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Recent Shows

Nat King Cole, Jazz Pianist

Ellington Treasury shows

The singing icon was also a master pianist whose rhythms and harmonic language made him an influential jazz modernist.

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1968, Riot: The Year In Jazz

student activists holding signs and marching

As the 1960s neared to a close, the jazz world continued to absorb the cultural upheavals of a volatile decade.

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The Jazz Monk: Thomas Merton

student activists holding signs and marching

Thomas Merton was one of the most influential spiritual writers of the 20th century-and he was also a passionate jazz fan.

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Rookie Of The Year: Curtis Fuller '57

student activists holding signs and marching

Six albums as a leader. Sideman appearances with John Coltrane, Bud Powell, and Jimmy Smith. The story of trombonist Curtis Fuller's first year on record.

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Sassy First Soars: Sarah Vaughan in the 1940s

Sarah Vaughan 1946

In the 1940s a young jazz singer with a four-octave range and bebop chops burst onto the big-band scene with Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine before going on to establish herself as a solo star.

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Jazz Women Of The 1960s

Dan Wakefield in 2017 2

As cultural changes gained momentum in the 1960s, a generation of women artists made their way through a jazz world that had long been resistant to their aims.

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To Be Somebody: Hazel Scott

Hazel Scott Relaxed Piano Moods

Pianist Hazel Scott was a prodigy who rose to fame in the 1940s, swinging classical compositions, appearing in Hollywood movies, and becoming the first African-American to host a TV show.

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The Latest And The Greatest In Jazz: Charles Mingus And Debut Records

Early Charles Mingus Debut record

In 1952 bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach formed their own record company, in an attempt to assert creative and entrepreneurial control over their music.

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Night Lights Blog

Wakefield's Way: Dan Wakefield, 1932-2024

Dan Wakefield in 2017 2

David Brent Johnson remembers Indiana writer Dan Wakefield.

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A Family Tribute To Janiece Jaffe

Janiece Jaffe

Two of the late singer's children stopped by WFIU to discuss their mother's life and music.

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A Tribute To Janiece Jaffe 1958-2022

Janiece Jaffe

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.

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Anon, Anon: Michael Bourne, 1946-2022

Michael Bourne

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.

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My Interview With Duke Ellington

Open Ended Interview promo record

... 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.

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Best Historical Releases 2021

John Coltrane A Love Supreme Live In Seattle

Night Lights' annual roundup of notable archival releases and reissues.

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A Tribute To Dominic Spera

Dominic Spera

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.

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