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Radio Munson 4/7/16

Apr 8, 2016

Radio Munson does its best to answer a question posed by Tony Bennett on this week’s show when he sings “Are You Having Any Fun?”  Bob Dorough and Sammy Davis, Junior romp through some upbeat lyrics, and so do Stacey Kent and the Boswell Sisters.  There’s Woody Herman’s famous “Four Brothers” and Stan Kenton’s band plays the only known song dedicated to a car’s automatic transmission, “Dynaflow."

Dragan Tasic

"Paying your Dues" is a saying heard frequently in blues music.  Chicago's Toronzo Cannon has been doing that nightly for two decades ... while driving a CTA Bus during the day.  Cannon began his dues paying as a sideman with some of Chicago's big blues names.  He later formed his own band and worked his way through the city's club circuit, and eventually to large crowds in Europe and a label deal with Delmark Records. 

D.L. / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Chicago Blues Festival will include a celebration of the city's independent blues record label, Alligator Records, and a tribute to guitarist Otis Rush. The city announced the lineup Tuesday. The free festival runs June 10 through 12 in Grant Park. Shemekia Copeland and Curtis Salgado perform on the opening night in a salute to Alligator Records, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary. The second night's headline concert will be jazz and funk trombonist Fred Wesley and the New JBs. An all-star tribute to Otis Rush closes out the festival on the third night.

Trumpeter Randy Brecker Visits ISU

Apr 6, 2016
John Abbott

One of the most respected living jazz trumpeters is sharing his knowledge during an appearance at Illinois State University this Friday and Saturday during the school's jazz festival.

Blues singer-songwriter-performer Shari Puorto grew up in Connecticut listening to some of the great names in rock and blues, and was especially drawn to the intensity of Etta James. 

Radio Munson 3/31/16

Apr 1, 2016

Annie Ross, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, and Frankie Laine are among the vocalists on this week’s Radio Munson, plus the Ellington and Basie bands, the Hot Club of Cowtown, Fats Waller and more.

Peoria's Smokers Blues Band member Hal Duckett recently stopped by the GLT Studio's to talk with Jon Norton about band's debut album, titled "Roads Less Traveled."  He also talked about their recent trip to Memphis representing Peoria at the International Blues Challenge.  

Duckett says his brother introduced him to Blues through his record collection.  But he says he REALLY got the Blues ... in his car.  He says he was driving home from St. Louis ... and was listening to WGLT on his car radio.

Jean-Luc Bouchier

The latest album from Blues/Roots Rocker Peter Karp titled "The Arson's Match" is actually an over decade ago live date with former Rolling Stones member Mick Taylor.  In this Skype conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Karp details how he and Taylor met, and how as a teenager, he coincidentally found his calling at the "The Bottom Line," the same famous New York City nightclub where he recorded his new album shortly before the venue closed in 2004.

Radio Munson 3/24/16

Mar 28, 2016

There’s another eclectic lineup on this week’s Radio Munson with Norah Jones, Bob Crosby’s Bobcats, the Hot Club of Cowtown, and Leon Redbone, among others.  There’s a cool jazz version of Rogers and Hart’s song “Spring Is Here” and, before all is said and done, Oscar Peterson plays “Easter Parade.”

Elizabeth Geyer is an Australian singer/songwriter/instrumentalist who says creating albums can be a lengthy process for her.  She says she waited seven years after her last album to the record her latest.  In this Skype conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Geyer explains how she was inspired by Peoria multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Paul Adams to write and record her latest album, titled "The Bridge."

Matthieu Bitton

Dr. Lonnie Smith is now in his fifth decade of recording and performing as a solo act, and behind a virtual who's who of jazz legends.  Smith makes a stop in Chicago to play the Jazz Showcase this weekend (March 24-27). In a conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Dr. Smith says he remembers longing for a chance to make music from an early age.

Florian Levassort

Linsey Alexander's second album for Chicago’s Delmark Records is only his fourth as a solo artist.  WGLT's Jon Norton spoke with Alexander via phone at his home in Chicago to talk about his latest album titled “Come Back Baby” and about growing up in Memphis. 

They also talked about his live shows, which are often laden with flirtatious innuendo.

Carl Lender / Flickr

Livingston Taylor and his older brother James are polar opposites on the celebrity scale.  Though they have a similar vocal quality and share a love of well-crafted melodic pop songs, Livingston Taylor is about as anonymous as James Taylor is well known.  WGLT's Jon Norton caught up with Livingston Taylor in advance of his two Chicago appearances this weekend to talk about his anonymity.They also discussed his father’s alcoholism, and how it affected both brothers.

Radio Munson 3/10/16

Mar 10, 2016

Ella Fitzgerald invokes the coming Spring on this week’s Radio Munson with a classic Cole Porter song, along with swingers from Bobby Short, Blossom Dearie, and the Delta Rhythm Boys.  Don also plays a 1927 recording by Bix Beiderbecke on the iconic 1920s jazzman’s birthday, plus sides by the Buddy Rich and Artie Shaw bands.

http://www.oldsmokeband.com/

Bloomington's Old Smoke Band takes its musical cues from southern rock, blues, and country.  Band members say they're attempting to establish a local and regional fan base in an attempt to move the band to the "next level."  Front man and guitarist Adam Humphreys says he looks forward to playing BerniePalooza 2016 at the Castle Theater tonight (March 10), and has been 'feeling the Bern' for quite some time now.

