motor City, Part 2

From the 1960s on, Detroit continued to produce a stream of superlative jazz artists, even as the jazz scene in other major cities began to fade. Mark Stryker, author of JAZZ FROM DETROIT, joins us again to discuss how Detroit's jazz culture stayed alive.

February 17, 2020

Cover of Jazz From Detroit book

Made In Detroit: Jazz From The Motor City, Part 1

It’s a city known for the automobile industry and the soul-pop legacy of Motown Records, but Detroit is also a great jazz capital.

February 10, 2020

Cover of Jazz From Detroit book

"The Jackie Robinson Of Television": The Nat King Cole Show

How singer and pianist Nat King Cole pushed the boundaries of 1950s segregated culture through its hottest medium.

February 3, 2020

Duke Ellington Black Brown and Beige

Black, Brown And Beige: Duke Ellington's Historic Jazz Symphony

A wartime concert, a Carnegie Hall debut, an epic work celebrating black history: the story of Duke Ellington's most ambitious work.

January 25, 2020

Bob Porter's Portraits In Soul Jazz

Bob Porter's Portraits In Soul Jazz

Veteran producer and radio host Bob Porter joins Night Lights to talk about his book on one of jazz's most popular styles.

January 21, 2020

Bob Porter's Portraits In Soul Jazz

Portrait Of Jimmy Heath: The Riverside Years

Jimmy Heath was off the jazz scene for much of the 1950s, but he returned to make a string of albums that cemented his reputation as a composer and a player.

January 13, 2020

Jazz And Prohibition

The Big Speakeasy: Jazz And Prohibition

America in the 1920s: Wall Street was on the rise, cops were on the take, jazz was in the air, and alcohol had been banished—but it certainly hadn’t vanished.

January 8, 2020

Jazz And Prohibition

Jazz Is Not A Noun: Don Shirley, The Extraordinary Pianist

Exploring the musical history of the "pianist of his own genre" depicted in the movie GREEN BOOK.

January 2, 2020

Stan Getz At The Village Gate 1961

Best Historical Jazz Releases Of 2019

The past year gave us notable reissues and previously-unreleased recordings from John Coltrane, Nat King Cole, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, Eric Dolphy, Art Pepper and others.

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