Carmen McRae Tribute – 31 Jan – KCSM Pledge

Fred Witt | January 27th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

carmen-mcraeSinger Carmen McRae is remembered in this KCSM Pledge special. Carmen was born in Harlem, spent long periods in New York and Chicago, and performed internationally. Her early upbringing wasn’t easy.   She was an original talent and acquired fame in the volatile jazz years of 1940 to 1960, mixing in the art with the likes of Ellington, Basie, Shearing, Gillespie, and Armstrong, to mention more famous ones.

By her own word Carmen’s most formative artist was Billie Holiday.  They met in 1937, Carmen in teens, just at the start of performing and Billie in 20’s, and by then into 8 years of show business.  Billie was an even more original singer, changing music for the nation’s jazz listeners, and Carmen took off from Billie’s style.  Billie was so inspiring that Carmen almost always included something of Billie’s work in a performance.

Carmen’s signature “behind-the-beat” singing style and ironic interpretations of lyrics made her  influential.  When you listen to her tracks you hear her straight-ahead American singing, despite her Costa Rican/ Jamaican parentage.

Listen Saturday afternoon 2-6 pm, Jan 31 for the Carmen McRae Tribute with Mel & Dick on KCSM.

KCSM Pledge Special Programming – now playing

Ron Lee | January 24th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

71097_193349651122_1526328_nOur Winter pledge is underway so come join us! Sonny and Mel are playing Billie Holiday this morning. Listed below is what is happening for the next week.

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Billie Holliday Centenary

SATURDAY, 1/24, 10AM-2PM with Sonny & Mel
THURSDAY, 1/29, 2-6PM with Chuy & Mel

 

Feeling Good: The Nina Simone Story

SUNDAY, 1/25, 10AM-2PM with Keith & Mel
FRIDAY, 1/30 2-6pm with Chuy & Mel
Join Nina’s daughter, Simone and others who knew her well, for “Feeling Good…The NinaSimone Story”, like you’ve never heard it before, on Sunday, January 25thfrom 10AM to 2PM, and on Friday, January 30th from 2-6PM.

 

Milt Jackson, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet

SATURDAY, 1/31, 10AM-2PM, with Sonny & Mel
For over 40 years, The Modern Jazz Quartet mesmerized audiences and musicians alike, with their unique blend of Jazz and Classical music. Join Sonny and Mel as we pay tribute to the great Milt Jackson, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet, on Saturday, January 31st, from 10AM to 2PM.

Billie Holiday – KCSM Pledge 24 Jan 10-2 and 29 Jan 2-6

Ron Lee | January 24th, 2015 | 5 Comments »

792b0f5b8bd96bb75b1a3775aabbe669April 7 2015 is the 100 year birthday of Elenora Fagan or Billie Holiday. Her story has been told through many biographies and movies. I first learned about Billie Holiday through Diana Ross’s movie “Lady Sings the Blues”. I didn’t even know about her when I heard Credence Clearwater Revival do “God Bless the Child”. Once I discovered here I loved her music.

Lady Day got her start in the 1930s in Harlem. Lester Young nicknamed her Lady Day. She would go on to perform and record through her passing in 1959.You can find out more at her web site http://www.billieholiday.com/.

On Saturday, 1/24, 10AM-2PM with Sonny & Mel and Thursday, 1/29, 2-6PM with Chuy & Mel we will be honoring the centenary of Lady Day.

Listen to her last album.

 

The Nina Simone Story – 25 & 30 Jan – KCSM Pledge

Fred Witt | January 21st, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1950:  Photo of Nina Simone  Photo by Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesJazz & blues singer Nina Simone of North Carolina started at the classical piano, singing to keep her education going. If you sift through her songs over the early years look for influences like Johan Bach in her piano work! With a great voice she became one of our heartfelt blues & jazz singers. The civil protests of the 60’s loomed and entered her work (but did not completely take it over – the ballads of everyman’s heart are still there).

