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  1. "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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. This week's Night Lights program pays tribute to the Artie Shaw centenary (Artie born May 23, 2010) by focusing on the last few years of his recording career--his short-lived but dynamic 1949 big band, some of the classical recordings he made that same year, and his revived Gramercy Five of 1953-54. The show is now archived for online listening: Shaw Sounds Final: Artie Shaw 1949-1954 Next week: "The Last: Final Recordings of Jazz Greats" (Artie will pop up in that one as well)
  5. Phil Woods goes where no man has gone before... Barry Harris loves Lucy... Bob James takes a taxi. Last week’s Night Lights show now up for online listening (with plenty of material on the cutting-room floor for a sequel): Heard It On The TV: Jazz Takes On Television Themes
  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. Up a bit early in honor of Ellington's birthday today, here's this week's Night Lights show, featuring music from The New Orleans Suite, the second and third sacred concerts, the Goutelas and Latin American Suites, the Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, and more, as well as commentary from Michael McGerr and numerous musical outtakes at the bottom of the post: Ellington Ending: Duke Ellington 1967-73
  8. This past week’s Night Lights show explores pianist Bill Evans’ brief but significant stay with Miles Davis’ group in 1958-59, including some non-Kind Of Blue live and studio recordings: Kind Of Two: Miles Davis And Bill Evans
  9. 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
  10. Last week's Night Lights show, a tribute to the 1950s and early 60s work of pianist and arranger/composer Andre Previn, is up for online listening: Jazz Of All Trades: The Eclectic Andre Previn It includes music from the adolescent Previn's Ellington album, two of his West Coast jazz collaborations, selections from the My Fair Lady album and Subterraneans soundtrack, and more.
  11. Last week's Night Lights show, featuring commentary from Soul Jazz author Bob Porter and music from Charles Earland, Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, Brother Jack McDuff, and others, is now up for online listening: Bob Porter's Portraits In Soul Jazz
  12. Last week's Night Lights show, devoted to the late 1950s/early 1960s recordings of pianist Freddie Redd, with a heavy emphasis on Blue Note material, is up for online listening: Ready For Freddie Redd Didn't have time to include "San Francisco Suite," but that will be included in another program later this year.
  13. Here's a recent Night Lights episode devoted to drummer Roy Haynes, focusing on the recordings he made from the late 1940s through the beginning of the 1970s with artists such as Lester Young, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Chick Corea, and Sarah Vaughan, in addition to his own dates as a leader: Snap, Crackle and Swing: Young Roy Haynes
  14. This week on Night Lights it's "Queen of the Organ: Shirley Scott." Although an admirer of Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott found her own sound on the Hammond B-3 and became its most renowned female practioner, recording a number of soul-jazz classics from the late 1950s onward. We'll hear selections from the many albums that she and husband Stanley Turrentine recorded during the 1960s, as well as collaborations with Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Oliver Nelson, and her rarely-heard 1974 Strata East album One for Me. "Queen of the Organ" airs Saturday, March 18 at 11:05 p.m. on WFIU. The program will be posted to the Night Lights archives the following Monday afternoon. Next week: "The Late Miss D." Dinah Washington's early-1960s Roulette recordings.
  15. 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
  16. Last week's Night Lights show, delving into another year of the John Coltrane story, is now up for online listening: Trane '63: A Classic, A Challenge, A Change
  17. Kicking off the countdown to the Nat King Cole centennial with a new Night Lights program: Nat King Cole, Jazz Pianist Lots of trio sides, encounters with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Les Paul, and Coleman Hawkins, plus selections from The Piano Style Of Nat King Cole, Penthouse Serenade, and After Midnight. Coming up later this week: “‘The Jackie Robinson of Television’: The Nat King Cole Show.”
  18. By way of a tribute to the pianist for his upcoming 70th birthday, a look back at his 1960s recordings with Blue Mitchell, Stan Getz, and Miles Davis, and as a leader: Matrix: The Emergence Of Chick Corea
  19. This week's Night Lights program pays a centennial tribute to the man trombonist Trummy Young described as "a bubbling gladiator" and whom fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie called "the messiah of our generation": Portrait Of Little Jazz:  A Centennial Tribute To Roy Eldridge The program focuses on recordings Eldridge made between the late 1930s and 1950s, including encounters with Chu Berry, Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins, classic sides with Gene Krupa and Artie Shaw, and some of Eldridge's Verve leader dates. It is archived for online listening.. To delve deeper into a truly comprehensive overview of Eldridge's considerable musical legacy, check out this weekend's 48-hour WKCR Eldridge marathon broadcast.
  20. A recent Night Lights program focusing on the brief but significant musical partnership of pianist Horace Parlan and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine is now available for online listening: Pittsburgh Soul Connection: Horace Parlan And Stanley Turrentine
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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."
  25. 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