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
2:59 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

An Interview with Robert Hurst: Detroit Jazz Fest, BoB a Palindrome and More!

Robert and Linda in the WEMU studios
Brad McNett

Linda Yohn sits down with Robert Hurst in the WEMU studio to talk about about  his upcoming Detroit Jazz Festival performance, his new album BoB a Palindrome, life as a musician, and more on this morning's 89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn

Linda Yohn interviews Robert Hurst ahead of his Detroit Jazz Festival.

Music
2:46 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Live In Studio: Rick Roe

As a pianist, Rick Roe says much with his terrific touch, his surprising song selections and understanding of the importance of the space between the notes.  This morning was truly special as Rick Roe discusses his musical life and his new CD, “Swing Theory” plus, his upcoming CD release concert.

Listen to the full interview here:

Rick Roe in the WEMU Studios 8/15/13

Liner Notes
1:03 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Live In Studio: Seth Walker

Seth Walker in the WEMU Studio
Credit Brad McNett / WEMU

Before his performance at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Seth Walker stopped by the  WEMU studios to perform a few acoustic blues songs from his new album, Time Can Change.

Seth also discusses  his unique musical background which spans classical music to raucous rock-n-roll.

Listen to the full interview here:

Seth Walker Joins us in the WEMU studios 8/8/13

Liner Notes
8:18 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Seth Walker and Corndaddy at the Ark

Two shows of great interest to WEMU listeners are coming up soon at The Ark: blues and roots singer-songwriter Seth Walker on Thursday, August 8th and Ann Arbor’s beloved roots-rock quartet Corndaddy on Friday, August 16th.

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New Music
10:21 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Freddy Cole Gets Better and Better

Pianist and singer Freddy Cole gets better and better. If it’s possible, there is greater warmth and depth in his husky voice. His phrasing is even more subtle and sly. His sense of rhythm – just slightly behind the beat feels more suspenseful yet playful than before. His chemistry with the band seems to be more organic, tighter and empathetic.

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New Music
6:19 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Corey Christianson Creates Contemporary Cowboy Tunes

  Is the guitar today’s universal instrument? Actually, the voice is our first and most universal instrument, but the guitar could follow shortly behind it. In permutations from the oud to the cittern, zither, bouzouki and many others, portable stringed instruments are easy to transport and play while singing. These instruments including today’s modern guitars are versatile in all styles of music. 

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New Music
8:31 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Quartette Humaine Evokes Brubeck

In late April, Bob Edwards Weekend (Saturdays from 8 to 10AM on WEMU) aired a revealing and insightful interview with pianist and producer Bob James. My curiosity about the new Bob James-David Sanborn collaboration, Quartette Humaine, was piqued. The four weeks of waiting are over and you and I can enjoy this new CD which is one of the finest examples of quartet interplay I’ve heard in a while. Legitimate comparisons will be made between Quartette Humaine and legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond.

 

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New Music
10:22 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Medeski Brings 'A Different Time' to Life

A Different Time is a more introspective, meditative collection than fans of MMW’s lively, groove-driven music might expect. Consisting mostly of Medeski’s own compositions and improvisations, with a familiar spiritual and a Willie Nelson song added into the mix, the album presents a different side of Medeski’s prodigious artistry.
Credit johnmedeski.com

Artists reflect the unspoken needs of the viewers, readers and listeners. With A Different Time, pianist John Medeski takes us to that quiet, meditative place that is often out of reach given our frantic lives. Perhaps the age of the piano on which Medeski recorded the pieces has something to do with the classic, contemplative sound of A Different Time. The piano was built by the Gaveau piano manufacturers in central France in 1924. It was constructed in a style that predates the modern piano.

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New Music
3:08 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

David Arnay Goes from Concept to Accomplishment

Pianist David Arnay
Credit davidarnay.com

I admit it – I’m often skeptical regarding a concept CD from a new artist.  I think to myself - oh they need a gimmick to get to me to listen.  

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New Music
3:56 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Emilio Teubal is a 'Constant Reinventor'

One of the songs on Musica Para Un Dragon Dormido by pianist and composer Emilio Teubal is The Constant Reinventor. 

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New Music
8:00 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Latin Jazz has a 'New Beginning' with Michelle Pollace on the keys

New Beginning by Michelle Pollace is now available

As we search for the best new music on  WEMU, we will often feature someone you’ve never heard before but think is worth your time. 

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Music
3:17 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Festive Swingadelic

The music festival season starts very soon in Southeastern Michigan. In anticipation, we featured a very festive CD: Toussaintville by Swingadelic on 89.1 Jazz this morning. Swingadelic is 13-piece ensemble from Hoboken, New Jersey led by bassist Dave Post. Swingadelic’s previous CD, The Other Duke in tribute to composer/arranger Duke Pearson was huge WEMU listener and staff favorite.

