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  1. This week’s show, including commentary from Burton himself, in honor of the vibraphonist’s 75th birthday, which occurred yesterday (January 23): New Vibes: Gary Burton In The 1960s
  2. Last week's Night Lights program, broadcast in honor of the Bernstein centennial, is up for online listening: Jazz Side Story: Jazz And Leonard Bernstein
  3. As an 80th-birthday tribute to Eric Dolphy, a program that focuses on recordings made in the last few months of his life, both as a leader and with Andrew Hill, Charles Mingus, and Orchestra U.S.A. Much more at the link below, including videos of Dolphy with Mingus and links to several websites that have interview clips, photographs and other info from Dolphy's last year: Dolphy '64 "Dolphy '64" airs Saturday evening at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. Other airtimes and stations can be found on the Night Lights links page. The program will be posted for online listening Monday morning in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Jazz Goes Folk."
  4. On a recent Night Lights show historian Sam Stephenson joined me to talk about photographer W. Eugene Smith and the so-called "jazz loft," the building at 28th St and Sixth Avenue in New York City that served as a home, haunt, and jam-session space for jazz musicians and other artists in the 1950s and 60s: Music In All Things: W. Eugene Smith And The Jazz Loft The show includes music recorded at the loft by both Smith and painter David X. Young, as well as Thelonious Monk and Hall Overton discussing Monk's upcoming Town Hall concert, excerpts from notable radio programs that Smith listened to and taped, and more. Stephenson is the author of a new book about Smith, Gene Smith's Sink: A Wide-Angle View, as well as a previous book about the loft, The Jazz Loft Project.
  5. This past week's Night Lights show, We Brothers Three, is now posted for online listening. It features music from a trio of brotherly trios: *Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones *Jimmy, Percy and Tootie Heath *Wes, Buddy and Monk Montgomery
  6. This week's Night Lights program Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People takes a look at New York City's first integrated nightclub, a diverse musical panorama where artists such as Teddy Wilson, Frankie Newton, Big Joe Turner, Pete Johnson, Hazel Scott, Josh White and Lena Horne all performed, and a gathering spot for Popular Front entertainers and intellectuals. It's also the place where Billie Holiday debuted her version of "Strange Fruit," the anti-lynching song that became an early civil-rights anthem. The program features music from all of the previously-mentioned artists, as well as remarks from cultural historian Michael McGerr and Terry Trilling-Josephson, widow of Cafe Society owner Barney Josephson and co-author of his newly-published memoir. "Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People" airs tonight at 11 p.m. EST on WFIU-Bloomington, at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 11 p.m. Central Time on KOSU-Oklahoma City. It also airs tomorrow evening at 10 p.m. EST on Blue Lake Public Radio and KMBH-Brownsville, TX. It is already archived for online listening.
  7. Up for the 75th anniversary of Freddie Hubbard's birth today--a recent Night Lights show, "Freddie Hubbard: The CTI Years": http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/freddie-hubbard-cti-years/ You can also listen to the broadcast we did about Hubbard the day after his death, which included an interview with David Baker and music from Hubbard's teenage group the Jazz Contemporaries: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/freddie-hubbard-tribute-david-baker/
  8. We had originally scheduled a show devoted to live recordings from Hermosa Beach's Lighthouse Cafe made after the breakup of Howard Rumsey's seminal west-coast jazz group the Lighthouse All-Stars this week on Night Lights. Rumsey passed away last Wednesday at the age of 97, so instead we'll be re-airing a previous Night Lights program that focused on him and the 1950s editions of the Lighthouse All-Stars: The Lighthouse All-Stars
  9. This week on Night Lights it’s “Jazz Advance: Early Cecil Taylor.” Pianist Cecil Taylor is one of the most influential pioneers of late-20th-century improvised music; as author John Litweiler says in his book The Freedom Principle, “One of the running threads in the story of today’s jazz is that so many of the advances first appeared in Cecil Taylor’s music.” Taylor’s musical universe, often perceived by mainstream jazz fans as a challenging, distant place, is thoroughly grounded in the music’s history; and his early influences ran from Dave Brubeck and Lennie Tristano to Horace Silver and Duke Ellington. We’ll hear selections from the 1950s albums that gave birth to Taylor’s career—Jazz Advance, Looking Ahead, Coltrane Time (Taylor’s only meeting on record with John Coltrane), and Love For Sale, along with a performance from the 1957 Newport Festival. “Jazz Advance” airs Saturday, July 29 at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville; Michigan listeners can hear it Sunday evening at 10 p.m EST on Blue Lake Public Radio. The program will be posted Monday afternoon in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Hip Parade: Early Mark Murphy."
