Don Munson

Radio Munson Host

Don has entertained central Illinois radio listeners for nearly 50 years. He helped build the radio powerhouse WJBC and spent most of his career there. During his tenure as program director, WJBC was the highest rated AM radio station in the nation. GLT now claims this radio legend and during his show Radio Munson you'll  hear the great swing bands, the hot vintage jazz combos, the Vegas headliners and the veterans of smokey jazz clubs in Chicago, New Orleans and New York--they are all a part of the finger-snapping, toe-tapping stew that is Radio Munson. It’s music presented like radio once was, with stories behind the songs of Basie and Benny, Ella and Lady Day, Django and Satchmo, and today’s keepers-of-the-flame like Diana Krall and Michael Buble. Hear Radio Munson at 7 PM Thursday.

Ways to Connect

Radio Munson 6/15/17

Jun 14, 2017

Was Anita O’Day referring to Uptown Normal when she recorded “Let Me Off Uptown?”  Probably not, but the question provides some fodder for discussion and the playing of Anita’s famous duet with trumpeter Roy Eldridge on this week’s Radio Munson.  The exciting Buddy Rich band is also on Don’s playlist along with Chick Webb, Bobby Troup, and a new duet with vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and Bloomington-Normal pianist John Campbell.

Radio Munson 6/8/17

Jun 9, 2017

There’s a lot of the 1940s in this week’s Radio Munson as Don spins platters by the Andrews Sisters, Cab Calloway, and the Mills Brothers.  Woody Herman sings the “G.I. Jive", while Doris Day croons “Sentimental Journey."

Radio Munson 5/18/17

May 19, 2017

Four harmonizing saxophones in Woody Herman’s 1947 jazz band recorded a song called “Four Brothers” and changed Woody’s fortunes for decades to come.  The record is on Don’s playlist for this week’s Radio Munson, along with Nicki Parrott (puh-ROT), Nat “King” Cole, Beth Hart, and pianist Freddy “Daddy” Slack plays “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar."

Radio Munson 5/11/17

May 11, 2017

The Mother of all “Battles of the Bands” took place in Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom 80 years ago on the night of May 11th, 1937.  Benny Goodman’s popular swing band set up on a bandstand on one side of the huge ballroom, while the Savoy’s “house” band, Chick Webb’s band held court on the other side of the dance floor.  The two bands volleyed back and forth for 5 hours that night, a tune from one and then a tune from the other.  Don takes us back to that night on this week’s Radio Munson.

Radio Munson 5/4/17

May 8, 2017

Duke Ellington’s famous orchestra recorded an instrumental on May 4th, 1940 that composer Ellington titled “Never No Lament".  You will recognize the old song when Don plays it on this week’s Radio Munson—it’s one of Ellington’s best, made more palatable when Duke gave it a new title.  Matt Monro is on Don’s playlist, too, along with the Merry Macs, Mel Torme’, and Sarah Vaughan live at the famed Mister Kelly’s Jazz Club on Chicago’s Rush Street.

Radio Munson 4/27/17

May 1, 2017

A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Harry James, Eartha Kitt, the Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Gene Harris Superband.

Radio Munson 4/20/17

Apr 20, 2017

Siblings star on this week’s Radio Munson with Freddy and Nat “King” Cole, Bing and Bob Crosby, the Boswell Sisters and the Dorsey Brothers, plus classics from Henry Mancini, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Sarah Vaughan.

Radio Munson 4/13/17

Apr 13, 2017

Some piano adventures on this week’s Radio Munson with Boogie Woogie great Meade “Lux” Lewis playing his signature “Honky Tonk Train Blues” and vibraphone innovator playing a romping tune on piano using only his two index fingers.  Mavis Rivers is on Don’s playlist, along with Leon Redbone, Billie Holiday, and your chance to do the ‘Shag” to the “Johnson Rag."

Radio Munson 4/6/17

Apr 6, 2017

There’s an anniversary salute to Duke Ellington's iconic “Satin Doll” on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Carmen McRae, Stan Kenton, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, Sarah Vaughan, and Count Basie’s salute to “April In Paris."

Radio Munson 3/30/17

Apr 3, 2017

Erroll Garner plays “Misty" for you on this week’s Radio Munson and that’s not all.  There’s Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Prysock, Louis Armstrong, Ann Hampton Callaway and a trip back to the red hot 1920s for a classic recording of “Everything Is Hotsy-Totsy Now." 

Radio Munson 3/23/17

Mar 27, 2017

British singer and icon Vera Lynn celebrated her 100th birthday Monday.  She is revered for helping hold a reeling Great Britain together during the bleak early years of World War II.  Don remembers Vera Lynn and plays her memorable song,”We’ll Meet Again” on this week’s Radio Munson, plus Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Sarah Vaughan, and more.

Radio Munson 3/16/17

Mar 21, 2017

There is a TV commercial currently playing nation-wide that uses the song “The Best Things In Life Are Free” as background.  But who’s recording is that?  Take a seat in New York’s famed Copacabana nightclub on this week’s Radio Munson and find out.  Judy Garland gets a jump on St Patrick’s Day with “It’s a Great Day for the Irish,”  Louis Armstrong contributes a vocal, and pianist Gene Harris plays “It Might As Well Be Spring."

Radio Munson 3/9/17

Mar 10, 2017

The Diva Jazz Orchestra is on this week’s Radio Munson along with Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the 1935 song by the Dorsey Brothers Band that caused brothers Tommy and Jimmy to go their separate ways as band leaders for the next 20 years.

