Linda Yohn

Music Director

Linda Yohn simply cannot remember a day in her life that was not filled with music. Her early life was full of changes as the daughter of a well-respected cancer research scientist who moved his family about, but one thing was constant: the love of music instilled by her mother. So, when it seemed life was too hard to bear, young Linda would listen to her radio, play her guitar, dance her heart out and sing at the top of her lungs. So, it isn’t so strange that “older” Linda still does all those things!

Linda’s jazz life is one well-lived. In her early days, she scuffled at four or five jobs at a time in Columbus, Ohio to make ends meet while she taught herself the craft of jazz radio. There were no women role models, so each time she missed the mark, she’d get back up and try it again, vowing never to repeat that mistake. In Kent Ohio, she learned the ropes of public radio and made many strong national musical friendships that she keeps today. A brief stint in New York as a professional music publicist taught Linda the value of making deadlines and keeping promises. Through out all these early experiences, listening to jazz and blues in clubs and concerts kept Linda’s eyes on the prize of one day working professionally full-time in jazz radio.

To be able to go to work every day and get paid to play music on WEMU is a dream job come true for Linda Yohn. She still feels like she should pinch herself just to make sure it is for real. Even though Linda has been with WEMU since 1987 as music director, it is a position she does not take for granted. “The trust placed in a WEMU host by listeners is a rare and beautiful thing. To know that you, your voice and your musical choices can make or break a listener’s day is an awesome responsibility. As I review a new recording, I try to gauge the effect it will have on someone in their home, car or office. If the music is lacking in feeling, purpose, joy, message, meaning or craftsmanship, we will not play it on WEMU. I believe 100 percent that music is a powerful healing tool.”

Metaphysics aside, Linda Yohn knows that radio requires precision and attention to detail. When you listen to “89.1 Jazz” with Linda, you hear a relaxed woman comfortable in her own skin. But to reach this ease, Linda spends considerable time planning her program down to the second of each hour so that you get 55 minutes of high quality, intriguing music in between NPR news breaks. It’s a lot harder than it sounds! But, it is lots of fun, too.

Linda’s attention to detail, professionalism and commitment to great music on the radio has not gone un-noticed by her national colleagues. She has been nominated repeatedly for the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Excellence In Jazz Journalism by the Jazz Journalists Association. In 2006 she received the highest honor from her peers at the annual JazzWeek Summit: The Duke Dubois Jazz Humanitarian Award. Linda is always a first-call panelist and presenter at international jazz conferences and meetings. Perhaps the conference organizers call on Linda because her on-line postings on national jazz bulletin boards are timely, informative, creative and passionate. Linda represents WEMU, Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan University and Detroit well on the national scene.

While the national awards and accolades are notable and humbling, it is the love of the unique listening community of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and the Detroit environs that truly fuels Linda’s public radio music flame. She gives freely of her time to Jazzistry, The University Musical Society, The Eastern Michigan University Jazz Ensemble, The Michigan Jazz Festival, The Ann Arbor Summer Festival, The Ypsilanti District Library, The Detroit International Jazz Festival. The Detroit Blues Society, The American Cancer Society and many other organizations. “You get what you give back.” says Linda. I love volunteering in the community. I learn what is important to people and what to play and say when I’m on the air. When I “MC” a show, I keep my ears open and listen to what the musicians have to say and take that back to listeners. It’s all about serving them with the right music, information and giving attitude.”

Linda believes in life-long learning. While she appreciates the music of all the greats: Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Smith, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Nat King Cole, Charlie Parker and Lester Young, she knows that jazz is music of the moment. She seeks out the best electrifying new talents in jazz, blues and Latin music today to keep jazz and blues fans on top of new musical trends.

With Linda Yohn’s ears, heart and soul working for them, WEMU listeners are in great hands in the morning Monday through Friday on 89.1.

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Music
2:40 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Detroit Jazz Festival Music: Rodney Whitaker Celebrates Life, Jazz ‘When We Find Ourselves Alone'

Credit Patrik Holubik / 89.1 WEMU

  

Detroiter and bassist Rodney Whitaker’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive. It includes a discography of 7 CDs as a leader including his newest “When We Find Ourselves Alone” on Detroit’s Mack Avenue Records label and over 80 sessions as a sideman.

