Eclipse Jazz: 40 Years On

Monday April 18, 2016: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

In the fall of 1975, a dozen U-M undergrads came together to launch a student-run concert program, Eclipse Jazz, which became a local music phenomenon.

Beginning with a performance by jazz pianist McCoy Tyner (of the John Coltrane Quartet) at the Power Center, Eclipse Jazz presented over one hundred concerts by the world’s finest jazz musicians over the next 15 years.

This event will feature memories by many of Eclipse Jazz founders and will be moderated by WEMU’s Michael Jewett. Scheduled panelists include Lee Berry, Tom Bray, Michael Grofsorean, Mike Landry, Ann Rebentisch, Jimmy (Max) Robins, and Max Dehn. The discussion will also focus on what happened to Eclipse Jazz and why.

The panel will also discuss the legacy of Miles Davis, whose genre-bending music helped inspire and propel both the members and audience of Eclipse Jazz. A new biopic about Davis, Miles Ahead, starring and directed by Don Cheadle, opens at the Michigan Theater on Friday, April 22.

This event is cosponsored by AADL and the Michigan Theater. Information and tickets for the Michigan Theater film may be found on the Theater’s website at

A2 Jazz Fest Preview Concert Featuring the Ingrid Racine Quartet and BLUEPRINTS

Thursday June 2, 2016: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Enjoy a musical evening as bassist and band leader Dave Sharp presents a showcase of local live jazz

Musicians for this evening concert will be featured at the A2 Jazz Fest, a new outdoor festival premiering in September at West Park.

Performers include:
- the Ingrid Racine Quartet. Trumpeter and composer Ingrid Racine embraces everything from early jazz to bop, fusion to folk and hip hop. Her strong bebop sensibility shines, even as she explores music across decades and geographical boundaries. After graduating from the esteemed jazz program at Community High School in 2000, Ingrid pursued a BFA in Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan, where she studied with the great saxophonist Donald Walden and Detroit Symphony Orchestra trumpeter Bill Lucas. By graduation, Ingrid was playing professionally throughout Michigan with an eclectic array of ensembles including the 1920’s jazz ensemble Phil Ogilvie’s Rhythm Kings, Mady Kouyate’s Heat of Africa, and the Detroit-based all female jazz group Straight Ahead, in addition to steady sideman work in local small jazz groups.

- Dave Sharp's student jazz band from the Ann Arbor Music Center, BLUEPRINTS, featuring Daniel Kennedy on piano, Nick Schnorberger on Guitar, Stanton Greenstone on bass and Henry Case on drums.

The Musical Mainstream

Opera and jazz lovers have a special niche at the National Library Service of the Library of Congress called the Music Section. This section produces a bi-monthly publication, The Musical Mainstream, which lists the most recent classical scores available in Web-Braille/BARD, Audio and Large Print. Musical Mainstream and these scores can be ordered by calling 800-424-8567 or email to The issues also contain articles about the world of music taken from several publications and includes the Metropolitan Opera Broadcast Schedule. With each opera title and broadcast date it provides a list of Braille (BRM) and audio (DBM) recordings from their rich collection of opera appreciation recordings. As I explored the online NLS Catalog for jazz composers, I found a recording of Dave Brubeck talking about how French composer Darius Milhaud used jazz for the first time in classical compositions (DBM 00133). Of local interest, I found a Piano Jazz session with Marian McPartland from March 19, 1987, as she talked and played with UM Professor Emeritus of Music Theory James Dapogny, who told stories about and played tunes by Jelly Roll Morton (DBM 01254). These wonderful materials are also available at no charge to any Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled patron, through BARD, by calling 734-327-4224 or email

The Rap Yearbook

The Rap Yearbook is a New York Times Best Selling book that features the most important rap song from every year since 1979, discussed, debated and deconstructed! This is not to be confused with the "best" rap song each year, which the author denotes early on.

The text is funny and accessible, the illustrations of the rappers are spot-on, and a smattering of diagrams and infographics offer witty sidebars and such great tidbits about the artists. I had a great time listening to the songs referenced as I went along. The book is written by Shea Serrano, with illustrations by Arturo Torres and a foreword by Ice-T. A definite read for fans of music history and or hip-hop.

