James R. Burgess, former Champaign County State's Attorney
(Courtesy of Champaign County Historical Archives,The Urbana Free Library)
December 09, 2014

Measure To Honor Burgess Heads To Obama’s Desk

Legislation is now headed to President Obama to name the Champaign post office in Campustown for James Burgess – after a bipartisan measure passed the US Senate Monday night.


Isham Jones with his saxophone in the 1920's.
(Archeophone Records)
December 08, 2014

Two More Grammy Noms For Champaign Record Label

man holding a saxophoneA local record label known for archival work will again be at the Grammys.  'Isham Jones: Happy', on Archeophone Records, reissues 1920 recordings of a saxophonist and Chicago band leader.

Jones was best known for writing ‘It Had To Be You’ in 1924. 

But Archeophone co-owner Richard Martin said their goal is seek out earlier, underrepresented material from the teens and early 20’s. 

“So in the case of Isham Jones, here is a band leader who is one of the most important figures in the development of the American dance band sound," he said.  "He’s celebrated from his hot jazz sides from the 1930’s – but he started in 1920.”

Martin and his wife and label co-owner, Meagan Hennessey learned Friday they’d been nominated for two Grammys - Best Historical Album, and colleague David Sager for Best Album Notes. 

"(Jones) wrote hundreds of songs, and maybe 30 of them were hits," said Sager.  "Jones said that it was just dance music.  And he was very clear, saying jazz is not necessary dance music.  All jazz is dance music, but not all dance music is jazz, and I think he understood what good, hot playing was about and incorporated it in his ensemble, but it was never considered a jazz ensemble."

Martin and Hennessey said there was a specific character to Jones’ sound in Chicago clubs.

"If you compare his arrangements with other people’s, his records sound very much ahead of their time," said Martin.  "They don’t sound like the other dance band orchestras recorded contemporarily.  And they don’t sound like his hot jazz.  It’s a very different feel."

"There are no lead vocals," said Hennessey.  "No lead coronet or trumpet – that’s the hallmark of jazz that emerges.”

These two nominations mean Archeophone and their collaborators have picked up 11 of them total – their one Grammy win was in 2006, a Best Historical Album award for “Lost Sounds – Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry.” 

The Grammys will be handed out February 8th in Los Angeles. 


Rabbi Isaac Neuman at a service to mark his initiation and the reopening of the East Berlin synagogue in 1987.
(AP-Photo/Elke Bruhn-Hoffmann/- 09/23/1987.)
November 18, 2014

Champaign Rabbi, Holocaust Survivor, Isaac Neuman Dies

A colleague of Isaac Neuman is remembering the longtime leader of Champaign’s Jewish community as a kind and wise man who always spoke the truth.  Neuman died Monday at age 91.


A woman grieves at her husband's memorial at the South Tower Memorial Pool on the 13th anniversary of September 11.
(AP Photo/The New York Times, Chang W. Lee, Pool)
September 11, 2014

9/11 Remembered, Amid New Anti-Terror Fight

The shadow of a renewed terror threat has been hanging over today's observances of the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.


A protester attends a rally on fracking in Springfield in May 2013.
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
September 10, 2014

Industry To Seek Changes In ‘Fracking’ Rules

Supporters of high-volume oil and gas extraction said Wednesday that they'll seek dozens of changes in proposed rules to govern the practice in Illinois that appear to violate a hard-won compromise between industry and environmentalists. 


Book, "The Types of Mankind" found in Clinton Library.
(Chris Wills, Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum)
August 05, 2014

Lincoln Signature Discovered In Clinton Library Book

A book that Abraham Lincoln read and signed has lingered long unrecognized on the shelves of the Vespasian Warner Public Library in Clinton.


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