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New Music
10:54 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Cécile McLorin Salvant's 'Woman Child'

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Jazz Appreciation Month concludes with International Jazz Day on Tuesday, April 30th and the global release of Woman Child by the trans-national singing sensation, Cécile McLorin Salvant on April 29th. “Woman Child” truly is a cause for celebration.

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New Music
3:32 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Performance for the U.S. Bicentennial, New York City, July 4, 1976.
Tom Marcello (creative commons)

The April 22nd birthday of two legendary bassists: Charles Mingus and Paul Chambers is another reason that Congressman John Conyers submitted the legislation designating April as Jazz Appreciation Month in 2001. 

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Sweet Sixteen
2:03 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Aguankó's Latin Jazz

While there was much more conversation than usual on 89.1 from the 8th through the 11th of April during the spring on-air pledge drive, we did play some good music. We are pleased to report that the most played new recording for the week ending April 14th was the excellent regional Latin jazz CD Elemental by Aguankó. We hold the leader of Aguankó, conga-player Alberto Nacif in the highest regard. As the original host of Cuban Fantasy, Alberto established WEMU’s Latin jazz credibility, now sustained by Marc Taras every Saturday evening from 7 to 9PM.

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New Music
10:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Eldar Djangirov's Breakthrough Music

Eldar Djangirov's Breakthrough is available now.

A Jazz Appreciation Month celebration should honor both the originators of the music and the new, emerging original voices. Our 89.1 Jazz premiere this morning achieved that goal. Breakthrough is the new CD by pianist Eldar Djangirov and his trio for a new label: Motéma Music. 

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New Music
6:33 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

A Little Music Therapy 'From Here On Out'

From Here on Out- Now available.

At a time of a national tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombing, this music host’s first inclination is to present a program of supportive music to soothe you. But – life and new music goes on! Thus, I proceeded with my plan to premiere From Here On Out by the excellent Detroit quintet co-led by saxophonist James Hughes and trumpeter Jimmy Smith.

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New Music
3:13 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Thank You (with some new music)

New Music for Jazz April

Now that the spring pledge drive is over, I can start the daily premieres again. This morning's premiere: "Louie's Dream: For Our Jazz Heroes" was appropriate for April which is Jazz Appreciation Month.


 

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New Music
6:13 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

James Hunter Tops WEMU's Sweet Sixteen

New / old school soul sensation James Hunter tops WEMU’s Sweet Sixteen with Minute By Minute from March 18th through the 24th. It’s been five years since Hunter released a new CD.

 

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New Music
7:18 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Two Premieres for 89.1 Jazz Today

WEMU’s focus for Women’s History Month 2013 has been a living history approach. Throughout March we have balanced classic recordings of blues jazz women with new offerings.

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New Music
7:01 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Boogie-Woogie with Fred Kaplan

Fred Kaplan's "Hold My Mule" is available now in limited pressings.

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Top Music
3:40 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

Harry Connick, Jr. tops WEMU's Sweet Sixteen

Harry Connick, Jr.'s "Smokey Mary" is available now!

WEMU listener favorite Harry Connick, Jr. was staff favorite from March 11th through the 17th.

Each week we track how many times we play a new CD. Between March 11th and the 17th, pianist and singer Harry Connick, Jr. claimed the top spot of our Sweet 16. We first premiered the disc on Mardi Gras 2013 (February 12th). The disc’s presence at the top of the list a month later is a testament to the authenticity of Harry Connick, Jr’s joyful New Orleans funk grooves.

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New Music
4:22 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Sunday Wilde: A Musical Force

Sunday Wilde's "He gave me a blue nightgown" is available now
Credit Sunday Wilde

Sunday Wilde’s new CD, He Gave Me A Blue Nightgown was just perfect for a Friday premiere on WEMU when we play it a little loose and fun getting ready for the weekend

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New Music
5:30 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Asuka Kakitani 'Blooms' Expressive Orchestral Compositions

Asuka Kakitani's Bloom is now available

We welcome Asuka Kakitani to the realm of expressive composers and arrangers with Bloom. Chronologically, March 21st is the second day of spring for 2013, but the weather proved otherwise. So, we dreamed of spring and listened to new music evoking rebirth and the beauty of nature by Asuka Kakitani and her Jazz Orchestra this morning on 89.1 Jazz.

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89.1 Jazz
8:23 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

89.1 Jazz honors Marian McPartland, turns 95

Today we honored a woman who helped shape the history of jazz as a musician, band leader, composer, 

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