Friday, December 28, 2007

December 23, 2007 Jazzy Santa Performs in the WCOM Studio
A good time was had by all - especially when Santa starting crooning and swiveling his hips to Jingle Bell Rock. Family and friends stopped by to add to the fun; and cookies and drink were served.

I thank the following for coming by the studio to say 'hi' - Joedan and Will, Eli, Chris, Molly and Sadie, Laura, Sima, Renee, and Solomon. Solomon was sweet to have stayed for a full hour after his show, Backbone, which comes on immediately before my show and runs from 5:00 - 7:00. And Renee has now become a regular - and joins me almost every Sunday evening to enjoy the music, and to meet the musicians and others who stop by.

I shared some holiday music but mostly played a fair amount of winter-themed tunes. I enjoyed myself and especially having people stop by to join in and to have my sons come on the air with me to talk about life in NYC and Chicago. Both Will and Joedan were college djs at Wesleyan University. I played music by Nina Simone, Ray Charles & Betty Carter, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Blind Boys of Alabama with Tom Waits and Mavis Staples, Aaron Neville, Billie Holiday, a Charlie Brown Christmas, music from Beautiful Star, Dean Martin, and Kathy Mattea.

Chris Frank, along with Eli, Molly, and Sadie, all joined me in the studio. Chris is a member of the Red Clay Ramblers and is busily rehearsing for a special New Year's Eve concert they will do with the NC Symphony Orchestra.

Laura, the creator of the Power Up The Peace wreath, came by and took a turn on the exercise bike that powered the lights that lit up the wreath. The wreath is tied with wishes for peace. The wreath hangs on a wall right near the door to the WCOM studio in downtown Carrboro, NC.

As always, I was thankful to have my sons Will and Joedan home for the holidays and joined by first Jenny and then Naomi.

Will Okun's latest blog post in the NY Times is on Gender Disparity.

December 16, 2007 Mietek Plays a Slavic Jazzy Medley
Mietek Glinkowski joined me in the WCOM radio studio to tell stories of his joy of the holidays, and Slavic jazz interpretations of classical music. Mietek shared his brilliant playing of the vitar, which is a blend between a violin and a guitar. Mietek is of Polish descent and travels the world for work and pleasure. He loves to pull together an impromptu jazz jam at any time and any place. You can hear him at different clubs in the Triangle area of North Carolina.

Of special interest this evening, Mietek first played the song on his vitar, How Insensitive, by Jobim. Thematically, the song pulls on the sounds of Chopin's Prelude in E minor. Mietek followed his playing the song, How Insensitive, with a beautiful jazz interpretation of Chopin's Prelude in E minor, played by the great Polish piano player, Andrzej Jagodzinski. Then we played a third version of Chopin's Prelude in E minor as performed by the Novi Singers.

From the CDs Mietek brought with him we played the following:
Novi Singers; “NOVI Sing Chopin” CD, Prelude in E minor Op. 28 No.4
Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio; ”Chopin” CD, Prelude in E minor
Zbigniew Seifert; “Solo Violin” CD, (1976), Evening Psalm
Zbigniew Seifert; “Man of the Light” CD, (1978), Stillness
Zbigniew Seifert; “Zbigniew Seifert” CD (1977), Way To Oasis

Mietek played:
A Child Was Born
How Insensitive
R. Schumann’s Kinderscenen, No. 6 “Traumerie”
Krzysztof Komeda; "Szara Koleda“ (Gray Carol)

I am always delighted to have Mietek on my show and look forward to having him back again. Unfortunately our Italian jazz friends, Fabio and Paulo, will not be able to join us this year since their travels will not take them through North Carolina. But Mietek promises to gather other musicians of an international flavor and bring them on my show - may it be so!

Please join me via the internet from anywhere in the world each Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00 EST to hear the unique sounds of NC Jazz musicians. You can hear us by going to the WCOM website at or if you're in the Carrboro - Chapel Hill area, you can listen to us at 103.5 FM. We're low power but we're still the 100 Watts of Wonder and are definitely community powered.

Will Okun's latest blog post in the NY Times is about the Chicago photographer, Worsom, and his work with Will's students from Westside Alternative School.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 9, 2007 The Jazz Loft Project
I was finally able to arrange for Sam Stephenson of the Jazz Loft Project to appear on my show to share the incredible stories of a pinnacle period in jazz history ('54-'65), where over 500 jazz musicians gathered day and night over a 10 year period in a building in NYC to create new music and sounds together. The sights and sounds were recorded by the premiere photographer, W. Eugene Smith. Smith took over 45,000 photographs and recorded over 4,000 hours of music, conversation, building and street sounds. Sam Stephenson, with help from a team from the Duke Center for Documentary Studies, has made his way through almost half the recorded sounds and documented thousands of the photographs. Sam directs the Jazz Loft Project from Duke University, and in conjunction with the University of Arizona.