  10. Hello all--apologies for the unavailability of the Night Lights website for the past week. The entire Indiana Public Media site (of which Night Lights is a part) was taken offline because of security concerns, and we will be transferring to a new server and way of posting content in the next few days. Previous archived content will eventually migrate to the new site, but only new and recent shows will most likely be online for the time being.
  11. I've put together a list of biographies, historical overviews, and interview/essay collections for the Night Lights site (there's also a list at the bottom of some Night Lights shows that focus on women in jazz). Suggestions for additions welcome: Women In Jazz: A Bibliography
  12. I did an hour-long telephone interview with Ken Vandermark yesterday, just ahead of his performance with Phil Sudderberg in Bloomington this evening. We covered a lot of ground, and he tells a great story about his first encounter with Anthony Braxton. We'll be broadcasting the interview on "Just You And Me" this afternoon, but you can listen to it in its entirety at the link below: A Conversation With Ken Vandermark
  13. John Handy is one of the few surviving saxophone heroes from the 1950s and 60s golden age of hardbop. A featherweight boxing champion as a teenager, Handy tested and honed his jazz skills throughout the 1950s on the San Francisco jazz scene, where he was a regular at the city’s famed Bop City club. At the end of the decade he went to New York City and became a key member of Charles Mingus’ group, appearing on some of the bassist’s most notable records (including a legendary solo, on tenor sax, on Mingus’ elegy for Lester Young, “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” which can be heard on the Night Lights program Turn Out the Stars). Drawing on a wide array of influences such as Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Benny Carter and early Eric Dolphy, he forged his own style as an alto saxophonist, particularly through a flair for playing in the upper register and an unique form of tonguing that created what Metronome described as “a fast, fluttering sound.” In 1965 his unusual quintet, featuring Michael White on violin and Jerry Hahn on guitar, was a huge hit at the Monterey Jazz Festival, landing Handy a recording contract with Columbia Records and vaulting his group into second place behind Miles Davis in a 1966 Downbeat poll. Handy was an early advocate for jazz education and taught for many years at San Francisco State. His musical interests are broad; he has composed works for orchestras and early in his career performed Bartok’s Night Music with classical pianist Leonid Hambro. His interest in world music has led him to collaborate with Indian musicians Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan as well. Handy’s also tasted commercial success–his 1976 R & B-flavored “Hard Work” was a chart-smash single. As a tribute to Handy for his 75th birthday (Feb. 3), Handy With The Horn includes music from the saxophonist’s little-known 1960s Roulette leader dates and his mid-1960s Columbia sides, in addition to a recording made with Mingus in 1959. The program will air this evening at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU, at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 10 p.m. Sunday evening EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. It will be posted Monday morning for online listening in the Night Lights archives. You can read the transcription of a telephone interview that I did with Handy on the blog page of the website; Part 1 and Part 2 are already up, and I'll be posting the remainder of the interview later today and tomorrow. Special thanks to Organissimo posters Clunky and Felser for their assistance with this program. Photo of John Handy by Mark Sheldon Next week: "Suite History." Extended musical depictions of African-American history by Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, and John Carter.
  14. Hey all, as a supplement to this week's Night Lights show Handy With The Horn, I did a telephone interview last week with alto saxophonist John Handy. Part 1, in which he talks about early encounters with Dexter Gordon and Art Tatum, why he went with the alto over the tenor, and working with bassist Albert Stinson in the late 1960s, is now posted. I'll be posting the rest of the interview on the Night Lights site throughout the rest of this week.
  15. This past week's Night Lights show, The David Baker Songbook is now archived for online listening. It includes interviews with jazz educator/composer David Baker and bandleader Brent Wallarab (whose orchestra recorded an entire CD of Baker's music), as well as interpretations of Baker's music by George Russell, Philly Joe and Elvin Jones, the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Jack Wilson, and Baker himself. Coming up later this week: "A Cool Christmas."
  16. The recent Night Lights tribute to Charlie Haden, "Ramblin' Man," is now archived for online listening: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/ramblin-man-charlie-haden/ Coming soon: "Time Flies: The Life and Music of Bud Powell, Part 1" with Powell biographer Peter Pullman.
