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Music

Radio Munson 5/4/17

May 8, 2017

Duke Ellington’s famous orchestra recorded an instrumental on May 4th, 1940 that composer Ellington titled “Never No Lament".  You will recognize the old song when Don plays it on this week’s Radio Munson—it’s one of Ellington’s best, made more palatable when Duke gave it a new title.  Matt Monro is on Don’s playlist, too, along with the Merry Macs, Mel Torme’, and Sarah Vaughan live at the famed Mister Kelly’s Jazz Club on Chicago’s Rush Street.

DelmarBrown.com

Bloomington lost a major musical son when Delmar Brown passed away last month from cancer at age 62. The diminutive keyboard player who wowed fellow central Illinois musicians later did the same with some of the most recognizable names in music.

Sheryl Clark Productions

"This is very much a partnership," said Sara Quah, glancing sideways at the man who produced her upcoming "Taking Me Back" album. I don't think the album would be what it is, if it was just my vision."

Quah was referring to Tony SanFilippo, owner of Oxide Lounge Recording Studio in Bloomington. Quah enlisted SanFilippo to produce her first full length album, and credits him as the person who put meat onto the bones of the lyrics and musical song skeletons she had written over the previous year.

Radio Munson 4/27/17

May 1, 2017

A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Harry James, Eartha Kitt, the Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Gene Harris Superband.

Hip Pocket

Hip Pocket band leader and founder Marc Boon said losing three friends recently made the decision to reunite the band an easy one.

"I think at some point along the line we get into a stage of life when we take account of stuff," said Boon.

Radio Munson 4/20/17

Apr 20, 2017

Siblings star on this week’s Radio Munson with Freddy and Nat “King” Cole, Bing and Bob Crosby, the Boswell Sisters and the Dorsey Brothers, plus classics from Henry Mancini, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Sarah Vaughan.

Radio Munson 4/13/17

Apr 13, 2017

Some piano adventures on this week’s Radio Munson with Boogie Woogie great Meade “Lux” Lewis playing his signature “Honky Tonk Train Blues” and vibraphone innovator playing a romping tune on piano using only his two index fingers.  Mavis Rivers is on Don’s playlist, along with Leon Redbone, Billie Holiday, and your chance to do the ‘Shag” to the “Johnson Rag."

"Whenever I call it a jazz band I do air quotes. 'Jazz.'" said Disorganizer mandolin player Stefen Robinson, gesturing with the index and middle fingers of both hands over his head.

Why?

"Because I don't even know what that means anymore," continued Robinson. "Are you talking about Miles Davis? Are you talking about Wayne Shorter? Are you talking about Kneebody?

Paul Beaty

Blues, R&B, and rock were stamped on Mojo Stew's calling card from the mid 1980's through the early 90's. The central Illinois quintet that toured the Midwest extensively and appeared on Natalie Cole's "Big Break" show reunites for a show with The Mechanics and The Something Brothers April 8 at The Castle Theater in Bloomington. Guitarist Bill Porter said the reunion show has jogged fond memories from the band's heyday some 30 years ago.

Radio Munson 4/6/17

Apr 6, 2017

There’s an anniversary salute to Duke Ellington's iconic “Satin Doll” on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Carmen McRae, Stan Kenton, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, Sarah Vaughan, and Count Basie’s salute to “April In Paris."

Scott Harrison

I could have opened with "which Something Brothers members will play the reunion show?" Or "why now?" Former manager Denny De Bourbon would have been an appropriate opening salvo, as the April 8 show at The Castle Theater will also serve as a benefit for the man who guided the Bloomington-Normal sextet into a regional powerhouse in the mid 1980's and early 90's. And they got sooooo close to making the big time.

Instead, "so how many 'hauser's' did you tip back ... back in the day?" popped out of my mouth.

Radio Munson 3/30/17

Apr 3, 2017

Erroll Garner plays “Misty" for you on this week’s Radio Munson and that’s not all.  There’s Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Prysock, Louis Armstrong, Ann Hampton Callaway and a trip back to the red hot 1920s for a classic recording of “Everything Is Hotsy-Totsy Now." 

Paul Hudson / Flickr

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a devastating disease that has been described as "Parkinson's on steroids."

"I hate to say that's pretty accurate," said Steve Gorman, founding member of both The Black Crowes and more recently, Trigger Hippy. "It's the kind of disease that's very rare, it's very hard to diagnose and it's the kind of thing that's usually only diagnosed after all other neurodegenerative ailments have been eliminated.  So it can take years to get a proper diagnoses."

Laura Jane Grace Of Against Me!: Talking Is Still Honest

Mar 30, 2017
Casey Curry

Against Me!'s 2014's "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" was a coming out party for band founder Laura Jane Grace, who announced two years prior she was a transgender woman.  The punk-rock outfit with roots in Gainesville, Florida has been on Lilyana Arielle Fey's radar since the early 2000's. The Peoria native is also a transgender woman, who says she has found solace and community through the music of Against Me!
 

Radio Munson 3/23/17

Mar 27, 2017

British singer and icon Vera Lynn celebrated her 100th birthday Monday.  She is revered for helping hold a reeling Great Britain together during the bleak early years of World War II.  Don remembers Vera Lynn and plays her memorable song,”We’ll Meet Again” on this week’s Radio Munson, plus Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Sarah Vaughan, and more.

