The first piano in Ann Arbor


(Submitted by Wystan Stevens)

This is the house where little Lucy Ann Clark (later Mrs. Judge James Kingsley) played the piano that made the Potawatomi Indians dance. (Her instrument was the first piano in Ann Arbor, and the first west of Detroit in Michigan Territory.) The site of this house is now the outdoor area of the Downtown Home and Garden store, on Ashley at Liberty. In the left background of the photo is a building on First Street with a lot of lettering on its walls. Can anyone make out what the lettering says. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

"Sometimes when Miss Clark played, the Indians would lurk around the door and windows and some would dance on the strip of bare floor at the edge of the room that the carpet was not wide enough to cover." (From the Cornelia Corselius papers).

Chick Corea Reunites with John McLaughlin


On Saturday, April 4, at the Hill Auditorium, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin lead a phenomenal jazz combo called Five Peace Band, showcasing the talents of alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade. Any of these artists alone is worth the price admission, but all of them playing together is sure to be a spectacular evening of live music. The performance is a University Musical Society event, and is likely to feature tunes from the early 70s fusion era -- when Corea and McLaughlin played with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew lineup -- in addition to more recent pieces from these artists. The AADL owns recordings of all of these musicians, and through our recently updated Picture Ann Arbor gallery, also has pictures of Corea / McLaughlin from the early 1970s and from their reunion tour this year.

Corea/McLaughlin/Ann Arbor: Then and Now


The University Musical Society and AADL invite you to participate in Then and Now: Community and Cultural Change from the Fusion Era to Today, an online exhibit in celebration of Ann Arbor’s community heritage from 1968-1975 and the return of Chick Corea and John McLaughlin to UMS on April 4. Both of these musicians have continually reinvented themselves over the years while maintaining an exceptional level of artistry and commitment to their music.

Help us to show Ann Arbor's parallel evolution in its cultural, musical, and community landscape. Do you have a photograph from that era or the present day that you’d like to share? We’d love to include it on our site. Go to pictureAnnArbor to find out how to submit your photographs online, or email AADL Productions at to arrange a time to submit your photographs in person.

U2 Releases 'No Line on the Horizon'

U2 released their twelfth record, No Line on the Horizon, on March 3 to mixed reviews, ranging from Rolling Stone's five star accolade to Allmusic's tepid 3 star review, and all the way down to Pitchfork's scathing 4.2/10 diatribe. Reuniting with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, this U2 record features several longer, more sonically reaching songs rather than the tightly anthemic cuts off 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and 2004's How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb. The only songs on the latest release that directly point to the band's most recent singles are "Get on Your Boots" and the long-winded "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." The hold list for AADL's copies of No Line on the Horizon is growing quickly, so if you're a fan be sure to get on that list today.

Stories, songs of Latino women

grupo surgrupo sur

Celebrate Women's History Month by attending a concert by Grupo Sur, a band led by Uruguayan singer, Cristina Burgueno. They explore different musical traditions, some folk, some popular, all representing the rich cultural traditions of women from Latin America. The concert is this Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m.

"Feast for the Senses"

canterbury housecanterbury house

Spend an enjoyable evening at Canterbury House, a campus ministry housed at 721 E. Huron St. Canterbury House offers a great concert series open to the general public. This Friday, March 6, they will offer "A Feast of the Senses" which includes among other sensory delights, music by Laurel Premo who plays a variety of folk instruments and sings, her music drawn from Celtic, American and Scandinavian traditions. Also performing will be "Pear and the Pepper, a jazz band and Dry County, formerly Dry County Boys, an indie rock group. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 or $5 for students and seniors.

Bettye LaVette to visit The Ark next week


Hot off her performance at Obama’s Inaugural Celebration on January 18, Detroit native Bettye LaVette brings her soulful self to The Ark for a night of blissful singing and bringing down the house on Thursday, March 5th at 8pm.

After years of top singles, the 2005 release of I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise brought LaVette back into the spotlight, 43 years after her first single was released when she was a teen. She’s been unstoppable since. Juke Blues Magazine describes her music as “tortuous soul at its most raw and almost frightening in its intensity.” Indeed.

Happy Birthday from the Writer's Almanac


Walking to work today, I listened to the podcast of the Writer's Almanac: Garrison Keillor's daily recording of significant events in literary history. I was surprised to learn that today is the birthday of three extraordinary people whose work I appreciate:

1.Ansel Adams: the iconic photographer of the American west. If you've never spent some time with Adams' photographs, check them out in our collection: Ansel Adams : 400 photographs.

2.Kurt Cobain: although I was teenager in the 90's, I only recently came to appreciate the music of Nirvana. Cobain's life ended too soon, but fortunately we still have music like Nirvana Unplugged to enjoy.

3.Robert Altman: probably my favorite film maker. He directed movies unlike anyone else. Of course M*A*S*H and Nashville are probably his most famous films, but I would also recommend Three Women and Popeye, one of the weirdest musicals ever made.

Dear Science Delivers

When post-punk/electronic band TV on the Radio broke onto the Brooklyn indie rock scene, most comparisons leaned toward The Pixies because of their penchant for layering heavily distorted guitar and keyboard hooks over punched-out vocals that teetered the line between screaming and singing. The most pulse-pounding tunes were accusations of masked racial inequity, and the ballads were just a touch less angry, but still pointed statements of mistrust.

None of these elements are absent from 2008's Dear Science, but whereas the first two records were a sonic shock that grated on the listener halfway through the record, the latest album is much more listener friendly. Here, the dance beats on tracks like Golden Age, Dancing Choose, and DLZ, along with the opaque ballads like Family Tree strengthen the record as a whole, making it an investment sure to return in repeat listens. Each song has a clear thematic direction, and though the sounds and structure of the music are still experimental, TVOTR no longer comes off like art for artists, but rather, music that speaks to artists and rock audiences alike.

The Midwest Hip Hop Summit


The Midwest Hip Hop Summit comes to the Michigan Union on UM's campus this weekend. Starting Friday night at 8pm, catch Atlantic recording artist, Little Brother, along with OneBeLo, Invincible, and DCM co-founder and 4REAL host, Sol Guy, live in concert. Then on Saturday, join workshops teaching other facets of hip-hop culture, including breakdancing, MC'ing, graffiti art, and DJ'ing. These events and several panels on issues of race, gender, and the state of hip hop today will be held throughout the day at various locations in the Union. For current literature addressing these issues, try The Hip Hop Wars, or Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap, or All About the Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America, all available at the AADL.

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