  17. This week on Night Lights it’s “Gigi Gryce, Part 2: Rat Race Blues.” In the late 1950s alto saxophonist and composer/arranger Gigi Gryce began his second music publishing company, as well as a fruitful new alliance with trumpeter Donald Byrd that resulted in half a dozen recordings made under the name of the Jazz Lab. Personal and professional shadows were starting to lengthen, however, and by the early 1960s Gryce had vanished from the jazz world altogether. He spent the last 20 years of his life teaching in the New York City public school system, and his second wife didn’t even know that he had once been a jazz musician. In this program we’ll hear more remarks from Michael Fitzgerald, co-author of the Gryce biography Rat Race Blues, as well as music from Gryce’s work with the Teddy Charles Tentet, Oscar Pettiford’s big band, the Jazz Lab, and Gryce’s last recordings as a leader, including the rarely-heard Reminiscin’. “Gigi Gryce, Part 2: Rat Race Blues” airs Saturday, February 18 at 11:05 p.m. on WFIU. You can listen live or wait until Monday afternoon, when the program will be posted in the Night Lights archives. For more information on Gryce’s life and music, visit Michael Fitzgerald’s website. Next week: "Black Vocal Harmony Groups of the 1940s."
  18. This week on Night Lights it's "Gigi Gryce, Part 1: Social Call." Alto saxophonist, composer, and arranger Gigi Gryce is best remembered today for jazz standards such as "Minority" and "Nica's Tempo," but he made other important contributions that included pioneering self-publishing for musicians. In this, the first of a two-part program, we'll feature some of Gryce's early music, recorded with artists such as Howard McGhee and Clifford Brown, and hear remarks from Gryce co-biographer Mike Fitzgerald (Rat Race Blues). "Social Call" airs Saturday evening at 11:05 (8:05 California time, 10:05 Chicago time) on WFIU; you can listen live, or wait until Monday, when the program will be posted in the Night Lights archives. For more information on Gryce, visit Fitzgerald's website. Next week: "Gigi Gryce, Part 2: Rat Race Blues."
  19. For the tenor saxophonist's 70th birthday: This week on Night Lights it's Jazz Flower Power: The Charles Lloyd Quartet, featuring music from Lloyd's mid-1960s quartet with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, along with remarks from Lloyd manager George Avakian. Much more info at the program link above, along with two videos of the Lloyd Quartet performing at Antibes in 1966. "Jazz Flower Power: the Charles Lloyd Quartet" airs Saturday at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU-Bloomington and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville; it also airs Sunday evening at 10 EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. Jazz Flower Power: the Charles Lloyd Quartet will be available for online listening beginning Monday. Next week: "Mary Lou Williams' Zodiac Suite."
  20. Crazy, Jackson, crazy! Night Lights starts off 2016 with Minnie, McVouty, Filthy McNasty, Freddie the Freeloader, Lady MacGowan, and other assorted jazz characters: Hipsters, Flipsters, And On-The-Scenesters Posting soon: "Hope Lives: A Portrait of Elmo Hope."
  21. Part 2 of the Night Lights program devoted to the life and music of Thelonious Monk with special guest Robin D.G. Kelley is up for online listening: Thelonious Monk: From Myth To Man Robin talks about why Monk went over so well at the Five Spot, his musical partnerships with John Coltrane and Charlie Rouse, his time at Columbia Records, his response to the free-jazz and civil-rights movement of the 1960s, his relationships with his wife Nellie and his friend Pannonica (the "Jazz Baroness"), and his late-period recordings and compositions. Here's Part 1 of the program: Thelonious Monk: From Man To Myth Next week: "Portraits of Harlem," featuring some previously unreleased excerpts from 1939 and 1945 broadcasts of James P. Johnson's Harlem Symphony, Duke Ellington's 1963 recording of his Tone Parallel to Harlem, Roy Eldridge's "I Remember Harlem" and much more, including an interview with John Howland, author of Ellington Uptown: Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson and the Birth of Concert Jazz.
  22. Part 1 of the two-part Night Lights program I did on Monk with biographer Robin D.G. Kelley is now up for online listening: Thelonious Monk: From Man to Myth (Part 1) It covers Monk's early years and the Blue Note/Prestige period. Special thanks to Joe Medjuck.
  23. Posting these today in honor of Sonny's 87th birthday: Crossing The Bridge: The Return Of Sonny Rollins Rollins '57: Sonny Rollins Takes The Lead Sonny Rollins: Live In London Sonnymoon: Thelonious Monk And Sonny Rollins Not too long ago I revisited the Prestige box in its entirety... incredible to think that that was only the beginning.
  24. Last week's Night Lights show, a look at the career of trumpeter Kenny Dorham, is now up for online listening: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/durable-kenny-dorham/ It spans his career from early bebop recordings with Charlie Parker and the Bebop Boys to his last studio session with Cecil Payne.
  25. Posting these two previous Night Lights programs today in honor of what would have been the pianist, composer and arranger's 85th birthday: The Duke Pearson Songbook Now Hear This: Duke Pearson's Big Band
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