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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
Archive for
Jazz Notes With Judy Adams
June 16, 2017



Concert Pianist, David Syme          Photo:




Jazz Artists Honor Cass Tech with Benefit Concert


On Monday, June 19th, a special benefit concert will take place at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe.  The Cass Tech Alumni Association presents internationally renowned concert pianist David Syme with special guests, bassist Ralphe Armstrong, drummer Skeeto Valdez, and pianist Stefan Kukuruga, all of whom are esteemed alumni of Detroit’s Cass Technical High School.



This special event is coordinated by Cass Tech alum and Jazz aficionado, Carolyn Wanzo. The $150 donation for admission to the concert also includes a several course dinner with all proceeds going to Cass Tech music projects. Donations are tax deductible.



cass tech



Virtuoso pianist David Syme, who lives in Ireland, has had an amazing career. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and in other major venues in more than 17 countries. He also attended Juilliard and Indiana University. He has recorded more than 20 albums with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic among others.



In 2016, Syme began making twice-yearly visits to Cass Tech. He visits the music students and works with them while encouraging their music aspirations and goals. He also helps raise money for their acclaimed music program there which points to the event this year at the Dirty Dog and also a new scholarship he has recently launched
in memory of his father, the Rabbi M. Robert Syme and David Syme Music Legacy Endowment at Wayne State University.



Photo: FreePages/




Cass Tech’s Music Department is legendary and has had an amazing reputation for decades with an unprecedented   list of major Jazz artists who went to school there. The list includes such luminaries as Alice Coltrane, Diana Ross, Della Reese, Gerald Wilson, Regina Carter, Geri Allen, Ron Carter, Dorothy Ashby, Ali Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, Ester Gordy Edwards, Wardell Gray, J.C. Heard, Billy Mitchell, Al McKibbon and many others.



Historical/Background: Courtesy of Wikipedia


Cass Technical High School, commonly referred to as Cass Tech, is a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit. The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools. Until 1977, Cass was Detroit’s only magnet school and the only non-neighborhood enrollment school in Detroit.



The school was founded on the third floor of the old Cass Union School in 1907. Its historic landmark building on Second Avenue in downtown Detroit was built in 1917.[6] To the south of it an addition designed by Albert Kahn was built in 1985. The new, modern facilities of the school were built in 2004 in an adjacent lot to the north of the original building on Grand River Avenue.



The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe is located at 97 Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Farms. Doors open at 6pm. For tickets and information contact Carolyn Wanzo at 313-418-2791 or the Dirty Dog at 313-882-5299.



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June 9, 2017




“I feel that Jazz improvisation is the ultimate.   You have to create on the spot, the essence of this music.”


Sonny Rollins       Photo: Wikipedia



One of the defining elements of Jazz is the use of improvisation. It’s what sets Jazz apart from Classical music in particular, a genre Jazz is often compared to. Classical music, for the most part, is written out and notated.



In fact, early Classical music of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods encouraged players to use improvisation, which was later discouraged and phased out in preference for evaluating performances by how well they followed the written score.



Jazz’s roots come from folk forms such as the Blues, and traditional African music, and many others. Most folk forms are usually improvisational by nature, – encouraging self-expression.



Improvisation in Jazz is what makes it so exciting to listen to because each performance is created extemporaneously – fresh with new material as no two performances are alike.



Jazz improvisation employs the use of ornamentation, creative interaction between the musicians, and individual interpretation.
As musicians are composing “in real time” they are reinterpreting various compositional elements. This is a major component of a musician’s solo in Jazz.



For example, the melody might be ornamented by using different chords and rhythms. The instrumentation might be altered as different instruments are used to play melodies and harmonies in new ways. The tempo could be slower or faster. These are just some of the devices musicians use.



Each time a piece is played also reflects the current mood of the performer, especially in improvisation. They need to know how to express these creative ideas effectively, so they make sense within the structure of the piece, which contains an emotional component or message that is shared between the artists and the audience. This is all done in a matter of seconds as improvisation is music created “in the moment”.



Listen for each artist’s take on improvisation whenever you’re listening to Jazz – whether it’s live or on record. It will take you deeper into the music.



scottGWINNELL detroitmusicfact


Pianist, Scott Gwinnell at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe.


Photo: Detroit Music Factory



Listen for these factors when enjoying pianist Scott Gwinnell at the Dirty Dog next Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15. Scott is a talented, experienced improvisor who knows a lot about composition and musical structure. His playing is very melodic with lush chords and beautiful arpeggios used to embellish the music’s framework.





Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.





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May 31, 2017





Dave McMurray is a long time Detroit and international fixture on the worldwide music scene. Best known as a tenor saxophonist, McMurray is actually a multi-instrumentalist who is proficient on a number of instruments including  flute, keyboards, alto and soprano saxophones and many more.



He’s talented in many genres such as Jazz, Rock, World, Avant-garde, Funk, and more. This is reflective in the diverse list of artists he’s played with from the French pop star, Johnny Hallyday, to Bob Dylan, Gladys Knight, Was Not Was, Bonnie Raitt, Iggy Pop, KEM, and the Rolling Stones. His Jazz work has also been diverse working with avant-garde Griot Galaxy, and contemporary Jazz artists Geri Allen and  A. Spencer Barefield, as well as Nancy Wilson, Bob James and others.



He just loves to play and stays very active as a musician. In fact, he’s getting ready to release his sixth album “Music is Life”, which is being mastered in L.A. and will be out this Fall.



I first met Dave in the mid-1970’s, at Cobb’s Corner, in the Cass Corridor, when he was with the acclaimed Detroit, avant-garde Jazz band, Griot Galaxy, led by the late visionary composer/saxophonist/poet, Faruq Z. Bey.  The group has long-disbanded, but “Griot” fans will have a chance to hear Dave play with the band and some of its former members, during their long-awaited reunion at this year’s Concert of Colors in mid-July. Go to for information.





David McMurray with trumpeter Rayse Biggs at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe

Photo: John Osler



It’s all this constant performing, touring, and recording that makes him able to draw on his well-honed musical abilities and play with ease. He can then concentrate on the art of playing and extemporaneously expressing his creative musical ideas.



Dave said the Dirty Dog is one of his favorite places to play, because “it’s all about the music”. McMurray will be at the Dirty Dog this week from Wednesday, May 31 to Saturday, July 3. His group will consist of vocalist Jerrel Young, Rayse Biggs, trumpet, Al McKenzie, piano, Ibrahim Jones, bass, and Jeff Canady drums. Dave said the Dirty Dog is one of his favorite places to play because “it’s all about the music”.



For more information on his performances this week and to make a reservation go to or call 313-882-5299.




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.










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May 25, 2017





This extraordinary young pianist and composer has a lot going for him.  And, you’ll get a chance to witness his virtuosity in action on the Dirty Dog stage with his band this Friday and Saturday night, May 26-27.



I first heard him while enjoying his role in the multi-generational collective of musicians on the Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1 album from 2015, performing along side everyone from Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Marc Cary to Chris Potter and others.



His recent major label debut on Mack Avenue Records has definitely put him in a worldwide spotlight. His new album, Reach, was produced by iconic bassist/producer Christian McBride, and veteran Jazz producer, Al Pryor.








In it we find all original compositions by Mr. Sands – each one a different musical story supported by a strong group of skillful artists who instinctively know how to interpret Sand’s music while maintaining their own individuality.



These include: Marcus Strickland, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Gilad Hekselman, guitar, Christian McBride and Yasushi Nakamura on bass, Christian Rivera, percussion and Marcus Baylor on drums.



However, this not his first album. This prolific young artist’s discography contains 25 albums to date – five of which are his own.






The impressive opening track on Reach is a Chick Corea inspired piece entitled “Armando’s Song”. It’s spiced up by Afro-Cuban elements and baroque-style counterpoint which he plays at breakneck speed showing off his amazing technical dexterity. Drummer, Marcus Baylor really shines on this one, as he does throughout the album.



“Freefall” utilizes electronic effects, contemporary chord progressions, and features brilliant solo work from saxophone master, Marcus Strickland.



In “Use Me” we hear a mix of Blues, Funk and a touch of Hip Hop, with Gilad Hekselman “burning up the guitar” throughout.



“Actually, my biggest influence in making this album was Michael Jackson’s Bad record,” he says. “There are so many different kinds of tunes on that, so many changes. So that’s what I was setting out to do.”



Mission accomplished!



Christian Sands will be playing two sets each night this Friday and Saturday, May 26-27.


For reservations and information call the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe at 313-882-5299 or visit





Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a  pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.




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May 17, 2017




Ralphe Armstrong at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe

Photo: Hour Detroit magazine



World-renowned bassist and Detroit Music Factory recording artist, Ralphe Armstrong, is a regular performer at the Dirty Dog. You’ll not only hear him perform there with his own band, but with other groups including the Detroit Jazz Festival Allstars and many others.



