89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn

Weekdays 9:00am to 12:30pm

Music Director, Linda Yohn hosts 89.1 Jazz  on 89.1 WEMU each weekday

9:00AM-12:30PM

Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival joined me Friday to describe many 2015 Detroit Jazz Festival highlights.  

His philosophies as both a jazz educator and musician come to full expression over the four music-filled days.  From the opening multi-media presentation of "Benny's Threads" in tribute to Benny Goodman to the closing concert by Pat Metheny with a string orchestra honoring the late bassist Ebehard Weber, Chris Collins and his team have created a jazz festival unlike any other in the world.  

As WEMU gets ready for this Wednesday’s trip to Comerica Park to see the Tigers take on the Seattle Mariners, I drew up a baseball-themed playlist to get you fired up.  If you do a google search for baseball tunes, you’ll find many that are on this list.  However, enlisting the advice of fellow jazz programmers around the nation for their suggestions yielded many more creative ideas.  Adding pieces with a definite WEMU-Ann Arbor, and Detroit connection gives this list an ultra-special distinction.  I picked one song per inning as well as the seventh-inning stretch and tossed in one more in case our game requires an extra inning for a total of 11 favorites.  

Shari Kane and Dave Steele
courtesy of the artist

Warm and delicious as hot buttered cinnamon toast, as easy and relaxed as a rewarding after-dinner talk and as soothing as Sunday morning.  That’s my immediate reaction to Feels Like Home, the new album by Shari Kane and Dave Steele.  It’s a perfect complement to the couple’s first recording, Four Hands Blues.  They continue their loving exploration of classic American music including Piedmont and Delta blues along with mountain gospel, Appalachian ballads and ragtime swing guitar.  What differentiates Feels Like Home from Four Hands Blues is the home setting.  Shari and Dave actually built a home studio and took their good sweet time working through each song as we eavesdrop on their intimate conversation involving call and response from acoustic guitar to mandolin to voice.  

Riley B. King, the guitarist better known as B.B. King, whose voice brought blues to the mainstream, died Thursday night. He was 89.

photo by Myra Klarman

 Ann Arbor Summer Festival Executive and Artistic Director Amy Nesbitt joined me Friday for a preview of the 2015 Top Of The Park schedule. The free Top Of The Park offerings and activities have grown remarkably over the years. 

What began as little experiment with one band and free film screenings on top of a parking structure now encompasses a city block with two stages, a full variety of food vendors, family activities, exercise and wellness classes, Michigan craft beer tastings, family favorite films and state-of-the art acrobatic performances. 

 

Duke Ellington Performing
Jazzistry

As April and Jazz Appreciation Month comes to a close with International Jazz Day this Thursday, April 30th, I would like to share a personal jazz experience and how my musical appreciation continues to grow through my friendship with saxophonist Vincent York of Jazzistry.

Don Chisholm’s career has been focused on Ann Arbor’s commercial and residential real estate development, but support for the arts and the development of musical expression - especially jazz - never has been far from his heart.

For his years of generous service and philanthropy for jazz and musical theatre in Ann Arbor, property developer Don Chisholm has been selected to receive a 2015 National Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalist’s Association.

Jim McGuire / courtesy of the artist

Throughout 2015, The Ark will present many special concerts to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.  The first of these is this Sunday at the Power Center, featuring the husband and wife banjo duo of Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.  


Join Brad McNett for two hours of your jazz holiday favorites on Christmas Day (12/25) from 9am until 11am

Vocalist Joan Belgrave returned to Ann Arbor about 9 years to care for an ailing family member.  Since her return she started a whole new musical family thanks to her marriage to Detroit jazz icon, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. 

Join WEMU in celebrating Thanksgiving in a few different ways this year. Unwind while you're cooking your holiday feast, and listen in to Linda Yohn for a heft serving of Stuffy Turkey, Grits and Gravy, Sweet Potato Pie, and all of your other musical food favorites! 

    Brad McNett / 89.1 WEMU

    Pianist Rick Roe drops in to the 89.1 WEMU studios to chat about Thelonious Monk and Thanksgiving.

    On October 30th, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance gave pianist, composer and arranger Bob James their highest award.  He received The Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted in to the School Of Music, Theater and Dance Hall Of Fame.  The celebration will be complete when Bob James makes his debut appearance as a jazz quintet leader in Hill Auditorium presented by The University Musical Society.  

    Get ready for trick-or-treat season with these spooky tunes.

    Ann Arbor’s guitar legend George Bedard had a lifetime experience this summer that few will ever be able to claim:  he traveled to Honduras and played in a U.S. State Department Tour.  

    Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

    Detroit Music Factor

    Listen to our interview earlier this week with drummer and singer Leonard King. King visited the WEMU studio to discuss his major project:  The Lyman Woodard Organization For the Arts.  In the 1970s Leonard joined the group led by Detroit organist Lyman Woodard and became a major player in Detroit jazz, soul, blues and dance music.  Leonard reminisced  warmly about Lyman Woodard's important and inspirational position in Detroit musical history as well as his own. 

    Benny Green sat down with Linda Yohn to talk about his new position as an instructor in the University of Michigan's Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation studies. 

    Gerald Wilson
    Dr. Jazz

    Bandleader, composer and arranger Gerald Wilson died Monday at his home in Los Angeles. Wilson's career stretched from the swing era of the 1930s into the 21st century.

      

    Music and conversation from 89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn. Our guest is  jazz saxophonist Chris Collins - artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival which starts tonight (Friday) featuring artist-in-residence Joshua Redman.

    Walter White
    Walter White

    Labor Day weekend is not generally considered an optimum time to release a new record, but for Detroit jazz musicians; there is no better time to showcase your new music than at The Detroit Jazz Festival which starts this Friday, August 29th.  Trumpeter Walter White has taken advantage of this auspicious time to release and celebrate his latest offering Most Triumphant on Summit Records.  His CD release concert will be Sunday, August 31st at 2PM on the Waterfront Stage.

    Walter White is held in highest regard worldwide for his early work with Bob James, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, The White-Margitza Quintet and The Mingus Big Band. After making significant musical marks in New York City and Miami, Walter White returned to his home state of Michigan where he remains incredibly musically active.  He performs in shows at The Fisher Theater, leads international clinics and master classes, teaches at Oakland University and now records for Summit Records.  

      

    Walter joined Linda Yohn at WEMU to talk about Most Triumphant which boasts a trio Detroit jazz luminaries:  pianist Gary Schunk, bassist Miles Brown and drummer Sean Dobbins.  Walter shared insight about his early musical life in Ferndale Michigan, his love of Maynard Ferguson, his formative years at The Julliard School Of Music, his philosophy of musical practice and his early association with The Detroit Jazz Festival 35 years ago.  

     Every year at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit musicians and singers return to perform and are greeted with enthusiastic applause and deep Detroit appreciation.  Among the many returning in 2014 is singer Barbara Morrison.   She was born in Ypsilanti, grew up in Romulus, graduated from Eastern Michigan University and left for Los Angeles when she was 23 to carve her own musical path.  Barbara Morrison and her very close friend Joan Belgrave joined Linda Yohn in the studio to talk about their parallel lives starting in Southeastern Michigan and ending up in Los Angeles.  

    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.

      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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