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  1. This past weekend's "Portrait of Max: Max Roach, 1924-2007" (tribute program by listener request) is now archived. Next week: "Jazz Studio 5 and 6: Ralph Burns and David Amram."
  2. My annual take, with a number of recordings listed in the post that I wasn't able to include in the program itself. There's a note at the bottom about why the Mosaic Herman and Mobley sets are not present. Best Historical Jazz Releases Of 2019 I also didn't include the Miles Davis 1969 Lost Quintet concert because I actually haven't heard it yet (the import CD I received was defective and had to be returned) and the U.S. release is slated for next week. I'd say it's a promising candidate for the 2020 list.
  3. This week's Night Lights show pays a centennial-year tribute to arranger Eddie Sauter and his work with Red Norvo, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Ray McKinley, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, and Stan Getz. You can listen to the program online here: Jazz a la Sauter: Eddie Sauter Next week: "Crossing The Bridge: The Return Of Sonny Rollins."
  4. For the Easter weekend, a wide-ranging survey of 1960s sacred jazz, with Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Ed Summerlin, Paul Horn and Lalo Schifrin, Vince Guaraldi, Joe Masters, Herbie Hancock, and even a humorous take on the jazz-mass trend from Al Jazzbo Collins. Much more on the program's website page, including a clip of Ellington's first sacred concert, performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in September 1965: Sacred Blue: Jazz Goes To Church In The 1960s
  5. Happy holidays, all--Night Lights' annual Christmas show is posted for online listening, with music from Paul Bley, Carla Bley, Duke Pearson, Eddie Higgins, June Christy, Pete Rugolo, and more: A Cool Christmas Season's greetings and all that jazz!
  6. Last week’s Night Lights show, about songwriter Hoagy Carmichael’s Hollywood years, is now archived for online listening. It includes an introduction from John Hasse and archival interview commentary from Carmichael biographer Richard Sudhalter and longtime WFIU radio host Dick Bishop: Where The Rainbow Hits The Ground: Hoagy Carmichael In Hollywood
  7. This week's Night Lights show focuses on the recordings that saxophonist Paul Desmond made after the Dave Brubeck Quartet broke up at the end of 1967. Desmond biographer Doug Ramsey joins me to talk about Desmond's life and music in those years, and we'll hear recordings that Desmond made as both a leader and a sideman with Chet Baker and the Modern Jazz Quartet, as well as a reunion duet with Brubeck: After Brubeck: Paul Desmond 1968-1977
  8. An early chapter in music biz D.I.Y.: Tom Wilson, a young African-American Harvard graduate who'd go on to produce some of the 1960s' most landmark albums, working with Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and Frank Zappa, started out in the 1950s by running his own label, Transition Records. Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Herb Pomeroy, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers/John Coltrane, Louis Smith and Herb Pomeroy were some the jazz artists who recorded for Transition--some of them making their debut on wax. The music of all of these artists, plus more of the backstory on Wilson, this week on Night Lights: Before Rock, There Was Jazz: Tom Wilson And Transition Records Broadcast times around the U.S. Next week: "Sweet Smell of Success."
  9. In honor of pianist Harold Mabern's 75th birthday (coming up tomorrow, Sunday, March 20): A Few Miles From Memphis: Harold Mabern, the Early Years Covering 1960-70 with the MJT + 3, the Jazztet, Wes Montgomery, and Hank Mobley, as well as leader dates featuring Lee Morgan and George Coleman.
  10. 1957 was a prolific year for Art Blakey, the volcanic drummer and leader of the Jazz Messengers. The Messengers were one of jazz’s most-noted and longest-running collectives, and young musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Woody Shaw, Keith Jarrett, and Wynton Marsalis all pulled tours of duty with the group, sometimes called “the hardbop academy.” Its bop-and-funk-driven history stretches from the late 1940s to the beginning of the 1990s; the lesser-known 1957 edition included saxophonists Jackie McLean and Johnny Griffin, as well as trumpeter Bill Hardman, whose chemistry with McLean one writer described as “beautiful, tart…their brash, peppery tones created a distinctive front-line sound.” Blakey recorded a myriad of albums in 1957 for various labels, including Columbia, Bethlehem, RCA, and Pacific Jazz, resulting in one of his most diverse years on record. We’ll hear music from eight different LPs, including the Messengers’ collaboration with Thelonious Monk, the three-horn Night in Tunisia date, one of Blakey’s percussion/rhythm numbers, and two “Jazz-Messengers-plus” sides that venture into the realm of Blakey big-band. Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: Class Of '57 airs Saturday evening, Dec. 29 at 11:05 p.m. on WFIU. It will be posted for online listening Monday morning in the preceding link and in the Night Lights archives. Next week: "Moodsville 2."