This week Ralph is celebrating this birthday, which is May 17,  and it so happens he’s performing at the Dirty Dog this week from Wednesday 5/17/17 to Saturday, 5/20/17. He will be joined by Alex Colista on saxophone, Gary Schunk on piano and Gayelynn McKinney on drums.



Ralph Armstrong is one of Detroit’s best musical ambassadors and loves promoting this city’s impressive cultural history while performing at home and around the world.



This legendary Detroit born bassist, who like so many others, went to Cass Technical High School and Interlochen School of Fine Arts in northern Michigan. He’s played with the likes of Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, John Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Larry Coryell and Jean-Luc Ponty to name a few.





The Mahavishnu Orchestra circa 1974, Ralphe is second from left.



For a more extensive look at his background as a musician please check out the link below for an exclusive interview from 2010 with Jon Liebman from “For Bass Players Only”:


Interview – Ralphe Armstrong


Most Ralphe Armstrong fans know that he’s played with incredible artists over the years, but not everyone knows that his father, Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong is national treasure and a celebrated musician who, among other things, was part of the popular group “Martin, Bogan and Armstrong”.



Howard Armstrong was playing the mandolin by the age of ten, and by his mid-teens he was a professional musician. In the early 1930s he performed as "Louie Bluie" after meeting guitarist Ted Bogan. Their career as string band musicians was disrupted by World War I1, and it was not until the 1970s that he rejoined his old friends to begin a second career as a musician and entertainer. Here, he performs at the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival. Chicago, Illinois, Photograph by Jack Vartoogian

Howard Armstrong  at the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival. Photograph by Jack Vartoogian



These excerpts from his New York Times obituary tell us more about this extraordinary American artist’s fascinating life:


Howard Armstrong, (1909-2003), the last guardian of a vanishing African-American tradition of string-band music…played 22 instruments although he was best known as a fiddle and mandolin player.


He performed with a virtuoso’s panache, pleasing audiences with fast fingers and a droll stage presence. His repertory included blues, standards, country tunes, rags, work songs, jigs, reels, polkas, spirituals, Hawaiian songs and international songs in the seven languages he spoke. His gifts as a musician and raconteur were captured in a 1985 documentary by Terry Zwigoff called ”Louie Bluie,” a nickname that Mr. Armstrong got from a drunken fan in the 1930’s….


His music went out of style after the war, and from 1944 to 1971 he worked on the Chrysler assembly line in Detroit.


But in the 1970’s that music was rediscovered, his music career revived and he reunited with Martin and Bogan. They played a weekly club date at the Earl of Old Town bar in Chicago, made albums, including ”Barnyard Dance” (Rounder) in 1972 and ”That Old Gang of Mine” (Flying Fish) in 1978, and appeared on Steve Goodman’s 1975 album ”Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites” (Red Pajamas).


They also began touring, playing at coffeehouses, folk festivals and on a State Department tour of Central and South America.




In 1990 Mr. Armstrong received a National Heritage Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mr. Armstrong released a solo album, ”Louie Bluie” (Blue Suit), in 1995, and it won a W. C. Handy award from the Blues Foundation.


Ralphe Armstrong might be bringing a special acoustic bass, made in 1843, to play this week at the Dirty Dog that he hasn’t played in more than 7 years. He told me that it was recently getting repaired after it was damaged at an airport while he was on tour.  He’ll most likely tell us more about this special instrument that he said sounded very beautiful…almost like a violin.


For performance information and reservations call the Dirty Dog at 313-882-05299 or visit




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.




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May 12, 2017

Alphabetical order: Artist(s) / Title / Label







Cameron Graves / Planetary Prince / Mack Avenue


Pianist and visionary Cameron Graves is getting lots of attention these days. He’s one of the leaders of the thriving Los Angeles Jazz scene and is a founding member of the West Coast Get Down Collective, which supports a new “brand” of multi-faceted, progressive Jazz from such artists as saxophonist Kamasi Washington, bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and others.


His dynamic first album as a leader is full of original music that explores cutting edge arrangements, rhythmic patterns, and melodic structure, creatively utilizing the full capacity of the piano as a harmonic, melodic and percussive instrument. His music is so relevant and current that it is luring a new generation of Jazz fans who are drawn to the idiom for the first time.





