Isham Jones with his saxophone in the 1920's.

(Archeophone Records)

December 08, 2014

Two More Grammy Nominations 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 2007, 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. 


Logo for the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl, featuring the Fighting Illini and Louisiana Tech Bulldog helmets.

(Graphic courtesy fightingillini.com)

December 07, 2014

Illini To Play La. Tech In Heart Of Dallas Bowl

The Fighting Illini will play the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, December 26th at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas.


Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn shoots from behind the basket while being guarded by American guard Charlie Jones.

(AP Photo/Robin Scholz)

December 06, 2014

Illini Top American 70-55, Improve To 7-1

Malcolm Hill scored 13 points as Illinois defeated American 70-55 on Saturday.  After consecutive poor shooting performances against Baylor and Miami, the Illinois offense was back to its usual form.


A rocket carrying NASA's Orion space capsule lifts off for its first unmanned orbital test flight at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier"

December 05, 2014

NASA: ‘There’s Your New Spacecraft, America!’

NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, accomplished its first test flight with precision and pizazz Friday, shooting more than 3,600 miles out from Earth for a hyperfast, hot return not seen since the Apollo moon shots.  


Undated photo of James Kilgore

(Photo courtesy of James Kilgore)

December 05, 2014

After Being Cleared For Employment, James Kilgore To Teach U of I Course In The Spring

photo of James KilgoreControversial professor James Kilgore will teach at the U of I in the Spring, after a semester of being barred from employment at the school. Kilgore was reinstated as an adjunct lecturer.

Kilgore had been working at the U of I since 2010, as a part-time instructor and supplementing that job with a grant-writing position elsewhere at the U of I. But in the Spring, Kilgore's contracts were not renewed for either job after a media report revealed the professor's past in the Symbionese Liberation Army, a 1970s-era terrorist group.

The SLA is most famous for kidnapping socialiste Patty Hirsch in 1974. The next year, Kilgore was involved in a bank robbery that ended with one person dead. Kilgore spent years on the run, but eventually served his prison sentence, and found work at the U of I.

Last month, the Board of Trustees cleared the way for Kilgore to be re-hired, after months of faculty and staff lobbying the Board to reconsider its policing of hires.

Professor Tom Bassett says he's eager for Kilgore to teach an eight-week seminar to undergraduates in the Spring.

"Professor Kilgore has an excellent track record in the classroom," he said, pointing to Kilgore's rating of "excellent" by students in official class reviews. "I'm delighted to have an excellent teacher returning to the classroom."

The class is part of a required undergraduate course of study in the Global Studies department, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The course is titled "Sweat Shops or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the New World of Work," which centers around the changing global labor market, Bassett says.

Kilgore will be paid $3,500 for the eight weeks, breaking down to $437.50 per week, pre-taxes.

But at least one wealthy donor isn't happy with the decision and has threatened to pull $4.5 million in promised funding to the Chicago campus.


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