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In the summer of 1961 pianist Bill Evans hit a new creative peak with his trio. Then the trio's gifted bassist, Scott LaFaro, died in a car wreck. What happened next? Read More »
Claude Thornhill was a pianist, composer, and arranger whose 1940s big bands helped shape the sound of modern jazz, with orchestral bop and ethereal ballads tinged with classical influences that set the stage for later masterpieces by Miles Davis and Gil Evans.
Carla Bley is renowned today for her big-band writing and its wide-ranging use of musical and emotional elements, but it was small-group recordings of her work in the 1960s by musicians such as Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton, George Russell, and her husband Paul Bley that introduced her to the jazz world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the early 1970s trumpeter Freddie Hubbard made a series of records for the CTI label that combined hardbop, funk, modality, and 70s groove.
"He writes the unexpected," Mel Lewis once said of his orchestral co-leader Thad Jones.
Two of the late singer's children stopped by WFIU to discuss their mother's life and music.
A musical and conversational remembrance of Bloomington singer Janiece Jaffe, who passed away on November 23, 2022 at 64. Jaffe friends and collaborators Dave Bruker, Peter Lerner, and David Miller discuss her life and legacy, and we hear some of Jaffe's concert and studio recordings as well.
More classic jazz sets on the way from Mosaic Records.
Michael Bourne became a global name in the jazz community after starting his on-air job at WBGO-Newark at the end of 1984. This tribute celebrates his beginnings at WFIU-Bloomington, Indiana in the 1970s and early 80s, with remembrances from friends and fans, interview excerpts, and a rollicking 1976 performance at Bloomington's Bluebird nightclub with Michael on lead vocals.
... OK, that should be "interview." A virtual conversation, using a very analog-era practice, in which I chat with the Duke about his work on the film score for ANATOMY OF A MURDER.
Night Lights' annual roundup of notable archival releases and reissues.
Indiana University jazz studies head Tom Walsh and vocalists Rachel Caswell and Janiece Jaffe joined David Brent Johnson on WFIU's "Just You And Me" to discuss Dominic Spera, the trumpeter and former IU jazz educator who passed away on Saturday, October 23 at the age of 89. Spera's music is featured as well.
"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.