Carmen Lundy / Code Noir / Afrasia Records



Acclaimed vocalist/composer Carmen Lundy uses her expressive voice in a collection of engaging songs she  wrote and arranged, which she describes as “a song cycle for turbulent times. These songs encompass the musical and artistic influences from the African diaspora and its influence on Jazz and other genres – the bossa nova, the blues, swing, funk, the exploration into the avant-garde”, says Carmen.



The songs are delivered by an impressive list of artists, including Patrice Rushen, piano, Ben Williams, bass, Jeff Parker, guitar, Kendrick Scott, drums with Ms. Lundy on vocals, keys, guitar, string programming and background vocals.






Nicholas Payton / Afro-Caribbean Mixtape / Paytone Records


Another artist who has been taking Jazz in new directions is veteran, New Orleans born trumpeter, Nicholas Payton. His new album mixes Jazz with powerful statements from powerful people, (i.e. Max Roach, Miles Davis, Art Blakey etc.) about aesthetics and world culture among other things.


These voice loops are tastefully treated with special electronic effects and interspersed with the music – gently carrying us through the evolution of Jazz bringing the continuum of the tradition into the “now”.






Chris Potter / The Dreamer is the Dream / ECM


Chris Potter is considered one of the most talented and powerful saxophonists, composers and bandleaders in Jazz today. Readers of Down Beat voted him second only to Sonny Rollins in their 2008 Readers Poll.



His flawless playing ability enables him to execute musical ideas and improvisations that are true perfection. The music on his new album explores a variety of modes, rhythmic patterns, tempos, textures, and “stories” in an emotional environment that is both peaceful and intense.




Nate Smith / Kinfolk – Postcards from Everywhere / Ropeadope


The New York Times described Nate Smith as a “firecracker of a drummer” which is quite evident on his new release, which includes such notables as Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Kris Bowers, Lionel Loueke, Jaleel Shaw and others.


Smith is another artist who creates a fresh new sound of modern Jazz, fusing Funk, R&B, Hip-Hop and other genres. He treats his band with a collective approach that allows for individual expression. He wrote most of the music on the album, which ranges from hard-driving rhythmically based pieces to lyrical ballads.




*The Jazz playlist reflects Judy Adams’ personal recommendations and does not represent those of the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe or Mack Avenue Records.



Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

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May 4, 2017





Detroit’s own Regina Carter celebrates Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial, (April 25, 1917-June 15, 1996) with her new album “Accentuate the Positive” (Okeh/Sony Masterworks) and with her 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival performance, “Simply Ella”,  this coming Labor Day weekend.










Internationally acclaimed Jazz violinist Regina Carter has chosen to pay tribute to the First Lady of Song’s virtuosic artistry with love and appreciation. “Accentuate the Positive, I thought, was the perfect title considering the mood of the country and the world right now,” Ms. Carter says. “We need some positive vibes.”



Carter deliberately avoided covering Ella’s most recognizable songs on the album. Instead she digs deep in to Ella’s immense catalog to present the many facets of her music.







“One of the many things that I adore about Ella is that she just loved music and didn’t box herself in,” Carter explains. “She recorded everything, not just the American Songbook– but also doo-wop, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs, even some country western music. The fact that she experimented with so many different styles made me feel that, with this record, I would pay respect to her by taking the music and doing something else with it. I feel that she would smile in agreement.”



In the album, which presents the songs in the style of classic 1950s-’60s soul and blues, Carter enlists the talents of an impressive group of musicians and arrangers. She is accompanied by her longtime rhythm section of bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Alvester Garnett, and is joined by pianist Xavier Davis and guitarist Marvin Sewell.
Her band also features, in-demand bassist, Ben Williams, producer, Ray Angry, renowned vocalist, Charenee Wade and pianist Mike Wofford, who was one of Ella Fitzgerald’s own former accompanist and musical director.



Two tracks feature vocals by Regina’s fellow Detroiters, actress and singer, Miche Braden; and longtime friend and vocalist extraordinaire, Carla Cook, who first introduced Carter to Jazz violin while the two were classmates at Cass Technical School.



Regina Carter’s tribute to Ella at this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival will include many of these newly arranged songs from Ella’s songbook. It’s definitely a performance you won’t want to miss.







Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.



Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could imitate every instrument in an orchestra, as she was often recognized as the most talented “scat singer” Jazz has ever known. All the Jazz greats had the pleasure of working with her, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and many others. She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They came from all walks of life to hear and be inspired by the greatest of them all.



ELLA-in Mercedes






Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.




