Be sure to listen in this Monday at 2 as Just Plain Jazz chats with Donald Lacy, Jr., writer/actor/voice for The Miles Davis Experience, the multi-media show featuring Blue Note recording artist Ambrose Akinmusire that explores the music and times of Miles Davis from 1949 to 1959.
The Miles Davis Experience, an immersive performance that follows Miles' musical development as well as the challenges in post WW II-America for a black artist, kicks off its national tour on September 29 at the Englert Theater in Iowa City with a show co-sponsored by KRUU FM.
Mr. Lacy is renowned as an actor ("Jack" directed by Francis Ford Coppola, many TV shows, award-winning stage performances), comedian (HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" and his own CD's) and writer with a number of plays under his belt. He's also a longtime radio broadcaster since 1979.
Will we get around to playing some of Miles' music from Birth of the Cool up to Kind of Blue? You should know better than to even ask...
Generating our own stormy sounds, Just Plain Jazz will feature some of the fire-breathers of contemporary jazz, past and present, today. A little Trane, some Ayler, the Windy City titan Fred Anderson, the neglected pioneer Frank Wright and current standard-bearer Charles Gayle make up some of the featured artists.
Sparks will fly, so be sure to wear your safety glasses!
Sometimes a record label and its artists are so unique, so distinctive, that they can come to stand for a city or region and put an indelible stamp on that area's music. Detroit and Motown.
Memphis and Stax.
Chicago and Chess.
Crowley, Louisiana and ???
If you answered Excello, you already know the direction tonight's show will be taking. Excello and its producer J. D. "Jay" Miller were responsible for one of the greatest minor (how's that for an oxymoron?) niches in American music, the genre known as swamp blues.
Like liberty? Then you MUST listen to Just Plain Jazz this 4th of July as we celebrate the extraordinary freedom that jazz unleashed on an unsuspecting world in the early years of the 20th Century. Choosing the United States entry into World War II as our arbitrary cut-off date, we'll be concentrating on some of the most fertile years of jazz's explosive growth.
Lots of hot blowing, introductions of new instrumentation, refinements of styles, subtle revolutions, growth into artistic maturity and attempts to cash-in commercially will be crammed into 2 hours of Independence Day...frenzy!
Special bonus featured artist, Louis Armstrong, who claimed for all of his life to have been born on July 4, 1900 (he wasn't).
Born April 4, 1913, passed April 30, 1983.
Muddy Waters achieved a rare measure of success in his life - an entire genre of music would be inconceivable without him. Oh, there would still be blues music, there'd even still be Chicago blues of a sort, but his classic recordings and performances set the template for Chicago blues in a way that no other artist could match. And what fantastic artists passed through his bands!
Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, John Primer, Big Walter Horton, Sammy Lawhorn,Paul Oscher, Hubert Sumlin are just some of the talented bluesmen who spent time on the bandstand with Muddy.
Add in "guests" like Paul Butterfield, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and even more talented studio musicians and the list stretches further still. Add in the musicians who have been influenced by him or covered his music and we could go on all night. But we've only got an hour...
Maybe we should just declare the rest of April Muddy Waters Appreciation Month.
Tune in Saturday evening at 7 for more of the music that satisfies your troubled soul, 100% Blues that's guaranteed to melt the ice and snow around your cold, cold heart.
New additions to the Blues KRUUz library this week include some masterful Little Milton sides, raucous (yet sophisticated) jump blues from Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, "My Head is Bald" by Tail Dragger, captured live at Vern's Friendly Lounge in Chicago with Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell and Jimmy Dawkins, and an overflowing satchel full of harmonica greats ranging from Noah Lewis and Jazz Gillum to Snooky Prior and Little Walter.
All 33 1/3 r.p.m. records will be played at 78 r.p.m. just so we can squeeze more music in!
The man who launched a gazillion versions of "Dust My Broom" was one of the strongest singers and guitar players to bring the roots of the Mississippi Delta to the cutting edge urban center of Chicago.
We'll be listening to plenty of Elmore and lots of other artists who were profoundly influenced by him. Try to keep your balance as Blues KRUUz goes into sliding mode tonight!
Well, the calendar snuck up on me again and I find it's Christmas time. We'll take a break from
the blues for one night and play some close-family-relation gospel for an evening. There'll still be Mississippi Fred McDowell, Blind Willie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis, Brownie McGhee and other blues artists on tonight's show, but the secular music will take a back seat to songs with a more "up-lifting" message.
Some sacred steel guitar performances and old (and newer!) songs by gospel heavyweights like the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Soul Stirrers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe will round out the show.
Drive safe, stay warm and enjoy your friends and family!
Here's a special pre-holiday treat for KRUU listeners! This Saturday night at 7 Skunk River Medicine Show (Tom Morgan and George Foster) will drop by to preview songs from their new CD, share some stories, select some favorite tracks by other artists and get us in a bluesy mood for the holidays!
Tom was lucky enough to play with Rev. Gary Davis and Son House in years past and is sure to share some background on both men, but we'll also hear how Tom and George met and what led them to form Skunk River Medicine Show together.
"Miracle Music Cures Ills, Removes Stains"
We'll be doing our part on the Blues KRUUz tonight to keep the temperature hot, the pace torrid and the mood STEAMY as Jefferson County swelters in the July evening breezes.
With your eyes closed, and the right sounds coming out of your radio, you'll think you were smack dab in the middle of the Mississippi delta with the music of a guitar or a piano carrying over the fields. That music can conjure up an image of an evening spent celebrating - getting through another week, catching a big haul of fish, meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. It can be a friend when you're in need and can heal you when you're suffering.
No matter what your situation, whatever your mood, the blues is right there, nodding its head and saying, "Been there, done that and wrote a little song about it, goes something like this..."