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  1. A sequel to the previous Night Lights program of MLK jazz tributes Dear Martin is now available for online listening. It includes music from Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, and Wadada Leo Smith: Dear Martin, P.S.: More Jazz Tributes To Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. One 2020 flashback that's hopefully more enjoyable than the year in general (granted, a low bar to clear): Best Historical Releases 2020 Also realizing that I'm long past due figuring out a way to incorporate exclusively vinyl reissues (such as Blue Note's Tone Poet series) into these surveys. I can't honestly feature or say anything about them, because I don't buy new vinyl (for a variety of reasons)* and such releases never get serviced to radio (at least that I'm aware of). But I'm certainly aware that vinyl is the more popular format now for reissues and archival recordings. I may just start posting a general supplementary list of LPs that came out in the past year, more as a reference point than anything else. *Rare exceptions made for titles like the Sonny Clark trio album that came out on Record Store Day a couple of years ago and was initially announced as vinyl-only, though it was subsequently released on CD as well.
  3. Here's a recent Night Lights show about Hugh Hefner and Playboy Magazine's relationship to jazz, including commentary from Patty Farmer, author of Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner And Playboy Changed The Face Of Music. Also check out the clip from Hefner's late-1950s TV show that features Nat King Cole and Lenny Bruce chatting side-by-side with Hef & friends: Swingers: Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine, And Jazz
  4. This week on Night Lights it's "Strange City: The Secret Music of Herbie Nichols." When pianist Herbie Nichols died of leukemia at the age of 44 in 1963, he left behind dozens of unrecorded compositions. Some of them were entrusted to friend and trombonist Roswell Rudd, while others remained undiscovered for decades, until the efforts and detective work of a group known as the Herbie Nichols Project found them in the Library of Congress and elsewhere. For the past 10 years the Herbie Nichols Project has been performing and recording Nichols' music, much of it never put on vinyl by Nichols himself. (Nichols recorded only a handful of LPs for the Blue Note and Bethlehem labels in the mid-1950s.) We'll hear music from all three of their CDs--LOVE IS PROXIMITY and DR. CYCLOPS' DREAM on the Soul Note label, and STRANGE CITY, the most recent recording (2001), released by Palmetto. In addition, Project co-leader and pianist Frank Kimbrough will talk about the group and the Nichols compositions that it's recorded. This program is a repeat of a September 25, 2004 broadcast, and therefore already archived for listening under that date. It will air at 11:05 p.m. EST Saturday night on WFIU, 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 10 p.m. EST Sunday night on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio FM 90.3 and 88.8. The best biographical pieces on Nichols to date can be found in A.B. Spellman's 1967 book Four Jazz Lives. Roswell Rudd's liner notes for the original Mosaic box-set of Nichols' Blue Note recordings are fascinating as well, but hard to find these days. Frank Kimbrough and Ben Allison contributed a combined musical/biographical essay to the 1997 Blue Note commercial re-issue of the same recordings. The website for the Herbie Nichols Project can be found here. Next week: "Nat King Cole's St. Louis Blues."
  5. Posting this week's Night Lights show a bit early, given that Christmas falls on Friday. Joe Pass, Paul Desmond with the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Judy Holliday are among the featured artists. Have Yourself A Very Quiet Christmas Happy holidays and all that jazz, David
  6. Best recording debut year ever by a jazz artist? A recent Night Lights show on trombonist Curtis Fuller's first season in the jazz big leagues: Rookie Of The Year: Curtis Fuller '57
  7. "Jazz Impressions of Brubeck"

    In the 1950s and 60s the Dave Brubeck Quartet became one of the most popular jazz acts in the world–one of the reasons why the group ended up doing a State Department tour in 1958 at the height of the Cold War that took them to countries such as India, Poland, and Iraq. The music inspired by this and other international forays came out on albums called Jazz Impressions of Eurasia, Jazz Impressions of Japan, and Bravo Brubeck. These tours also made Brubeck a spokesperson for values that for him were heartfelt: a love of jazz and liberty, and a belief that the two were intertwined. “No dictatorship can tolerate jazz,” he said at one performance. “It is the first sign of a return to freedom.” Brubeck, who recently was honored by the U.S. government for his long-running jazz ambassadorship, was a pupil of the classical-music composer Darius Milhaud, who told his young student “to travel the world and keep my ears open.” The pianist did just that, and his subsequent jazz-impressions albums contain some of the most interesting music in his jazz legacy. Jazz Impressions of Brubeck airs this evening at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU. Check "Carriage" on the links page for airtimes on other stations around the country. The program will be posted for online listening Monday morning in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "The Carla Bley Songbook."
