Ann Arbor singer-pianist Hannah Baiardi makes jazz her own on "Straight From the Soul"

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Hannah Baiardi

Hannah Baiardi has been writing and performing music since age 3, so it’s no surprise that her first full-length album, Straight From the Soul, is a polished and thoughtful work.

Although a listener might categorize the music as contemporary jazz, Baiardi clearly draws on other influences as diverse as R&B and new age, and it all comes through on the album. The University of Michigan grad (BFA ’18, jazz studies) offers smooth, heartfelt vocals and evocative piano playing, which combine for a distinctive and memorable sound. She’s backed by an excellent supporting cast, including Karen Tomalis on drums on most tracks and Marion Hayden or Ryan King on bass.

Baiardi writes much of her own material. The album features five original compositions, ranging from the wistful yet hopeful “Who Can Relate” and “Distant Land” to the joyful “Let Go” and “Feel It.” The album concludes with “Transit,” an outstanding instrumental showcase.

The album also features two pop favorites from old movies—an introspective take on “Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair and “The Summer Knows” from Summer of ’42, which makes for ideal listening in the summer of ’21.

Baiardi recently agreed to answer a few questions via email.

Friday Five: Antwaun Stanley, Beanstalk, Lionbelly, Anteomedroma, Ness Lake

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 07-23-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features dancey R&B from Antwaun Stanley, synth-pop by Beanstalk, alt folk-pop via Lionbelly, black metal from Anteomedroma, and lo-fi indie-folk courtesy Ness Lake.

 

Friday Five: Andrew W.K., Slug Love, Mirror Monster, Shooting Stars, Oren Levin

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-16-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features headbanging from Andrew W.K., shoegaze via Slug Love, synth-pop from Mirror Monster, hip-hop by Shooting Stars, and radio-pop from Oren Levin.

 

Friday Five: Werewolf Hair, Cherry Seasoning, Noah Fishman, B38TN1K, Stormy Chromer

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album covers, July 9, 2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features noisy indie rock by Werewolf Hair, electro-pop via Cherry Seasoning, a film soundtrack from Noah Fishman, spacy synth/horror soundtracks by B38TN1K, and concert recordings courtesy of jam band Stormy Chromer. 

 

U-M's Not Even Really Drama Students (NERDS) created a series of original musical audio dramas

MUSIC THEATER & DANCE

Not Even Really Drama Students musical audio dramas

I've lived in Ann Arbor for nearly five years and I'm still discovering student groups at the University of Michigan who are producing original music, art exhibitions, videos, films, literature, photography, magazines, and theater. Campus talent runs DEEP.

Today's discovery is the Not Even Really Drama Students (NERDS), which creates original musical dramas. I assume that normally they would stage the productions somewhere, but over the past year, these students created a series of original audio and video musical dramas that they've uploaded to YouTube and Spotify. 

The 10 audio dramas currently on Spotify will eventually be uploaded to YouTube as well, but for now, the video service is the place where you can see NERDS' variety shows and full-length audio-video musicals such as The Seven Deadly Sins

Friday Five: Dani Darling, Matthew Kiser, John E. Lawrence, Cece June, Das Chritz

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 07-02-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features R&B/funk/disco by Dani Darling, dance and pop via Matthew Kiser, smooth jazz from John E. Lawrence, anthemic pop by Cece June, and glitchtronics via Das Chritz.

 

The Ypsilanti Frog Island Jazz Series brings free Friday concerts throughout the summer

MUSIC PREVIEW

Ypsilanti Frog Island Jazz Series

Between 1982-2001, Ypsilanti’s Frog Island Park hosted a jazz, blues, and zydeco festival sponsored by WEMU 89.1-FM. I remember seeing the Sun Ra Arkestra there on June 24, 1990, and hearing Ra talk about being from outer space during an interview broadcast on the station blew my young mind.

The Ypsilanti Frog Island Jazz Series won't have any outer-space vibes; it will evoke more of a classy nightclub or a tropical beach—or perhaps even a Depot Town breeze—rather than interplanetary travel because the artists who are appearing in the series are in the smooth jazz, groove/blues, and straightahead veins.

And because of flooding, it looks like the series won't even be held at Frog Island; it's now at nearby Riverside Park, 5 E. Cross St. in Ypsilanti, though there's been no official update on either the series' website or Facebook page.

Organized by guitarist John E. Lawrence, who was an instructor and chair of the music department at Washtenaw Community College through 2014, The Ypsilanti Frog Island Jazz Series will feature a concert nearly every Friday between July 2 and September 3 (there's no show July 23). Lawrence and his group will open every gig, all of which are free. The series schedule is:

Friday Five: Kenyatta Rashon, Matthew Milia, Andrew W.K., No Author, Tanomura

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-25-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features R&B from Kenyatta Rashon, roots rock by Matthew Milia, techno-metal by Andrew W.K., techno via No Author, and jazzy electro-pop by Tanomura.
 

Friday Five: Sean Curtis Patrick, weretwins compilation, London Beck, Lightning Love, Jamie "Pops" VanEffen

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-18-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features ambient from Sean Curtis Patrick, an experimental compilation from the weretwins label, progressive R&B from London Beck, indie rock from Lightning Love, and psych-rock from Jamie "Pops" VanEffen.

 

Friday Five: A.D.D., Rudolf Steiner High School students, JDSY, Ma Baker, Barbaric Yawps

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-11-2021

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features rap/R&B by A.D.D., music from Rudolf Steiner High School students, video-game soundtracks via JDSY, jams from Ma Baker, and progressive world-jazz by Barbaric Yawps.