Live and Local - March 31, 2014

Real Vocal String Quartet in Charleston—and Our Studio

Last Monday I had a short chat with the cellist of the Real Vocal String Quartet and shared a few of their tunes. I’m delighted to say that we’ll have the whole quartet live in our studio on the Monday edition of the show, in advance of their performance in Charleston Tuesday night. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, they’re unusual among string quartets for their genre-busting sensibilities, their improvisation—and yes, their singing.

Live and Local - March 28, 2014

Harmonica Virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio in Danville and SFJAZZ Collective in Springfield

Robert Bonfiglio has been called “the Paganini of the harmonica,” playing with major orchestras throughout the world and commissioning numerous works for his instrument. He’ll appear with the Danville Symphony Saturday, and he’ll play for us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll also talk with bassist Matt Penman of the SFJAZZ Collective, whose Tenth Anniversary Tour will take them to Springfield on Sunday.

Live and Local - March 26, 2014

Part Two on America’s Songs with Michael Lasser

Michael Lasser is a writer, critic, teacher and host of the nationally syndicated radio program Fascinatin’ Rhythm. He grew up in New Jersey in the shadow of Broadway, and the theater and its songs have been in his blood ever since. Lasser has written a new book called America’s Songs II: Songs from the 1890s to the Post-War Years, and on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local,” we’ll visit for part two of a conversation sharing more great stories about more great songs.

Live and Local - March 25, 2014

Part One of Two with Michael Lasser, Author of New Book on America’s Songs

Several years ago, Philip Furia and Michael Lasser published a book called America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. As you might expect, there were far too many songs to choose from. So Michael Lasser wrote a sequel, America’s Songs II: Songs from the 1890s to the Post-War Years. Michael will be my guest on the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of “Live and Local,” sharing wonderful stories about some great songs.

Live and Local - March 24, 2014

A Sea Chantey Sing and the Real Vocal String Quartet

Chris Maden is a recent transplant to Champaign-Urbana, by way of seafaring towns like San Francisco; Providence, Rhode Island; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Along the way, he picked up a serious fascination for sea shanties and other music of the waterways. He hosts a monthly shanty sing in Urbana, and he'll be my guest on the Monday edition of "Live and Local." I'll also talk with cellist Jessica Ivry of the Real Vocal String Quartet, who will play in Urbana Sunday and in Charleston next Tuesday.

Live and Local - March 21, 2014

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin in Urbana and “The Garden of Chloe” by Local Filmmaker Johnny Robinson

Jeff Coffin is a saxophonist, bandleader, composer and educator, three-time Grammy winner with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and now playing with the Dave Matthews Band. He’ll play in Urbana Saturday night, and he’ll be my guest on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”  We’ll spend most of the hour with filmmaker Johnny Robinson, whose new film, The Garden of Chloe, will feature music performed by the Almost “A” Quintet, who will play for us live in the studio.

Live and Local - March 20, 2014

Scottish Folk Singer Jim Malcolm Comes to Urbana

Jim Malcolm has been called “the ultimate Scots troubadour” and “one of the finest singers in Scotland in any style.” He played for years with the Celtic folk/rock band Old Blind Dogs but now works solo, performing his own well-crafted songs and the traditional songs of Scotland. He’s also a highly regarded interpreter of the songs of Robert Burns. Jim Malcolm will play in Urbana on Sunday, and he’ll be my guest on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.”

Live and Local - March 19, 2014

Saxophone Legend Frederick Hemke at the University of Illinois

Frederick Hemke retired two years ago after fifty years as professor of saxophone at Northwestern University, my alma mater. He’s been called a legend among classical saxophonists, for his playing, for advancing the sax as a solo classical instrument and for teaching hundreds of students, many of whom teach and perform throughout the world. Dr. Hemke will play a new concerto at the University of Illinois Thursday night, and he’ll be my guest on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”

Live and Local - March 18, 2014

Charlie Brown Comes to Champaign and an Oud Recital in Urbana

Everybody loves Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, the star of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, which ran for nearly fifty years and has been called “the longest story ever told by one human being.” The 1967 musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and its 1999 revival involves six of Schulz’s characters, played by adults. The show is the first production of the season for the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company, and we’ll hear a live preview on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” I'll also talk with Syrian musician and composer Essam Rafea, who will give a solo oud performance in Urbana on Wednesday.

Live and Local - March 17, 2014

Biennial National Saxophone Conference at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois will host the biennial national conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance—or NASA— March 20 to 23. Featured artists will include legends of the classical saxophone as well as renowned jazz saxophonists, with evening concerts and daytime events on the campus in Urbana. We’ll hear details about the conference, and a bit about the sax, from NASA co-hosts Debra Richtmeyer and J. Michael Holmes on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”

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