Jessica Webster


Jessica Webster came by her jazz obsessions at a very early age after hearing Fats Waller and the Manhattan Transfer when she was nine years old. In high school, while her friends were mooning over the latest pop stars, Jessica was collecting autographs from jazz legends and reading back issues of Downbeat magazine. Early encouragement from Carmen McRae and Art Blakey convinced Jessica that a life in jazz was the path for her. After moving to Ann Arbor at the age of 18, Jessica studied saxophone with the great Morris Lawrence, Jr., but put her horn down for good when Dr. Lawrence passed away unexpectedly. Six years clerking at the legendary Schoolkids’ Records was followed by twelve years as the national jazz buyer for the Borders chain, resulting in Jessica being repeatedly named one of the ten most powerful people in the jazz industry.

Jessica has been at WEMU since the day after her 20th birthday, and has loved every minute of her education at the feet of Michael Jewett, Linda Yohn, and the well-informed WEMU audience.

Jessica lives in Ann Arbor with her super-cool son, her patient opera-singer partner, a full-time cat (Rufus Harley) and a part-time dog (Ellie), in a house overflowing with records, CDs and music memorabilia. She spends her free time going to her son's soccer games, walking and biking to the Produce Station or the farmers' markets, cooking, and listening to all varieties of music.

Ways to Connect

Marilyn Gouin
89.1 WEMU

Couldn't make it to this year's Detroit Jazz Festival? You can catch all the highlights from WEMU hosts and staff from the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival right here!

Joybox Express
Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

Earlier this week, drummer Pete Siers and boogie-woogie piano hero Mr. B joined Linda in the WEMU studios to talk about Pete's new record, Flea Circus ahead of their CD release concert Saturday at The Ark, their special friendship and life in general. 

Patrik Holubik / 89.1 WEMU

Couldn't make it to the festival? Got a massive case of FOMO? You can catch all the highlights from WEMU hosts and staff from the 2015 Detroit Jazz Festival right here:

"Without Public Radio there is no music" -Esperanza Spalding

Jessica Webster / 89.1 WEMU

More of Jessica Webster's photos from the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival, including shots of Esperanza Spalding, Cyrille Aimée, Ellen Rowe, Marcus Belgrave, John Pizzarelli, Tom Harrell, Ramsey Lewis, The Bad Plus, Randy Weston African Rhythms, Talib Kibwe Ingrid Jensen, Joshua Redman, and more!

Stay tuned for more photos and updates from the Detroit Jazz Festival from WEMU.


[View the story "Highlights from the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival" on Storify]