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.

Never let it be said that when a major artist comes to town, that WEMU doesn't get behind the show and share music with listeners to let them know about the music they'll hear.  We got behind last week's Joe Jackson concert at The Michigan Theater featuring violinist Regina Carter in a real big way. 

Perhaps it was because the lead track on Marcus Miller's new CD "Renaissance" was called "Detroit" that the disc resonated so soundly with WEMU listeners and staff.  Whatever the reason, it has become a fast favorite of listeners and staff alike. 

We knew it was just a matter of time, but the WEMU staff knew that "33 1/3" by Shemekia Copeland would eventually claim the top spot on our "Sweet 16".  If any CD validates her standing as the successor to Koko Taylor as "Queen Of The Blues", this one surely does.  She has emerged on a new label with new repertoire, but her commitment to true, deep blues is as strong as ever. 

When The Dirty Dozen Brass Band returned to Southeastern Michigan for a show at The Magic Bag Theater, WEMU hosts seized the opportunity to play selections from one of their favorite bands of all times.  We doubt that WEMU listeners minded hearing the ensemble again, as the band was beloved at venues such as The Ark, The Frog Island Music Festival, The Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival and Sully's in Dearborn. 

Nina Simone Simms-Bentley

Trumpeter Christian Scott delivered not only one of the most meaningful jazz CDs of 2012 with "Christian Atunde Adjuah", but he also delivered one of the most inspirational live performances of the year with his appearance in the "Tribute to Treme" at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival.   Scott's music is "as serious as your life", yet is imbued with energy and a celebration of life. 

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Student move-in begins at 6 a.m. Aug 29 and ends at 10 p.m. Aug 31. During that time, the following roads will be affected:

Trumpeter Christian Scott immediately impressed WEMU and listeners with his first CD as a leader, "Rewind That" in 2006.  Since then we have anticipated each new release from this urbane, articulate and alternative trumpeter and composer.  His new CD "Christian Atunde Adjuah" demonstrates his "whisper technique" emphasizing breath control rather than mouthpiece technique.  His highly communicative approach recalls trumpet masters Clark Terry and Clifford Brown with a wholly modern approach.  This modernity also applies to his compositions - stretching the instrumentation and arrangements to

It was a bittersweet occasion when Detroit blues great Johnnie Bassett's new CD "I Can Make That Happen" once again topped WEMU's "Sweet 16" of most-played CDs for the week.  Just after the disc was released nationally, Johnnie passed away on August 4th due to cancer. 

"Rebirth" by living reggae legend, Jimmy Cliff is a fully rewarding listening experience.  He has lost none of his supple vocal quality and range.  Time has deepened his lower range imbuing his words with deeper meaning and insight.  His Jamaican message remains consistent - that love, peace and truth will conquer all.  The production of this date is immaculate, but the music is free flowing and relaxed.  You can see why WEMU hosts collectively wanted to share this excellent new music with you. 

Once again, WEMU hosts and listeners realized the depth and mastery of our regional musicians by awarding the Latin jazz band, Tumbao Bravo, the coveted number one spot on the "Sweet 16".  This marks the fourth week in a row for that theirs was the most played CD on 89.1.  This disc deserves the distinction not just because it is music from local performers, but because it is totally original, beautifully produced and recorded with the highest audio quality.  "Casa Versailles" by Tumbao Bravo deserved national accolades and WEMU is leading the way.

For the third week in a row, the local all-star Latin jazz band, Tumbao Bravo has topped WEMU's airplay list with "Casa Versailles".  Their CD release concert will be this Saturday at Kerrytown Concert House.  We have details about the show in the "events" and "datebook" section of this website.  This group is just one example of the outstanding musicians who live and work in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and the Detroit area.  It is an honor to play their music on WEMU and support our fantastic music community.

Congratulations are in order once again for conga player Alberto Nacif, saxophonist/flutist Paul Vornhagen,  trumpeter Bob Mojica, pianist Brian DiBlassio, percussionist Javier Barrios and bassist Patrick Prouty with special guest percussionist Pepe Espinosa for gaining the coveted top spot on WEMU's "Sweet Sixteen" for the new CD "Casa Versailles" two weeks in a row.  The members of Tumbao Bravo are based in communities all over Southeastern Michigan and record for bassist Paul Keller's PKO Records label, now operating in Saline, Michigan.  Featuring their music dovetails perfectly with WE

Perhaps their "Top Of The Park" show for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival on July 4th helped propel them to the number one spot in WEMU's "Sweet Sixteen", but they likely would have achieved the spot without the show.

We at WEMU love highlighting local artists, and this ensemble of musicians from Ann Arbor, Brighton and Detroit is simply one of the best. Every member is a leader in his own right.

We are especially proud of their conga player, Dr. Alberto Nacif, former host of "Cuban Fantasy" until Marc Taras took over for him.

Once again, the WEMU staff and listener favorite, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band top our "Sweet Sixteen".

