Author Michael Perry
Courtesy of Michael Perry
April 10, 2015

The Pull Of The Farm Inspires Wisconsin Writer

Michael Perry is a New York Times Bestselling author, known for his memoirs of growing up in and returning to rural Wisconsin. He is also a humorist, singer/songwriter, radio host, and intermittent pig farmer. Even with all of that he is visiting Champaign-Urbana Saturday as the keynote speaker for the Champaign Library’s Local Author Festival. 

President Barack Obama receives His Excellency Andris Razans Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia, during an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office
Wikipedia Commons; White House Image/Chuck Kennedy
March 20, 2015

Latvian Ambassador Bullish On EU; Not Worried About Russia, Greece

Ambassador Andris Razāns has served as the Latvian ambassador to the United States and Mexico since July of 2012 and 2013 respectively. He spoke with Illinois Public Media about the challenges facing the European Union, particularly Greece’s debt problems and Russian aggression and about how Latvia gained its independence through song. 

The 2010 Rainbo Orchestra cover.
(Photo: Archeophone Records )
February 09, 2015

Champaign-Based Archeophone Fails Again In Bid For Second Grammy Win

The record label that specializes in reviving archival recordings from 100 years ago or more was up for two Grammys for “Isham Jones:  Happy" a collection of early jazz recordings, or ‘dance band’ songs from the 1920’s. 

Singer Joe Cocker has died at age 70.
(Ron Wolfson/Landov)
December 22, 2014

Singer Joe Cocker Dies At Age 70

Joe Cocker, the raspy-voiced British singer famous for hit songs such as "Feelin' Alright" and "Up Where We Belong," has died at age 70, his management agency tells NPR.

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. 

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