Music

Music News from WEMU

As 2015 develops, so will WEMU’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. We began broadcasting at 10 watts to EMU dormitories in 1965 and are now the award-winning and nationally recognized NPR, news, jazz and blues service you know and depend on.

 Cosplay,  fire-juggling, music and giant turkey legs —who wouldn’t want to win tickets to the 2015 Michigan Renaissance Festival? Fortunately, 89.1 WEMU is giving away 5 Family Packs (4 tickets each) right here. 

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. 

 

courtesy of the artist

Alberto Nacif, the former and founding host of the program Cuban Fantasy has every reason in the world to be proud of Invisible, the new CD by his Latin jazz ensemble, Aguankó. He joined me in studio to discuss his partnership with fellow percussionist Jose Pepe Espinosa and his deep admiration for Michigan's great musicians including Marcus Belgrave, Rick Roe, Robert Hurst, Russ Miller, Chris Smith and Anthony Stanco. 

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival has announced the line up for the admission-free Top of the Park series! The festival’s 32nd season runs 6 nights per week, from June 12 – July 5, 2015. 

Marcus Miller
WikiMedia Commons/fabbio

Jazz musician Marcus Miller's decades-long resume includes multiple Grammy Awards, work with Miles Davis and even an appearance on a Michael Jackson album, but now he's relishing his second calling as a UNESCO Artist For Peace and spokesman for the organization's Slave Route Project.

Marcus is continuing to play the trumpet in his hospital bed, including brief jam sessions with fellow musicians.

The largest free jazz festival in North America has announced its 2015 lineup.

Courtesy of the artist

Aguankó, the internationally recognized Afro-Cuban jazz group led by Alberto Nacif will share lively Latin melodies at WEMU’s next free Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz Show, Friday April 10th.  We will return to Rush Street, and get the music going at 5:01 PM sharp.

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.

The University Musical Society (UMS) announces its 2015-2016 season, which runs from Friday, September 11, 2015 through Saturday, April 23, 2016. The season features 86 performances by 45 different artist/ensemble events.

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.

"Without Public Radio there is no music" -Esperanza Spalding

Thanks to the over 100 contributors that gave $150 or more to WEMU yesterday. The winners in the drawing for a trip for two to the Grand Hotel  Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival (held September 5-September 7) on Mackinac Island are Eric and Lisa Walters from Ypsilanti.

Linda Yohn
89.1 WEMU

To Be Or Not To Bop by Dizzy Gillespie may be the definitive treatise on the life of the legendary trumpeter and the evolution of the jazz form of “Be-bop”.  While Dizzy’s book is essential jazz literature, the new volume Music Is Forever:  Dizzy Gillespie, The Jazz Legend, And Me by Detroiter Dave Usher is a crucial companion to Dizzy Gillespie’s story.

Clark Terry, Marcus Belgrave
Wikimedia Commons

When NEA Jazz Master, trumpeter Clark Terry passed away on February 21st, 2015, the jazz world was in mourning.  The mourning did not last long however, as tributes to Terry’s ebullient personality, musical mastery and generous nature as a mentor and jazz educator sprang from all around the globe.  I called trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, Detroit’s senior jazz statesman for his thoughts on Clark Terry’s jazz genius.  


WASHINGTON (AP) — An artist’s foundation is donating $2.5 million as an endowment to expand jazz programming at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The museum will announce Tuesday that artist LeRoy Neiman’s foundation is donating the funds, as well as Neiman’s painting “Big Band.” The colorful, large-scale painting features 18 famous jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Now Mr. Dworkin — who along the way won a MacArthur fellowship and was appointed to the National Council on the Arts — is stepping down as president of the organization to assume a different kind of role: dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance, which on Thursday announced that he would take up the position in July.

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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.  


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