Jaco Pastorius – 10 May 2pm-6pm

Ron Lee | May 2nd, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

jaco-pastorius-1024x427Jaco Pastorius is considered to be the Jimi Hendrix of the electric bass guitar. He developed many of the advanced techiques and use of a fretless bass. His music gained fame when he was a member of the group Weather Report. He joined Weather Report after encountering member Joe Zaiwinul and impressing him with his talent and compositions. Jaco joined the group as they recorded Black Market. Jaco spent several years with Weather Report and then broke out on his own. He would do several solo projects with artists like Joni Mitchell, Dave Sanborn, Al Di Meola, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira.

Below is one of Jaco’s concert staples that he played through out his career.

Betty Carter – 12 May 2pm-6pm

Ron Lee | May 1st, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

430px-CarterBetty19861025A long time ago the first time I heard Round Midnight was when a radio host on the old KRE radio station played it every night as his opening themse song. As with all newer jazz listeners it took awhile to understand Thelonius Monk and Betty Carter’s interpretation. But eventually I got it.

Betty Carter was born in Detroit and started singing at the age of 16. She would sit in on gigs for the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billy Eckstine when they played Detroit. In 1948 she joined Lionel Hampton’s band in NY. She sung with Miles Davis in the late 50s and Mile referred her to Ray Charles. It was with Ray Charles she got her first hit with “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. She struggled though the 60’s and in the late 60’s she founded her own label Bet-Car records. You can find some of her best work on these records. Betty continued to perform and record headlining her own group. One of the things she is noted for is her students. She hired musicians like Cyris Chesnut, Mulgrew Miller, Dave Holland and Benny Green. She was responsible for a whole generation of top musicians. Her legacy continues with the JFK Center for the Performing Arts Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency, performances and componsition work.

On Thurs 12 May from 2pm – 6pm Chuy and Mel will be playing the music of Betty Carter.

The Meters 9 May 2pm-6pm

Ron Lee | May 1st, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

Not a lot of people know about the New Orlean funk band called “The Meters”. So listen to this first.

What do you think? This is off their first LP released in 1969. The Meters are know for fusing the second line rhythms of New Orleans with their funk sound. Commercially The Meters were the house band for Sansu Records and appeared on recording by Allan Toussaint, Dr John, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney and others who recorded at Sansu Records. Listening to the music and you can hear how they influenced the funk bands of the 70s and 80s. The musicians that formed the Meters are still around and there are several spin off groups still playing this great music.

Join Chuy and Harry on Monday from 2pm-6pm as they explore the music of the Meters. Then on Fri 13 May from 9-midnight Kathleen and Harry  will be back with the Meters and Elmore James during Crazy About the Blues.


Blues Harmonica Charlie Musselwhite – Friday 06 May 2016

Fred Witt | May 1st, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

16_04_22_KCSM_CMusselwhiteCharlie Musselwhite, veteran blues performer, was born in Mississippi into a musical family.  Charlie was playing music even as he was starting school.  He went through his teens with the start of Rock & Roll.  Barely into his 20’s, Charlie had been through Chicago, and then had discovered California, moving to San Francisco.

Musselwhite is a dyed-in-the-wool blues player with a wide following, and is pretty easy listening.  If you’re in the audience for “smooth jazz” (i.e. you can still tell the melody) he could be a man for you.  Try some of his work here with “Mississippi Beat Part I” “Blues in A“, “Darkest Hour“, and “Blues Why Do You Worry Me.”  He is nationally celebrated, with awards several times over, numerous releases, and even into movies (Blues Brothers 2000).

Join Kathleen and Greg between 9 pm and midnight Friday May 6 for a program about Charlie’s blues harmonica career.

Big Blues Voices Maybelle (Smith) and Joe Turner – Friday 06 May 2016

Fred Witt | May 1st, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

16_04_22_KCSM_BMaybelleBig Maybelle from Tennessee started as a child in gospel and in time moved along to blues.  She had a big voice, and could chose to really belt out, or sing music in great melody. Maybelle performed and lived to be a veteran of the 20th century, with a great list of releases.

Try some of the surviving tracks of Maybelle’s songs here: a booming “I’m Getting ‘Long Alright“, and a delightful melody, “Candy.”

16_04_23_KCSM_JTurner“Big Joe” Turner, from Mississippi went through a great career arc in the 1900’s.  He started in Blues, went forward through pop and Rock & Roll, and in the ’60’s pulled back into the Blues.  He was considered a master of traditional Blues verses and could spin them out the whole night.  He was entitled the “Boss of Blues” and came out with a release of the same name.  Here are some samples of Joe, with a 1965 UK Show, and work from his album “Boss of The Blues.”  (The UK show seems to start out Rock & Roll, but with a little patience it moves forward to Blues.)

Join Kathleen and Greg between 9 pm and midnight Friday May 6 for a program about Maybelle’s and Joe’s blues music, along with Charlie Musselwhite’s blues harmonica.

