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.”

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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.

Monday 1.15.18

Night Train steps aside for two specials – from Night Lights and Blues & Beyond – featuring music in celebration of Dr. King Day.

Tuesday 1.16.18

Some legendary tenor saxophonists and classic and contemporary organists featured tonight on the Night Train. Among the highlights, a Best of 2017 pick from Pat Martino featuring organist Pat Bianchi, the latest from organists Gregory Lewis, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Organissimo, tenor men Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane (with Thelonious Monk), Stan Getz (with Charlie Byrd from the pioneering Jazz Samba album), and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (with organist Shirley Scott).

Wednesday 1.17.18

Night Train features another 2017 favorite, from the Peter Erskine Trio, for the January Best of the Year feature, and marks birthdays of singers Eartha Kitt and Cheryl Bentyne, and pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Cedar Walton, including a performance from Walton at the Savannah Music Festival in hour two of the show.

Thursday 1.18.18

Night Train marks birthdays of drummer Al Foster (with McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, and Sonny Rollins), guitarist Bobby Broom, singer Irene Kral, and saxophonist Steve Grossman. Plus more of the Best of 2017, including show favorites from bassist Ben Allison, the Bill Charlap Trio, and guitarist Ralph Towner; new music from Julian Lage and Steve Slagle; and a preview of a new double-album from the Chick Corea + Steve Gadd Band.

Monday 1.8.18

Night Train marks birthdays of drummers Dave Weckl (Chick Corea, Eddie Daniels) and Bill Goodwin (Phil Woods, Tom Waits), and pianist Pamela Wise, and continues with more of the Best of 2017 – including show favorites from Steve Khan and Delfeayo Marsalis, and Grammy nominee John Beasley and his Monk’estra. Also one of the first releases of 2018 – a tribute to Bobby Hutcherson from Steve Hobbs, and the latest from Sherman Irby, Houston Person, and Eric Alexander.

Tuesday 1.9.18

Night Train marks birthdays of guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and Ellington orchestra singer Betty Roche. Plus new music from gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel, and more of the best of 2017, including singer Cecile McLorin Salvant and pianist Michel Camilo.

Wednesday 1.10.18

Night Train marks the birthday of legendary jazz drummer Max Roach with music he did with the all-percussion M’Boom band, with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, and also with Clifford Brown, plus a Jazz Profiles special about him in hour two of the show. Also more of the Best of 2017, including the Grammy nominated singer Nancy King with the Randy Porter Trio, along with new music from Organissimo, and a preview of an album out at the end of the week from 2017 NEA Jazz Master Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Thursday 1.11.18

As part of the January Best of 2017 Feature, Night Train remembers artists who passed away last year. Tonight’s show is a special tribute to master guitarist Larry Coryell, with music from his early days with Chico Hamilton, in a variety of settings as leader, in collaborations with Gary Burton and Steve Khan, and  in hour two in a special concert performance.

Album Cover Art

Monday 1.1.18

Night Train kicks off the new year with birthday salutes to Chris Potter (from his double-Grammy nominated 2017 release), Latin jazz artists Manny Oquendo and Andy Gonzalez, bassist Al McKibbon, singer Susannah McCorkle, and vibes master and Modern Jazz Quartet member Milt Jackson. Also, music from the 2017 Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated album from Antonio Adolfo, and in hour two a salute to Milt Jackson and the Modern Jazz Quartet from Aaron Diehl at the Savannah Music Festival.

Tuesday 1.2.18

Night Train features music from several show favorites from 2017 for the January feature – including the Audrey Ochoa Trio, Fred Hersch, and the Christian McBride Big Band. There’s also music from two artists born on this date, the Crescent City’s Trombone Shorty and Chicago saxophonist Ari Brown.

Wednesday 1.3.18

Night Train marks the birthday of saxophonist James Carter and continues with more of the Best of 2017, with both show favorites and Grammy nominees featured tonight, including Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge, Joey DeFrancesco, Louis Hayes, Jazzmeia Horn, and Pat Martino, along with tributes to Arthur Blythe, Horace Parlan, and Larry Coryell who passed away in 2017.

Thursday 1.4.18

Night Train marks the birthdays of multi-instrumentalist and hipster Slim Gaillard, saxophone and flute player Frank Wess, and guitarist John McLaughlin (including a special with McLaughlin in hour two of the show). Plus more for the January Best of 2017 feature, including Grammy-nominated releases from Cecile McLorin Salvant, the Randy Porter Trio with Nancy King, and three generations of Latin jazz musicians on the Familia album.

Album cover art

  1. Roswell Rudd – Embrace (Rare Noise)


  1. Cory Weeds – Let’s Groove: The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire (Cellar Live)
  1. Vincent Herring – Hard Times (Smoke Sessions)
  1. Delfeayo Marsalis – Kalamazoo (Troubadour Jass)
  1. Johnny O’Neal – In the Moment (Smoke Sessions)
  1. Eric Alexander – Song of No Regrets (High Note)
  1. Jacques Lesure – For the Love of You (WJ3)
  1. Nestor Torres – Jazz Flute Traditions (Alfi)
  1. Willie Jones III – My Point Is… (WJ3)
  1. Pat Martino – Formidable (High Note)

  1. Vincent Herring - Hard Times (Smoke Sessions)
  2. Ben Allison - Layers of the City (Sonic Camera)
  3. Peter Erskine New Trio - In Praise of Shadows (Fuzzy Music)
  4. Jack DeJohnette, Larry Goldings, John Medeski, John Scofield - Hudson (Motema)
  5. Ralph Towner - My Foolish Heart (ECM)
  6. Roswell Rudd - Embrace (Rare Noise)
  7. Ben Sidran - Picture Him Happy (Nardis Music)
  8. Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge - Whispers on the Wind (MAMA)
  9. Audrey Ochoa Trio - Afterthought (Chronograph)
  10. Johnny O'Neal - In the Moment (Smoke Sessions)