Between December 10th and the 16th, WEMU hosts played over 160 different new releases, so for one disc to rest atop that widely varied selection is indeed a rare honor. We are pleased to reveal that the leader of that week's "Sweet 16" was drummer Winard Harper and his magnificent group, The Jeli Posse.
Harper deserves the airplay and the respect. He is a tireless crusader for the tradition of jazz, African and American music while stretching the concepts of improvisation. The name of his ensemble: "The Jeli Posse", refers to the African Griot. Jeli is another word for "Griot" - the revered leader, story teller and cultural warrior.
Winard Harper has earned the right to be labeled "Griot" or "Jeli". In the late 1980s he recorded with his brother Phillip in a band that incubated fellow leading lights of jazz Javon Jackson and Walter Blanding. When the Harper Brothers disbanded, Winard went on to the esteemed jazz finishing schools of Houston Person, Betty Carter and Dr. Billy Taylor. He learned his lessons well and now imparts that knowledge to a group of jazz musicians who are poised to become national leaders following in his strong footsteps. With no reservations, the WEMU staff firmly recommends "Coexist" by Winard Harper and The Jeli Posse for your collection. Every single song is strong and distinctive.
WEMU "SWEET 16" DECEMBER 10TH THROUGH THE 16TH, 2012
1. WINARD HARPER & JELI POSSE "Coexist" (Jazz Legacy Productions)
2. ERNEST DAWKINS “Afro Straight” (Delmark Records)
3. CHESTER “CT” THOMPSON “Mixology” (Doodlin’ Records)
4. AMIKAYELA “Being In Love” (RootsJazz Records)
5. SUSIE ARIOLI "Christmas Dreaming" (Jazzheads)
6. ANAT COHEN “Claroscuro” (Anzic Records)
7. BEN JANSSON TRIO WITH SPECIAL GUEST RANDY NAPOLEON “Your Soul” (www.benjansson.com)
8. TAKUYA KURODA “Six Aces” (www.takuyakuroda.com)
9. BETTYE LAVETTE "Thankful 'n' Thoughtful" (ANTI-)
10. ANN RABSON WITH BOB MARGOLIN “Not Alone” (VizzTone Records)
11. JULIAN FAUTH “Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right” (Electro-Fi)
12. CHARLIE HUNTER AND SCOTT AMENDOLA “Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead” (Charlie Hunter Music)
13. JOE JACKSON “The Duke” (Razor & Tie)
14. MENHAN STREET BAND “The Crossing” (Dunham Records / Daptone)
15. MACEO PARKER “Soul Classics” (Razor & Tie)
16. WAVE MECHANICS UNION “Further To Fly” (HX Music)
~ Compiled by Patrick Holubik and Linda Yohn