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Night Lights Classic Jazz

About the Host

David Brent JohnsonFor the past ten years David Brent Johnson has hosted WFIU’s nationally-syndicated historical jazz program Night Lights.

He is also the host of WFIU’s long-running jazz show Just You And Me and hosted Afterglow from 2006 to 2015, as well as producing WFIU documentaries about 1920s jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke and Duke Ellington’s 1941 civil-rights musical Jump for Joy. In 2012 he produced a four-part series about the history of Indiana jazz.

An Indianapolis native and IU alumnus, David began his radio career at Bloomington community radio station WFHB, where he hosted the weekly jazz program All That Jazz. A writer who’s published frequently in Bloom Magazine, The Ryder, the Bloomington Independent, and Indianapolis Nuvo, he has won two Society of Professional Journalists awards for his arts writing.

Music, literature, and history are long-held enthusiasms for Johnson, but he came to jazz only in his mid-twenties.

I had a handful of jazz LPs and a friend who was really immersed in the music,” he says, “but there was one day when I was sitting in a coffeehouse reading and heard a Count Basie song coming from the overhead speakers. It was my ‘light-on-the-road-to-Damascus’ moment. I also gave up smoking around that time, and all of my addictive energy and cigarette money went into buying jazz CDs instead.

Johnson lives in Bloomington’s Near-Westside neighborhood, a short walk from the gravesite of Hoagy Carmichael.

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This Week On Afterglow

Doris Day, Jazz Singer

We remember Doris Day, who passed away last month at age 97, and her work singing jazz with Les Brown, Andre Previn and more.

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Afterglow is WFIU's weekly program of jazz and American popular song hosted by David Brent Johnson.

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