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Music

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.

Sue Sadzak

Normal, Illinois seems an unlikely landing pad for the lead guitarist and songwriter of an iconic Canadian rock band.

"My wife Deanna is from here," said Honeymoon Suite's Derry Grehan before smiling a deep breath while scanning his brain for a 30-odd year ago memory. "We we were opening for Heart at the Peoria Civic Center, and we met at a record store that day."

Colin Brennan

Similar to how Robert Glasper infused hip-hop into his jazz on his 2012 Blue Note Records album "Black Radio," Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester use classical strings as the backbone to their hip-hop, rock, and bluegrass inflected major label debut "Stereotypes."  It's no coincidence Glasper makes more than a guest appearance.

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.

Nicole Weingart

As a teen phenom growing up in a city many consider the Mecca of blues and soul music, Eric Gales didn't quite understand what he was absorbing.

"Growing up in Memphis had an impact on me in ways I didn't realize until later in life," said Gales.  "It was a big part of growing up there.  A lot of blues and other styles were there.  And now it's grown into a whole lot of other styles.  I am very proud to have come from Memphis, but there are many other styles attributed to the city."

Singer-songwriter Nick Africano said songwriting is a craft he loves.

"As much as songwriting has been therapeutic for me in a way ... it has ultimately become something that I have taken great pleasure doing," said Africano.

Cody Diekhoff was clearly touched by the sentiments of Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles member Mike Klug that Diekhoff was central to a revitalized Bloomington-Normal music scene. 

Klug said "Ed (Anderson) and Cody took this town kicking and screaming against their will and made a scene our of nothing.  I feel they're just such  genuinely nice people, they made the scene."

Sheryl Clark / Sheryl Clark Productions

Normal based singer-songwriter Sara Quah said her mother is the force behind her love of books, writing, and words.

"She read all the time when I was a kid," said Quah.  "I always had a book.  I ALWAYS had a book.  And still do."

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)".

 

Jay Miller

Old Shoe guitarist and vocalist Matt Robinson thinks the general understanding of what an "old shoe" represents fits the band's persona.

"An old friend of mine used to call me 'an old shoe,'" said Robinson.  "I thought that was a cool name and the light bulb went on and thought it would be a great idea for a band name.  Shoes are fashionable, and the 'old shoe' fit the idea of us being a retro band as far as where our styles come from."

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.

Jon Norton / WGLT

The idea to "second line" through downtown Bloomington on Fat Tuesday came out of a brainstorming conversation.  Jazz UpFront owner James Gaston said he was talking with one of his employees about potential Mardi Gras events.

"She said we should have a big Mardi Gras party," said Gaston.  "We began bouncing ideas around, and I said 'we should get everyone on Front street involved and we could 'second line' down Front street with the band.'"

When Normal native Ryan Weisheit played the GLT Summer Concert in 2104 with Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers, he gushed at the time about the thriving "Hot Jazz" scene in his current home base of New York City.  Three years later, he said the scene is still growing, and wondering if the bubble will eventually burst.

"I wonder if there are going to be too many bands and not enough demand, but I think it's still at a pretty healthy ratio right now," said Weisheit.

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.

Jon Norton / WGLT

WGLT picked up a coveted "Keeping The Blues Alive" award presented by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.  GLT Morning Edition host and Music Director Jon Norton accepted the award for the station during the KBA awards luncheon February 3 at the Doubletree Hotel in Memphis. The ceremony coincided with the annual week-long "International Blues Challenge," where musicians from around the world compete for cash, prizes, and industry recognition.

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."

Nathan Bridges

On the pleasure/pain continuum, Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson of the Bloomington-Normal folk duo "Stone & Snow" concede the latter often wins out.

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.

Jamie Day

Psychedelic-rock in its late 1960's heyday was an attempt to enhance and replicate the effects of psychedelic drugs.  It was also a reaction to the social and political turbulence of that era.  Aesop Adams and Aaron Dooley of the Bloomington-Normal based psych-rock band Gay Neighbors see a correlation between the late 1960's and today.

Colin Marshall

Mucca Pazza ("Crazy Cow") founding member Rick Kubes said the forming of the 30-odd member marching band was organic.  He gives kudos to fellow founder Mark Messing, the band's original director, choreographer, and music director.

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.

Ryan Kindig

Brandon DaZ recalls playing beats and singing by the time he was barely one-year-old.  As the son of legendary Bloomington-Normal DJ Joe Beck, who has also been a drummer for a number of central Illinois bands over the last three decades, it's not surprising the apple fell close to his father's tree.

"From my Dad practicing with his bands and me going to his gigs, it was always music," said DaZ

Karen Bridges

Bloomington's Dan Hubbard recently made the transition from fronting his band "The Humadors" to solo artist. He has also adopted a storytellers point-of-view to his songwriting, crediting Tom Petty producer Ryan Ulyate, who he got to know by phone. 

"And when I was in L.A. doing a couple shows, he invited me to his house.  He listened to my stuff, critiqued me, and said I needed to consider something Tom does, which is tell more stories instead of talking about my feelings and what I'm doing," said Hubbard.

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.

Joe Borbely of Bloomington-Normal's Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles said Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam taught him to sing.

"As an awkward teenager, I recall listening to a lot of Pearl Jam.  They were the first band I connected with, so Eddie kind of taught me how to sing ... in my car.  I'm still learning how to let go of him and let myself be him," said Borbely.

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