His sideman associations are stellar. Leading luminaries of jazz including Roy Hargrove, Terence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Johnny Griffin, Kevin Mahogany, Eric Reed and Wynton Marsalis have relied on Rodney’s impeccable timing, tone, strength and grace.

"Reliable" is great word to describe Rodney Whitaker. He is father to a family of 7, leads the internationally recognized jazz studies program at Michigan State University and performs and records world-wide. Rodney joined WEMU’s Linda Yohn to discuss his life in music and his new CD as well as the Mack Avenue Superband recording from the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival.

Rodney directed the Superband and will lead the 2014 version of the star-studded assembly at the upcoming Detroit Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend. He will also lead the MSU Big Band and his Soul-R Energy Quartet in celebration of “When We Find Ourselves Alone”. Linda Yohn found herself in great company with Rodney Whitaker.

*Listen to the audio above and you are bound to agree.

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3:26 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

R.I.P. Kenny Drew, Jr.

Lead in text: 
While the late pianist Kenny Drew Jr. may have been under-appreciated bu the wider music community, jazz musicians are well aware of his genius. This appreciation by fellow pianist George Colligan is a fitting tribute.
I was sincerely shocked to hear of the recent death of pianist Kenny Drew Jr. I was aware that Drew had a number of health problems, but I didn't know how serious. I don't really know what the details are but I think he was found in his home.
3:14 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Trombone Shorty Replaces Boy's Stolen Trombone

Lead in text: 
Trombone Shorty, Ann Arbor musical favorite is a generous supporter of young musicians through his foundation based in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS - A 14-year-old whose trombone was stolen at gunpoint has a new one thanks to musician Troy Andrews, much better known as Trombone Shorty. Bill Taylor, executive director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation, said he delivered the instrument, which is engraved with the name "Trombone Shorty," on Saturday.
Music
3:47 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Special Feature: Lunar Glee Club (Lunar Octet) 30th Anniversary Concert This Weekend

  The Lunar Glee Club rocked Ann Arbor’s musical world in the 1980s and early ‘90s with their jazz, Afrobeat, funk, calypso and Latin fusion.  Sunday July 27th, all 9 original members of the band will present a 30th Reunion Concert at Kerrytown Concert House.  

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Music
1:09 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Celebrate International Jazz Day With 89.1 WEMU

Jazz Appreciation Month wraps up on Wednesday, April 30th with International Jazz Day.

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Live Music
11:02 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz: Tumbao Bravo At Rush Street Tonight

89.1 WEMU’s free Sesi Motors – Jan Winkelman 5:01 Jazz series springs to life Friday, April 4th with one of your best-loved Latin jazz bands – Tumbao Bravo

Dance and enjoy the afternoon with your friends!

89.1 WEMU-FM and Sesi Motors present the 5:01 First Friday Series dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Jan Winkelman.

Join us for a  5:01 PM celebration music and more on Friday, April 4th

 The show is at the newly renovated  Rush Street,  314 S. Main Street in Ann Arbor.  Admission is free.

Music
6:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Stacey Kent's 'The Changing Lights' Will Light Up Your Valentine's Day

Stacey Kent - The Changing Lights
Credit Courtesy photo

This Valentine’s Day, WEMU will premiere the romantic music of singer-guitarist Stacey Kent and the new CD, The Changing Lights released on  Warner Brothers/Parlophone Reacords.  Each of her previous recordings have been a marvel of delicacy, swing, precision, subtle passion and just-barely disguised emotional frailty.  It is hard to believe that she and her band could top Breakfast On The Morning Tram or Dreamer In Concert  but The Changing Lights further explores Ms.

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Music
6:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Angelique Kidjo's Eve: Exceptional Example Of International Collaboration And Women's Culture

Cover of Eve by Angelique Kidjo to be released January 28th on 429 Records
Credit www.npr.org

Those who experienced Angelique Kidjo, Lizz Wright and Dianne Reeves appearing as Sing The Truth! at the 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival know that Ms.

