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A Little Nacht Muzak

Wow. I thought these images were lost forever in my collegiate past. A late night show that was too hip for its own good, hosted by a guy who was the farthest from hip as you could get and still not be in Iowa. No, it's not the Ed Sullivan Show, nor is it The Dick Cavett Show, but Night Music with David Sanborn (with the even less hip sponsor Michelob), a aural showcase of incredible breadth and care that ran for a few seasons in the late 1980s (hence Sanborn's I-haven't-realized-the-80s-are-over-yet hairstyle) and was obviously put together by kindred music nerds who knew what they were doing.

Who was on this show? Hmmm, lessee, there was Pere Ubu, Sonic Youth, Kronos Quartet, The Pixies, Phil Woods, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, NRBQ, Bootsy Collins, Nick Cave, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pat Metheny, Warren Zevon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Lounge Lizards, Richard Thompson, Hank Crawford, Donald Fagen, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, Christian Marclay, Tim Berne, Al Green, The Residents, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Charlie Haden, Toots Thielemans, Milton Nascimento, Diamanda Galas and Artis The Spoon Man.

Night Music was like Saturday Night Live with just the musical guests (Lorne Michaels was the producer), and not just performing solo, but in fascinating combinations. The one that stands out in my resin-corroded memory was Sonny Rollins backing Leonard "The Undertaker" Cohen on a smouldering version of "Who By Fire," with Rollins ending the song with a protean solo that pushes the boundaries of believability.

Good lord, I'm drooling all over my keyboard. At least I HOPE that's drool....

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