Cafe Jazz

Weeknights at 9 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Energize your evening with two hours of mainstream jazz on Café Jazz. George Eldred gets the week started on Mondays and again Thursdays (at 10 pm), Todd Hill picks up the jazz on Tuesdays, and Dr. Brian Clardy takes over Wednesdays. Whether you're new to jazz or an aficionado, Café Jazz is the place to satisfy that fix.

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Murray, KY- Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) wrote and performed music that still gives joy to millions of people and influences musical composition to this day. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances all over the globe and defined a sound that some call the most truly American music ever, including the popular tune “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.”

Sybil's career as an R&B singer began in the mid 1980s and took off in 1989-1990 with her covers of Dionne Warwick's "Don't Make Me Over" and "Walk On By," which reached numbers 2 and 3 on the US R&B charts, respectively. Her other hits include "The Love I Lost" and "When I'm Good and Ready" (which reached 3 and 5 on the UK charts). Her music has taken her around the world and eventually back to the US, where she now teaches a program geared towards educating under-serviced youth. Brian Clardy speaks with Sybil on Cafe Jazz about some insight into her career, her teaching methods and her thoughts for the holidays.

We're opening the vault... Join us at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday nights as we share programs from our jazz archives. It could be productions by Todd Hill, Brian Clardy, Andy "Jazzman" Smith, George Eldred, the late-great Colonel Tom Morgan, or an unexpected surprise. Jazz goes local late nights on WKMS with Jazz Vault, classical Cafe Jazz favorites, introduced and produced by George Eldred.

Jazz pianist and educator Mulgrew Miller passed away today at the age of 57. He was said to be a leader among contemporary jazz pianists. In this commentary recorded in 2007, Dr. Brian Clardy, Murray State Assistant Professor of History and host of Cafe Jazz Wednesday nights, talks about why Miller was more than just a listening experience. To honor Miller's legacy, Brian will play several selections of his work, along with work by contemporaries tonight (May 29) on Cafe Jazz.

One of the great music innovators in the second half of the Twentieth Century, and the formative years of the Twenty-First, was the Chicago based iconic artist Franz Jackson. Having performed with Fletcher Henderson, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington (as well as being a leader on several recordings), Jackson brought energy, excitement, and soul to his music. As such, Jackson was one of the great pioneers of American jazz. History professor and host of Café Jazz, Dr. Brian Clardy spoke with his daughter, Michelle Jackson-Jewell in a telephone interview. Listen to the full interview above. See more at, including how to purchase his new album, "Milestone."

Classically trained vocalist Solitaire Miles has the range and sound that echoes the musings of jazz singer Anita O'Day and Ella Fitzgerald, and opera singer Fredericka Van Staad. Her brilliantly recorded albums Born To Be Blue and Melancholy reflect her complex ideas and multifaceted influences. But equally impressive are her paintings, one of which is of President Obama that was accepted by the White House. Café Jazz host and Department of History professor Dr. Brian Clardy spoke with her by telephone about her work and views on the future of jazz as an art form. A shortened version of this interview aired on Café Jazz Wednesday, March 13. The interview above is the longer, full version.

Chicago area pianist, composer, and band leader Kelly Brand has been on the music scene for well over a decade and a half entertaining jazz lovers with her innovative compositions and arrangements. Her original compositions, as well as her covers of musicians like Bobby Hutcherson, have enthralled listeners from the concert stage to her stellar recordings. Murray State History Professor and host of Café Jazz Dr. Brian Clardy spoke with her via telephone in an interview that was aired recently on the Wednesday night broadcast. Hear is the full interview. Discover more of her work at

Kate Lochte continues our series of interviews with young people of western Kentucky who are finding success “out there” in major markets.  This time we meet a co-founder of the Brian Blade Fellowship Band, Jon Cowherd.

Pianist Jon Cowherd is a member of jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson's band, and his instrumental work has graced albums by the likes of Rosanne Cash, Lizz Wright, Iggy Pop, Marc Cohn, Mark Olson and Victoria Williams. He tours with Ms. Wilson, Rosanne Cash and also his Fellowship Band, which he co-founded with percussionist /bandleader Brian Blade with whom he discovered musical brotherhood while both were students at Loyola University in New Orleans. 

Café Jazz host Dr. Brian Clardy recently spoke with jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti, for A Café Jazz Christmas with Brian Clardy (aired: 12/19 at 9 p.m.). They talk about Taylor's influences, memories of Dave Brubeck and improving as a young musician into adulthood. Taylor began studying the piano at the age of four and recorded his first album at the age of 14, titled Tays Groove. He was recently nominated for two Grammy Awards and lives in New York City. Brian spoke with Taylor Eigsti over the phone.