Playlist: Music Station Picks for May
Compiled By: PRX Curators
David produces Virtuoso Voices, an interview clip and fundraising service heard on 115 stations. As an Associate Producer at NPR, he programmed the music heard on Performance Today, and directed news and music programming at stations in Texas, Michigan, Florida, New Orleans and North Carolina.
What David listens for in music programming:
"I look and listen for programming that puts the listener first, speaks listener language and answers 'yes' to questions like:
* Is it enjoyable, beautiful, entertaining or substantial?
* Will it be memorable?
* Will it advance understanding and enjoyment of the... Show full description
You can view this 30-minute Documentary two ways: It's the story of the making of the Buena Vista Social Club Phenomenon created a international sensation in the 1990s. In that context, this interesting radio program essentially points out the errors and misleading inferences made by a Wim Wenders and Ry Cooder documentary about contemporary Cuban history and the musicians during the BVSC phenomenon.
Or, you can hear it as an interesting expose of what the documentary got wrong and an authentic, fascinating new telling of the story surrounding Cuban music, the musicians and day-to-day Cuban life.
As the modern-day U.S. and Cuban principals reconsider how they manage the current stormy U.S.-Cuban relationship, the timing and content of this program (part of the Making Contact Series) are worth your consideration – despite the challenges of scheduling a 30-minute program. A few disturbing audio-technical distractions are present, but are minimal overall.
Suitable for evening, weekend afternoons and your doc slot.
In 1997, the “Buena Vista Social Club” CD took the world by storm. Two years later, a documentary film about the musicians became even more popular earning an Oscar nomination. And while the movie was a hit, it may also have created some myths about Cuba and the musicians themselves. Independent producer Reese Erlich spent years interviewing members of the Buena Vista Social Club and separates fact from fiction.
Erlich’s new book is Dateline Havana: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Future of Cuba.
Eliades Ochoa, Cuarteto Patria guitarist; Ruben Gonzalez, pianist and original Buena Vista Social Club pianist; Eneida Lima, Ruben Gonzalez’ wife; Ibrahim Ferrer, original Buena Vista Social Club singer; Mario Jorge Munoz, Havana newspaper ‘Juventud Rebelde’ cultural reporter; Barbarito Torres, original Buena Vista Social Club virtuoso laoud player; Manuel Galban, modern Buena Vista Social Club Band guitarist; Pablo Menendez, Mezcla guitarist; Magda Gutierrez, Manuel Galban’s wife.
From Helen Wigger | 58:59
Celebrating the 100-year anniversary of clarinetist Benny Goodman's birth, this is an entertaining and engaging look back at Benny Goodman the King of Swing, and Benny Goodman the musical and social innovator.
The documentary takes us behind the music and swing phenomenon that Goodman helped create in the 1930s and part of the '40s. It adds new detail and color to the Benny biography.
Especially interesting is the discussion of what was often said quietly about Benny by those who knew him well, and those who found him difficult to work with or work under. Being an innovator, change agent and charting new territory is rarely easy — it takes a toll on the innovator and their collaborators. Without making excuses, "Benny Goodman: A Centennial Celebration" provides healthy insight into the Benny discord that struck some the wrong way.
The music-to-talk ratio leans clearly towards the documentary side of the scale. But, this is still an absolutely musical documentary.
Benny Goodman was born in May 30, 1909. Highly recommended all month long for jazz and news/information stations.
May 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benny Goodman, an American icon as the "King of Swing," but also as a humanist and cultural ambassador. WDUQ 90.5 FM commemorates his centennial with a one-hour special, Benny Goodman: A Centennial Celebration.
Hosted by Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham of WDUQ's nationally syndicated Rhythm Sweet and Hot, the program presents a fascinating portrait of clarinetist and bandleader Goodman, much of it related by his bio-discographer D.Russell Connor. WDUQ's Bob Studebaker served as producer and interviewed Mr. Connor for this landmark production.