 

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY June 25 to July 1, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND  "Twenty Dozen"  (Savoy Jazz)

2.    JOHNNIE BASSETT  “I Can Make That Happen”   (Sly Dog Records)

3.    BÉLA FLECK AND THE MARCUS ROBERTS TRIO   “Across The Imaginary Divide”  (Rounder)

4.    ESPERANZA SPALDING   “Radio Music Society”  (Heads Up/Montuno)

A WEMU listener favorite since 1984 - The Dirty Dozen Brass Band claims the top spot on this week's "Sweet 16".  This is encouraging news as "Twenty Dozen" is their first release on a brand new record label.  WEMU is proud to support this band which started the international trend of contemporary music arranged for traditional brass band instrumentation. 

 

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY June 18 to June 24, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND  "Twenty Dozen"  (Savoy Jazz)

When bassist, composer, vocalist and musical visionary Esperanza Spalding's CD, "Radio Music Society" first came out it was an immediate favorite of WEMU listeners and hosts.  With her appearance at The Power Center on Thursday, June 21st for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, the disc once again rose to the top. 

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY June 11 to June 17, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY June 4 to June 10, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

1.    JOHNNIE BASSETT  “I Can Make That Happen”   (Sly Dog Records)

2.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

3.    JOAN OSBORNE “Bring It On Home” (Saguaro Road)

4.    ESPERANZA SPALDING   “Radio Music Society”  (Heads Up/Montuno)

5.    LIL’ ED AND THE BLUES IMPERIALS   “Jump Start”  (Alligator Records)

6.    CITIZEN RHYTHM   “Of The People, By The People, For The People”  (Strong Brew Music)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY May 28 to June 3, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

2.    THIRD COAST KINGS   “Third Coast Kings”   (Record Kicks)

3.    CITIZEN RHYTHM   “Of The People, By The People, For The People”  (Strong Brew Music)

4.    JOHNNIE BASSETT  “I Can Make That Happen”   (Sly Dog Records)

5.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

6.    ESPERANZA SPALDING   “Radio Music Society”  (Heads Up/Montuno)

WEMU got behind the Bonnie Raitt concert to benefit the Ann Arbor Summer festival in a big way.  Her disc, "Slipstream" topped our "Sweet 16".  Ms. Raitt and her band were sweet, sexy, soulful, rocking and totally touching in concert at Hill Auditorium. 

 

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY May 21 to May 27, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    BONNIE RAITT  "Slipstream"  (Redwing Records)

2.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

3.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY May 7 to May 13, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

JON CLEARY   “Occapella!”   (FHQ Records)

GALACTIC  “Carnivale Electricos”  (Anti-)

DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

JOAN OSBORNE “Bring It On Home” (Saguaro Road)

GREGORY PORTER  “Be Good”   (Motema Music)

THIRD COAST KINGS   “Third Coast Kings”   (Record Kicks)

DON BYRON NEW GOSPEL QUINTET "Love, Peace, And Soul" (Savoy Jazz)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY April 30 to May 6, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

2.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

3.    THE SUGARMAN THREE   “What The World Needs Now”   (Daptone)

4.    JON CLEARY   “Occapella!”   (FHQ Records)

5.    GREGORY PORTER  “Be Good”   (Motema Music)

6.    ERIC BIBB   “Deeper In The Well”   (Stony Plain Records)

7.    GALACTIC  “Carnivale Electricos”  (Anti-)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY April 23 to April 29, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

1.    ESPERANZA SPALDING   “Radio Music Society”  (Heads Up/Montuno)

2.    GALACTIC  “Carnivale Electricos”  (Anti-)

3.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

4.    CURTIS SALGADO   “Soul Shot”  (Alligator Records)

5.    JON CLEARY   “Occapella!”   (FHQ Records)

6.    KENNY GARRETT “Seeds From The Underground” (Mack Avenue)

7.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY April 16 to April 22, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

1.    DANIEL FREEDMAN   “Bamako By Bus”  (Anzic Records)

2.    JAZZ SOUL SEVEN “Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield” (BFM)

3.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

4.    EDDIE C. CAMPBELL  “Spider Eating Preacher”  (Delmark Records)

5.    JOE LOCKE/GEOFFREY KEEZER GROUP   “Signing”   (Motema Music)

6.    LURRIE BELL “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” (Aria B.G. Records)

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY April 9 to April 15, 2012: 

LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR 

1.    JANIVA MAGNESS “Stronger For It” (Alligator Records)

2.    RICKY NYE   “Ricky Nye And The Paris Blues Band”  (1-2-3 Records)

3.    DR. JOHN   “Locked Down”  (Nonesuch Records)

4.    GREGORY PORTER  “Be Good”   (Motema Music)

5.    ESPERANZA SPALDING   “Radio Music Society”  (Heads Up/Montuno)

6.    DON BYRON NEW GOSPEL QUINTET "Love, Peace, And Soul" (Savoy Jazz)

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