Night Train

Monday - Thursday at 10pm

Monday through Thursday nights, it’s the best in jazz on Night Train, hosted by KMUW’s Chris Heim. From classic artists and recordings to today’s emerging artists and most intriguing new releases - along with specials, in-depth features, jazz concert highlights and more - Night Train will take you to the best of “America’s classical music.”

Listen to recent Night Train shows:

Archive is updated between midnight and 3am after the show airs.

Click "next segment" to skip ahead in the show.

Monday 2.19.18

Night Train teams up with Global Village and Strange Currency to celebrate Presidents’ Day with music from Pres (Lester Young –including a special in hour two in tribute to him) and also from Dizzy Gillespie, who ran for President in 1964.  Plus new music from pianist Ben Paterson, and saxophonists Steve Slagle and Sherman Irby, and more duos for the February feature, including bassist Dave Young with jazz piano great Tommy Flanagan on a Miles Davis’ classic.

Tuesday 2.20.18

Night Train marks birthdays of singer Nancy Wilson and soul jazz organist Charles Kynard, features new music from Steve Smith & Vital Information, pianist Takaaki, and organist Caesar Grazier, and continues the February duos feature with King & Moore and a special performance from the Savannah Music Festival in hour two from pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes.

Wednesday 2.21.18

Night Train continues the February duos feature with a classic duo album – Undercurrent from Bill Evans and Jim Hall. Plus birthday salutes to drummer Joe Farnsworth, pianist Eddie Higgins, composer and arranger Tadd Dameron, and also Nina Simone, including music from a new compilation of her early work on the Bethlehem label and a special about her life and music in hour two of the show.

Thursday 2.22.18

A duos extravaganza for the February Duos feature on the Night Train with music from a Latin Grammy winning release from Michel Camilo and Tomatito, Bobby McFerrin with Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson & Milt Jackson, a recently remastered and reissued recording from Fred Hersch and Jay Clayton, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, and several duo recordings from bassist Charlie Haden – with Pat Metheny, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Hank Jones, and Keith Jarrett. There’s also new music from Corey Christiansen, Michel Camilo, Alfredo Rodriguez, Pat Martino, the Mark Wade Trio, and Delfeayo Marsalis.

KMUW Music is teaming up to celebrate Presidents' Day with five hours of music. Tune in to Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train from 7:00 p.m. to midnight for the annual special feature.

Global Village gets the celebration underway with music from artists who ran for or won the office of president – including Dizzy Gillespie, Fela, Ruben Blades, and Michel Martelly – plus Les Ambassadeurs (because every president has some) and Brenda Fassie’s tribute to South African President, Nelson Mandela.

Monday 2.12.18

Concerts featured this time on the Night Train as we highlight music from quite a number of jazz artists with local and regional concerts in the coming week, along with Brazilian duos (for our February feature) live from the Savannah Music Festival in a special in hour two of the show. There’s also live music from the duo of Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau, and new music from Johnny O’Neal and Richie Cole.

Tuesday 2.13.18

Night Train teams up with Global Village and Strange Currency to celebrate Mardi Gras with music from New Orleans – including new albums from the Jambalaya Brass Band, Jason Marsalis & the 21st Century Trad Band, Bonerama, Jon Cleary and Dave Bartholomew, along with the Olympia Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, Kermit Ruffins, and a song from Louis Armstrong & the Hot Five that is going into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year, and a special in hour two about his Hot Five and Seven bands.

Wednesday 2.14.18

Night Train joins Global Village and Strange Currency in celebrating Valentine’s Day with a show devoted to songs of the heart. Highlights include selections from Chet Baker, Nina Simone (a Rock Hall of Fame inductee this year), Shirley Horn- and for our duos feature, John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman, and Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong. It’s also the birthday of saxophonist Maceo Parker (of James Brown’s JB Horns fame) and trombonist Rob McConnell, so the show will highlight the romantic side of their work as well. 

