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It's almost difficult to write about someone who is your friend - who you have seen grow and flourish over the course of several years. Kerensa Gray is that and a mink coat :) She first came to visit yours truly when we were face-to-face at my former radio station. She had to make the trek from her cozy house in Pennsylvania to unknown territory in Maryland. But she went the distance the way she does ALL things: fearlessly.
As a middle school student, Kerensa showed a great deal of promise via the violin. So much so that she played in the Frostburg State University Orchestra during those tender years. Through the course of playing so much music and so often, she discovered that she had a voice. And there was no stopping her motivation to become the best that she could be. With discipline and an unbelievable array of gigs during the time that I've known her, Kerensa has truly made a name for herself. We've covered two albums during previous visits - the last was "Bliss" (and it was!). This time, we'll focus on her new "Take Me In." She covers beloved standards in the way that she knows how: with the knowledge and love of Jazz, with the innate Blues and Gospel that she feels - and with Folk and Smoke combined. You'll hear and you'll KNOW.
Kerensa was the last winner of the annual Billie Holiday Vocal Competition that was an important reason why attendees visited Artscape in Baltimore. They let that event go, sadly - but Kerensa is still known for that remarkable honor. It has paved the way for lovely musical associations with some of the greats in the business. But, to really get a feel for what she can do, see her when she headlines. Especially in intimate gatherings when she can let her hair down and sink her teeth INTO a song. That's the Kerensa I know! Join us at ONE on 1/12!
It's so good to have Lin Rountree back on the show! He was one of our FIRST guests on "Hybrid Jazz" in 2011 - and so much has happened since then, right? Hah! When Lin was visiting then, we discussed "Soul-Tree." Because it was so popular, it created a new world for our phenomenal trumpeter. He was already equipped with all he needed in the music business - because of his training at Florida A & M. He learned to "practice, prepare and perform" with discipline balanced with passion. And it was a LONG road to get to 2011, believe it - but that particular year was pivotal. it paved the way for a headline event in Dubai, way more attention from major venues (and other artists), and an eventual partnership with a record label.
The story of Lin Rountree starts before that, of course. At 11, he was on trumpet. He was blessed to attend classes at The Duke Ellington School of the Arts - and the aforementioned FAMU. That's where he developed his love for jazz, inspired by the great trumpeters. As part of the famed "Marching 100", Lin honed skills that would prepare him for arduous nights in his then adopted city of Detroit. That's where he discovered that trumpet solos and R & B didn't quite go hand-in-hand. So, what do you do? You form your OWN band - and eventually own the CITY! That's what happened with Lin's Up Close Band - it became THE group to see. In those days, live bands that got that much buzz were noticed and signed. That first label for Lin was great while it lasted. His compositions were noticed as well as his playing. One of those who took note back then was George Duke :) Let's celebrate ALL of Lin's journey when he visits on 1/19 - and play tracks from "SoulFunky." We'll also talk about his upcoming Blues Alley show!
You may have just viewed a brief description of Renee Rosnes within the parameters of this page. Trust and believe, you cannot be BRIEF when describing her talent! She has been noted as both pianist and composer for a long time - and we bless the day that she moved to New York from Vancouver in order to facilitate her reputation :)
Renee is also an arranger - please make note. And she is The "Go-To" goddess on keys for the filet mignon of artists within Jazz circles. Joe Henderson, Buster Williams, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson. They'll TELL you. James Moody asked her to join his elite circle of musical friends in 1989. Renee was with his band until his passing in 2010.
As well as her own endeavors, Renee has taken part in grand events that would exhaust mere mortals. She has been music director for prestigious affairs (one in particular comes to mind to honor her late, beloved boss, James Moody). She has produced at Lincoln Center, has been involved with the SF Jazz Collective, has interviewed for the "Jazz Times", and has hosted her own radio show for Canada's CBC.
