Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 24, 2006 Slide Trombone & Jazz Guitar
On Melva's Musings on Jazz this week, I was honored to have Robert Trowers, jazz trombonist and faculty member at NC Central University's Jazz Studies Program, and Baron Tymas, jazz guitar player and also on the faculty at NCCU, on my show. Robert and Baron had both participated in and helped organize the inaugural Jazz Summit at NCCU this weekend. Even though Robert and Baron had played late into the night last night as part of the jazz jam following the Jazz Summit, they still were up for playing the full two hours of my show. On my show I feature the sounds and music of NC jazz musicians of both the past and the present. And my favorite show is always having musicians come into the WCOM studio, and play live on the air.

Robert Trowers has played jazz trombone for over 23 years. Previously based in NYC, he is described as a player who is a 'Virtuoso beboper with a strong sense of swing". He has played with all the best, including Lionel Hampton, the Count Basie Orchestra, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Chico-O'Farrill fro-Cuban Orchestra. He currently lives in Durham and plays locally and nationally and teaches at NC Central University in the Jazz Studies Program. Besides playing and teaching, Robert is also a composer.

Joining Robert in the studio was Baron Tymas. Originally hailing from Washington, D.C., Baron has cut several CD's and is the Assistant Director of the NCCU Jazz Studies Program. To hear some of his fine guitar playing, check out his MySpace profile.

Besides being a player, Baron is also a composer and a teacher. During the show, Robert and Baron played several of their own original compositions.

On Baron's website, he has an interesting quote from Sonny Rollins - "be what you is and not what you ain't, 'cause if you ain't what you is, then you is what you ain't."--sonny

Playlist -
  • Henry Mancini's composition, Mr. Lucky, from Robert Trowers' CD Synopsis
  • Robert Trowers' composition Synopsis, from his CD Synopsis
  • Robert Trowers' composition Salutation
  • Robert Trowers' composition Line Over Rhythm, the big band melody line came to Robert in a dream
  • Baron Tymas' composition Broken Bottles, from his CD Blues for the Tribe
  • Robert Trower's composition Metropolis
  • Robert Trower's composition Chuh, with a Latin beat coming straight from his family's blood line, including his parents Frankie & Dorothy, of moving from Jamaica to Panama and then on to the USA. Robert is first generation American.
  • Robert Trowers' composition End of a Love Affair, from his CD Point of View
  • Robert Trowers' composition Frolic
  • Baron Tymas' composition Stone Flower, from his CD Blues for the Tribe
  • Robert Trowers started a metronome in the studio and created on the spot, Metronome Blues, with just Robert on the trombone and the metronome keeping the beat.
Friends Sima and Leila stopped by the WCOM studio in downtown Carrboro to listen to the show. We all had a great time tonight and look forward to hearing more from Robert Trowers and Baron Tymas.

Friday, June 29, 2007

June 17th Jazz Mix Night
Focusing on NC's jazz music and it's musicians, I pull from quite a mix of music. My weekly jazz radio show, coming to you from WCOM in downtown Carrboro, NC, is certainly a 100 Watts of Wonder and community radio at its best. So if you're nearby, please stop by. I'm on every Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00. You can hear me on the radio at 103.5 fm or on the internet by going to and clicking on the webstreaming button in the upper right-hand button. In honor of Father's Day, I played one of my favorite jazz songs, Horace Silver's Song for My Father. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

My son, Will Okun (photo website is traveling with Nicholas Kristof , and Leana Wen, in Rwanda, Burundi, and E. Congo. Will and Leana won the national competition, Win-A-Trip, sponsored by the New York Times. Their travel adventures are being recorded by video, photographs (including above photo of mother and child by Will Okun), and blogging and all posted on the NY Times website, in the editorial section under the title, Two for the Road. In honor of his journey, I played some from Angelique Kidjo's CD, Orami; she is a Benim-based singer; and Cesaria Evora from St. Vincent.