This program is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities' "We the People" initiative on American History.
From Reese Erlich | 07:38
The set-up for the 7:38 Delfeayo Marsalis piece infers this might be a story about growing up in the talent-heavy Marsalis family of New Orleans. It isn't.
Reese Erlich introduces us to another fresh and easy-going talent from the Marsalis family tree: composer and trombone player, Delfeayo. This Marsalis family member engages our connection to tunes from a new CD. He's a good communicator, and the music communicates on the same level.
The feature touches on his classical connections, the Katrina aftermath, Elvin Jones' inspirations and the Duke Ellington essence. Nice mix and weaving of Marsalis, music and host text.
Superb fit for an arts magazine program and for thoughtful insertion during a local jazz shift or new release show. Additional entries in Reese Erlich’s Jazz Perspective Series can be found here.
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is a middle brother in the famous musical family. That means brothers Branford and Wynton were grown up by the time Delfeayo began to blossom as a teenage musician. But Delfeayo has come into his own with a new CD recently issued.
From Joyride Media | 59:05
Here's an exceptional music-heavy documentary on a musical heavyweight, Fats Waller, hosted by another musical heavyweight, Dick Hyman.
"Fats Waller: If You Gotta Ask" shows off Waller's inspired piano virtuosity and special gifts as a lyrical word-smith. As one of the leading stride piano masters, Waller brought a swinging bright light and a sense of theater to the flurry of notes and intricate rhythms that filled his music.
Musical introductions and not-too-academic historical insight into the Waller piano art include a hands-on stride piano lesson from pianist and fan, Eric Reid.
Sweet sounds, timeless song/hits and his work as a wordsmith of note tell the story. A solid script and the artistic and authoritative radio work from Joyride Media (Paul Chuffo and Joshua Jackson) make this a welcome sound for weekday evenings and all weekend long.
FATS WALLER: IF YOU GOTTA ASK - One-hour music intensive documentary about Fats Waller, one of America's great composers and performers of the 20th century. His songs, stride piano style and on-stage and on-screen antics were legendary and made him one of the first African-American superstars.
Count Basie sat at his feet to learn, Art Tatum considered Fats the best, and Waller's stride style influenced Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and many others.
Strangely enough, two things happened to Fats after he died: he essentially disappeared from our culture's memory for over 30 years, and when he was talked about, it centered around his clowning and humor, which was sorely misunderstood. Despite his untimely death, Fats Waller spent nearly every day of his short life making the music he loved. In that time, he created a rich, prolific legacy that today is justly revered.
Whether you're a musician, a jazz scholar, or just someone who likes to sing along to "Honeysuckle Rose," you know Fats Waller is one of the all-time greats. And if you gotta ask...
Host: Dick Hyman Producer: Joyride Media (Paul Chuffo & Joshua Jackson) Length: One-hour, with breaks for local spots Terms: Available for all USA radio broadcasters at no cost
From Media Mechanics | 53:59
Birthday celebrations (especially celebrity and celebrity icon anniversaries) too often only celebrate longevity.
Rarely are these celebrations for an American institution, an American folk music and protest song institution, an advocate for American labor, earth-care and the environment (we used to call it "fighting against pollution"), an American way of life and the banjo.
Those are just a few reasons for celebrating the 90th birthday of Pete Seeger on May 3rd or all throughout the month of May.
Need other justifications? He wrote "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and 'Where Have all the Flowers Gone," collaborated on "If I Had a Hammer" and recorded definitive folk songs, protest songs and songs of the civil rights movement.
Rita Houston hosts and introduces the Pete Seeger biography and his living legacy by way of a well written narrative, excerpts from Seeger's most recent interview and contributions from author Alec Wilkinson (he has a new Seeger biography).
With production from Media Mechanics, this is magnificently smooth in its craft, construction and flow. It will leave your listeners historically and musically refreshed — and like Pete Seeger at 90 years old, optimistic.