Charlie Christian Centennary – Fri 06 May 2016

Fred Witt | April 30th, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

Charlie-Christian1Charlie Christian, trailblazing jazz guitarist was born 100 years ago in Texas in 1916. While he died young, in his mid-twenties, Charlie’s talent was swift enough to make his mark by then. Interestingly, Christian looked good to Benny Goodman, whose band undoubtedly was a vehicle for Christian’s progress.

His arresting guitar playing launched jazz on two different steps forward at once. Charlie picked up on electric guitar at just over age 20. His playing proved to be so good that he carved out a shelf for electric players in the jazz world. His “hot” rhythmic style was also entertaining enough to open the door for jazz to move from then swing toward the future’s bebop.

While Charlie’s music could be things we recognize from “having heard way back,” it’s still entertaining for a lot of folks. Try some samples here: Swing To Bop, and Stompin’ At The Savoy. Christian passed away in only a few years, at age 25, but his talent had already made it’s mark.

Join Alisa and Ron between 7 and 10 am Friday May 6 for a full sweep of Charlie’s historic music.

Unesco International Jazz Day Sat 30 April – live stream of White House concert

Ron Lee | April 29th, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

4eaaca2ad4A special event is going on tomorrow Sat April 30. If you are lucky enough to be in the Washington DC area the events start with a free concert in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. Performances by Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and more go on all day till 8pm.

For the rest of us on the web there will be a live stream Saturday evening 9pm EDT. Highlights will be broadcast on ABC TV on Sun May 1 at 8pm EDT. From the International Jazz Day web site:

The All-Star Global Concert at the White House will feature stellar performances by Joey Alexander,Terence Blanchard, Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Brönner, Terri Lyne Carrington, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Robert Glasper, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock,Zakir Hussain, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Lionel Loueke, Hugh Masekela, Christian McBride, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, James Morrison, Danilo Pérez, Rebirth Brass Band,Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Sting,Trombone Shorty, Chucho Valdés, Bobby Watson, Ben Williams and others, with further details to be announced shortly. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

The host city for International Jazz Day is Washington DC this year. This event is the finale for Jazz appreciation month. You can learn about International Jazz Day at their web site http://jazzday.com/. Events have been taking place all across the world. The sponsor for International Jazz Day is UNESCO. Thank you!


Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Thursday 05 May 2016

Fred Witt | April 29th, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

16_04_19_KCSM_cinco-de-mayoCome celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Chuy and Melanie on  the Thursday afternoon, May 5th.  (Cinco de Mayo theme song…)  Listen the great Mexican performers of modern jazz Santana and Cal Tjader, among others.  For samples, try Guajira Candela or El Sonido Nuevo for Cal Tjader, or Oye Como Va for Carlos Santana.

Tune in as well  to see what special gifts that Chuy has planned. Help support KCSM and celebrate with Chuy and Melanie from 2-6pm on Thursday May 5th.

Miles Ahead, the Miles Davis movie 6 May Fri 2pm-6pm and & 7 May Sat 10am-6pm

Ron Lee | April 24th, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

miles_aheadAs a long time Miles Davis fan the Miles Ahead movies was very nicely done. After previously reading the Miles Daivis autobiography I knew what the scenes were portraying and how they fit in. There were scenes with his two great quintets. It was interesting to see how they cast actors to represent the muscicians.They also did a scene where Miles gets beat up by NYC police.

The music in the film were the real recordings and there was a substantial section of the credit calling out the recordings. All the classics like So What, Sketches of Spain, Solea, etc. were there. The soundtrack album has all the cuts plus some of the movie diaglogue. The last scene was a live concert with appearances by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. The nusic definitely set the scene for the movie.

The storyline was faithful to Mile’s life. Some of the scenes felt like they were enhanced for the movie. Overall this is a great movie for a jazz and Miles fan. I do recommend reading Mile’s autobiography if you are interested in the details and how things fit together. I am going to go back and reread it while listening to Mile’s albums.

On Fri 6 May Chuy and Mel will be covering Miles Davis and the Miles Ahead movie. Sonny, Mel, Dick and Kathleen will be doing the same on Sun 7 May. Listen in!

Miles Davis Miles Smiles and Kind of Blue 4 May 2pm-6pm and 16 May 2-6pm

Ron Lee | April 20th, 2016 | Leave a Comment »

Miles SmilesWhy are these two albums so interesting to listeners? Relative to Miles Davis they represent works from his two quintets. Kind of Blue comes from the first great quintent and has Mile Davis, trumpet, John Coltrane, tenor sax, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers, base and Jimmy Cobb, drums. Wikipedia provides a thumbnail history of Kind of Blue at Kind of Blue. Kind of Blue is considered one of the gateway recording for non-jazz listeners. The pieces are melodic and swing. A lot of people talk about hearing Kind of Blue, So What or Freddie the Freeloader and asking what’s that?

In 1966 Mile came back with his second great quintet. Here he features Herbie Hancock, piano, Wayne Shorter Saxaphone, Ron Carter, base and Tony Williams, drums. On Miles Smiles there are ballads like Circle, Wayne Shorter’s Footprints and Eddie Harris’s Freedom Jazz Dance. All of these songs are jazz standards.

Find a copy of both, preferably vinyl, and play them through and listen. You will be well rewarded.