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Recent Shows

Jukebox Jazz

Jazz Jukebox

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.

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Jazz From Monterey, 1963: Dizzy For President!

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

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.

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Boppin' On Bee Hive

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

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.

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Rollins '57: Sonny Rollins Takes The Lead

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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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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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