jazz

Joe Policastro

Near the release of the Joe Policastro Trio's latest album, Screen Sounds,  Jazz Currents host Keith Hall invited bassist Joe Policastro, guitarist Dave Miller, and drummer Mikel Avery to show off their sound in WMUK's Takeda Studio, and have a conversation about the rock, soul, film, and pop influences that appear in their creative arrangements.

One of the unusual things about the trio is they have their own personal "sandbox" for exploring music together: a 3-day-a-week standing gig at the Chicago nightclub Pops for Champagne, which allows them to explore their repertoire to the edges. The three members of the trio talk about their work together and apart, and how they find compelling music in everything from Japanese westerns to daytime soap operas.


Wayne Powers' life as an entertainer - actor, singer, comedian, radio host - has taken him from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Living in Kalamazoo for the last three years, he re-energized his love of singing, and began to plan a studio recording. The resulting album, If Love Were All, has just been released in the U.S., and a local album release concert and celebration will be held Tuesday, Aug 7, from 7-10 pm at the Union Cabaret and Grille in Kalamazoo. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Wayne Powers recounts his early experiences as an out-of-his-depth teen jazz singer in New York clubs, which put him on a track that would lead to a job with music legend Henry Mancini's publishing business in Los Angeles. He became a member of the Off The Wall Improv group, a training ground for young comics (Robin Williams was one of his improv partners). Powers broke into television, and starred for two seasons on NBC's 13 EastAfter its surprise cancellation, he chose to leave television and return to music, recording 1993's Plain Old Me.  Now, after 25 years (and yet another career as a popular radio host), Powers recorded the "saloon" songs that have been touchstones for him through the years.


Jimmy Katz

Swing guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli talks to Cara Lieurance about his early immersion in music-making at home, which led to touring with his father, jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli. With over twenty albums to his credit, he picks a few cuts from his latest, Sinatra and Jobim at 50, to share with listeners, as they discuss Pizzarelli's upcoming show at Bell's Eccentric Café on Friday, May 18. Michigan's Organissimo and west coast blues guitarist "Little" Charlie Baty are also set to perform.


Ashley Daneman

Last August, after several months spent composing a jazz suite commissioned by Sparks & Echo ArtsBenje Daneman recorded the tracks for his new album, Light in the Darkness Joining him on the project were vocalist Ashley Daneman, saxophonist Greg Ward, pianist Rob Clearfield, bassist Andrew Vogt, and drummer Jon Deitemyer. Tomorrow night, Michigan audiences will get a chance to hear the album performed live, and purchase the album before its world-wide release on August 31.

In the studio with Cara Lieurance, Benje and Ashley talk about the work that went into the album, and the themes of inspiration that were used. Although the pieces he composed are mostly instrumental, they are a reflection of his spiritual thinking, and about how to find the light in oneself and each other. 

Tickets for the concert are available in advance through the artist's website, and additionally, supporters can participate in a Kickstarter campaign which will help take the project to wide release. Benje Daneman can also be found on Facebook.


Jennifer Taylor

Jeremy Siskind talks to Cara Lieurance about adjusting to life in California after five years in Michigan, and he previews his concert of seasonal music for solo piano.  It's at Milwood United Methodist Church on Sunday at 3 pm. Admission is free; a freewill offering will be accepted.


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