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.
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.
With Signs Of Life, singer Rondi Charleston breathes new life into jazz classics and shares highly personal yet universal reflections on life. During Women’s History Month we are focusing on women of jazz and blues past and present. Rondi Charleston’s Signs Of Life is one of the most powerful and personal discs to be premiered this March.
Bryan Ferry, leader of the 1980s musical art rock sensation, Roxy Music, is also a brilliant musical historian. With the new CD The Jazz Age he has merged his two passions. He took Roxy Music favorites such as "Love Is The Drug", "The Bogus Man" and "Slave To Love" and orchestrated them for a 1920s style acoustic big jazz band.
With Water And Air, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt re-affirms his dedication to modern black music. Over the years he has absorbed the foundations of jazz: call-and-response, pacing, drama, interplay and tension and release. It is especially that final principle that operates throughout Air and Water.
"This music isn't about a change in the direction as much as it's about strengthening my commitment to my art at present." - Jeremy Pelt.
Even though the official release of In A World Of Mallets by Jason Marsalis is not until February 19th, we jumped on it immediately at WEMU. With the panoply of vibes, tubular bells, marimbas and other mallet instruments this recording is like a breath of light, spring air. Perhaps it’s the New Orleans vibe that percolates throughout the songs or the emergence of a new working group in jazz, but this is a welcome addition to the WEMU playlist.
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.
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.
The first few weeks of a new year are rough on hosts of free-form music programs. The big year-end push is over, the holiday recordings are retired and fresh music is yet to arrive in the mail or come via download. Thankfully at WEMU, we were able to snag some strong new music in late November and early December of 2012 to keep us jamming in to 2013. One of of our most delightful discoveries was "The Crossing" by The Menahan Street Band". I wrote a long article on their associations and genesis last week, so for more information check out the previous post.
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.
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.
Whether recording with a group or going solo, guitarist Charlie Hunter has long been a favorite of both WEMU listeners and hosts. His newest offering pairs the 7-string guitarist up with drummer Scott Amendola. Their depth of musical sound makes it hard to believe that there are just two musicians, but these two are so adept and so complementary that they fill all the musical spaces. They will also likely fill all the spaces when they appear at The Magic Bag Theater in Ferndale on Thursday, November 1st.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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