Stone & Snow

Just because you don’t see the acoustic duo Stone & Snow on stage every week, doesn’t mean the band isn’t working. They just got the results of their entry for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. (See their video entry below) Clint Thomson and Karen Bridges, who are the core of Stone & Snow, said they’re not too upset or surprised they weren't selected. There were 6,000 entries.

IWU Historian Says George Martin Influence Huge

Mar 9, 2016
Google via Creative Commons

While not as famous as the band he was most often associated with, George Martin's impact on popular music is hard to overstate. Michael Weis, head of the Illinois Wesleyan history department, teaches several classes on 1960's music and culture. He says George Martin helped the Beatles change pop music.

"He was really an active collaborator on three of their greatest works, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band, and Magical Mystery Tour," said Weis

Delbert McClinton says as a young child in 1940's and 50's Texas, he knew music was going to be a huge part of his life. After six decades on the road and multiple Grammy awards to his credit, he says he's lived his dream.  That dream nearly ended two years ago when McClinton underwent triple bypass surgery. 

CAROL M. HIGHSMITH

Rick Hall has lived the mythical American story.

Radio Munson 3/3/16

Mar 3, 2016

There’s a bit of tap dancing on Radio Munson this week as “Fast Eddie” Francisco lets it fly with the Hot Sardines and a rousing version of “Honeysuckle Rose.”  Don also has vocals by Sammy Davis, Junior, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, and Rebecca Kilgore, swinging big band sides by Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman, plus Slim and Slam’s memorable hit from 1938 titled “Flat Foot Floogie (With the Floy, Floy)."

April Martin

When St. Louis based author, documentary filmmaker, theologian and activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou met Bay area educator, musician and arts administrator Jay-Marie Hill, they found they shared a common interest in social justice and blues, soul & gospel music. Seven months later they released an album titled "The Revolution Has Come" under the name "Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost."

Hill and Sekou tell WGLT's Jon Norton via Skype that they met in Cleveland at a Black Lives conference last summer.  Hill says when she and fellow conference attendees surrounded a police car after a 14 year old boy was arrested for what she characterizes as "sitting while black," it was Sekou who cleaned the police administered pepper spray from her face.

Ray Kennedy

Singer/songwriter Chris Knight still lives on the outskirts of his rural Kentucky hometown of Slaughters.  He says it's where he's comfortable, and where he writes honest, nuanced and unflinching sketches about the people he holds dear.  Knight returns to Central Illinois to play Boondocks Pub in Springfield Tuesday March 10. 

Radio Munson 2/25/16

Feb 26, 2016

Stacey Kent, Kurt Elling, Sarah Vaughan, and Kenny Rankin are among the vocalists on this week’s Radio Munson, along with the bands of Glenn Miller, Larry Clinton and Stan Kenton, plus a virtuoso solo of Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

jimmyburnsband.com

Former GLT Summer Concert headliner Jimmy Burns says if you want to test your blues chops, show up on a Monday night at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago's Loop.  Now a senior member of the Chicago blues scene, Burns hosts the weekly Blues Jam every other Monday night.  WGLT's Jon Norton recently caught up with Burns.  They talked about his brothers, the restaurant Burns once owned, and about his latest album on Delmark Records titled "It Ain't Right."  Burns says one song he wanted to get on the CD was the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me."

davealvin.net

Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin play the Castle Theater in downtown Bloomington Saturday March 5th.
 Many music critics credit the two for kicking off the American Roots Rock scene in the early 1980's with their band The Blasters.   As teens the brothers absorbed the recordings of now legendary blues, rockabilly and country performers, and as Dave Alvin tells WGLT's Jon Norton, they also frequented nightclubs that featured these bands in their hometown of Downey, in Southern California.

Alyce Jackson

Band members Dennis Bosley and Danny Meyers met when both played in an early incarnation of the Dave Chastain Band.  When members of that band went their own ways, Bosley and Myers created "Rooster Alley." 

Though the band has been an active part of the central Illinois live music scene for nearly a quarter century, their recordings are few and far between. 

Radio Munson 2/18/16

Feb 17, 2016

There’s some “Jumpin’ Jive” from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on this week’s Radio Munson, along with a 1936 Benny Goodman set featuring vocals by Helen Ward and Lionel Hampton plus Benny’s iconic recording of “Sing, Sing, Sing.”  Ann Hampton Callaway is on Don’s playlist along with piano great Art Tatum.

Chicago Jazz Store Closes

Feb 16, 2016
Doug Siefken / Facebook via Creative Commons

The Chicago shop that bills itself as the world largest purveyor of jazz and blues records has shut down. The Jazz Record Mart closed the shop Monday, minutes after a deal was completed to sell the business. Reno, Nevada-based Wolfgang's Vault, which buys and sells music, film and other cultural items, has acquired the store's inventory and the Jazz Record Mart name and web site. Owner Bob Koester, who began selling records in Chicago in the 1950s, said in January he put the business up for sale because of rising rent.

Ralph Weisheit

One of the musicians behind Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers is also now working with another New York City hot jazz band, "Jessy Carolina and The Hot Mess." Normal native and saxophonist Ryan Weisheit, along with vocalist Megg Farrell played the 2014 GLT Summer Concert in downtown Bloomington and their group continues to thrive in New York City's vibrant hot jazz scene. 

Radio Munson 2/11/16

Feb 12, 2016

Radio Munson makes a promise to take the chill off your Thursday evening with the Pointer Sisters’ rousing version of “Steam Heat,” plus Louis Armstrong’s rousing “Swing That Music, Johnny Hartman’s treatment of “Lush Life", and songs from two veterans of the vaudeville circuits—George Burns and Jimmy Durante.

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