Thursday 2.15.18

Night Train celebrates birthdays of composer Harold Arlen (with versions of his songs from Dianne Reeves, Ernestine Anderson, Scott Hamilton, and as we feature duos this month – cornetist Ruby Braff and pianist Roger Kellaway) and drummer Herlin Riley (on Lucky Peterson’s new tribute to Jimmy Smith, as a leader, and in hour two in a special commissioned production of Walter Blanding's "Tick Tock" from the Savannah Music Festival), We’ll also get to a couple of newly named Juno Awards nominees – Diana Krall and Bria Skonberg – for National Flag of Canada Day (also celebrated earlier this evening on Global Village).

KMUW Music is celebrating the music of love this Valentine's Day. Tune in to Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train on Wednesday, February 14, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight for the annual special feature.

  • Global Village | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Strange Currency | 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
  • Night Train | 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

KMUW Music presents the annual Mardi Gras special feature on Tuesday, February 13. Tune in to Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train from 7:00 p.m. to midnight to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

  • Global Village | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Strange Currency | 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
  • Night Train | 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Monday 2.5.18

Night Train marks birthdays of legendary session drummer and one of this year’s Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipients, Hal Blaine, keyboardist and songwriter Al Cooper, and pianist and composer Bill Mays. Will hear Mays in duo settings for our February Duos feature, along with new duo recordings from Plucky Sturm, Jim Hall & Ron Carter, and Ran Blake with Dominique Eade. Plus new music from the Devin Kelly Organ Trio, Van Morrison, Stephane Wrembel and B3B4.

Tuesday 2.6.18

Night Train marks birthdays of guitarist John Pisano, saxophonist Ernie Krivda, and bassist Larry Grenadier. We’ll hear Pisano (with guitarists Joe Pass and Gene Bertoncini) and Krivda (with Bill Dobbins and Dan Wall) in duet settings for the February feature, and Grenadier in the recent Hudson supergroup, and with Bobby McFerrin, the Metheny-Mehldau Quartet, and Charles Lloyd. Plus new music from Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eric Alexander, Katie Thiroux, and a new reissue of Nina Simone’s debut recordings for the Bethlehem label.

Wednesday 2.7.18

Night Train marks the birthday of R&B and soul jazz saxophonist King Curtis, and there are a duo of duos tonight for the February feature, from saxophonist Houston Person with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter, and with pianist Bill Charlap. We’ll also hear Person and Charlap live in a Savannah Music Festival special in hour two of the show.

Thursday 2.8.18

Night Train highlights vocalists Shirley Horn, Joe Williams, Jeff Baker and Billie Holiday; classics from Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Dorham, Art Tatum, and Freddie Hubbard; and contemporary sounds from Herbie Hancock’s New Standard, and Rez Abbasi’s Acoustic Quartet with a Chick Corea/Return to Forever favorite.

Album Cover Art

  1. Pat Martino – Formidable (High Note)


  1. Cecile McLorin Salvant – Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue)
  1. Houston Person – Rain or Shine (Hight Note)
  1. Delfeayo Marsalis – Kalamazoo (Troubadour Jass)
  1. Steve Hobbs – Tribute to Bobby (Challenge)
  1. Stephane Wrembel – The Django Experiment III (Water Is Life)
  1. Dr. Lonnie Smith – All in My Mind (Blue Note)
  1. Vincent Herring – Hard Times (Smoke Sessions)
  1. Organissimo – Live at the SpeakEZ (Big O)
  1. Roswell Rudd – Embrace (Rare Noise)

Monday 1.29.18

Night Train kicks off the final week of the January Best of 2017 feature and an Awards Week series of shows with music from the year’s jazz award winners, nominees and honorees, including newly announced recordings being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and a performance in hour two of the show from Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominee, singer Cecile McLorin Salvant in performance at the Savannah Music Festival.

Tuesday 1.30.18

Each year the National Endowment for the Arts picks a group of living jazz artists to honor as NEA Jazz Masters. The honorees for 2017 were singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist Dave Holland, pianist Dick Hyman, and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. In a special edition of Night Train tonight as part of our Awards Week to wrap up the January Best of 2017 feature, the show is devoted to music from all four 2017 honorees – along with selections from past NEA Jazz Masters including Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Gary Burton, George Coleman, and Benny Golson.