"Keep On Keepin' On" Jazz Trumpeter/Educator Clark Terry

Lovers of jazz and people who rise above adversity to challenge the status quo will find great pleasure in the documentary Keep On Keepin’ On, about the friendship of trumpeter Clark Terry (1920-2015) with jazz superstar Quincy Jones and the young piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin. Kauflin is blind and Clark Terry is losing his sight due to lifelong complications from diabetes. The film depicts Terry’s early days growing up poor in St. Louis, where he fashioned his first horn out of old tubing and pipe he found. Then it covers his early career with the Count Basie and Duke Ellington orchestras, followed by years playing with other jazz luminaries. He became the first African-American to play with the NBC Tonight Show Band (1962-72) and eventually played on over 900 recordings! But just as important to him was his time spent educating budding musicians, including the young Quincy Jones (his first student) and Justin Kauflin (his last student), which forms the main thread of this fascinating film.

Bowie Lives On

What can one say about such an influential icon as David Bowie that has not been said already? He was never one to be pigeon holed into one look or one style of music. From the '60s hippie days of Space Oddity with the hit “Major Tom” to the glam rock 70s of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie was forever changing and adding new personas. Following Ziggy were such blockbusters as Aladdin Sane (“Panic In Detroit” was on this one), Diamond Dogs with its soul/funk beats and the break out hit, “Rebel, Rebel”, then Young Americans with the popular song, “Fame”, co-written with John Lennon which became his first number one hit in the U.S.

In the late '70s he changed his persona again into the elegant Thin White Duke with the album Station to Station and another memorable tune, “Golden Years”. Ahead of his time in so many ways, he experimented with electronic, ambient, and world music alongside Brian Eno to create the experimental Berlin Trilogy of albums: Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Artists, like Philip Glass would be highly influenced by his work during this time.

With the '80s came the album Scary Monsters which some consider to be his last great album with hits such as “Ashes to Ashes” and “Fashion”. But then came the hit album, Let’s Dance, with Chic guitarist, Nile Rodgers, producing and the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn on lead guitar. On this one album Bowie had several memorable songs including “China Girl” and “Modern Love”, and once again he led the way but this time in music videos especially for the title track. Next was Tonight with the hit, “Blue Jean” which garnered him a Grammy for best music video. Lesser albums like Never Let Me Down rounded out his '80s releases. He then had a short-lived rock quartet called Tin Machine at the start of the '90s. After they disbanded, he returned to solo work starting with Black Tie, White Noise but none of them quite lived up to the commercial success of previous albums. However his last album, Blackstar was just released, and has earned rave reviews. See music videos for the album here. If you are looking for a best of album check out Best of Bowie which includes the single “Under Pressure”.

Bowie was also a noted actor on stage as the Elephant Man and in some unique movie roles such as a vampire in the Hunger, an alien in the Man Who Fell To Earth, a prisoner of war in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, king of the goblins in Jim Henson’s the Labyrinth, and portraying Andy Warhol in Basquiat. He produced albums as well like those for his good friend Iggy Pop (the Idiot), and was a well-respected post-modernist painter. This of course was a brief overview of his most notable works and to read more thoroughly about him there are plenty of websites and books to fill the gaps.

If you want to remember him on twitter type #bowieliveson or post a comment below. For me, the song "Blue Jean" still gets me dancing. You can watch the video to it here. He definitely has the cheekbones to pull off that makeup!
RIP Bowie

Ann Arbor Film Festival: Expanding Frames – Making Movies: Remixing Narratives

Tuesday March 15, 2016: 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm -- UM North Quad Space 2435

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Make your own documentary film in this hands-on workshop. Explore how filmmakers create meaning using image, voice, and audio.

You’ll edit video clips from public domain films and add music of your choosing. Tie it all together by adding your own narration track. Documentary filmmaker Justin Schell will lead the participants through the process. At the end of the workshop, participants will have completed a 30 second film.

Justin Schell is a filmmaker, writer, and Learning Design Specialist for the U-M Libraries, where he heads the Shapiro Design Lab. His first documentary, Travel in Spirals, tells the powerful story of Hmong hip-hop artist Tou SaiKo Lee's journey back to Thailand, 30 years after he was born in a refugee camp there.

His other video work has been shown in the Walker Art Center, Twin Cities Public Television, and online at the Huffington Post and the Progressive and screened in the Twin Cities Film Fest, Twin Cities Underground Film Festival, and the Qhia Dab Neeg Hmong Film Festival. He regularly teaches courses on documentary production, interviewing, and editing.