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April 28, 2017

Let’s celebrate Jazz EVERYDAY as we also celebrate April 30th as International Jazz Day.



Here is some official information on the massive global event which includes the all-day, International Jazz Day Global Concert in Havana, Cuba this Sunday, April 30th starting at 21:00 EDT. It’s a live Jazz concert like no other, that you won’t want to miss. Watch live on JAZZDAY.COM





The historic Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso, one of the world’s leading performing arts centers and the oldest theater in Latin America. Originally built in 1838 as the Teatro Tacón, the Gran Teatro has presented top performers from around the world and currently houses the National Ballet of Cuba and the Havana International Ballet Festival. Located in the heart of Old Havana, the building recently reopened after an extensive restoration. It will provide an extraordinary setting for the highly anticipated, culminating performance of International Jazz Day 2017.





Legendary Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.







The 2017 All-Star Global Concert will feature more than 50 renowned artists representing 14 countries, including…


Ambrose Akinmusire (United States), Carl Allen (United States), Melissa Aldana (Chile), Francisco “Pancho” Amat (Cuba), Marc Antoine (France), John Beasley (United States), Richard Bona (Cameroon), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Bobby Carcassés (Cuba), Regina Carter (United States), Kurt Elling (United States), Roberto Fonseca (Cuba), Kenny Garrett (United States), Herbie Hancock (United States), Antonio Hart (United States), Quincy Jones (United States) Takuya Kuroda (Japan), Ivan Lins (Brazil), Sixto Llorente (Cuba), Marcus Miller (United States), Youn Sun Nah (Republic of Korea), Julio Padrón (Cuba), Gianluca Petrella (Italy), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Christian Sands (United States), Esperanza Spalding (United States), Chucho Valdés (Cuba), Ben Williams (United States), Tarek Yamani (Lebanon), Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia), and more!  Can you count the many Detroit Jazz artists are on this prestigious list?




Regina Carter



Kenny Garrett




Harold Lopez-Nussa



In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.


International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.


International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.


Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.


International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April.





Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.



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April 20, 2017



Herbie Hancock’s 1983 “Future Shock” album.



Jazz artists have been reflecting political issues in their music from the beginning. These have included everything from human rights to the environment. With Earth Day being celebrated this week on April 22, I thought it would be fitting to do an updated “Earth Day” playlist featuring Jazz pieces with an environmental theme. I’ve had no trouble finding pieces to play for Earth Day on my radio shows over the years and some of those compositions are listed below.



This year marks the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, which started back in 1970 when ecological awareness was just beginning to take hold. Many events worldwide will be held, focusing of the environment. The Earth Day Network works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries.



Below is a diverse list of Jazz recordings I assembled that echo what Earth Day is all about. This music inspires us to think about the of natural world and the future of the planet.



List is in alphabetical order: Artist / Title / Album



Mose Allison / The Earth Wants You/ The Earth Wants You


Mulatu Astatke / Green Africa / Mulatu Steps Ahead


Kris Bowers / The Protester / Heroes and Misfits


Cinematic Orchestra / Ode to the Big Sea / Motion


John Coltrane / After the Rain / Impressions


Miles Davis / Gondwana / Pangaea





Pangaea is a double album recorded by Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and released in 1976 in Japan. It was recorded live in Osaka, Japan in 1975. Personnel includes Miles Davis, trumpet and organ, Sonny Fortune, saxophones and flute, Pete Cosey, guitar, Michael Henderson, bass, Reggie Lucas, guitar, Al Foster, drums and Mtume on percussion.



Kenny Garrett / Welcome Earth Song / Seeds from the Underground


Cameron Graves / Satania Our Solar System / Plantetary Prince







Cameron Graves is the pianist for award-winning saxophonist Kamasi Washington and will be performing at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival. Planetary Prince is the name of his new album on Detroit’s own Mack Avenue Records.




Herbie Hancock / Earthbeat / Future Shock





Released in 1983, Future Shock is pianist Herbie Hancock’s thirty-fifth album which was a million-selling Platinum disc that contained his hit “Rock It”.  It was the first release from his electro-funk era and an early example of instrumental hip hop.



Jamiroqai / Emergency on Planet Earth / Emergency on Planet Earth


Keith Jarrett / Solara March / Arbour Zena


Jarrett ArbourZena


Arbour Zena is an album composed by American pianist Keith Jarrett featuring saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Charlie Haden and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mladen Gutesha which was released on the ECM label in 1975.



