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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.

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. In the post-1945 era, that tradition manifested in a more modern form of jazz elegy. Jazz artists recorded instrumental tributes (with lyrics sometimes added later) for musical friends and colleagues who had died and had served as figures of...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ1AL2bzmpY The African-American religious folk songs known as spirituals grew out of the slavery experience and the introduction of Christianity into slaves' lives. Though rooted in African musical tradition, they reflected life in a strange and terribly oppressive new world. Often improvisations upon older hymns, they became entirely new songs — songs like "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho" and "Steal Away." In some...

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." The cancer-stricken Strayhorn passed away on May 31, 1967, and Ellington himself would follow seven years later, dying on May 24, 1974, at the age of 75. But the Duke did not go gently into the good night of his own mortality; he toured incessantly in the last years...

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. Jazz critic George Simon embodied the belief of many when he wrote that "only God can make a tree, and only men can play good jazz." Although female singers were generally accepted and often spotlighted with the big bands, female...

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,...