Please let her website do the talking, though. One perusal at her "performances" page and you'll see the kinds of company that she keeps. With Jimmy Greene, with Cecile McLoren Salvant, Anat Cohen, Ingrid Jensen, Terri Lyne Carrington, and a mainstay in her life: Ron Carter. One of the most wonderful decisions that Renee has made in her career is to consciously seek out those with whom she has a connection - rare legends have asserted that they have a connection with RENEE. It's no surprise that this amazingly intuitive artist has won multiple Juno Awards. With a birthday coming in March - and with all of these fabulous CD release shows, there is MUCH to celebrate! Join us on 2/9 - and we'll do JUST that!
Noted and experienced Automotive Journalist ALAN GELL recently had a brand-new 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid for a week-long test-drive, courtesy of the manufacturer.
During this session, which was pre-recorded for broadcast on KBPC-FM Pine Country Radio in East Texas, Alan discusses and reviews his observations and driving impressions of this luxury, flag-ship, 4-door sedan.
First, it's good to take the opportunity to say thank you to Michael Stover for the introduction to Kinderjazz :) How WONDERFUL that, close on the heels of me saying I'd love to focus on Music Education, here comes the news of a big band specifically geared to kids? Here's what grabbed yours truly about Kinderjazz: they don't believe that childrens want "sound bites." They (I'll get to who THEY are soon) believe that young minds want to soak up the musical information the way that adults do. With more interest, possibly. Children want the experience of sound and instruments. This 12 piece Big Band gives it to them - with passion and devotion.
Dr. Christobel Llewellyn and David Llewellym are the beautifully involved creators of Kinderjazz. In 1997, they formulated an idea that children could be encouraged to reach their full potential through live music. How incredible! They have been SO active since then that seven albums have been recorded. The most recent is the one that we'll discuss on the next episode of "Hybrid Jazz." Get ready to be delightfully surprised! Latin, Ragtime, Swing, Blues - stunning Jazz - it's all here. You might want to ponder the notion that Kinderjazz has re-created the concept of family entertainment. This array of caring and motivated musicians have sold-out the Sydney Opera House time after time. Dr. Llewellyn has been Australia's Citizen of the Year - so profound has been her impact in her country.
THIS radio host has made a commitment to Music Education in 2016. And there's no better way to focus on that than with this stunning ensemble of talent. The ONLY Jazz Big Band for children :) My, how we'll relish discussing children becoming enlightened and inspired via JAZZ! Join us at two p.m. Eastern USA time.
If you peruse www.desotoguitar.com, you will see a LOT of information about Jay Soto - our next guest on "Hybrid Jazz." And it's fascinating. Not only an intense guitarist, but a composer/arranger/producer/pianist/music instructor/Church music director - well, it will make you dizzy :)
Through his respected career, Jay has had associations with a myriad of other artists who recognize his unique passion on that guitar. Fluidity. Fearlessness AND reverence. He has played with Acoustic Alchemy, Everette Harp, Candy Dulfer, Jeffrey Osborne and more. Because of his palatable ideas transformed into songs, his music has been heard on HBO and NBC. He has also had the honor of being a Grand Finalist in the "Guitarmageddon" competition, one of the most awesome in the world. Jay performed in front of 15,000 people at Eric Clapton's Crossroads GuitarFest in Dallas, Texas. That huge victory, combined with his success on Contemporay Jazz charts, have defined him somewhat. But this deeply spiritual man will tell you that what TRULY makes him the talent and the person that he is - is God. Jay's Catholic faith is at the epicenter of "Veritas" - a new album that will enable you to feel his belief - whether YOU believe or not. Soaring, serene, thrilling in its scope and lovingly pieced together, this work is unapologetic, totally authentic and blissfully one-of-a-kind :) Get to know Jay. To do so may change the way that you perceive your new year ahead.
An aside: we may have a surprise for you regarding this show or another this week - stand by! 2015 continues to throw us curve balls - this one is pretty sweet! We'll see you at ONE p.m. Eastern - on 12/29 - in The Chat Room.