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5:49 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

A Continent on Her Musical Map: Angélique Kidjo Has Never Left Africa Behind

Lead in text: 
Angélique Kidjo, the songwriter and singer from Benin, was in Kenya being a do-gooder when the concept of her new album, “Eve,” came to her, she said, “like a light bulb blowing up in your head.”
Angélique Kidjo, the songwriter and singer from Benin, was in Kenya being a do-gooder when the concept of her new album, "Eve," came to her, she said, "like a light bulb blowing up in your head."
Events
5:54 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Weekend Watch: Seth Glier, Kronos Quartet, MLK Events and more

Soul singer, Laura Rain and The Caesars perfom at Local Blues, Local Brews at Guy Hollerins this Saturday
Credit Ingo Rautenberg/ Courtesy of the Artist

Upcoming Events for  this weekend, January 17 - 20

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Music
6:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

With The Wind And The Rain - Pure Pleasure from Guitarist Joshua Breakstone

Guitarist Joshua Breaksotne, at ease with his new repertoire on the CD With The Wind And The Rain
Credit www.caprirecords.com

I decided to look at guitarist Joshua Breakstone’s Facebook Page as I listened to his new CD, With The Wind And The Rain.  His lead photo from his practice room was the atmospheric view over the Hudson River with the New York City skyline in a velvet fog.  That must be a beautiful space because it has helped veteran jazz guitarist Joshua Breakstone further refine and define his tone, approach and construction of brilliant solo passages.  Joshua Breakstone has been recognized as a major force in jazz guitar since the late 1970s.  His first recording as a leader, Wonderful!

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Music
8:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Robert Prester Dogtown: a Wednesday Delight

The cover for Robert Prester's new CD Dogtown is as enjoyable as the music inside
Credit www.robertprester.com

WEMU listeners are discerning judges of good talent.  You have heard gifted pianists such as McCoy Tyner, Bebo Valdes, Chucho Valdes, Danilo Perez and Michel Camilo on 89.1 Jazz shows.  We think you will welcome pianist Robert Prester and his new CD Dogtown with open ears.  Not unlike Chucho Valdes and Danilo Perez, Robert Prester followed classical piano studies.  It is evident in his brilliant 32nd note runs and precise technique.  But like the aforementioned, Prester also plays with emotion, feeling, joy and improvisational bliss.  His partners on the disc revel

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Music
8:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

WEMU says Yes! to Agachiko

Garbrielle Agachiko makes her debut on Accurate Records
Credit www.accuraterecords.com

Agachiko is the group led by Boston-based vocalist, lyricist and composer Gabrielle Agachiko. 

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2:57 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Al Porcino, First Trumpeter With Leading Jazz Bands, Dies at 88

Lead in text: 
From the Basie, Kenton and Buddy Rich bands to Mel Torme and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Al Porcino's trumpet sound brightened any band.
Al Porcino, whose powerful sound and ability to hit the highest of high notes with ease brought him work as the lead trumpeter in some of the most celebrated big bands in jazz, died on Dec. 31 in Munich. He was 88. The cause was a fall, said his wife, Erna Tom.
Music
8:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Sixteen Sunsets by Jane Ira Bloom is good morning music!

Newest offering for soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets.
Credit Outline Records

89.1 Jazz hits a high note this morning with a new CD from soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom – Sixteen Sunsets – and a beloved classic – My Favorite Things – from  John Coltrane.  Linda Yohn is in with 89.1 Jazz at 9 streaming on WEMU.org and on 89.1 WEMU.

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Music
1:24 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Paul Keller Orchestra celebrates 25 years of Jazz in Michigan

Credit Courtesy photo

This evening marks an Ann Arbor music milestone. Bassist Paul Keller celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Paul Keller Orchestra. 

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Music
8:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Yuletide Hideaway by Karrin Allyson discovered and shared on WEMU

The inviting cover begs you to come in, relax, listen and enjoy!
Credit www.karrin.com

  

Yuletide Hideaway  by Karrin Allyson should not be hidden in the corner of the WEMU stacks.  This is one of the finest Christmas jazz recordings released in a great while.  

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Music
8:35 am
Fri December 13, 2013

WEMU remembers pianist Jimmy Amadie

Jimmy Amadie Trio Live at The Philadelphia Museum Of Art
Credit allaboutjazz.com

Pianist Jimmy Amadie helped shape the piano sound of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and modern jazz through his students.  He passed away on December 10th. 

We remembered him Friday on 89.1 Jazz with selections from his final recording: Live! At The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

Playlist found here: 

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Music
8:50 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sharing Toledo Holiday Tunes

Holiday Wishes 3 Is a beautiful double CD set covering all styles of music to benefit the Toledo area Make-A-Wish Foundation.  We’ll check out jazz selections from Holiday Wishes 3 this morning including tunes by The Cakewalkin’ Jass Band and Lori LeFevre.  

