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Recent Shows

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

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

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.

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Electrifying: Charlie Christian

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

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.

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

Art Blakey Straight Ahead

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

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The Second Great Trio: Ahmad Jamal On Impulse

Ahmad Jamal The Awakening

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.

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

David Amram New York City 1957

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.

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The Juneteenth Jazz Jamboree

David Amram New York City 1957

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.

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West Coast Manne: Shelly Manne In The 1950s

Shelly Manne West Coast Sound

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.

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Woody Herman's Trip To Mars

Woody Herman Decca Mars MGM Mosaic

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.

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Night Lights Blog

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

Brilliant Corners Summer 2020

"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.

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Detroit Jazz Artists On Night Lights

Alice Coltrane Universal Consciousness

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

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"No Time Like Now": Music And Conversation With Vibraphonist Dick Sisto

dick sisto play xylophone

"Serious jazz musicians are into their music like it's a religion," says Sisto.

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A Day For Doris Day

Doris Day in 1946 at New York City’s Aquarium nightclub.

A tribute to Doris Day

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A Day For Doris Day

Doris Day in 1946 at New York City’s Aquarium nightclub.

A career-spanning musical tribute from WFIU's afternoon jazz program "Just You And Me."

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Playing Changes: Music And Conversation With Jazz Writer Nate Chinen

david chinen

Jazz critic Nate Chinen talks about his recent book "Playing Changes: Jazz For The New Century," and we hear music from some of the artists discussed as well.

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Read Him Madly: A Duke Ellington Bibliography

david chinen

Some Night Lights recommendations for reading about one of jazz's greatest figures, as well as some programs featuring his music.

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Mosaic Is Planning A Black and White Label Box Set

david chinen

Chronicling a West Coast record label of the 1940s.

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