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Recent Shows

The Teacher: Billy Taylor

Billy Taylor jazz pianist

Billy Taylor was a jazz pianist, educator, broadcaster, composer of a civil rights anthem, and the man who dubbed jazz “America’s classical music.”

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Mary Osborne: Queen Of The Jazz Guitar

Billy Taylor jazz pianist

Mary Osborne started out as a little girl playing violin and guitar on the radio in Depression-era Minot, North Dakota, and listening to jazz broadcasts coming far across the prairie to her from Chicago…then one night she went to a club and heard Charlie Christian play, and her path as a muscian was set.

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Clark's Last Leap: Sonny Clark, 1961-62

Billy Taylor jazz pianist

Sonny Clark was a young pianist with an already-impressive jazz legacy when he began a year-long string of classic hardbop recordings that ended suddenly with his death at the age of 31.

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Jazz Side Story: Jazz And Leonard Bernstein

Billy Taylor jazz pianist

A centennial celebration of the American maestro's relationship with jazz.

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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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Music In All Things: W. Eugene Smith And The Jazz Loft

Monk and Dizzy at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963

How a photographer captured a creative corner of mid-20th-century American culture in images and in sound.

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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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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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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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