  8. This week's Night Lights show offers a look at the prelude to Dave Brubeck's rise to fame with the Brubeck Quartet, focusing on his time on the West Coast in the late 1940s and the music of his early octet and trio: Playland At The Beach: Dave Brubeck's Early Octet And Trio Next week: "The Arrival of Victor Feldman."
  9. Louis Armstrong was a legendary innovative trumpeter, a vocalist who had a profound impact on jazz singing, and a dynamic entertainer--and he got a chance to showcase all these aspects of his talent in 28 full-length films and several short features in which he appeared between 1931 and 1969. We'll celebrate Armstrong's birthday this weekend with a program that includes music from the films New Orleans, High Society, A Man Called Adam, The Five Pennies, and more, including the outtake "Ain't It the Truth" from Cabin in the Sky. You can also watch movie clips of Armstrong and Billie Holiday doing "Farewell to Storyville" as well as the Paris Blues battle scene with Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman on the "shows" page of the new Night Lights website. "Satchmo, Take Two" airs this evening on Armstrong's birthday at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It will also air tomorrow evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. The program will be available for online listening Monday morning on the new Night Lights "Shows" page. Next week: "The King at Midpoint: Benny Carter."
  10. "ECM: Birth Of A Label"

    A new Night Lights for the week just ending is now up for online listening: ECM: Birth Of A Label Much appreciation to the posters who commented in my previous thread about this era.
  11. In honor of Charles McPherson's 70th birthday today, here's this week's Night Lights program, devoted to his 1960s and early-1970s recordings (including one side with Mingus): Charles McPherson's Post-Bird Bop Next week: "Live at Cafe Bohemia."
  12. This week on Night Lights it's Teddy Charles: The Early Avant-Garde (with thanks to garthsj and Late). In the early 1950s vibraphonist Teddy Charles made a series of records with Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, and others, that still escape easy definition today--were they Third Stream? Were they West Coast? Were they cool jazz? We'll hear selections from his albums New Directions and Collaboration: West, as well as his 1956 Atlantic LP The Tentet, and appearances as a sideman with Wardell Gray and Miles Davis. For more information about Teddy Charles, see Noal Cohen's Coda article. The program airs Saturday night at 11:05 p.m. (9:05 California time, 12:05 NYC time) on WFIU; you can listen live, or wait until Monday afternoon, when the program will be posted in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Late Lee." The late & last recordings of Lee Morgan.
  13. Last week's Night Lights show, devoted to the late 1950s-late 1960s recordings of jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby, is up for online listening: The Fantastic Jazz Harp Of Dorothy Ashby Coming soon: "The Jazz Monk: Thomas Merton."
  14. A new and recent Night Lights show now up for online listening: Nica's Tempo: More Hipsters, Flipsters, And On-The-Scenesters Last week's Dorothy Ashby program coming soon.
