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Recent Shows

Jazz Mission Possible: Lalo Schifrin's Early Years

lalo schifrin on an album cover

Lalo Schifrin is best known for his “Mission: Impossible” theme and numerous other film scores, but the pianist and composer first emerged from mid-20th century Argentina as a jazz artist, working with Dizzy Gillespie and recording under his own name as well.

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Dolphy '63

lalo schifrin on an album cover

Often described by his peers as a "saint," Dolphy was a multi-instrumentalist and musical seeker whose legacy rests on recordings made in the last four years of his life.

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Porgy And Bess: The 1950s Jazz Revival

Jazz Soul Porgy And Bess

Spurred on by new theatrical productions and a forthcoming movie, jazz artists in the 1950s such as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and Oscar Peterson recorded albums of the music from George and Ira Gershwin’s 1935 folk opera.

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How Professor Bop Paid His Dues: Babs Gonzales

Babs Gonzales

Babs Gonzales was the toastmaster of the bebop world, a vocalese hipster who made the scene and lived to sing and write about it.

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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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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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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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