Playlist -
  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
  • Frankie Alexander (Durham-based singer); Mad About the Words CD; Taking a Chance on Love
  • Erich Leith & Gabriel Pelli (Carrboro area musicians); Song for My Father
  • Paulo Lopez (Chapel Hill based singer and musicians); Brazilian Soul CD; So Quero um xodo
  • Angelique Kidjo; Orami CD; Never Know
  • Brother Yusuf Salim (Durham piano player); Yusuf Sings Yusuf CD; A Hymn for Us All
  • Cesario Evora; Sao Vicente CD; Dor Di Amor
  • Stanley Turrentine; On a Misty Night CD; Georgia on My Mind
  • Baby Laurence; DanceMaster CD; Baby at Birdland
  • Mary Lou Williams (lived Durham, NC); My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me CD; Blues for Peter
  • Madison Smartt Bell & Wyn Cooper: Forty Words for Fear CD; on 8 miles with Chris Frank from Carrboro playing different instruments on all the songs
  • Solomon Burke; Don't Give Up on Me CD; None of Us are Free
  • Greyboy Allstars; What Happened to TV? CD; Deck Shoes
  • Frank Kimbrough (b. Roxboro, NC); Frank Kimbrough Play CD; Beginning
  • Charlie Haden & Hampton Hawes; As Long as There's Music CD; Hello/Goodby
  • Bus Brown (lived 10 years in Durham); The Story Teller album; Freedom
  • Frankie Alexander; Mad About the Words; Once I Loved
  • Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette; Whisper Not CD; Groovin' High

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 10, 2007 Folk by Four and More

I was joined in the WCOM studio by the singers with the group, Folk by Four, from Carrboro & Chapel Hill, NC. The group includes Jim Magaw, Catherine Grodensky, and Jane and Scott Provan. They did a beautiful job of performing a wide range of songs - all in four part harmony. To learn more about the group, go to their website.

They sang the following songs -
1. Straighten Up and Fly Right (Nat King Cole and Irving Mills)
2. Shenandoah (Traditional, arr. by Darmon Meader)
3. Stand By Me (Ben E. King, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller)
4. Little David Play on Your Harp (Traditional, arr. by Morgan Ames)
5. Come Home (Susan Smith Cohen and Peter Eldridge)
6. Bouree (J.S. Bach, arr. by Ward Swingle)
7. The Druid Song (The Bobs)
8. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Eric Maschwitz and Manning Sherwin)
9. Cielito Lindo (Traditional, arr. by Morgan Ames)
10. I'll Be Seeing You (Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal)
11. American Tune (Paul Simon)
12. Happy Trails (Dale Evans)

After they finished singing, I played the following songs -
1. Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Know How It Would Feel to be Free
2. Mary Lou Williams (d. Durham, NC); My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me CD; The Blues with Cynthia Tyson singing, a Durham singer
3. Frankie Alexander (Durham singer) & Steve Wing (Pittsboro, NC piano player); Jammin'ese CD; Like Someone in Love
4. Mark Wells (Chapel Hill piano player and singer), Kevin Van Sant (Durham jazz guitar player) and Dan Davis (drummer); Orgaphonics CD; Let's Stay Together
5. Thelonius Monk (b. Rocky Mount, NC); Thelonius Monk Plays Duke CD; It Don't Mean a Thing
6. Baby Laurence (jazz tap dancer from Baltimore); Dancemaster CD; Baby at Birdland
7. Jamuna (Chatham-based singer); The Innocence to Cry CD; Moscow Nights
8. Stanley Baird (Durham-based big band leader and sax player); Traffic Jam CD; Footprints
9. Ray Charles and Diana Krall; Genius Loves Company CD; You Don't Know Me

Saturday, June 09, 2007

June 3, 2007 Tap Dancing on the Radio

On my radio show on WCOM, 103.5 fm low-power, out of Carrboro, NC, I was joined in the studio by Gene Medler, the artistic director of the NC Youth Tap Ensemble. Gene brought with him three of his star students - Elizabeth Burke, Alex Vigotov, and Lily Steponaitis. Earlier in the day, they were in a recital and yet they danced hard and fast for two hours on my show. It was a thrill - they were wonderful to watch and great to listen to.