First, let's thank awesome promotions "star", Jason Gorov, for the introduction! Jason sent "Let Me" by Kenya in 2015 and yours truly listened HARD. That song popped off the page. Then, hearing other tracks from "My Own Skin" was more confirmation. During the holiday season, our guest's take on "Little Drummer Boy" knocked dozens of socks OFF all over the country and the world. Kenya was on a mission to convey that treasured piece in HER way - and we felt the emotion.
This enterprising artist has been working hard for some time. Not only a superb vocalist (trained by the same legendary coach as Dianne Reeves), Kenya is also a songwriter, clinician, educator and Mom. She knows how to balance the plates in the air - and shows up EARLY, if you dig what that means ;)
A native of Denver, this powerhouse had a Dad who made SURE that she appreciated Jazz. Calvin McGuire used to be a drummer and worked alongside Marvin Gaye. Growing up, she heard Billie and Grover - but she also was drawn to Minnie Riperton and Stevie Wonder. HE was a true inspiration. Jazz, Soul and Pop/Rock - Kenya appreciated The Police and Robert Palmer, too. Her love of music and her ability resulted in participation in city-wide choirs in middle school. At Howard University in D.C., she was involved in the esteemed Gospel choir there.
With a Bachelor's in Physical Therapy and a Masters in Counseling and Student Development, she had all the tools that she needed to succeed financially. But she missed music. A life-changing retreat in Sedona, Arizona, paved her renewed spiritual journey. After two EPS - now, "My Own Skin", Kenya is exactly where she needs to be. Success on multiple charts is God's way of letting her know that the world is READY! Join us on 2/2 - and meet Kenya!
You must surely have heard some kind of background by now. Pieces of a Dream is LEGENDARY all over the world. How could we not know something about Cedric Napoleon, James Lloyd or Curtis Harmon - the nucleus of how the group started? James has been with us a few times on "Hybrid Jazz" - now it's time to get another view of the band's journey from Curtis. It was such a thrill to spend time ONSTAGE with Curtis and James (and Gerald Veasley!) when they played in Wilmington this past Summer. It made yours truly appreciate the full depth and breadth of their energy and artistry - AND improvisational skills!
Curtis comes from a family of music and he started on drums early: at eight. With formal lessons two years later. Not many years after, he met James - and they knew enough about chemistry to pool their resources. In 1976: Voila! Pieces of a Dream was born. A song title from Michel Legrand - performed by Stanley Turrentine - and ALSO by the youthful ensemble :) To say that POOD came at us hard and heavy might be an understatement. Playing in the tri-state area - including our City of Brotherly Love - they were heard on Temple University's WRTI - then tapped to be the house band on the local TV show, "City Lights."
That's when Grover Washington, Jr., saw them - and did a double take. Sitting in with his "mentees" one night at the Bijou, the stars aligned. Grover knew that he would form a production company and SIGN those Bad Boys. From the 80's until NOW, Pieces of a Dream have been grooving, moving and mastering every angle of Contemporary Jazz. And, if you're blessed to be in the Mid-Atlantic extended region, you'll see just how far they've come - when they star at Ram's Head in Annapolis on 12/18! Let's support GREATNESS!
Direct Primary Care is growing and groaning. What drives it? What goes into the development of the DPC culture? Is there a culture of DPC? "A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next." one internet definition.
Models of DPC include "Pure", Mixed and Hybrid. I'll define Mixed during the show.
Who is doing it and how does it come together?
The DPC Summits help to anchor the movement. July 8-10 in Kansas City is the next national one.
Our Ohio UnSummit seeks to help with the development of the Ohio DPC culture. I'll discuss the UnSummit (Feb 20th in Dublin, OH) and shamelessly promote it during the show.
It's so wonderful to welcome back Veronica Nunn! Not only a tremendous talent, but a Friend with a capital F :) One of the coolest stories that yours truly has heard since hosting this show: a young girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, decides to move to The Big Apple. Completely focused, she lands a job and an apartment in two days! Within a year or so, she meets George Walker, AKA "Big Nick." And this beloved legend gave V the tools that she needed to thrive in New York. He made SURE that everybody knew who she was. So, her beautiful journey began. Singing at clubs all over town - while learning the ropes from seasoned pros. And OH those pros! Veronica has worked with an incredible array: from Eddie Harris to Sting.
