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Recent Shows

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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Black Composers In Hollywood: Duke Ellington And John Lewis, 1959

Duke Ellington Anatomy of a Murder

In the mid-20th century Black jazz artists began to make inroads into the movie industry scoring films such as Anatomy Of A Murder and Odds Against Tomorrow.

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Word From Mingus

Mingus Spoken Word

On this edition of Night Lights it's "Word From Mingus," a program of Charles Mingus' 1950s spoken-word collaborations with poet Langston Hughes, monologuist Jean Shepherd, and actor Melvin Stewart. We'll also hear Mingus' own performance of his piece "Chill of Death," written when Mingus was...

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Sweet Smell Of Success: Jazz Meets Showbiz Noir

Sweet Smell Of Success

In 1957 a fading Depression-era playwright, two hot box-office stars and a West Coast jazz group all played prominent parts in creating a dark portrayal of New York City showbiz life that’s now considered a cinematic masterpiece. Film-expert James Naremore and musicologist Phil Ford us to talk about the look and sound of "Sweet Smell of Success."

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The Jazz Message Of Yusef Lateef: The 1960s

Yusef Lateef 1960s

At the beginning of the 1960s jazz musician Yusef Lateef moved from his hometown of Detroit to New York City and continued a musical evolution that would eventually earn him one of jazz’s most musically expansive legacies.

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Jazz Women Of The 1940s

Yusef Lateef 1960s

Women instrumentalists thrived in the upside-down jazz world of wartime America.

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Proving Herself: Melba Liston, Arranger And First Lady Of Trombone

Yusef Lateef 1960s

Liston was a trailblazer for women in 20th century jazz, a master trombonist and arranger who forged partnerships with some of the music's most key figures.

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Jazz Women Of The 1990s

Yusef Lateef 1960s

We’ll hear some of the artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Maria Schneider, Renee Rosnes, and Diana Krall who rose to prominence during the decade, as well as a trio of veterans who enjoyed a late-career renaissance, including Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, and Betty Carter.

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Night Lights Blog

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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"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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