Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 15, 2007 Singing Madame Heartache

On my radio show, Susan Reeves joined me in the studio at WCOM in Carrboro, to share her music and her stories as a jazz singer. Susan lives in Hillsborough, and works out of Durham and Raleigh. She is the vocalist with the Raleigh Jazz Orchestra, in addition to many small ensemble groups that she performs with. She is working on a new CD. She shared some previously recorded music. Given what an incredibly stormy night it was, it seemed only fitting to begin with Stormy Weather. She then shared Joy Spring.

A favorite song of mine was Madame Heartache, by Bobby Sharp. Joining Susan on the recording of Madame Heartache was Jules van Binsbergen on piano, Peter Innocenti on double bass and John Hanks on drums. From Susan's CD, I played the songs Tulip or Turnip (Ellington) and What's Your Story Morning Glory (Mary Lou Williams). When Ms. Williams was heading up the Duke's Jazz Studies program , Susan had a chance to work some with her and was greatly encouraged by Ms. Williams.

Susan sang, with great flair, in the WCOM studio a wonderful version of Little Did I Dream. We finished with Susan's version of It Could Happen to you.

Susan performs extensively (calendar) in the Triangle Area of NC. She will be sharing her music on several occasions this summer in the Carrboro area. Be sure to catch her.
I dedicated the later part of my show to jazz diva, Dakota Staton, who died this week in NYC. She left behind a full lifetime of music. Randee Haven O'Donnell suggested I play some of the music from the early and later part of Dakota's singing career. I played several songs from the CD Great Ladies of Song - Spotlight on Dakota Staton, which was music mostly recorded in the 50's. Forty years later, with a now deeper, richer voice, she recorded the music on the CD, A Packet of Love Letters. Both CD's are delightful, and yet very different. Songs included - Anything Goes, The Late, Late Show, You Don't Know What Love Is, More Than You Know, and The Way You Look Tonight.

I finished out the show with Mary Lou Williams playing What's Your Story Morning Glory, from the CD of the same title; Stanley Baird on his CD You Will Know, playing My Favorite Things; Frankie Alexander, from her new CD Mad About the Words, and the song I Loves You, Porgy; and I ended my show with Frank Kimbrough, on his CD Frank Kimbrough Play, and the song, Lucent.

Please join me each Sunday night from 7:00-9:00 EST to hear the best jazz music from North Carolina jazz musicians - both those of the past and those currently performing. WCOM, the 100 watts of wonder station, can be heard via websteaming from any where in the world. Go to the WCOM website, and click on the button in the upper right-hand corner to hear the show.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 8, 2007 NC Central University's Jazz Festival

Ira Wiggins, head of the Jazz Studies program at NC Central University, joined me for the second half of my radio show, Melva's Musings on Jazz, heard out of the studio of WCOM in downtown Carrboro, NC. He came to promote the upcoming Jazz Festival, which will be April 20-21. You will not want to miss this great event.
Friday, April 20
NCCU Jazz Festival with Stefon Harris and Blackout &
NCCU Jazz Ensemble

B. N. Duke Auditorium

Saturday, April 21
NCCU Jazz Festival with Geri Allen Trio with Jimmy Cobb & Carmen Lundy
NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble
B. N. Duke Auditorium

Ira brought with him to the studio the NC Central University's Jazz Ensemble CD, Blues - and the Verdent Green. I played the following songs from the CD - Cottontail, Beautiful Love, Waste Not Want Not, Teach Me Tonight, and Baby Workout. There is a tremendous amount of jazz talent at NCCU in Durham, NC and many have gone on to great careers in music.

NC Central University is pleased to launch the Jazz Research Institute in June of 2007. We will hear more about that once they open their doors.

April 8, 2007 With a Song In Her Heart
I was pleased to have Toni Denise and her band join me for my show on WCOM, Melva's Musings on Jazz. Toni is an acclaimed jazz singer who has charmed audiences from Los Angeles to London. She once performed at the home of the late Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley.
Toni was joined in the studio by
Bryant Carthan on keyboard, David Binanay on violin, and Nicaho-o and Tony Yarborough on vocals. They all performed with a clear passion for their music.

They performed the following pieces during my show - Don't Get Around Much Anymore; My Favorite Things; My Funny Valentine; More; a Movie Theme Medley, which was dedicated to Toni's sister, Beverly Thomas; Boy from Ipanema; and Route 66. They sounded so good during my show that several friends commented to me that they assumed that I had been playing a CD.
They totally surprised me by sharing a song that Toni and Bryant wrote together, which was a theme song for my show. It was a beautiful song and I plan to use it on my show and on my blog.

A good friend and supporter of Toni's, Robin Robinson, called in from Sacramento, California. Toni was able to sing a song in Robin's honor.

We were joined in the studio by several friends, including Ellington Carthan (named after Duke Ellington), Joan Gantz, Bob Brower (bass player), Stan Levy (sax player) and Jay and Kathy Putnam.

We all had such a good time. Toni shared with me - "I really appreciate you allowing me to grace your show. It is allowing me to live my dream!" And the feeling was mutual.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April 1, 2007 Leaving Many Footprints

Stanley Baird resides in Durham, NC and maintains a big band that performs throughout the United States. Stanley plays tenor and alto sax and recently produced a new CD, Traffic Jam. He has played with such performers as Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, Kirk Whalum, Patti LaBelle, Najee, Richard Elliot and Donald Byrd.

Longtime collaborator and co-producer of the Traffic Jam CD, Marvin Mumford, joined Stanley for the evening on my radio show, Melva's Musings on Jazz, featuring North Carolina jazz musicians and their music.

Stanley hails from the mountains of North Carolina in the Asheville area - not far from the birth places of Roberta Flack (Black Mountain) and Nina Simone (Tryon). Stanley assembled his first band at the age of 14. He credits many big footsteps that went before him that made his way possible - Lou Donaldson, Gene Ammons, Stanley Turrentine, and later in his life, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane.

Stanley co-founded, along with Donald Byrd, the Jazz Studies program at NC Central University in Durham, NC. He has inspired many young musicians along the way making sure he left lots of footprints behind him for others to follow and help them along their way. Each summer he hosts youth from all over the country to come to the NCCU campus to intensely study jazz - with support from the Stanley Baird Youth Jazz Foundation.

Friends and band members called during the show from around the country to send their greetings. Jay Mumford, drummer, checked in and jazz piano player, and co-producer of the Traffic Jam CD, Kenneth Leonard called from the road. Lenard Rutledge, a wonderful singer, called from Miami, Florida. Walter Johnson called from Dallas, Texas. Stanley and Marvin are clearly both loved by many.

From the Traffic Jam CD, I played: Footprints, Golden, Caribbean Queen, I Want 2 Love U (vocals by Yolanda Rabun); Flaming Hot; Enjoy the Ride; and No Greater Love. From Stanley's You Will Know CD, I played So in Love with You (with vocals, oh so sweet, by Lenard Rutledge) and finally My Favorite Things. Stanley and Marvin put together what I consider to be one of the most beautiful versions of My Favorite Things.

It was a joy to have Stanley Baird and Marvin Mumford on my show. I look forward to staying in touch with them and following their wonderful and inspiring music.

My show is on every Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00 EST and features NC jazz music and musicians who hail from the different parts of NC. You can call in to my show by dialing 919 929-9601 and listen in the local area to the 100 Watts of Wonder Community-Powered WCOM radio station by tuning in to 103.5 FM. Or you can listen in from anywhere in the world by going to the WCOM website and clicking on the button in the upper right-hand corner for webstreaming.

Please join me Sunday evening!