Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

 John Conyers
US House of Representatives

Longtime Michigan Congressman John Conyers is being honored for his advocacy of jazz.

The Detroit Democrat receives the first-ever Jazz Advocate Award Thursday from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The performing rights organization is honoring Conyers for public and legislative efforts to support jazz.

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.


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.  

The First African-American Piano Manufacturer

May 9, 2014
Courtesty of Warren Shadd

89.1 WEMU’s free Sesi Motors – Jan Winkelman 5:01 Jazz series springs to life Friday, May 2nd with Drummer Sean Dobbins.

Jazz Appreciation Month wraps up on Wednesday, April 30th with International Jazz Day.


Authorities say a trumpet stolen from Detroit jazz star Marcus Belgrave is back in his hands, while the suspected thief is in theirs. 

The Detroit Free Press says the horn was stolen Friday out of Belgrave's car in Detroit and arrived at a pawn shop. Police say an employee contacted officers to say the store had Belgrave's instrument. 


WEMU listeners are discerning judges of good talent.  You have heard gifted pianists such as McCoy Tyner, Bebo Valdes, Chucho Valdes, Danilo Perez and Michel Camilo on 89.1 Jazz shows.  We think you will welcome pianist Robert Prester and his new CD Dogtown with open ears.  Not unlike Chucho Valdes and Danilo Perez, Robert Prester followed classical piano studies.  It is evident in his brilliant 32nd note runs and precise technique.  But like the aforementioned, Prester also plays with emotion, feeling, joy and improvisational bliss.  His partners on the disc revel


Agachiko is the group led by Boston-based vocalist, lyricist and composer Gabrielle Agachiko. 

Outline Records

89.1 Jazz hits a high note this morning with a new CD from soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom – Sixteen Sunsets – and a beloved classic – My Favorite Things – from  John Coltrane.  Linda Yohn is in with 89.1 Jazz at 9 streaming on WEMU.org and on 89.1 WEMU.

Remembering Musical Passings of 2013

Dec 30, 2013

Before turning the page on 2013, The Groove Yard's George Klein gave tribute to many artists that left the music community in 2013. 

George compiled a list, below. However, it is not intended to be complete. It is a list of passings in music (mostly jazz and blues) and in music and creative culture that George learned about during the year and verified through various networks.



Yuletide Hideaway  by Karrin Allyson should not be hidden in the corner of the WEMU stacks.  This is one of the finest Christmas jazz recordings released in a great while.  

Singer Vanessa Rubin and saxophonist Don Braden have been friends since the early 1980s.  Nearly 30 years later they released their first CD together: Full Circle.  This is a very soulful, blues-influenced session due in no small part guitarist Dave Stryker, organist Kyle Koehler and drummer Cecil Brooks III completing the ace band.  Full Circle by Vanessa Rubin and Don Braden premieres this morning on 89.1 Jazz

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.

Courtesy photo

Piano-bass-drums.  How often have you heard a WEMU host repeat that instrumental combination?  More than you can count.  Yet, this trio format remains a source of endless variation and fascination.  A prime example of the possibilities is the new CD The Endless Mysteries by pianist George Colligan. 

 You have heard WEMU hosts repeat Colligan’s name for twenty years.   We discovered him in 1993 as the pianist for saxophonist Ron Holloway.  His debut recording as a leader, Activism followed in 1996 on Steeplechase Records.  Since then Colligan has created a body of work for solo piano and ensemble that deserves consideration for his compositions and technique.  

Ahead of his new CD release, Dave Sharp sits down with Linda Yohn in the WEMU studio to talk about about  his upcoming 5:01 Jazz performance, the release of his new album Worldslife as a musician, and more on this Halloween morning. 

Listen to the full-length interview from 89.1 WEMU:

Brad McNett

Linda Yohn sits down with Robert Hurst in the WEMU studio to talk about about  his upcoming Detroit Jazz Festival performance, his new album BoB a Palindrome, life as a musician, and more on this morning's 89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn

Remembering Mulgrew Miller

Jun 12, 2013
David Tallacksen

The whole keyboard was Miller's canvas. His left hand could stride and swing with great authority, and when the two hands got together, he sent the train down the tracks. Hear music from WBGO's 25th-anniversary party, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the Kennedy Center Jazz Club.


JazzSet celebrates the art of the late piano great Mulgrew Miller.


Pianist and singer Freddy Cole gets better and better. If it’s possible, there is greater warmth and depth in his husky voice. His phrasing is even more subtle and sly. His sense of rhythm – just slightly behind the beat feels more suspenseful yet playful than before. His chemistry with the band seems to be more organic, tighter and empathetic.

  Is the guitar today’s universal instrument? Actually, the voice is our first and most universal instrument, but the guitar could follow shortly behind it. In permutations from the oud to the cittern, zither, bouzouki and many others, portable stringed instruments are easy to transport and play while singing. These instruments including today’s modern guitars are versatile in all styles of music. 

In late April, Bob Edwards Weekend (Saturdays from 8 to 10AM on WEMU) aired a revealing and insightful interview with pianist and producer Bob James. My curiosity about the new Bob James-David Sanborn collaboration, Quartette Humaine, was piqued. The four weeks of waiting are over and you and I can enjoy this new CD which is one of the finest examples of quartet interplay I’ve heard in a while. Legitimate comparisons will be made between Quartette Humaine and legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond.



Artists reflect the unspoken needs of the viewers, readers and listeners. With A Different Time, pianist John Medeski takes us to that quiet, meditative place that is often out of reach given our frantic lives. Perhaps the age of the piano on which Medeski recorded the pieces has something to do with the classic, contemplative sound of A Different Time. The piano was built by the Gaveau piano manufacturers in central France in 1924. It was constructed in a style that predates the modern piano.