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  1. This week's Night Lights show takes a look at the role that jazz played in the life of spiritual writer and monk Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain and numerous other books). It includes an interview with jazz musician and Merton friend Dick Sisto, as well as excerpts from recordings that Merton made of himself in his hermitage listening to and commenting on jazz recordings. Organissimo board member and musician Jason Bivins, author of the recent book also talks about the relationship between jazz and religion. The Jazz Monk: Thomas Merton
  2. Night Lights celebrated the Sarah Vaughan centennial last week with a show devoted to her 1940s recordings, including a broadcast with Billy Eckstine’s big band, sides made with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker (among them the first waxed version of “A Night in Tunisia,” aka “Interlude”), live performances at New York City’s Town Hall (featuring Lester Young on one song), recordings for the Musicraft label, and her first outings for Columbia, with a young Miles Davis on trumpet: Sassy First Soars: Sarah Vaughan in the 1940s
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Last week's Night Lights show, focusing on Charles Mingus' recordings for his and Max Roach's Debut label, is now up for online listening: "The Latest And The Greatest In Jazz": Charles Mingus And Debut Records
  6. 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.
  7. This recent tribute to pianist Mel Powell, who enjoyed a brilliant jazz career in the 1940s before working primarily in an academic classical realm for the rest of his life, is now up for online listening: Jazz Mission: Mel Powell in the 1940s ... Powell also made several fine jazz albums for the Vanguard label in the mid-1950s that may be the subject of a future program. The 1940s offered so much musical ground to cover that I decided to stick to that particular decade for this episode.
  8. Dizzy Gillespie running for president? The arrival of the Beatles? The October Revolution in jazz? All of that and more on another Night Lights "the year in jazz" program: Four And More: 1964, The Year In Jazz
  9. 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.
  10. Last week’s show, a broad overview of trombonist and composer/arranger J.J. Johnson, is up for online listening in honor of his centennial today: Portrait of J.J.: A Brief History of J.J. Johnson
  11. Up for today's centennial, this week's Night Lights show traces Roach's musical path through a turbulent decade: It's Time! Max Roach In The 1960s
  12. This new Night Lights program aired the week of the 75th anniversary of the first From Spirituals To Swing concert--a December 1938 presentation of jazz, blues, and gospel in New York City's Carnegie Hall. It is now archived for online listening: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/music-spirituals-swing-concerts/
  13. This year's Night Lights entry in the holiday annals, with a cameo appearance from 77 Sunset Strip's Edd "Kookie" Byrnes: Santa-O! A Very Hip Christmas
  14. 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
  15. http://www.monastery.nl/bulletin/asexpol/171bley.jpg Carla Bley is renowned today for her big-band writing and its wide-ranging use of musical and emotional elements, but it was small-group recordings of her work in the 1960s by musicians such as Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton, George Russell, and her husband Paul Bley that introduced her to the jazz world. In her teens Bley abandoned home, religion, and school, eventually making her way to New York City, where she worked as a hatcheck and cigarette girl in jazz clubs such as Basin Street and Birdland. She also met Paul Bley, a young up-and-coming Canadian jazz pianist she’d end up marrying and moving with to Los Angeles. There the Bleys became a part of the late-1950s avant-jazz scene, highlighted by Paul Bley’s stint with Ornette Coleman’s quartet—and Carla Bley, taking in all of the adventurous sounds that she heard, began to compose, beginning the evolution of a style that one writer would later describe as “ hyper-modern jazz…asymmetrical compositional structures that subvert jazz formula to wonderful effect, with unpredictable melodies that are often as catchy as they are obscure.” “I was lucky,” Bley has said. “People started playing my music as soon as I began to write it. I don’t know why. It just happened.” The Carla Bley Songbook airs this evening at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU and at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville. It will also air at 10 p.m. EST Sunday evening on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. For additional broadcast times around the country, see the "Carriage" section on the Night Lights links page. (Not positive, but I think we're debuting tonight on Oklahoma Public Radio.) The Carla Bley Songbook will be posted for online listening by Monday morning in the Night Lights archives.
  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. This new Night Lights show, put together with input from members of this board (you are thanked in the outgoing credits!) is now up for online listening: Mob-Lee: Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan
  18. Already archived for online listening: Clark's Last Leap: Sonny Clark, 1961-62
  19. A new Night Lights show celebrates the legacy of swing for America’s Independence Day. A World War I era recording from James Reese Europe’s Hellfighters, a live performance of the short-lived Duke Ellington band theme that preceded “Take The A Train,” Woody Herman’s rendition of a Frank Zappa tune, and music from the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Machito, Count Basie and others all contribute to this patriotic panorama for the holiday. A Big Band Fourth of July
  20. Another recent new Night Lights show, this one devoted to the life and music of Elmo Hope, now up for online listening: Hope Lives: A Portrait Of Elmo Hope Our own Larry Kart is quoted early on, from a 1970 DownBeat review that he wrote of a reissued Hope LP.
  21. At the end of World War II bandleader Duke Ellington was coming off an artistic and commercial zenith, and he’d managed to keep most of his talented orchestra intact during the war years. But economic and cultural changes, along with stubbornly persistent racism, would challenge, provoke, and inspire Ellington as he continued to pursue his unique musical vision while working to stay financially viable. On A Turquoise Cloud: Duke Ellington After The War, 1945-47 features lesser-known Ellington compositions such as “Lady of the Lavender Mist,” “Magenta Haze,” and “Air-Conditioned Jungle,” as well as a Carnegie Hall concert performance of the atonal/stride-paino “The Clothed Woman,” singer Al Hibbler’s anthemic performance of “I Like the Sunrise” from The Liberian Suite, and one of the few recorded numbers from Ellington’s score for the failed Broadway musical Beggar’s Holiday. Historian and Ellington expert Michael McGerr offers insights into this period of Ellington’s career as well. The program airs tonight at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU, at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 11 p.m. Central Time on Oklahoma Public Radio. It also airs Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. It will be archived Monday morning at this link: On A Turquoise Cloud: Duke Ellington After The War, 1945-47 which also includes a clip of Ellington performing his "The Perfume Suite" in 1947, accompanied by a cast of dancing puppets that emerge from perfume bottles.
  22. 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."
  23. Hey O gang, here's a new, recently-aired Night Lights program covering the compositions of Thad Jones: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/thad-jones-songbook/ ... hope to have "Now Hear This: The Duke Pearson Big Band" up in a couple of days as well.
  24. 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.”
  25. Last week's Night Lights show, which takes a look at recordings that trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Wayne Shorter made together, is now up for online listening: http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/shorter-lee-lee-morgan-wayne-shorter/
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