While we love to feature the all-time greats of music on WEMU, we also look for deserving unknown ensembles, such as The Aguabella Latin Jazz Band which received their CD premiere for “Baker: Gateway To Death Valley” this morning. We had actually played many of these musicians before when they were in the band led by the late, great conga player, Francisco Aguabella. Today they keep Aguabella’s legacy alive. Now you know how they found their beautiful name.
What a way to celebrate the launch of a new label and a new concept in jazz! Pianist/composer/arranger Scott Gwinnell’s tribute to heart of Detroit –The Cass Corridor – was the most-played CD on WEMU from January 21st through the 27th. “The Cass Corridor Story” is also the first release on the new imprint from Mack Avenue Records, Detroit Music Factory. WEMU has been a strong supporter of Scott Gwinnell for years, so we knew to expect great things from him, but this heart-felt original music exceeded our expectations!
In time for African American History month, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington pays tribute to three to icons of jazz and African American music: Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach on her newest release. In 1963, Ellington, Mingus and Roach made only one recording together: “Money Jungle” for Capitol Records. The trio to realize the 2013 approach to “Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue” are pianist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride along with Ms. Carrington.
Often on first listen to a new CD, I’ll remark, “that’s nice…” and just file it away. I’m very glad that I gave “3.2.1” by pianist Pamela Hines a second chance. On the second pass, I heard the complexities that I missed in my first cursory review. We receive many piano-bass-drums CDs re-working standards at WEMU, so if your disc is to make it on the air it must have a “special something”. Pamela Hines has it.
If you are searching for fresh new music for 2013, WEMU recommends the new CD “Cuban Crosshatching” by percussionist Arturo Stable. His 2012 duo disc “Dos Y Mas” with pianist Elio Villafranca was one of the finest recordings of 2012. Stable continues the path he has forged in his notable career with music of integrity, artistic credibility and exploratory creativity. We premiered “Cuban Crosshatching” this morning and found that it paired perfe
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
Former Detroiter Bettye LaVette has always defied description and categorization. While many of her contemporaries followed the dictates of their record label or management, Bettye forged her own identity. There was always a dark edge to Bettye's voice - even in her early R&B sessions such as "My Man - He's A Lovin' Man", recorded when she was 16 years old.
A week after their Magic Bag Theater show, WEMU hosts continued to feature the timely and topical CD "Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead" by 7-string guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola. Both musicians are based in San Francisco and have been improvising partners for over 20 years. Neither has permitted their long association to allow them to slip in to cliches, reliable patterns or tawdry tricks. Rather, the two are stretching the definition of the jazz - jam band sound to include their duets and creative compositions. In WEMU's quest to identify the best new
Supporting regional musicians with airplay remains a highest priority at WEMU. As you peruse the "Sweet 16" for October 15th through the 21st, take note of the many recordings on the list with regional connections including the topper, "Thankful 'N Thoughtful" by Detroiter, soul siren Bettye LaVette.
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.