  15. Last week’s Night Lights show was a centennial-year tribute to pianist Hazel Scott, a classically-trained prodigy who rose to fame from New York City’s Cafe Society nightclub at the beginning of the 1940s. Scott appeared in five movies, found popular success with her “swinging the classics” interpretations of music by composers such as Rachmaninoff and Chopin, and in 1945 married the charismatic minister and newly-elected Congressional representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr, forming an African-American power couple whose lives were covered extensively in the black press. But Scott’s outspokenness as a civil-rights advocate cost her jobs in Hollywood and a pioneering role as the first African-American woman to host a TV show. To Be Somebody: Hazel Scott includes some of Scott’s earliest recordings, two of her “swinging the classics” sides, two numbers from her movie appearances, two tracks from the 1955 trio album that she made with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, and more.
  16. This week's Night Lights show, The Last: Final Recordings of Jazz Greats is now posted for online listening. Music from Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw and more. Special note of thanks to Jim Sangrey, and a safe and reflective holiday weekend to all. Next week: "Jazzing the Cool" with special guest Ted Gioia.
  17. Posting this week’s show, the first of a two-part tribute to Yusef Lateef, a bit early because today is his centenary. Mark Stryker, author of Jazz From Detroit (and well-known as a contributor to this forum) joins the program to talk about this key period in Lateef’s development as a musician: The Jazz Message Of Yusef Lateef: The 1950s
  18. This week on Night Lights L.A. jazz historian Steve Isoardi joins us for "One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott." In 1961 pianist Horace Tapscott turned down a chance to have a high-profile career with the Lionel Hampton band and spent the next several decades in Los Angeles, leading several community-jazz bands and doing his best to extend the mentoring and teaching tradition that he had experienced growing up during the glory days of L.A.'s Central Avenue era. The underground jazz scene that he helped to create and sustain--a vibrant, multi-arts mix of culture, politics, and African-American values--has now been documented in Isoardi's new book, The Dark Tree: Jazz & the Community Arts in Los Angeles. We'll hear some previously unissued music by Tapscott and UGMAA (Union of God's Musician and Artists Ascension) and the Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra (from a CD included with the new book), along with solo and trio Tapscott piano recordings and a collaboration with Black Panther activist Elaine Brown. "One More You Wrote Through Us: Horace Tapscott" airs Saturday, February 24 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, along with 12 extra interview clips not used in the show itself, Monday afternoon in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Alice Coltrane, Ascending."
  19. Last week’s Night Lights show up for online listening: Jukebox Jazz: Jazz On 78s And 45s ... with an acknowledgement to this forum at the end of the program.
  20. In 1963 the sixth annual Monterey Jazz Festival included a blues duet between Gerry Mulligan and Peewee Russell, the festival debuts of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, a moving performance from Jack Teagarden just four months before his death at the age of 58, and a dedication from the Modern Jazz Quartet to Martin Luther King Jr., weeks after his “I have a dream” speech and days after the deaths of four African-American girls in a Birmingham, Alabama church bombing. Oh, and Dizzy Gillespie launched his “Dizzy For President” campaign as well. Last week’s Night Lights show up for online listening: Jazz From Monterey, 1963: Dizzy For President!
  21. Up for online listening--includes a track from the Cafe Bohemia broadcast with Miles Davis: Rollins '57: Sonny Rollins Takes the Lead
  22. The story and some of the music of Chicago's 1970s/80s Bee Hive label, with special guest and Mosaic set annotator Aaron Cohen, now up for online listening: Boppin' On Bee Hive
  23. Last week’s Night Lights centennial Bird tribute, featuring a Parker’s dozen of career-defining tracks, is up for online listening: Ornithology: A Brief History Of Charlie Parker
  24. Last week's Night Lights show is now up for online listening--a musical survey of Parker's performances with big bands ranging from Jay McShann to Stan Kenton: Big Band Bird: Charlie Parker With The Big Bands Coming up this week: "The Durable Kenny Dorham."
  25. This week's Night Lights show, which explores Bill Evans' early recordings (almost exclusively as a sideman), is now posted for online listening. Featuring the music of Charles Mingus, Hal McKusick, Tony Scott, George Russell and others, it shows Evans' playing in a different light from the later style for which he'd gain fame: Very Early: Bill Evans, 1956-58