I picked out some of my favorite jazz songs and Gene brought some CDs with him. Gene brought some dancing boards which we put on the floor of the studio, and I placed mics down on the floor near the dancing feet of Elizabeth, Alex and Lily. I was amazed by their talent, enthusiasm, and energy. Their feet quickly picked up the rhythm of the jazz songs, and then they pounded out interesting rhythms of their own to add to the sound a new, exciting element.

I invited Gene and his students on my show to emphasize the percussion side of tap dance. Everyone knows it to be an interesting dance to watch, but some do not realize that the sound of the taps is a form of instrument.

The playlist for my show was -
  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
  • Ella Fitzgerald; A Night in Tunisia (song by Dizzy Gillespie, h.s. Laurinburg, NC)
  • Lionel Hampton & Oscar Peterson; Just One of Those Things CD; Just One of Those Things
  • Charlie Parker; Charlie Parker Story CD; Billie's Bounce
  • John Coltrane (b. Hamlet, NC); The Very Best of John Coltrane CD; Favorite Things
  • Buena Vista Social Club; Veinte Anos
  • Scott Warner (lived Chapel Hill for 10 years); Wild Man Blues CD; Naked Dance
  • Neville Brothers; Treacherous CD; Cha Dooky-Do and Waiting for the Train
  • Professor Longhair; Rum & Coke CD; Gone So Long
  • Hazmat Modine; Bahamut CD; Yesterday Morning
  • Miles Davis; Kind of Blue CD; All Blues
I wish Gene Medler, Elizabeth Burke, Alex Vigotov, and Lily Steponaitis the best of luck with their tap dance careers and thank them for being guests on my show.

On June 16th - 17th at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, you can check out some fabulous tap dancing as Gene brings in tap dancers and instructors from all over the world to perform and teach as part of the NC Rhythm Tap Festival.

My son, Will, leaves for Rwanda, Burundi, and E. Congo this Monday. He is an extraordinary photographer and teacher and having won the NY Times Win-A-Trip contest, he will soon travel for almost three weeks with Nicholas Kristof. I will include links to his photographs of his trip.

I wish Will an interesting, challenging, and safe journey.

Friday, June 01, 2007

May 27, 2007 Slavic Passion for Tango
Melva's Musings on Jazz featured the music of Mietek Glinkowski (Raleigh, NC) and Alex Gorodezky (Raleigh, NC), playing their songs live in the studio. This is their second appearance on my show, coming out of Carrboro, NC, every Sunday night from 7:00-9:00 EST. You can listen in from any where in the world by going to and clicking on the button in the upper righthand corner. My radio show features the jazz music of NC jazz musicians of the present and the past.

Mietek played the vitar, an electronic combination of the violin and the guitar, and Alex was on guitar. They have played together many years and believe their common slavic heritage helps them get in the pocket together so seamlessly.
They played music from Argentina, Italy, Hungary and USA. It was a thrill to have them back in the WCOM studio, sharing the music that they love. Several friends stopped by the WCOM radio studio to enjoy the live concert, including Lyle, Sima, and Jill Morrison, in town visiting from Seattle.
Mietek and Alex played the following songs - Cafe 1930 by Astor Piazzolla, Fulana Del Tal by Dino Saluzzi, Milango del Ausente by Dino Saluzzi, Waltz Trieste by Ferenc Vecsey, A map of the World by Pat Metheny, and Estate by Bruno Martino. I finished out the show with Joao Gilberto, from the CD Amoroso/Brazil the song Besame Mucho and then Frankie Alexander, from her CD Mad About the Words, I Loves You, Porgy.

Mietek and Alex can be heard every Sunday from 12:30 - 2:30 at Spice Street in Chapel Hill, in addition to other clubs in the Triangle Area.

See a powerful artist's depiction of waste in America - it's amazing!