Detroit

A tireless soloist and side man, Randy Johnston  has released 12 albums as a leader and has appeared on dozens of recordings with a wide variety of jazz recording artists. Keith Hall talks to the prolific guitarist in a live session in WMUK's Takeda Studio, where Johnston brings to life stories about his performing life with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Houston Person,  Etta Jones, Lonnie Smith, and Lou Donaldson.  

Randy Johnston and Keith Hall start their conversation by remembering Johnston's early days in Detroit, where he lived until he was 13. Music was everywhere, he says - he loved Motown artists and rock bands like MC5  and the Bob Seger System - but it was the Beatles phenomenon that made him want to play guitar. When his family returned to their southern roots in Richmond, VA, Johnston says he channeled some of the frustration at being a new student at a new school into hours of guitar practice. By his late teens, Johnston was playing in a popular band that advertised itself as suitable for "dances and pool parties." 

Johnston's path to becoming an indispensible guitarist in jazz organ groups was not direct, he tells Hall, but he learned a lot from the bandleaders who did hire him early on. Later, he played for 18 years with the Lou Donaldson Quartet. Johnston has devoted the last several years to producing solo albums. The latest is 2019's Cherry Juice.


MPRN

(MPRN-Detroit) A federal appeals court says it’s too late to go back and re-hash the “Grand Bargain” that allowed Detroit to emerge from bankruptcy two years ago. 

River North Photography / iStrock Photo

Urban agriculture can be done in many places, and by people of different ages and with different interests. That’s according to Kami Pothukuchi, a Wayne State University Professor and the director of SEED Wayne. 


JJ Hall / flicker.com

Note: Updated to include Saturday's Arts & More audio, with songs.

Imagine giving up your dreams of a music career in the belief that your first two albums didn't sell well.  So, you work in hard manual labor jobs for the next nearly 30 years only to find out that, all along, while not a hit in America, your albums had made you a mega star in Australia and South Africa but you never see a dime. It happened to protest folk singer Sixto Rodriguez of Detroit. But a film about him has reversed his fortune. He performs Dec. 11 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre

"The City Council on Tuesday approved transferring the vacant lot of the former Tiger Stadium to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., paving the way for redevelopment of the site." (Detroit Free Press)

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