Sam Stephenson is a resident of Chatham County and is an expert in the work of W. Eugene Smith and Thelonius Monk, and how the lives of Smith and Monk were intertwined through the music and genius of what became known as the Loft Project. The photographs and tapes from the Project were donated to the University of Arizona just before Smith's death. While working on a W. Eugene Smith project, Sam found himself in a warehouse and saw a wall of boxes and asked - "What's that?" The answer was that the boxes were full of the recorded tapes that Smith had made - up to that point no one had the time or the money to go through the tapes and catalog them for the riches they contained. Sam stepped forward and decided to dedicate his life to the mining of this unthinkable jazz treasure chest. He has raised over a half-million dollars and will need to raise that amount again. As part of his work, Sam and others have interviewed over 250 musician survivors of the Project. One of the themes Sam and I discussed was the fact that although Monk left NC as a young child, his Southern roots can be heard in much of his music (article on such).

For the show we focused on the music of Thelonius Monk, who was the hub of the Loft Project. Other pivotal musicians included Ron Free on drums - he served as the resident drummer as others like Roy Haynes would sit in now and again. Over 500 musicians passed through that jazz space and were the best and the brightest. They were helped by the invaluable oversight provided by composer and teacher, Hal Overton (hear some of his arrangements). Composers like Steve Reich stopped by the Loft and were inspired by what they heard and incorporated it into their music.

  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
  • Thelonius Monk (b. Rocky Mount, NC) Quartet; Misterioso CD; Nutty
  • Norfolk Jazz Quartet: Goodbye Babylon Judgment CD: My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race
  • Mose Allison & Ronnie Free on drums; Autumn Song CD; Groovin' High
  • Thelonius Monk Quartet & Johnny Griffin; Thelonius in Action CD; Blue Monk
  • Roy Haynes; Fountain of Youth CD; Twinkle Trinkle
  • Charlie Haden; The Montreal Tapes CD; Turnaround
  • Steve Reich; Works CD Set; Four Organs - Bang on a Can
  • Thelonius Monk; Brilliant Corners CD; Pannonica (named and written for the Baroness Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter, friend, companion and supporter of Monk)
  • Sonny Clark, Paul Chambers, & Philly Joe Jones; Softly As in a Morning Sunrise
  • Billy Taylor (b. Greenville, NC); Music Keeps us Young CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
I thank Sam Stephenson for his dedication and commitment to the life works of W. Eugene Smith and Thelonius Monk and the over 500 jazz musicians who left their mark on the Loft Project. Thank goodness Sam breathed life into those hundreds of boxes of unlistened to tapes sitting in that warehouse so many years ago.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December 2, 2007 Featuring North Carolina Jazz Musicians
My radio show features the music of North Carolina jazz musicians. I broadcast from the studios of WCOM, coming to you from downtown Carrboro, in the Piedmont of the state. Each Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00 EST, I play the music of NC jazz musicians and when possible have them in the studio with me playing their music live on the air.

John Brown, a Durham jazz base player, recently had a CD Release Party at the Hayti Center in Durham for his new CD, Terms of Art - A Tribute to Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. The new CD honors the work of jazz drummer Art Blakey. Playing with John on this wonderful CD is Gabe Evens on piano, Ray Codrington on trumpet, Brian Miller on saxophones, and Adonis Rose on drums. The CD is very exciting and is performing well on the national charts. I look forward to having John on my show - we're working on a date. John directs the Duke University Jazz Studies Program within the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

Tonight's Playlist
  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
  • Frankie Alexander (lives Durham, NC) & Scott Warner on piano (lived Chapel Hill, NC); Feeling Like Someone in Love
  • Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington; I'm Just a Lucky So & So
  • Count Basie and his Orchestra; This Time By Basie CD; One Mint Julip
  • Jimmy Smith & Grady Tate (b. Durham, NC); The Incredible Jimmy Smith/Hoochie Cooche Man CD; Got My Mojo Working (with Jimmy Smith singing & playing
  • Stanley Baird (lives Durham, NC) & Orchestra; Traffic Jam CD; Caribbean Queen
  • Solomon Burke; Don't Give Up on Me CD; None of Us are Free
  • Roy Hargrove; Havana CD; Una Mas
  • Oscar Peterson & Clark Terry; Live at Town Hall CD; Mumbles
  • Ella Fitzgerald; Love Songs CD; It Was Just One of Those Things
  • Solomon Burke; Don't Give Up on Me; Don't Give Up on Me
  • John Brown Quintet (lives in Chapel Hill); Terms of Art CD; Buttercorn Lady
  • Ron Baxter 4Tet (lives in Raleigh, NC); Live @ Java 101 CD; Rhythm-A-Ning
  • John Coltrane (b. Hamlet, NC); My Favorite Things CD; Everytime We Say Goodbye
  • Ray Charles & Diana Krall; Genius Loves Company CD; You Don't Know Me
  • Bill Evans; Sunday at the Village Vanguard CD; Gloria's Step
  • Gabriel Pelli (lives Carrboro area); Europa Jazz CD; Black Orpheus
  • Martin Eagle Trio (lives Durham, NC); The Hipster CD; Autumn Waltz
  • Joao Gilberto & Grady Tate on drums; Amoroso/Brasil CD; S'Wonderful
  • Billy Taylor Trio (b. Greenville, NC); Music Keeps Us Young CD; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free (song written by and performed by Billy Taylor)
I hope you all had a good jazzy Thanksgiving holiday! This was my traditional contribution to the meal - sweet potatoes with orange and ginger, and a mass of marshmellows on top, which you broil at the last second. Don't let them catch on fire like I did one year - that made for some unexpected excitement!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