Wednesday 1.31.18

As part of Night Train’s Awards Week to wrap up the January Best of 2017 feature, a special program tonight devoted to women NEA Jazz Masters. Since 1982 when the NEA program began, over 150 artists have been honored – of them less than two dozen have been women. We’ll highlight music from those honorees –including Ella Fitzgerald (the first woman NEA Jazz Master) and singers Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Sarah Vaughan, and Dee Dee Bridgewater; trombonist Melba Liston (one of the first female instrumentalists named an NEA Jazz Master); pianists Carla Bley, Marian McPartland, and 2018 honoree Joanne Brackeen.

Thursday 2.1.18

Night Train wraps Awards Week with a special program featuring the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters. Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has selected a group of living jazz artists and advocates to honor. They are announced in the summer before and then celebrated with a special tribute concert and more during their fellowship year. The 2018 Masters are guitarist Pat Metheny, singer Dianne Reeves, pianist and composer Joanne Brackeen, and record and concert producer Todd Barkan. Tonight’s Night Train features classic albums, guest appearances, productions and more from all four.

Monday 1.22.18

Night Train continues with more Best of 2017 for the January feature, previews jazz concerts for the coming week, and marks birthdays of trombone great J.J. Johnson, bassist Eberhard Weber, singer Lizz Wright, saxophonist Tony Campise, and pianist Addison Frei.

Tuesday 1.23.18

Night Train joins in with Global Village tonight to mark the birthday of gypsy jazz guitar great Django Reinhardt. Plus more of the Best of 2017, and birthdays as well of vibes player Gary Burton and saxophonist Benny Waters, who continued to perform and record into his 90s. We’ll hear more from and about Benny Waters in hour two of the show in a Jazz Profiles special.

Wednesday 1.24.18

As part of the January feature looking back at jazz in 2017, Night Train devotes this program to a remembrance of jazz artists who passed away in the last year, including trombonist Roswell Rudd, singers Kevin Mahogany and Jon Hendricks, guitarists Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie, saxophonist Arthur Blythe, and in hour two a special devoted to singer Keely Smith.

Thursday 1.25.18

Night Train joins in with Global Village tonight to mark the birthday of pianist, composer and bossa nova giant Antonio Carlos Jobim. Plus more of the Best of 2017, and birthday salutes as well for singer Etta James, and for saxophonist, arranger, composer and bandleader Benny Golson. We’ll hear from Benny Golson from Jazz Stories and ArtWorks interviews in hour two of the show.

If your music reading interests extend beyond the bounds of standard rock bios, the past year provided a rich array of choices. Here are 2017 books that explored the creation and meaning of music, and the lives and work of musicians outside the pop and rock mainstream.


Frankie and Johnny: Race, Gender, and the Work of African American Folklore in 1930s America

Stacy I. Morgan (University of Texas Press)

The song “Frankie and Johnny,” which appears to have its roots in an actual 1899 murder case, would have a life well beyond those of its protagonists, becoming one of the best known popular songs in America. Morgan’s book explores several iterations of the song in the 1930s: extended studies of Leadbelly’s iconic recording; Thomas Hart Benton’s Missouri State Capital mural; filmmaker John Huston’s theatrical adaptation; Mae West’s theater and film versions of the story; and a harrowing reworking of the tale in a poem from Harlem Renaissance writer Sterling Brown – along with briefer looks at a New Deal ballet by Ruth Page and Bentley Stone, and Ethel Waters recording (one of the only examples of the song done by an African-American woman at the time). The 1930s saw profound changes in America. The Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age had already begun to challenge views of race and gender, and the social and economic cauldron of the Depression, combined with a new interest in folk culture, music and lore, would give the song a prominent new place in popular culture, reflecting meanings of race and gender then, and shedding light on how we understand both now.