But here's the thing about Veronica. As much as she wanted to become involved in the music scene in the city of her dreams, she also wanted to explore her horizons in other ways. She turned down TWO scholarships - from Berklee and Julliard - in order to pursue Theology at Lehman College in the Bronx. That says quite a bit. V has been immersed in her Buddhist faith for quite some time - and it has guided her through some challenges in life that would have toppled others. She sees a thread in the universe that sews people together. And she knows that she is blessed to have a gift in music to enhance that unity.
After being seriously involved in various musical endeavors from the 70's to the 90's, Veronica was asked to join Michael Franks and his band. What a wonderful collaboration that has been! Their voices have blended seamlessly for as long as my only son has been on this earth. And V made it a point to honor her boss by giving us "The Art of Michael Franks."
ART is what Veronica Nunn does. Even when she speaks :) Listen on 1/28 and you'll hear
The incredibly busy Ginger Murphy started her music journey early - studying both piano and cello before she was ten! A course of study in Cello performance at Northwestern University paved the way for absolutely golden opportunities. Ginger found herself touring and performing with presitgious ensembles and string quartets, culminating in the All American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World in Orlando. She was offered a position in the Disney Big Band - and that infused this eager musician with a love for all genres and styles of music. THAT inspired her to make a move to Los Angeles to pursue life as a studio musician. Because that became so wise a decision, Ginger gave a lot of thought as to how this positive path happened. And she gives her parents full credit for exposing her to Chicago public schools - which offered orchestral music programs when she was attending. She has given back so much to other students as a result. Even maintaining a studio in Los Angeles to mentor young artists on THEIR way :)
Ginger can be heard on so many musical projects that it's hard to list them ALL - we're talking over 200! Some of those with whom she has shared "space" include household names. Here's one of those names: she just finished the latest season of "The Voice." That's why she can do 12/22 on "Hybrid Jazz!" The places she has seen, the roads she has traveled, the contracts that she has put together for live events (for Peter Gabriel, Josh Groban, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra!) - it's all staggering. But almost nothing can compare to the satisfaction that she feels when she works with her multi-talented husband, Stevo Theard. Stevo and Ginger have created the Sun Soul Orchestra - and you'll hear tracks from this superior work when Ginger visits - on our "Christmas Show." :)
What a ball to have Jonathan Widran visit us again! Our L.A. Connection has much on his plate - he's a sought-after professional in a number of ways. Jonathan has interviewed hundreds of celebrities - those who are considered Pop and Rock legends. And beloved artists in the world of Jazz. As well, he is keenly observant of what happens in the film industry - having spoken to a studio executives and actors alike. As a member of NARAS for years, he also knows the inner workings of all facets of music. Did I mention that he has a GREAT reputation? You might hear that again ;)
Growing up in Chicago, our guest fell in love with music early in life. He couldn't help it. Knowing his Mom the way many of us do, she made sure that her little boy heard truly fabulous artistry. He especially gravitated to 70's & 80's Pop (Elton John a favorite!) - and his sister laid down the law concerning required listening: to Motown and Philly Soul.
With his sights set on writing, Jonathan graduated from UCLA. Two years later, he was at the Catalina Jazz Trax Festival and the ball started to roll concerning his future. Ideas were exchanged about the growing popularity of Contemporary Jazz - conversations that blossomed with good friend, Dan Margulies. He was the pivotal force that introduced Jonathan to talents like The Rippingtons, David Benoit, and Bill Bergman (you remember the glorious sax from "You Belong to the City?") Blissfully, these convos turned into action. And Jonathan found himself writing for important publications that made a difference in every day lives. About entertainment, leisure, happenings in Los Angeles that readers needed to know - most especially when it came to MUSIC.
The resume is LENGTHY - let Jonathan tell you about it when he visits at one p.m. Eastern on 1/21 - you're gonna be WOWED by the visit!
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