I will share the new music on 89.1 Jazz at 9 streaming on wemu.org and on 89.1, WEMU.

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Music
8:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Vanessa Rubin and Don Braden swing soulfully

Singer Vanessa Rubin and saxophonist Don Braden have been friends since the early 1980s.  Nearly 30 years later they released their first CD together: Full Circle.  This is a very soulful, blues-influenced session due in no small part guitarist Dave Stryker, organist Kyle Koehler and drummer Cecil Brooks III completing the ace band.  Full Circle by Vanessa Rubin and Don Braden premieres this morning on 89.1 Jazz

Music
8:43 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Musical friendships make great listening

This morning we salute friends…those people who understand us, help us through rough times, cheer us up and tell us the truth even when we don’t want to hear it.  The important power of friendship this morning on 89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn streaming on wemu.org and on 89.1, WEMU.

Jazz
8:37 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bobby Watson honors MLK in Jazz

Bobby Watson
Credit http://bobbywatson.com/

 Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson believes that music is a tool for greater good.  His new CD, Check Cashing Day is a stirring jazz tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech and to the greater good it inspires.  Linda Yohn will feature

 This morning on 89.1 Jazz.  Music starts at 9am streaming at on wemu.org and on 89.1, WEMU.

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Music
11:56 am
Thu November 28, 2013

2013 Thanksgiving Food Song Festival!

Thanksgiving is one of America’s greatest days of celebration - and great food! WEMU gets you in the mood with our annual Food Song Festival! Today we're celebrating the cooks, the diners and the delicacies from soup, salad and savory main courses to dessert and drinks. And – we have fun!

Enter to Win
10:53 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Harrison Kennedy and Harmonica Shah - Real Detroit Blues Through and Through

Harrison Kennedy
Credit Courtesy photo / Electro-Fi

While Chicago may be America’s blues mecca, Detroiters are making a significant international impact in blues today, especially Seward Shah, better known as "Harmonica Shah”.  Now on the illustrious Electro-Fi label from Toronto, Detroiter Harmonica Shah has not changed his gritty, earthy, raw and rocking urban blues style one iota.  His songs reflect the deep heartbreak of living in present day Detroit while his classic harmonica licks reflects the birth of urban blues by Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Otis Spann.  If you were ever tempted to think that real blues is a thing of the past, Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me by Harmonica Shah will banish that thought.

MORE: Enter to Win this Electro-Fi CD set from WEMU-FM

Harrison Kennedy’s new Electro-Fi CD, Soulscape is another masterpiece of basic blues with Detroit connections.  Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Harrison Kennedy gained national fame as a member of the Detroit R&B group, The Chairmen Of The Board. They recorded for the Holland-Dozier-Holland Invictus label with hits such as Give Me Just A Little More Time and Skin I’m In. Edward Holland gave Kennedy 75 dollars to buy a guitar which he used to write many hits for the group.  

Harrison Kennedy is still a prolific songwriter but has added a variety of acoustic instruments to his blues arsenal.  On Soulscape you will hear his proficiency on banjo, mandolin, harmonica, spoons, fife, percussion and bread pan!  But, what will really touch you is his pliant voice and the poetry of his heartfelt lyrics.  His songs examine the eternal human condition and our modern miseries.  As with Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me, by Harmonica Shah, Soulscape by Harrison Kennedy will satisfy your soul’s craving for serious blues and roots music.

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Music
4:45 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

'Endless Mysteries' by George Colligan: lasting contribution to jazz piano trio repertoire

George Colligan's “The Endless Mysteries” is now available
Credit Courtesy photo

Piano-bass-drums.  How often have you heard a WEMU host repeat that instrumental combination?  More than you can count.  Yet, this trio format remains a source of endless variation and fascination.  A prime example of the possibilities is the new CD The Endless Mysteries by pianist George Colligan. 

 You have heard WEMU hosts repeat Colligan’s name for twenty years.   We discovered him in 1993 as the pianist for saxophonist Ron Holloway.  His debut recording as a leader, Activism followed in 1996 on Steeplechase Records.  Since then Colligan has created a body of work for solo piano and ensemble that deserves consideration for his compositions and technique.  

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