Cafe Jazz

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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.”

When Brian Clardy previously spoke with jazz vocalist Solitaire Miles, we were introduced to her music on the albums "Born To Be Blue" and "Melancholy." Also, her paintings and thoughts on the future of jazz as an art form. We welcome her back to Cafe Jazz to learn about her new project, Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas, merging western swing and vintage jazz in the style of Patsy Cline, Patty Page, Mary Ford and Kay Starr. We learn how she became interested in the genre, similarities between western swing and jazz, how audiences are reacting to her latest work and her holiday wishes.

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.

Back in the 1980s, The Black Cats Jump was a thirteen part series of hour-long programs on big band music with host Bobby Bryan and co-producer Mark Welch. The series featured some of the great black big band leaders, sidemen, vocalists, and arrangers. The first show aired live on Friday, October 3, 1980. Dr. Todd Hill and Mark Welch revisit the series for special airings Tuesdays at 9 p.m. during Cafe Jazz, starting September 17. Cafe Jazz hosts George Eldred and Todd Hill talk about the program and how they re-mastered the series with Mark Welch.

Listen to a special Piano Jazz tribute Monday, September 2 at 9 pm, remembering host Marian McPartland. For more than thirty years, composer and pianist Marian McPartland brought jazz into the homes of public radio listeners through her interviews and duets with some of the greatest musicians in the world. She composed piano pieces that have entered the jazz repertoire and songs—with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and Peggy Lee—that are considered part of the Great American Songbook. This program is hosted by Marian’s longtime friend Murray Horowitz and features Marian’s original compositions.

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