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.
José James is simply beyond category. No Beginning No End is a culmination of his career and life weaving threads of jazz, balladry, R&B, classic and neo-soul plus hip-hop into a sensual stream of consciousness.
This Tuesday was a perfect blues day on WEMU. The cold and the clouds called for down-home story-filled music. Our playlist this morning included local blues luminaries Johnnie Bassett and George Bedard along with Columbus Ohio’s blues emissary, Teeny Tucker.
With their snaky rhythms, spooky harmonies and catchy licks, Brooklyn’s Menahan Street Band once again takes the top spot on WEMU’s “Sweet 16” for “The Crossing”. All of the time spent backing up R&B and soul sensation Charles Bradley has sparked a giant leap of creativity and risk-taking in this leading soul/jazz/funk band.
While many media outlets are putting 2012 "to bed" for the next month, WEMU hosts continue to discover exciting new music to keep you grooving in 2013. One of our recent discoveries is "Mixology" by veteran jazz organist Chester "CT" Thompson.
As we WEMU hosts continue to be grateful to you, our listeners for your generous support, the new CD "Thankful 'N Thoughtful" by former Detroiter Bettye LaVette resonates with us. Her new disc was the most-played recording on WEMU from November 26th through December 1st. This week's "Sweet 16" is a fine cross-section of WEMU offerings from the modern-day boogie-woogie and roots music of pianist and singer Julian Fauth to the supremely soulful organ jazz sessions from home town hero, saxophonist Ben Jansson and the first-time appearance of west-coast jazz organ legend Chester "CT" Thompson
When I opened the package containing "Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right" by pianist, singer and guitarist Julian Fauth, I knew that WEMU hosts would be happy to find this in the library. His 2005 CD, "Songs Of Vice And Sorrow" was a host and listener favorite even though Julian was then a relatively young and unknown performer. When I put the 2012 sound of Julian Fauth into the player, I was fully convinced. This disc is tailor-made for WEMU.
Former Detroiter Bettye LaVette has always defied description and categorization. While many of her contemporaries followed the dictates of their record label or management, Bettye forged her own identity. There was always a dark edge to Bettye's voice - even in her early R&B sessions such as "My Man - He's A Lovin' Man", recorded when she was 16 years old.
Supporting regional musicians with airplay remains a highest priority at WEMU. As you peruse the "Sweet 16" for October 15th through the 21st, take note of the many recordings on the list with regional connections including the topper, "Thankful 'N Thoughtful" by Detroiter, soul siren Bettye LaVette.
Buoyed by being selected as WEMU's blues fundraising premium, Robert Cray's newest CD, "Nothin' But Love" was the most played disc this past week on 89.1. Even if Cray's recording hadn't been chosen as a WEMU "thank-you gift", it would likely have risen to the top of our "Sweet Sixteen" by virtue of it's excellence.
In anticipation of her appearance at The Ark on October 11th, WEMU hosts featured the outstanding new CD "33 1/3" by the new "Queen of the Blues", Shemekia Copeland. Ms. Copeland actually comes from blues royalty -- her father is the legendary blues guitarist and composer, Johnny Clyde Copeland.
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.
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.
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)
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)