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  1. Last week’s Night Lights show highlighting pianist Ahmad Jamal’s run of albums for ABC and Impulse from 1968 to 1971 is up for online listening: The Second Great Trio: Ahmad Jamal On Impulse
  2. Last week's Night Lights show, which delves into the music and history of New York City's Five Spot, is now up for online listening: Making A New Kind Of Scene: New York City's Five Spot It includes commentary from Five Spot regulars David Amram (also a Five Spot performer) and novelist Dan Wakefield, as well as live Five Spot recordings from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane or Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Booker Little, and representational recordings by Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, and poet Frank O'Hara reading "The Day Lady Died."
  3. "The Juneteenth Jazz Jamboree"

    This week's Night Lights show, The Juneteenth Jazz Jamboree, is up for online listening. Music celebrating freedom and the holiday from Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Carmen McRae, James Newton, Louis Jordan, and more...plus background on the holiday from emancipation-holiday historian William Wiggins. The Juneteenth Jazz Jamboree
  4. Last week’s Night Lights show, broadcast in honor of drummer Shelly Manne’s centenary, is up for online listening: West Coast Manne: Shelly Manne In The 1950s It includes music from Manne’s collaborations with Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, and Russ Freeman; an excerpt from Bill Holman’s Quartet; tracks from Manne’s recordings of the music from My Fair Lady and Peter Gunn; a sideman appearance with Ornette Coleman; a cut from the first Poll Winners album; and a live recording at the Black Hawk in San Francisco.
  5. "Woody Herman's Trip To Mars"

    Last week's Night Lights show, which draws on the recent Mosaic set of Woody Herman's recordings for Decca, MGM, and Mars, and which includes commentary from set annotator Jeff Sultanof, is now up for online listening: Woody Herman's Trip To Mars
  6. A recent Night Lights show up for online listening, devoted to the period between the two "great quintets": http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/miles-miles-davis-19611963/
  7. This week on Night Lights it's "Now Found: Henry Grimes." Bassist Henry Grimes played with everybody from Benny Goodman to Albert Ayler and appeared on some of the 1960s' most significant jazz recordings before vanishing for more than 30 years. Long rumored to be dead, he was discovered living in Los Angeles in 2002. William Parker, a bassist who'd been strongly influenced by Grimes' work, donated an instrument to Grimes, who began to play again for the first time in three decades. Since then Grimes has re-emerged as a potent force in the world of improv, and his story has turned from mystery into one of the greatest comebacks in the history of jazz. We'll hear selections from Grimes' 1960s work with Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Perry Robinson, and others, as well as Grimes' sole 1960s leader effort (The Call) and a track from his 2004 trio CD with saxophonist David Murray and percussionist Hamid Drake. In addition, Grimes talks to WFIU about his years away from the jazz scene. "Now Found: Henry Grimes" airs on WFIU Saturday, December 10 at 11:05 p.m. You can listen live, or wait until Monday afternoon, when the program will be posted in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Not Afraid to Live: Frank Hewitt."
  8. The latest in Night Lights’ ongoing series of jazz elegy programs is up for online listening. V. 6 focuses on recordings made in the 1970s and 80s by musicians such as Frank Strozier, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus in remembrance of Oliver Nelson, Jaco Pastorius, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and other artists: Turn Out The Stars Volume 6
  9. The first part of a two-part Night Lights show about Detroit jazz with special guest Mark Stryker is now up for online listening: Made In Detroit: Jazz From The Motor City, Part 1 Part 2 to follow in the next few days.
  10. Last week’s Night Lights show features live recordings of guitarist Wes Montgomery in his hometown of Indianapolis, in California, in New York, and in Paris: From Naptown To Paris: Wes Montgomery Live Coming up this week: “Black, Brown And Beige: Duke Ellington’s Historic Jazz Symphony.”
  11. This past week's Night Lights show, The Ornette Coleman Songbook: Early Interpretations of a Jazz Pioneer is now archived for online listening. It features recordings of Coleman's music by Art Pepper, Bill Dixon and Archie Shepp, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Jack Wilson, Pee Wee Russell, the New York Contemporary Five, and John Coltrane. Next week: "Young Wynton: Early Marsalis."
  12. A new Night Lights show up for online listening, focusing on Jarrett's early years as a leader and with Art Blakey, Charles Lloyd, and Miles Davis: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/birth-early-keith-jarrett/ We have a new audio format, too--no more Real Audio, going forward.
  13. This past week’s Night Lights show focused on Duke Ellington’s weekly broadcasts to help sell war bonds for the U.S. government while World War II remained underway in the Pacific. It includes some little-known Ellington compositions and unusual arrangements, as well as several of Ellington’s promotional spots for war-bond sales and some news bulletins that occasionally broke into the broadcasts: “The Duke Is On The Air”: Duke Ellington’s Summer 1945 Treasury Shows
  14. Lee Konitz: the Verve Years

    Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz is a longtime master of melodic improvisation who’s played a part in some of jazz’s most momentous acts–the Claude Thornhill big band and the Miles Davis Birth of the Cool nonet in the late 1940s, and the Lennie Tristano groups of the 1950s and early 1960s. After working in Stan Kenton’s orchestra and making some albums for Atlantic, Konitz recorded a series of LPs as a leader in the late 1950s for the Verve label that received a lukewarm critical reception at the time and that are now generally unavailable. His Verve dates showcase him in a variety of settings, ranging from trio/quartet/quintet to small-big-band and strings, finding him in the company of musicians such as pianist Bill Evans, drummer Elvin Jones, and fellow Tristanoite Warne Marsh, as well as arrangers Bill Russo and Jimmy Giuffre. Heard today, they form a compelling body of work that marks a kind of last chapter in Konitz’s early period, culminating in one of his most dynamic recordings, Motion. We’ll hear music from Motion, as well as the Giuffre collaborations You and Lee and Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre, the small-group sides Tranquility and Very Cool, a with-strings Russo arrangement, and a live Konitz-Marsh performance with Bill Evans sitting in for Lennie Tristano on piano. Much of what Konitz recorded during these years has yet to be released; you can view a comprehensive online discography which lists many of the unissued sessions from the saxophonist’s stay on Verve . Konitz is also the subject of a recent book, Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser’s Art, which offers many fascinating insights from musicians, jazz writers, and Konitz himself on the hows, whys, and what’s-it-all-abouts of his artistic career. (According to Konitz, jazz impresario and Verve owner Norman Granz “was not a fan of mine, but he encouraged me, and even made me a weekly advance… maybe [he] was advised that I was trying, and took a chance, though his personal taste was for the older music. I always appreciated that.”) Lee Konitz: The Verve Years airs Saturday, January 12 at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It also airs Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. The program will be posted for online listening at the link above and in the Night Lights archives by Monday morning. Special thanks to Larry Kart for insights into why Konitz's recordings met with mixed reviews in the late 1950s. Next week: "The Memphis Mafia: George Coleman, Frank Strozier, Booker Little, and Harold Mabern."
  15. Another recent Night Lights program, exploring pianist Herbie Hancock's powerful emergence on the 1960s jazz scene, up for online listening: Maiden Voyage: Herbie Hancock In The 1960s
  16. This week on Night Lights it’s “The Arrival of Victor Feldman.” Multi-instrumentalist Victor Feldman was a musical prodigy who sat in on drums with Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band at the age of 10 and was hailed by the English press as “Kid Krupa.” After continuing his rise to fame in the 1950s British jazz world, Feldman moved to America and eventually made his way to the West Coast jazz scene. We’ll hear the records he made both as a sideman and a leader, playing piano and vibes with Cannonball Adderley, Shelly Manne, Miles Davis, and Scott La Faro. You can read a 1971 interview with Feldman here. “The Arrival of Victor Feldman” airs Saturday, December 9 at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It also airs Sunday at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. The program will be posted Monday afternoon in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "A Jazzy Quartet." Jazz soloists and ensembles accompanied by string quartets.
  17. The new issue of the literary periodical Brilliant Corners includes a poem inspired in part by the Night Lights program The Jazz Monk: Thomas Merton. Though it's not available online, the poet (Betsy Sholl, former Poet Laureate of Maine) and publisher/editor Sascha Feinstein have given me permission to share it: "Thomas Merton Experiments with Meditations on Jazz" (Brilliant Corners is always well worth checking out, btw. Poetry, fiction, interviews, and other literary content all related to jazz.)
  18. Damn, pops, it's Professor Bop! This past week's Night Lights show about mid-century arbiter of the hepgeist Babs Gonzales is now up for online listening: How Professor Bop Paid His Dues: Babs Gonzales
  19. A recent new Night Lights show, highlighting singer Ella Fitzgerald's prolific year of 1957, which saw her recording close to one hundred tracks and collaborating with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, and Stan Getz: Ella '57: Ella Fitzgerald Flies High
  20. This week's Night Lights show, a career-spanning tribute to James Moody, is now posted for online listening: Blues For Moody: A Musical Remembrance Of James Moody
  21. This past April Night Lights aired a show devoted to Billie Holiday's 1950s recordings for Norman Granz, in honor of her centennial. That program is now up for online listening: Late Lady: Billie Holiday On Verve In The 1950s
  22. Hey all, another recent Night Lights show now up for online listening: Jazz Women of the 1980s Other entries in this series: Jazz Women of the 1960s Jazz Women of the 1940s Jazz Women Of The 1990s
  23. The most recent Night Lights program, Jazzing The Cool With Ted Gioia is now up for online listening. Gioia, the author of The History of Jazz and West Coast Jazz, talks about his new book The Birth (and Death) of the Cooland jazz's relationship to cool, from Bix Beiderbecke up to the present day, with plenty of music accompanying the timeline. And the Night Lights Six Degrees of Support fund-drive continues, as the show heads towards its sixth anniversary. If you're a regular listener or somebody who enjoys the program and its archives from time to time, please consider making a contribution...any amount is welcome! The direct link to the support page is here.
  24. Posting this brand-new Night Lights program in honor of Mr. Tyner's 80th birthday today: Tyner Time: McCoy Tyner's Blue Note Years The show focuses exclusively on his leader dates for Blue Note from 1967 to 1970.
  25. Posting this week’s Night Lights show a bit early in honor of the Nat King Cole centennial—the music and story of Cole’s groundbreaking 1956-57 TV variety program: “The Jackie Robinson of Television”: The Nat King Cole Show It also airs at 10 this evening on Michigan’s Blue Lake Public Radio.