David Brent Johnson

David Brent Johnson is the host of Afterglow and Night Lights.  An Indianapolis native and IU alumnus, David began his radio career at Bloomington community radio station WFHB, where he hosted the weekly jazz program All That Jazz. A writer who’s published frequently in Bloom Magazine, The Ryder, the Bloomington Independent, and Indianapolis Nuvo, he has won two Society of Professional Journalists awards for his arts writing.

A Blog Supreme
5:03 am
Sun May 25, 2014

In Memoriam: Jazz Elegies

Wynton Marsalis leads a group of musicians through upper Manhattan's Riverside Church for the New Orleans-style funeral of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton in 2002.
Doug Kanter AFP/Getty Images

New Orleans may be the nominal birthplace of jazz, though it's also where a jazz tradition associated with death began: The jazz funeral, in which mourners taking a casket to the cemetery are accompanied by a band playing spirituals, hymns and dirges.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
4:02 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Duke Ellington: Highlights Of His Twilight

Duke Ellington rehearses for a 1973 concert in London's Westminster Abbey.
Central Press Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 4:38 pm

When Duke Ellington received the news that Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years, had died, Ellington reportedly cried and told a friend, "No, I'm not all right! Nothing is going to be all right now."

Read more
A Blog Supreme
2:00 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

The Women In Charge Of The Band

Mary Lou Williams performs at the Cafe Society in New York in 1947.
William Gottlieb The Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 2:54 pm

The narrative of jazz history often credits the music as a powerful, progressive force for racial integration in American culture. But what about gender equality? On that score, jazz in its first few decades would have to be given a less than stellar grade.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
4:15 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

History As Symphony: The African-American Experience In Jazz Suites

Duke Ellington's compositions present a timeless contribution to American music's legacy.
Victor Drees//Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 5:47 pm

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s inspired several black artists to explore their African heritage and the black experience in America, from enslavement to life after emancipation and migration to cities in the north. In the musical world, pianist James P. Johnson composed Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody, a 12-minute portrait of a black community in Savannah, Ga. Yamekraw was orchestrated for a 1928 performance at Carnegie Hall by black composer William Grant Still, who would write his own Afro American Symphony in 1930.

Read more