  11. In honor of the 93rd anniversary of Trane's birth today, here are several Night Lights shows that I've devoted to him over the years: Trane '57: John Coltrane's Pivotal Year In Jazz Trane '62: The Classic Coltrane Quartet Begins Trane '63: A Classic, A Challenge, A Change Red Trane: The Collaborations Of John Coltrane And Red Garland The John Coltrane Songbook
  12. A recent Night Lights program devoted to saxophonist Lester Young's late-1940s recordings, with special guest Loren Schoenberg (annotator of both Young Mosaic box sets) is now up for online listening: Postwar Prez:  Lester Young 1945-1950
  13. This past week's Night Lights show, Goin' Up: Space Age Jazz is now archived for online listening. In addition to the above listed, music from Gil Melle, Curtis Counce, Earl Bostic, Russ Garcia, Mel Torme, and Frank Comstock, as well as some space sounds and news flashes. Special thanks to board members Teasing the Korean, Medjuck, and jazztrain.
  14. For arcane behind-the-scene reasons I won't go into, my radio station WFIU has been forced over the past year to convert all of its web content from the WordPress format that we used for many years to Cascade, a system used by the university that is less user and creator-friendly than WordPress. Our integrated media staff has been working to make the transition as easy as possible, but certain functions may not appear as readily. One such instance is looking for shows in the archives. To access the older, month-by-month and year-by-year version, you can still go to this page: Night Lights archives It's currently available through a small "older stories" link at the bottom of the archives page on the new site. There's also no longer an individual search bar for Night Lights itself (well, there appears to be through the link above, but if you search for anything within it, it takes you to the new home-page), so you have to use the general WFIU search box in the upper righthand corner of the Night Lights home page. You can also generally google "Night Lights" and the artist or approximate title/subject of a show and turn it up that way. I'm hoping we can soon get a new Night Lights-specific search tool to be present and working again. I'll be working with the integrated-media team in the next few weeks to try to get the new Cascades version of the website up to some level of convenience resembling the WordPress-generated site. For the time being, only posts from the last several months are going to be immediately visible when you visit the home page.
  15. This week's Night Lights program, an indirect jazz celebration of the 4th of July, is up for online listening: Freedom Jazz! A couple of the featured recordings are included as well in the post/playlist I did for this week's NPR Take Five column: Five Platters For Your 4th Of July Picnic Special note of thanks to Chuck Nessa, who turned me on to the Ellington recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" years ago.
  16. Suggestions, additions welcome: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/jazz-capitals-america-books/
  17. The recent Night Lights show, Jazz For Mad Men: Hits From The 1960s is now archived for online listening.
  18. This past week's Night Lights program up for online listening, including a tribute on a 1944 Orson Welles radio program to clarinetist Jimmy Noone, the Duke Ellington orchestra with Alice Babs performing Norris Turney's "Checkered Hat" salute to Johnny Hodges, Elvin Jones' "Lament For John Coltrane" from the Bob Thiele Emergency's Head Start album, and more: Turn Out The Stars Volume 5
  19. This week on Night Lights it's 1959: Jazz’s Vintage Year. The year of 1959 saw an unprecedented spate of jazz masterpieces. Among the albums released or recorded that year were Miles Davis' groundbreaking Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck's blockbuster Time Out, John Coltrane's leap forward Giant Steps, Ornette Coleman's avant-garde salvo The Shape of Jazz to Come, Charles Mingus' revolutionary-in-the-tradition Mingus Ah Um, and Bill Evans' piano-trio template Portrait in Jazz. We'll hear music from all of those albums--for more on the year 1959, see the timeline below. "1959" airs Saturday, October 7 at 11:05 EST on WFIU and in a slightly different fund-drive edition at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It will be posted Monday afternoon in the Night Lights archives. (Note: the Blue Lake edition of Night Lights this week is "The Jazz Scene." The fund-drive version of "1959" will air on Blue Lake Sunday, October 22.) Next week: "The Jazz Workshops Part 1." 1959 timeline: January—Fidel Castro takes over Cuba. Alaska admitted as 49th state to U.S. Pope John XXIII proclaims Second Vatican Council. February—Buddy Holly dies in plane crash. March—Groucho, Chico, and Harpo Marx make their final TV appearance together. Uprising in Tibet against Chinese occupation; Dalai Lama flees to India. Mystery writer Raymond Chandler dies. Movie Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, premiers. Lester Young dies. First sessions for Kind of Blue. John Coltrane attempts first sessions for what will eventually be released as Giant Steps. April—NASA announces selection of seven astronauts for first U.S. orbital flight. May—Japanese-Americans regain citizenship. Sidney Bechet dies. Ornette Coleman records The Shape of Jazz to Come. Charles Mingus records Mingus Ah Um. June—Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans” begins a six-week stay at #1 on the pop-rock charts. U.S. postmaster general bans D.H. Lawrence’s LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER. America launches first ballistic-missile-carrying submarine. First sessions for Time Out. July—The so-called Nixon-Khrushchev “kitchen debate.” Billie Holiday dies. August—Hawaii becomes 50th and final (to date) U.S. state. September—WCBS in NYC bans “Mack the Knife” in response to teenage stabbings. TV show “Bonanza” begins 14-year-run on NBC. Soviet space probe Luna 2 becomes first man-made object to reach the moon. Khrushchev tours America; becomes angry when he is refused admittance to Disneyland. October—“Twilight Zone” debuts on TV. Pan American becomes first airline to offer regular flights around the world. Errol Flynn dies of heart attack at age 50. Dr. Werner von Braun begins to work for NASA. November—Charles van Doren admits to House subcommittee that he knew answers in advance on quiz show “Twenty One.” Ford discontinues Edsel. Chubby Checker introduces the Twist on “The Dick Clark Saturday Night Show.” December—Walter Williams, last surviving veteran of the Civil War, dies at the age of 117. First color photograph of Earth received from outer space. Bill Evans records Portrait in Jazz.