Tune in for the Nina Simone story Sunday midday, 10 am – 2 pm 1/25 with Keith & Mel and Friday afternoon, 2-6 pm 1/30 Chuy & Mel on KCSM.

Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln – 22 Jan – KCSM Pledge

Fred Witt | January 21st, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_01_19_Carmen_McRaeSongbirds Carmen and Abbey are remembered in this KCSM Pledge special.  Both are veterans of the 20th century and rose to places on the lists of jazz’s greatest singers.  Both brought great voices to our songs in the American jazz scene, and their early years are unique.  (Regrettably, little video is circulating for the early years.)

Carmen was born in Harlem, spent long periods in New York and Chicago, and performed internationally. Her co-performers read like an on-running marquee of towering jazz figures including Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Brubeck, Vaughn, Gillespie, Shearing, and many more.  Her signature “behind-the-beat” singing style and ironic interpretations of lyrics made her influential.  When you listen to her tracks you hear her straight-ahead American singing, despite her Costa Rican/ Jamaican parentage.

15_01_19_ALincolnAbbey was born in Chicago and performed widely, including long stretches in New York.  Abbey was fully into her career coming into the civil rights decade of the 60’s and put the activism into many of her works.  In her tracks you still hear her Chicago origins, and may hear the “rights” influence.

Listen Thursday afternoon 2-6 pm, Jan 22 for the Carmen & Abbey special with Chuy & Mel on KCSM.

3 Divas and a Tony! Bette Middler, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett – KCSM Pledge!

Ron Lee | January 21st, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

What a collection of talent is represented here. If we look at each artist

Bette Middle – She got her start in pop music in the early 1970s with her hit “Booglie Woogie Bugle Boy”. She progressed into careers in stage and film winning awards for “The Rose” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. Recently in 2003 and 2005 she released tribute albums to Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee.

Annie Lennox – Annie first achieved success with the Eurythmics with songs like “Sweet Dreams (are made of this)” and “Here Comes the Rain Again”. She went on to a highly successful solo career along with her charity work. She was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010 with the award of the Officer of the British Empire for her charity work. Her most recent album “Nostalia” has songs like “I Put a Spell on You”.

Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga is an American pop superstar and performance artist. Starting in 2008 with her hit debut album “Fame” Lady Gaga has produced a series of top recordings and tours. Recently she released an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennet and appeared on Tony’s second Duets album.

Tony Bennet – Tony, at 88, is the grand master of vocals and jazz. Tony got started in 1950 at Columbia record. He maintained a successful career as an American pop singer all till today. During the 1980s he record with pianist Bill Evans. His current success started in 1994 with his MTV Unplugged performance whose accompanying album went platinum. This led to recording like his Duets series where he sings with top contemporary artists. His latest album is a collaboration with Lady Gaga release in 2014.

The commonality for all these artists is a love of the jazz standards. I remember being very surprised when I first heard Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga sing “The Lady is a Tramp” on tony’s Duerts II recording. This was not the Lady Gaga I was used to hearing. It is a lot of fun to hear these artists perform well know standards and each one giving those songs their own unique spin.

Tune in and listen to –

“Looking for a great way to spend a Friday afternoon? Join Chuy and Mel for “3 Divas & A Tony”, our musical tip of the hat to Bette Midler, Annie Lenox, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, on Friday, January 23rdfrom 2-6PM.  “3 Divas & a Tony”, sure to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step!”

 

 

A Love Supreme at 50 – KCSM Pledge

Ron Lee | January 20th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

December 9th 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”. This recording is considered to be one of the major achievements of Coltrane’s career. A Love Supreme is not for everyone and it takes some careful listening to understand everything that is going on. It is very much like Thelonius Monk’s music. It grows on you over time. I am still trying to figure it out.
You can listen to part of Acknowlegement played live here

Tune in to KCSM to listen to “John Coltrane: The making of a Love Supreme” on Wed 12 Jan from 2-6 with Chuy and Mel and again on 1 Feb from 10-2 with Keith and Mel.

