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Music News from WEMU

To wrap up our 40 Years of Jazz celebration, WEMU is inviting area musicians and jazz fans to come in the studio and be a Guest DJ.  Today’s guest was drummer Sean Dobbins.  Sean remembers years ago when his main musical mentor, trumpeter, and teacher Louis Smith told Sean to listen to WEMU to hear more of the music he wanted to play.  WEMU has been a big part of Sean’s life and Sean has been a big player in our sound and programming for years.  

Jason Thomas Crocker / Brad McNett

As WEMU continues our yearlong celebration of 40 years of jazz, it is great to invite former staff members to join the party this Friday.  

Today would have been the great pianist Art Tatum's 108th birthday.  WEMU celebrated his birth in 1909 with Dr. Imelda Hunt, author Does A Genius? - A Tribute To Art Tatum.  Dr. Hunt is a new faculty member of the Department of Africology and African Studies at Eastern Michigan University.  She brings a deep understanding of African-Americans in the midwest including her hometown of Toledo, Ohio -  also Art Tatum's hometown.  Dr. Hunt's research revealed Art Tatum's neighborhood, the legendary department stores, dance halls, and nightclubs where he performed and details about his loving and supportive family.   Dr. Hunt also shared how the experience of listening to Art Tatum's brilliant music inspired her to write many poems, two of which she shared in conversation.  Enjoy the genius of Art Tatum and a heartfelt appreciation from Dr. Imelda Hunt.

Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding
Jessica Webster / 89.1 WEMU

 Despite a last minute cancellation of some of the final performances, the free 38th Annual Detroit Jazz festival provided a ray of light shining down on the festival goers experiencing new and familar regional and national acts all Labor Day weekend in downtown Detroit.  

WEMU and Golden Limousine have partnered once again to provide shuttles to and from the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival during Labor Day Weekend.

A great musician never forgets the early life lessons that shaped them.  Chris Collins, Artistic Director of The Detroit Jazz Festival has never forgotten and now carries on the Detroit jazz tradition of teaching and mentoring the next generations of jazz musicians.  Chris talked with me this morning about what mentoring and creating music with aspiring players means to him.  


The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the matriarch of one jazz' greatest families has passed.

Early in her musical career, in the ‘90s, Diana Krall played a regular gig on Saturday evenings in Boston. When she drove down to New York City on Sunday mornings, she’d plan the trip so she could get close enough to hear the FM signal of WBGO in time to hear Singers Unlimited. She’s been hearing herself playing piano and singing ever since on WBGO.

Nowadays, she can listen to wbgo.org during her travels around the world or in her hometown, Nanaimo, British Columbia. “I listen to you all the time,” she said when she came in for a recent session with a killer band, featuring frequent quartet-mate Anthony Wilson on guitar, along with bassist Robert Hurst, drummer Karriem Riggins and violinist Stuart Duncan.

On May 5th the Detroit Music Awards honored WEMU for 40 years of jazz broadcasting with a Distinguished Service Award at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.

Paul Vornhagen
courtesy photo

On May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – WEMU wraps up the 2017 winter/spring Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz shows with a real showstopper – the magnificent Latin jazz group, Tumbao Bravo.  While Paul Vornhagen continues to head up Tumbao Bravo on saxophone, flute, piccolo and percussion, he has added new members and new repertoire while retaining tunes of years past and some veteran players.  Joining Paul for “5:01 Jazz” are Olman Piedra – timbales, Brian DiBlassio – keyboards, Gregory (Greco) Freeman – congas and, Joe Fee – bass.  

NPR

"Our best musicians in the jazz tradition were radical imaginers," Samora Pinderhughes says. A pianist and composer in his mid-20s, he has asserted his connection to that lineage with The Transformations Suite, an earnest and ambitious new work combining music, words and visuals.

WEMU’s first free Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz Show for 2017 will be a salute to the legendary trumpet player and widely respected teacher, Louis Smith.  Louis passed away in August, 2016.  He had suffered a stroke, but recovered valiantly and lived for years afterwards with his loving and generous wife, Lulu.  Louis was equally generous and was very wise as a teacher.  Trumpeter Paul Finkbeiner will lead the Louis Smith salute on Friday, January 6th at 5:01PM sharp at Rush Street Nightclub, 314 South Main Street in Ann Arbor.

Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

As I reflected on the past 12 months, I realized that 2016 was a banner year for jazz releases.  It was extremely difficult to narrow my selections of outstanding recordings to just 16.  My criteria for this list is that these were all CDs that moved me emotionally.  They are albums that I would like to keep in my permanent collection. 

John Petelka / 89.1 WEMU

Ahead of his new album,  "A World That's Bigger," Washtenaw County songwriter Mike Vial stops by the WEMU studios for exclusive live music performances and conversation.

Vincent York
Courtesy photo / Jazzistry

For the past 18 years, saxophonist, flutist and educator Vincent York has carved out a unique niche in the Southeastern Michigan jazz and educational community with his multi-media and live performance program, Jazzistry.  Saturday, November 12th, Vincent, his band and Jazzistry board members will receive national recognition for the program from The National Association for Multicultural Education, N.A.M.E.  At the closing banquet of the convention Vincent York and Jazzistry will receive The Founder's Award for outstanding national multicultural program: The Rose Duhon-Sells Award of the National Association for Multicultural Education.

Marilyn Gouin
89.1 WEMU

Couldn't make it to this year's Detroit Jazz Festival? You can catch all the highlights from WEMU hosts and staff from the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival right here!

Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

Earlier this Month vocalist Roberta Gambarini visited Detroit to be the judge for Detroit Jazz Festival Vocal Competition and appear at The Dirty Dog Jazz Café.  She also visited WEMU to share her Italian and international jazz life story as well as her admiration for jazz masters such as Hank Jones and Jimmy Heath.  She also brought her most recent CD “Connecting Spirits”.

Many factors have shaped jazz in Ann Arbor, but trumpeter and educator Louis Smith has to be at the top of the list for modern jazz and education.  Sean Dobbins, Rick Roe, Justin Walter and Ingrid Racine will testify to his grace, wisdom, strength and total honesty as a teacher.  He encouraged a professional attitude and exponential musical growth from middle school students.  His students could play rings around others years older!

Marion Hayden Jazz
Daryl Smith

Jazz Appreciation Month is supposed to end in April, but in the Detroit area we extended it by a week so that bassist Marion Hayden could receive her 2016 Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalist’s Association.   

Fact:  Trumpeter Ingrid Racine has released her first CD of original tunes and arrangements as a leader – Concentric Circles.  Opinion:  This is modern jazz of the highest order placing Ingrid Racine in the company of fellow modern trumpet improvisers Eddie Henderson, Ingrid Jensen, Wallace Roney and Sean Jones.  

Fact:  WEMU is proud to present Ingrid and her quartet featuring guitarist Chuck Newsome, bassist Ben Rolston and drummer Rob Avsharian at our next free Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz Show at Rush Street Nightclub Friday April 1st at 5:01 PM sharp.  

bea entries 2016

Feb 12, 2016

Friday, February 5th 89.1 WEMU is proud to present The Sheila Landis Quartet at The Rush Street Nightclub for our next free Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz show.  Although it has been  a while since Sheila performed at one of our shows, she has a long and rich history with WEMU.  Sheila discovered her passion for jazz singing in 1973 and has been a stalwart of Detroit jazz since the 1970s.  

Pedrito Martinez is a world-class Afro-Cuban percussionist — a rumbero called upon by many jazz and pop stars when they need hand drumming, as well as a Grammy-nominated singing bandleader in his own right. He's also a Santería priest.

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert Returns

Jan 8, 2016
NPR Music

True to its spirit of music discovery, NPR Music is kicking off 2016 with an invite to unsigned artists of all genres: Show us why you should perform in NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series. The winner will secure a spot at the iconic performance space and a U.S. tour with NPR Music.

Bands and musicians can submit original video entries to the NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest Jan. 12-Feb. 2, 2016 at npr.org/tinydeskcontest (see rules for entry).

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