  20. A recent Night Lights show that draws on selections from the recently-released Mosaic Records Savory set is now up for online listening: Savoring The Savory Collection
  21. Last week's Night Lights profiled pianist Marian McPartland, with an emphasis on her compositions, plus an interview she did with friend and WFIU jazz host Dick Bishop in the 1970s in which she reflected on her music and her life: One For Marian: Marian McPartland
  22. http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/MG/209674.jpg The Subterraneans, the only novel of Jack Kerouac's to be adapted to film so far, was released in 1960, when the media fever surrounding the Beat Generation (much of it inspired by the publication of Kerouac's On the Road in 1957) was still at a high pitch. Hollywood took great liberties with Kerouac's story of a romance between his narrator stand-in (Leo Percepied, played by George Peppard) and a young half-black, half-native American bohemian--for starters, the woman was played by the very white Leslie Caron. http://www.torriblezone.com/subterraneans.jpg The soundtrack, however, was composed by Andre Previn, and it features a number of West Coast jazz luminaries--Gerry Mulligan (who also appears in the film as a hip street priest), Art Pepper, Russ Freeman, Shelly Manne, and Red Mitchell. Carmen McRae also appears, singing an updated beatnik version of "Coffee Time." We'll hear both dialogue and music from the film, including some selections only recently released on a new version of the soundtrack from Film Score Monthly. http://www.screenarchives.com/fsm/images/CDL/subterraneans.jpg You can listen live Saturday night at 11:05 p.m. (9:05 California time, 12:05 a.m. NYC time) or in the Night Lights archives, where it will be posted Monday afternoon. Some tidbits that didn't make it into the program: Ranald Macdougall, the director replacement for the fired brother team of Dennis and Terry Sanders, originally opened the film with the credits rolling over a Pollock/Rothko-like painting that dissolved into Gerry Mulligan playing his saxophone, the light gleaming off his crucifix. This was replaced in the final version by a much more conventional opening showing San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in daytime. The words that appear onscreen were originally almost an exact quote of Allen Ginsberg's description of "the subterraneans" (his character is named Adam Moorad in the book); they were altered in a manner that rendered them more neutral and cliched. The film was originally supposed to be shot in black-and-white for a more austere aesthetic; it ended up being done in Cinemascope and Metrocolor. Article on the movie version of Kerouac's SUBTERRANEANS Photograph of the real-life model for "Mardou", the love interest of Kerouac's who inspired the book: http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/mardou8.gif Next week: American jazz in French new-wave cinema.
  23. I'm posting this week's program a bit early, as I'm going to take an internet and social-media break until January 2nd. Full list included in the web-post, though space did not allow for everything to make it into the show itself. Happy New Year and all that jazz: Best Historical Jazz Releases 2018
  24. A recent Night Lights show up for online listening, delving into the 1960s recordings of singer Nancy Wilson with Cannonball Adderley, Gerald Wilson, Ben Webster, George Shearing, Hank Jones, and more: Jazz Her Way: Nancy Wilson In The 1960s
  25. We've been re-airing last year's NEA grant series Jazz Crossroads of America, a special four-part Night Lights look at the history of Indiana jazz. Here's the first episode, "Gennett Days: Hot Jazz From The Heartland," which includes interviews with Gennett historian Rick Kennedy and Indiana jazz historian Duncan Schiedt, as well as a slew of 1920s jazz: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/gennett-days-hot-jazz-heartland/
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