EMily Butler Photography

The viral 2013 video of Puddles Pity Party covering Lorde's "Royals" (see below) propelled the "sad clown with the big voice" to national and international prominence. The man who channels Puddles and his operatic voice is Big Mike Geier, who makes an appearance at the Castle Theater in Bloomington March 26. At 6' 8", Geier IS big, something he acclimated to at an early age.

Tyler Zoller

The line "I just want to make music and friends/Been that way since I was 12 years old" is from "Music and Friends" off Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band's recent "So Delicious" album. Hearing the words fed back to Josh"Reverend" Peyton elicits a smile from the trio's founder.

Radio Munson 3/16/17

Mar 21, 2017

There is a TV commercial currently playing nation-wide that uses the song “The Best Things In Life Are Free” as background.  But who’s recording is that?  Take a seat in New York’s famed Copacabana nightclub on this week’s Radio Munson and find out.  Judy Garland gets a jump on St Patrick’s Day with “It’s a Great Day for the Irish,”  Louis Armstrong contributes a vocal, and pianist Gene Harris plays “It Might As Well Be Spring."

Radio Munson 3/9/17

Mar 10, 2017

The Diva Jazz Orchestra is on this week’s Radio Munson along with Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the 1935 song by the Dorsey Brothers Band that caused brothers Tommy and Jimmy to go their separate ways as band leaders for the next 20 years.

Sue Sadzak

Normal, Illinois seems an unlikely landing pad for the lead guitarist and songwriter of an iconic Canadian rock band.

"My wife Deanna is from here," said Honeymoon Suite's Derry Grehan before smiling a deep breath while scanning his brain for a 30-odd year ago memory. "We we were opening for Heart at the Peoria Civic Center, and we met at a record store that day."

Colin Brennan

Similar to how Robert Glasper infused hip-hop into his jazz on his 2012 Blue Note Records album "Black Radio," Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester use classical strings as the backbone to their hip-hop, rock, and bluegrass inflected major label debut "Stereotypes."  It's no coincidence Glasper makes more than a guest appearance.

Radio Munson 3/2/17

Mar 7, 2017

Don plays an all-time tenor saxophone solo on this week’s Radio Munson when he spins Coleman Hawkins’ recording of “Body and Soul.”  There’s also an exciting vintage track of Count Basie’s band rocking the famed Savoy Ballroom in 1938, featuring Lester Young and Jimmy Rushing; plus Ann Hampton Callaway, a pair of tunes from Curtis Stigers with the Danish Radio Big Band, and a trip into Central Illinois’ past with Tiny Hill, the biggest band leader of them all.

Nicole Weingart

As a teen phenom growing up in a city many consider the Mecca of blues and soul music, Eric Gales didn't quite understand what he was absorbing.

"Growing up in Memphis had an impact on me in ways I didn't realize until later in life," said Gales.  "It was a big part of growing up there.  A lot of blues and other styles were there.  And now it's grown into a whole lot of other styles.  I am very proud to have come from Memphis, but there are many other styles attributed to the city."

Singer-songwriter Nick Africano said songwriting is a craft he loves.

"As much as songwriting has been therapeutic for me in a way ... it has ultimately become something that I have taken great pleasure doing," said Africano.

Cody Diekhoff was clearly touched by the sentiments of Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles member Mike Klug that Diekhoff was central to a revitalized Bloomington-Normal music scene. 

Klug said "Ed (Anderson) and Cody took this town kicking and screaming against their will and made a scene our of nothing.  I feel they're just such  genuinely nice people, they made the scene."

Sheryl Clark / Sheryl Clark Productions

Normal based singer-songwriter Sara Quah said her mother is the force behind her love of books, writing, and words.

"She read all the time when I was a kid," said Quah.  "I always had a book.  I ALWAYS had a book.  And still do."

Radio Munson 2/23/17

Feb 25, 2017

There’s plenty of musical time travel on this week’s Radio Munson from Hollywood to New Orleans, from San Antonio to Chicago, and from Newport Rhode Island to the trenches in France during the First World War.  Drummer Buddy Rich punches your ticket opening Don’s show with “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)".

 

Jay Miller

Old Shoe guitarist and vocalist Matt Robinson thinks the general understanding of what an "old shoe" represents fits the band's persona.

"An old friend of mine used to call me 'an old shoe,'" said Robinson.  "I thought that was a cool name and the light bulb went on and thought it would be a great idea for a band name.  Shoes are fashionable, and the 'old shoe' fit the idea of us being a retro band as far as where our styles come from."

Radio Munson 2/16/17

Feb 17, 2017

Woody Herman’s Herd swings Radio Munson into gear this week, joined on Don’s playlist by the bands of Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ted Seems and Benny Goodman.  Bette Midler sings a swinger and so do Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and Betty Hutton, among others.

Jon Norton / WGLT

The idea to "second line" through downtown Bloomington on Fat Tuesday came out of a brainstorming conversation.  Jazz UpFront owner James Gaston said he was talking with one of his employees about potential Mardi Gras events.

"She said we should have a big Mardi Gras party," said Gaston.  "We began bouncing ideas around, and I said 'we should get everyone on Front street involved and we could 'second line' down Front street with the band.'"

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