Radio Munson 3/2/17

Mar 7, 2017

Don plays an all-time tenor saxophone solo on this week’s Radio Munson when he spins Coleman Hawkins’ recording of “Body and Soul.”  There’s also an exciting vintage track of Count Basie’s band rocking the famed Savoy Ballroom in 1938, featuring Lester Young and Jimmy Rushing; plus Ann Hampton Callaway, a pair of tunes from Curtis Stigers with the Danish Radio Big Band, and a trip into Central Illinois’ past with Tiny Hill, the biggest band leader of them all.

Radio Munson 2/23/17

Feb 25, 2017

There’s plenty of musical time travel on this week’s Radio Munson from Hollywood to New Orleans, from San Antonio to Chicago, and from Newport Rhode Island to the trenches in France during the First World War.  Drummer Buddy Rich punches your ticket opening Don’s show with “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)".

 

Radio Munson 2/16/17

Feb 17, 2017

Woody Herman’s Herd swings Radio Munson into gear this week, joined on Don’s playlist by the bands of Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ted Seems and Benny Goodman.  Bette Midler sings a swinger and so do Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and Betty Hutton, among others.

Radio Munson 2/9/17

Feb 9, 2017

“Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” is a song title but it’s also a statement on American life today.  Don Munson offers a couple of hours of “used to be” on this week’s Radio Munson.  Clark Terry does honors on “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, Sarah Vaughan sings “My Old Flame,” and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks play “Stardust,” as nostalgia rules the evening.

Radio Munson 2/2/17

Feb 3, 2017

The Boswell Sisters of the 1930s were like many of us today—when we get tired of the winter cold, we try to get away for a while. Unlike most of us, though, the Boswell girls opted to “Shuffle off to Buffalo.”  The Boswell Sisters are on this week’s Radio Munson, along with the Delta Rhythm Boys, who take the A Train, and Anita O’Day, who reports “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year."

Radio Munson 1/26/17

Jan 26, 2017

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli were both born during the 4th week of January—violinist Grappelli on January 26th, 1908, in Paris, and guitarist Reinhardt on January 23rd two years later in Belgium.  When the two jazz virtuosos signed on as the new house band at the Hot Club of France in the early ‘30s they made history founding a jazz genre that flourishes today.  Don features some “Gypsy Jazz” from the Quintet of The Hot Club of France on this week’s radio Munson.

Radio Munson 1/19/17

Jan 20, 2017

The term “Lounge Act” has become such a caricature in recent years that Don Munson thinks it is doing a gross injustice to the great artists who have flourished in small jazz clubs and lounges thru the decades.  So he’s inviting you to drop by the Radio Munson West Jazz Lounge this week to hear Bobby Troup, Carmen McRae, Matt Dennis, Ben Webster, Blossom Dearie, Gene Harris, and more.  It’s small group jazz at its best—not a big band in the house! 

Radio Munson 1/12/17

Jan 13, 2017

There’s a whole bunch of boogie boogie on this week’s Radio Munson, along with a song from the award-winning musical “La La Land,” the fight song of the football champion Clemson Tigers, a New Orleans rouser from Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, plus the big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton.

Radio Munson 1/5/17

Jan 5, 2017

Radio Munson comes swinging into 2017 with Ella Fitzgerald, Slim & Slam, Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles, the Pointer Sisters, Pokey LaFarge and, for good measure, Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Radio Munson 12/29/16

Jan 3, 2017

Sarah Vaughan is front and center for this week’s Radio Munson, along with Kay Starr, Mark Murphy, Jack Teagarden, and the big bands of Glenn Miller, Frankie Carle and Buck Clayton.

Radio Munson 12/22/16

Dec 23, 2016

Don dusts off some Holiday and Winter swingers for this week’s Radio Munson from the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Jo Stafford, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Steve Tyrell and Diana Krall. 

Radio Munson 12/15/16

Dec 15, 2016

Jimmy Rushing, Jane Monheit and Nat “King” Cole contribute to this week’s Radio Munson, along with jazz violinist Johnny Frigo, guitarist Joe Pass and stride pianist Jeff Barnhart, plus a tribute to bandleader Glenn Miller.

Radio Munson 12/8/16

Dec 8, 2016

Sammy Davis, Junior belts out a tune with the Basie Band on this week’s Radio Munson, along with classics from the bands of Stan Kenton and Sammy Nestico, swinging vocals from Ray Charles and Sarah Vaughan, a 1936 jewel from the Mills Brothers, and a track from the only album made featuring the Ellington and Basie bands together.

Radio Munson 12/1/16

Dec 1, 2016

Count Basie and Stacey Kent head this week’s Radio Munson playlist, along with the pairings of Slim and Slam, Supersax and LA Voices, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, plus a bonus roof-raiser from Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Radio Munson 11/24/16

Nov 24, 2016

Don Munson is pretty sure you’ll be ready to dive into the leftovers by 7 o’clock Thanksgiving night, so he’s serving up some musical leftovers on Radio Munson—songs by great artists that he has been meaning to play but hasn’t gotten to.  Count Basie offers a swinger called “Dinner With My Friends,” Nat “King" Cole and Johnny Mercer harmonize on “Save the Bones for Henry Jones,” and Diana Krall offers “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." 

Radio Munson 11/17/16

Nov 18, 2016

Radio Munson returns to Tucson this week and Don remains in awe of the Super Moon we’ve witnessed in recent days.  That calls for swinging take on “How High the Moon,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and ”On Moonlight Bay” from the bands of Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.  Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is also on the playlist along with sides from Erroll Garner, Dianne Reeves, and a duet by Ella and Satchmo.

Radio Munson 11/10/16

Nov 11, 2016

Don is back in The Friendly Confines for this Week's Radio Munson, swinging out from the GLT studios with the Duke Ellington and Les Brown bands, Blossom Dearie, Ernie Andrews and the Manhattan Transfer, plus Lionel Hampton's famous recording of "Ring Them Bells!"

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