The original (1989
) name for the show that became Night Music
. Its full title was something like Michelob Presents Sunday Night
, as Anheuser-Busch
, riding high on its Michelob
commercials featuring a new Eric Clapton
version of "After Midnight", wanted to back a show with that "after midnight" vibe. The show's name was meant to evoke Saturday Night Live
, as it was carried mainly (or exclusively, perhaps) on NBC
stations and affiliates, and gave them late-night programming for a seventh night of the week.
It was owned (or at least co-owned) by Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video. The producer, for a time, was eclecticist maven Hal Willner. The host was saxophonist David Sanborn, and the house band included other New York City session player elite, such as drummer Omar Hakim, bassist Marcus Miller (sometimes replaced by Tom Barney, for Marcus was and is A Busy Man), and keyboardist Philippe Saisse. The choice of guest musicians on the show was great, certainly compared to the fare on the rest of commercial television; you'd see many people who wouldn't normally get on the air, even though the producers rarely strained the bounds of showbiz - you can make an argument for positioning a Christian Marclay or a Sun Ra as a "novelty act", while you couldn't do the same for a Pierre Boulez or a Peter Kowald. The latter two never got on the show, while the former two did.
After the first year, the show became Night Music, perhaps meant to give stations (including non-NBC) an option for when to show it, and eventually the host chair was given to one Julian Holland.