KCSM Winter 2015 Pledge! – Special Programs starting Jan 21

Ron Lee | January 17th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

71097_193349651122_1526328_nWelcome to the Winter 2015 Pledge Drive. During the Pledge drive we bring to you special programming highlighting significant jazz events and artists. This year we are leading off on Jan 21st with the 50th Anniversary Tribute to John Coltrane’s masterpiece “A Love Supreme”. For the two and a half week period from Jan 21 – Feb 3 tune in to the KCSM Pledge Drive.

Over the coming weeks we will be posting more info about the special programming so click on the icons below to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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50th Anniversary Tribute to a Love Supreme

WEDNESDAY, 1/21, 2-6PM with Chuy & Mel
SUNDAY, 2/1, 10AM-2PM with Keith & Mel
Mos Def anchors a 50th Anniversary Tribute to John Coltane’s “A Love Supreme” on Wednesday, January 21st from 2-6PM with Chuy and Mel and on Sunday, February 1st from 10AM to 2PM with Keith and Mel

Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln

THURSDAY, 1/22, 2-6PM With Chuy & Mel

 

3Divas and a Tony!
Bette Midler, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

FRIDAY, 1/23, 2-6PM with Chuy & Mel
Looking for a great way to spend a Friday afternoon? Join Chuy and Mel for “3 Divas & A Tony”, our musical tip of the hat to Bette Midler, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, on Friday, January 23rdfrom 2-6PM. “3 Divas & a Tony”, sure to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step!

 

Billie Holliday Centenary

SATURDAY, 1/24, 10AM-2PM with Sonny & Mel
THURSDAY, 1/29, 2-6PM with Chuy & Mel

 

Feeling Good: The Nina Simone Story

SUNDAY, 1/25, 10AM-2PM with Keith & Mel
FRIDAY, 1/30 2-6pm with Chuy & Mel
Join Nina’s daughter, Simone and others who knew her well, for “Feeling Good…The NinaSimone Story”, like you’ve never heard it before, on Sunday, January 25thfrom 10AM to 2PM, and on Friday, January 30th from 2-6PM.

 

Milt Jackson, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet

SATURDAY, 1/31, 10AM-2PM, with Sonny & Mel
For over 40 years, The Modern Jazz Quartet mesmerized audiences and musicians alike, with their unique blend of Jazz and Classical music. Join Sonny and Mel as we pay tribute to the great Milt Jackson, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet, on Saturday, January 31st, from 10AM to 2PM.

 

Fareed Haque – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sun 18 Jan

Fred Witt | January 12th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_01_10_KCSM_FHaqueFareed Haque, a senior performer of Pakistani & Brazilian parents grew up in Chicago, and later studied in Texas. He proved to be a jamband player of many sources and forms.  Fareed has released recordings on and off over 25+ years.

Fareed brings a lot of new age jazz music to us with plenty of fast and easy listening; music sometimes fast, sometimes easy, and sometimes both.  He has been touring the Chicago area clubs and music venues the end of this past year.  Try some of Fareed’s tracks and shows here for your own listening.

On Sunday 18 January Chris Cortez interviews Fareed Haque at 8 am on the I’m Talkin’ Jazz program talking about his guitar music career.

Bill Evans – I’m Talkiin’ Jazz – 11 Jan

Ron Lee | January 7th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

Bill-Evans4Just before he died Bill Evans spoke with KCSM’s Dick Conte when he was working at KJAZ radio. Bill Evans is known as the pianist on Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue LP. This was only a small fraction of his work. Bill’s career in jazz spanned from the mid 50 through the late 70s. Later on he joined the Miles Davis septet and was a major player in Mile’s modal period in the late 1950s. His most well know group was his trio with Paul Motion and Scott LeFaro founded in 1959. From that group came several great recordings like Bill’s first LP Portraits in Jazz. Bill continued to play and produce significant recordings through his passing in the late 1970s.

Listen to Bill play his standard “Waltz for Debby”.  You can find out much more about Bill Evans at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Evans and on You Tube.