UM North Quad is located at the corner of S. State St. and E. Washington St. – enter from S. State St. to find Space 2435.

New Year, New Kids' Music at the AADL!

The AADL has an extensive music collection that we’re always adding to. Most recently, we’ve acquired tons of new music for kids! Here are some of our newest CDs:

Sundrops, by The Harmonica Pocket, features upbeat songs about nature and the outdoors. From singing in the sun to playing in puddles and chasing butterflies, this is a fun album to listen to during the winter when sun and butterflies are nowhere to be found! A particularly cool thing about Sundrops is that The Harmonica Pocket play lots of different instruments, so kids will get to hear ukulele, harmonica, glockenspiel, and the sounds of other unique instruments along with the standard guitar, bass and drums.

I know I didn’t think that I needed any assistance in singing Disney tunes when I was younger, but for little ones who love singing Disney songs, Disney Karaoke Favorites is a cool CD to have. It features instrumental tracks of the most popular Disney songs so kids can sing along in their own voices, followed by the vocal version of the track with the movie characters singing the song. On the CD are “Circle of Life,” “Let It Go,” “Part of Your World,” and many other well-known favorites.

Beatles Baby! by popular children’s musician Caspar Babypants is a fun, kid-oriented take on the most popular Beatles songs. Caspar puts his own twist on hits like “Hey Jude,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and “Lady Madonna,” making them appropriate and silly. It’s fun for adults who recognize the true version of the songs to hear this CD, too.

Also newly added to our collection: Classics For Bedtime, featuring many lullaby piano sonatas, Smiles Ahead: Cool Music for Cool Families, an album with lots of different children’s artists playing their songs on it, and many new Kidz Bop albums.

Straight Outta Compton, the Movie

This time of year is full of “top tens” for best books, albums, movies and more. This summer’s bio-drama Straight Outta Compton was one of my favorite films of the year and will be released in a few weeks and the holds are already gathering for it.

The film chronicles the formation and rise of legendary rap group NWA in the mid-80s through their more turbulent years. The film gets emotional as it digs into the violence, drugs, racial tension, eventual fame, and the interpersonal relationships with each other and their manager and the role that these things played in their lives and music.

Unknown actors gave exceptional performances as the NWA members, with Ice Cube’s son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. playing his dad – and in looks and essence he knocked it outta the park. This film had me laughing and crying and cheering in ways I didn’t expect.

To keep things humming, check out Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, as well as the original Straight Outta Compton album from 1988.

Underrated Music of 2015

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending cascade of ‘Best of’ lists being released this time of year? Do you need new tunes to tide you over until Adele’s latest makes it way down the hold list? If you answered yes to either question, then check out these albums in our catalog, which you may have missed in 2015!

Hop Along – Painted Shut
Philadelphia based rock quartet Hop Along released their second album, Painted Shut, among a chorus of squealing guitars and thudding drum beats. The band’s focal point, however, is the unforgettable voice of lead singer Frances Quinlan, who both howls and whispers her way through this powerful album. If you like bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Brand New, or even Nirvana, be sure to check these guys out.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home
Check out this soul/gospel record from Fort Worth, TX crooner Leon Bridges and be transported back to the 1960s. Stand-out tracks like "Lisa Sawyer" and "Smooth Sailin'" highlight Bridges' bluesy, retro feel. Coming Home is an absolute must listen for fans of Sam Cooke or Otis Redding (or fans of music in general).

Shamir – Ratchet
I defy you to keep your toes from tapping along to the debut album from baby-faced singer Shamir. By overlaying an infectious mix of disco, dance-hall, and R&B with a voice that CMJ called “unclassifiable”, this wunderkind from Vegas has crafted an eminently danceable hit, that is weird in the best possible way.

Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass
While on its face a break-up album, the tracks on this self-titled CD from singer-songwriter Natalie Prass sound more triumphant than self-defeating. The blazing horns and heart-tugging strings courtesy of backing band Spacebomb augment Prass’ lilting, pleading vocals, and give her devastating lyrics a bit of added grandeur. For fans of Dusty Springfield or the more contemporary Sharon Van Etten, this album will hit all the right notes.

Be sure to keep an eye on the AADL's lists for New CDs and Hot CDs, and happy listening!

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