Music

Music News from WEMU

For veteran soul singer Sharon Jones, 2013 was a year of frustration, fear and false starts: She'd just announced the summer release of her fifth album, Give the People What They Want, when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to put her career on hold. Tours were canceled, while the finished record had to be shelved until she'd recovered to where she was in a position to promote it. Anyone who's seen Jones live knows how much she pours into performing, so fans appeared to be in for a long wait.

It's tempting — and, really, accurate — to describe Rosanne Cash's new album as a literary effort. The singer-songwriter is also a published author, and her last album, 2009's The List, was a writer's game: Its 12 tracks abridged her famous father Johnny's 100-song lexicon of essentials, which he gave to his then-teenaged daughter as a legacy and a challenge.

Blues Musician Tabby Thomas Dies At 84

Jan 2, 2014

Legendary bluesman Tabby Thomas died Wednesday at the age of 84.

He would have celebrated his 85 birthday on Sunday.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports that Thomas was probably best known for opening Tabby's Blue Box in Baton Rouge, La. He opened the club in the late 1970s, giving Louisiana blues musicians, who had lost opportunities because of the disco craze, a place to play.

Blues-lovers from around the globe flocked to Tabby's.

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.

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Legendary Detroit jazz musician and composer Yusef Abdul Lateef, who came of age in the 1940s and ’50s, moved to New York and helped shape modern jazz, died Monday in his home in Massachusetts.

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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.  

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Linda Yohn played tribute to Jimmie last Friday. Playlist found here: http://n.pr/18v8Flh

Yale Evelev, head of world music label Luaka Bop, digs up information about great-but-forgotten musicians for a living. His quest to compile and release the work of Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor, though, was a unique challenge.

allaboutjazz.com

Pianist Jimmy Amadie helped shape the piano sound of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and modern jazz through his students.  He passed away on December 10th. 

We remembered him Friday on 89.1 Jazz with selections from his final recording: Live! At The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

Playlist found here: 

Holiday Wishes 3 Is a beautiful double CD set covering all styles of music to benefit the Toledo area Make-A-Wish Foundation.  We’ll check out jazz selections from Holiday Wishes 3 this morning including tunes by The Cakewalkin’ Jass Band and Lori LeFevre.  

I will share the new music on 89.1 Jazz at 9 streaming on wemu.org and on 89.1, WEMU.

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

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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.

Patrik Holubik / 89.1 WEMU

Before their December 15th performance at The Ark, Orpheum Bell stopped by the 89.1 WEMU studios to talk to us on the The Roots Music Project for a live interview and performance.

Listen to the full performance and interview here:


Happy Holidays from WEMU-FM!

Dec 5, 2013

Happy Holidays from the staff of 89.1 WEMU and wishing you and yours a wonderful new year.

http://bobbywatson.com/

 Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson believes that music is a tool for greater good.  His new CD, Check Cashing Day is a stirring jazz tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech and to the greater good it inspires.  Linda Yohn will feature

 This morning on 89.1 Jazz.  Music starts at 9am streaming at on wemu.org and on 89.1, WEMU.

Thanksgiving is one of America’s greatest days of celebration - and great food! WEMU gets you in the mood with our annual Food Song Festival! Today we're celebrating the cooks, the diners and the delicacies from soup, salad and savory main courses to dessert and drinks. And – we have fun!

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While Chicago may be America’s blues mecca, Detroiters are making a significant international impact in blues today, especially Seward Shah, better known as "Harmonica Shah”.  Now on the illustrious Electro-Fi label from Toronto, Detroiter Harmonica Shah has not changed his gritty, earthy, raw and rocking urban blues style one iota.  His songs reflect the deep heartbreak of living in present day Detroit while his classic harmonica licks reflects the birth of urban blues by Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Otis Spann.  If you were ever tempted to think that real blues is a thing of the past, Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me by Harmonica Shah will banish that thought.

MORE: Enter to Win this Electro-Fi CD set from WEMU-FM

Harrison Kennedy’s new Electro-Fi CD, Soulscape is another masterpiece of basic blues with Detroit connections.  Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Harrison Kennedy gained national fame as a member of the Detroit R&B group, The Chairmen Of The Board. They recorded for the Holland-Dozier-Holland Invictus label with hits such as Give Me Just A Little More Time and Skin I’m In. Edward Holland gave Kennedy 75 dollars to buy a guitar which he used to write many hits for the group.  

Harrison Kennedy is still a prolific songwriter but has added a variety of acoustic instruments to his blues arsenal.  On Soulscape you will hear his proficiency on banjo, mandolin, harmonica, spoons, fife, percussion and bread pan!  But, what will really touch you is his pliant voice and the poetry of his heartfelt lyrics.  His songs examine the eternal human condition and our modern miseries.  As with Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me, by Harmonica Shah, Soulscape by Harrison Kennedy will satisfy your soul’s craving for serious blues and roots music.

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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.  

Jeff Haas of the New Jazz Archive stops by the WEMU studios ahead of the 100th anniversary of  his father, broadcasting legend,  Karl Haas' birth.  And to talk about a few new programs spearheaded by Jeff to advance the legacy of jazz to new generations. 

Listen to the full interview here: 

  

Late last month I witnessed the most creative music festival I know, and I'm back with some astonishing new music discoveries. The first annual Mountain Oasis festival took place in a number of venues in Asheville, N.C. the weekend before Halloween. Asheville's a city that, much like Austin, Texas or Portland, Ore., lives up to that often-used slogan "Keep (insert city name here) Weird." As music pours into the streets, you'll see people dressed up as gnomes in illuminated hats, traveling in packs along with jellyfish, various monsters or even giant butterflies.

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With over a century of rich and colorful history (so far!), American jazz has no shortage of marquee and impactful eras worthy of study. It is possible, however, that preceding and formative jazz evolutions expressed their culmination during the final year of the decade of the 1950s. The special sound of 1959 brought us genre-defining recordings from some of the most important artists of jazz history. Even more remarkable is the fact that these standout recordings came from both the new faces in modern jazz (Dave Brubeck, Omette Coleman) and the veterans of early jazz (Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald). Join us here to enjoy the unique musical experience of 1959 – the transcendent year that bridged the post-bop, modern, and avant-garde jazz movements, and set a lofty standard for the second half of the 20th century.

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:

A Preview of the 37th Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Oct 29, 2013
The Ark

One of the biggest music weekends in Ann Arbor is just around the corners. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the 37th annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival is just three months away. 

See below for a selection of musicians from the festival lineup:

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2014 marks the 37th year of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a two-night celebration of roots music, a fundraiser for The Ark, Ann Arbor’s non-profit home for folk, roots, and ethnic music. The 37th Ann Arbor Folk Festival is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund.

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