Les McCann / Burnin’ Coal / Much Les


Larry McCray / Delta Hurricane / Delta Hurricane


Jackie McLean / Rhythm of the Earth / Rhythm of the Earth


Pat Metheny / Rain River / Secret Story


Jim Pepper / Witchi Tai To / Comin’ and Goin’


Flora Purim / The Goddess of Thunder / Speed of Light


Pharoah Sanders / The Creator Has a Master Plan / Karma


Tribe featuring Phil Ranelin / Livin’ in a New Day/ Rebirth


McCoy Tyner / Atlantis / Atlantis


Nana Vasconcelos / Rain Dance / Rain Dance


Sarah Vaughn / On a Clear Day / Live in Japan


Elio Villafranca / Flowers by the Dry River / Caribbean Tinge


Eberhard Weber / Yellow Fields / Yellow Fields


Paul Winter Consort / Whole Earth Chant / Icarus




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

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April 15, 2017

Jam Horizontal (1)




Let’s make every month Jazz Appreciation Month! One of the greatest things this country exports around the world is our music and culture. This includes the American art forms of Jazz and Blues.



As we’ve stated many times in our Jazz Notes blogs – Jazz and Blues have been some of the most important musical genres in the history of music. Their influence on music around the world has made its mark influencing everything from R&B, Rock, Classical, World, Country, to Gospel, Electronic, Hip Hop and everything in between.



Jazz awareness has been steadily growing in the past couple of decades due to efforts by musicians, historians, journalists, educators and other cultural advocates. Jazz studies programs are growing on the high school and university level enabling young people to become acquainted with, and inspired by, the music early on.



Jazz Awareness Month (April) and International Jazz Day (April 30) are two relatively recent examples of America publicly recognizing their enormous contributions to world culture through it’s indigenous art forms of Blues and Jazz – both of which are rooted in African American musical traditions.



These commemorative months/days give us a chance to recognize and celebrate what this country has contributed to world culture. Our nation is still quite young compared to most others and yet we’ve created the most important contemporary musical art forms from the past century…that are celebrated all over the world.



The following text includes excerpts from the Smithsonian’s website which gives us some interesting background on the creation of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) which is a music festival held every April in the United States, in honor of Jazz as an early American art form.



JAM was created in 2001 by John Edward Hasse, PhD, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Initial funding was provided by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. Miss Fitzgerald’s archives are housed at the Smithsonian.



Schools, organizations, and even governments celebrate JAM with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.


Ella in 3's

Ella Fitzgerald


Jazz Appreciation Month 2017: Women in Jazz


2017 Featured musician: Ella Fitzgerald



This year, being the centennial of Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald, JAM 2017 will celebrate women in Jazz. Beyond the traditional female vocalist, there are also many great composers, arrangers, orchestrators, and instrumentalists who have and continue to leave an indelible print on the history and future of jazz.



Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was one of the greatest American singers in any genre of music. She had a warm and lovely voice, superb rhythmic sense, considerable versatility, a great range (three and a half octaves), meticulous intonation, and improvisatory gifts as a fine natural melodist.



With an unparalleled ability for mimicry and “scat” singing, Fitzgerald also produced melodic lines that put her in the category of great instrumental improvisers. Known as a singer’s singer, she recorded some two thousand songs in her lifetime.



The Ella Fitzgerald Collection, including the Ella Fitzgerald Papers, was donated in 1996 to the National Museum of American History, which has led to a rich amount of resources available for Jazz scholars, teachers, students and fans.



Celebrating 100 years of the First Lady of Song


In the 1930s, amateur contests were among the most popular attractions at theaters in Ella Fitzgerald’s neighborhood of Harlem, NY. At age 16, Ella Fitzgerald and two of her girlfriends wanted to get onstage. They made a bet and drew straws to see which one of them would go on the amateur hour at the Apollo Theater — Ella drew the short straw! Ella had studied dance and was planning to perform a dance number. Why did she end up singing instead? Because she was so thrown off guard by the success of the two teenaged dancing sisters that performed before she was supposed to go onstage.



Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an American jazz singer often referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.



After tumultuous teenage years, Fitzgerald found stability in musical success with the Chick Webb Orchestra, performing across the country, but most often associated with the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. Fitzgerald’s rendition of the nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” helped boost both her and Webb to national fame. Taking over the band after Webb died, Fitzgerald left it behind in 1942 to start a solo career that would last effectively the rest of her life.







Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.


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