November 25, 2007 Gene Harris -- Always Rocking, & The Beatles, tooI had a few musical themes going this evening that interestingly enough wove together the music of Gene Harris, the jazz piano player, and The Beatles. And still I was able to fit in lots of music by North Carolina jazz musicians, too.

Please join me every Sunday evening from 7:00 - 9:00 EST, coming to you from the community-powered WCOM radio station. This 100 watts of wonder station is the first of its kind in North Carolina. We can be heard at 103.5 fm in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill vicinity, and from anywhere in the world by going to the internet at All you have to do is click on the button in the righthand corner and you're set to go. Please call to chat or make a request at 919 929-9601.

Playlist -
  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
  • Gene Harris; Live at the IT Club CD; On Green Dolphin Street
  • Gene Harris Trio; Gene Harris Trio Plus One CD; Misty
  • Jimmy Smith & Gene Harris; The JAM Years '82-'84 CD; You Don't Know Me
  • Bobby McFerrin; Simple Pleasures CD; Drive My Car
  • Spyro Gyro; Modern Jazz - Songs of The Beatles CD; In My Life
  • Chick Corea; Modern Jazz - Songs of The Beatles CD; Eleanor Rigsby
  • The Beatles; Beatles Disc 1 CD; Blackbird
  • Carmen McRae; Lover Man CD; Them There Eyes & Yesterdays
  • Billie Holiday; Greatest Hits CD; I Loves You, Porgy
  • Roy Hargrove; With Strings CD; You Go to My Head
  • Charlie Hadin & Hank Jones; Steal Away CD; Wade in the Water
  • Hampton Hawes; Hampton Hawes Trio CD; Blues the Most
  • Coleman Hawkins; The Best of Coleman Hawkins CD; I'm Beginning to See the Light
  • John Brown (works in Durham); Terms of Art CD; Caravan
  • Brian Horton (works in Durham); The Best of Brian Horton CD; Devil's Disguise
  • Eva Cassidy; The Other SIde CD; Over the Rainbow
  • The Beatles; Abbey Road CD; Something
  • Frankie Alexander (lives in Durham); Mad About the Words CD; Cheek to Cheek
  • The Beatles; Hard Days Night CD; If I Fell
  • Betty Carter; Feed the Fire CD; All or Nothing at All
  • George Benson & Al Jarreau & Paul McCartney; Givin' It Up CD; Bring It on Home to Me
  • Billy Taylor (b. Greenville, NC); Music Keeps Us Young CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
Please join me for a fun evening of song!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

November 11, 2007 Molly's Musings on Jazz
While I was away, Molly and Hayley, seasoned 12 yr. old jazz djs, kept the show going for me. They did a great job of playing many jazz greats. I thank them for their fine job and look forward to them subbing for me again soon.

My show features the sounds of North Carolina jazz musicians and their music. I have current jazz players come to the WCOM studio to play their music live on the air. I also play the music of the great NC jazz musicians of the past. Please join me on the air at 103.5 fm if you live in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area or through webstreaming at and by clinking on the button in the upper righthand corner. I'm on each Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00 EST.

  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free
  • Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington CD; Mood Indigo
  • Nat King Cole; The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio CD; Route 66
  • Robert Griffin (Carrboro, NC); North Carolina: A State of Music CD; Carolina on my Mind
  • Nat Adderly; Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderly CD; Teaneck
  • Charlie Haden; Quartet West CD; Every Time We Say Goodbye
  • Thelonious Monk (b. Rocky Mount, NC); Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane CD; Nutty
  • John Coltrane (b. Hamlet, NC); My Favorite Things CD and song
  • Dizzy Gillespie (h.s. Laurinburg, NC); The Dizzie Gillespie Story CD; 'Round About Midnight
  • Chris Frank (Carrboro, NC); Shoefly CD; One Fishball
  • Bill Evans Trio; Sunday at the Village Vanguard CD; Alice in Wonderland
  • Billie Holiday; The Classic Decade CD; Sugar
  • Ray Charles; Ray Charles Vol. 5; How Long has This Been Going On
  • Frankie Alexander (Durham, NC) Mad About the Words CD; Cheek to Cheek
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong; Ella and Louis Again CD; Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
  • Nat King Cole; The Best of Nat King Cole Trio: Little Joe from Chicago
  • Charlie Mingus; Blues and Roots CD; Moanin'
  • Charlie Parker; Charlie Parker CD; Chi-Chi
  • Billy Taylor (b. Greenville, NC); Music Keeps Us Young CD; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free