WYSO

Arts & Culture

Leland Sklar and Judith Owen
via http://www.judithowen.net

Judith Owen and Leland Sklar visited the WYSO studios ahead of the May 25 release of Owen's new album, RedisCOVERed. Owen and Sklar talked with WYSO Music Director Niki Dakota and performed their interpretations of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", Drake's "Hotline Bling", Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", and the Beatles' "Blackbird".

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Along with being one of the greatest voices of all time, Ella Fitzgerald was celebrated as one of the world's most talented scat singers - "scatting" being the art of wordless vocal improvisation, essentially an instrumental solo in vocal form.

This track, "Ella Hums the Blues," is the one I chose to play during my Ella 101 on-air promo that runs on WYSO FM. It was recorded in April 1955 for the movie Pete Kelly's Blues, in which Ella has a cameo as a jazz singer. (We'll come back to Pete Kelly's Blues, with more info, in tomorrow's post.)

Conrad's Corner: May 22, 2018

May 22, 2018

Conrad Balliet reads Myrna Stone's poem, "Plaintive for a Lost Poet"

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

No legendary musician's catalogue is complete without at least one winter holiday album, and Ella Fitzgerald's 1960 Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is not only one of the classiest, well produced holiday albums the jazz genres has ever seen - one could also make a strong argument for it being the most fun LP Ella released in her entire career.

The brilliant Frank DeVol provided arranging and conducting duties, surrounding Ella with soft horns, a glowing vibraphone, and even (on some tracks) a small vocal chorus that actually manages to add fun to the proceedings without getting in the way or sounding cheesy - an extremely rare feat in jazz and pop.

Conrad's Corner: May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018

Julie Moore reads Maureen Fry's poem, "Night Music"

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

By the 1950s, Billie Holiday was known as a peerless blues singer among jazz musicians. However, in 1963, Ella Fitzgerald did something Billie never achieved - she recorded an entire album of only blues songs.

1963's These Are the Blues found a hard-swinging Ella in a mostly straightforward tilt at classic blues cuts, with a band led by Wild Bill Davis on organ and featuring Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Gus Johnson on drums.

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

From 1962's Ella Swings Gently with Nelson, the second of two albums Ella Fitzgerald recorded that year with arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle, comes this sizzling rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's 1930 standard "Georgia On My Mind." The song was covered by many musicians through the 1960s after Ray Charles' timeless version went to the top of the charts in 1960, and Ella and Nelson's version may be among the very finest efforts.

The production on this album is stunning, with Riddle's orchestra sounding like 100 musicians playing in glorious unison. He charts a seductive, dynamic arrangement that goes from cinematic big band jazz to swaggering blues, with shouting horns and a perfectly in-the-pocket alto sax solo by Ronny Lang.

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

In 1962, Verve Records released Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's smash hit Jazz Samba album and set the world aflame, bringing the bossa nova out of Brazil and sending it around the world, claiming an Album of the Year Grammy for Getz's "Desafinado."

Recording companies and artists in every language began recording bossa tunes to ride the wave of popularity, and Verve attempted to cash in on the craze with many of its own in-house jazz musicians. Ella Fitzgerald fell instantly in love with the genre, and in that same year released a two-sided bossa single. Side A featured an English-language cover of "Desafinado," with a Brazilian-flavored take on the classic "Stardust" on the flipside.

Sharon Lane To Perform At Backyard Boogie

May 18, 2018
Sharon Lane
Music Connection Dayton

Longtime Dayton singer-songwriter Sharon Lane stopped by the WYSO studios to talk with Niki Dakota ahead of her performance at this year's Backyard Boogie festival. Lane spoke with Dakota, and shared music and poetry in a live performance.

Sharon Lane is performing at the 2018 Backyard Boogie festival, running from June 1-3 at Adventures on the Great Miami in Tipp City, OH. More information can be found at backyardboogie.live.

John Scalzi is probably the best known writer who lives in our area. Here's a review of his latest book that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

John Scalzi just published "Head On," the follow-up novel to his 2014 book "Lock In." Scalzi, who resides in the village of Bradford (OH) is full of surprises and this book contains several. The author has recounted how years ago he determined at random whether to write mysteries or science fiction. Science fiction won out. Even so this new book contains elements of a murder mystery.

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