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.

 

Friday Five: Disaster Relief with Thornetta Davis, The London Beck, Joshua Logan Alexander, G.B. Marian, Isolation Sundaze

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-04-2021

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

This week features soul from Disaster Relief with Thornetta Davis, hard rock from The London Beck, acoustic from Joshua Logan Alexander, industrial from G.B. Marian, and eclectic everything from Isolation Sundaze.

 

International DJ and Ann Arbor native Tim Baker passed away April 4

MUSIC

DJ Tim Baker

On April 4, Ann Arbor native DJ Tim Baker died of a heart attack while spinning for a charity live stream on Easter morning.

A 1985 graduate of Huron High School and Eastern Michigan University, Baker had residencies at Ann Arbor's Nectarine Ballroom in the late 1980s and in the 1990s he started touring Europe and producing his own Detroit techno- and Chicago house-influenced tracks for a variety of labels including his own, Real Estate Records.

Baker died in Chicago, where he had lived since 1998.

A service was held April 15 at Nie's Family Funeral Home on Carpenter Road in Ann Arbor, and according to a friend, Baker was "laid to rest in a U of M casket with a [drum machine] on his lap and some silver shoes."

Below are a selection of Baker's tunes, mixes, live appearances, and some remembrances by several electronic-music website's and the family's obituary.

Soul Message Band's "Live at Blue LLama" launches the club's new record label

MUSIC

Soul Message Band, Live at Blue LLama CD back cover

When you walk into Ann Arbor's Blue LLama Jazz Club, the first thing you notice isn't the sound booth. It's the curved long bar that starts near the front door, the ceiling's circle lights, or perhaps the textured sound-absorbing panels that line the back wall of the club. But the sound booth is outfitted with oodles of high-end audio and video gear, and Blue LLama is able to document every performance it chooses to with relative ease. Since the venue often books local artists, recording these shows will provide an invaluable resource covering the recent history of the Ann Arbor and Michigan jazz scenes.

But touring artists are also taking advantage of Blue LLama's high-tech capabilities.

The first live album recorded at the club came out last September on Denmark's venerable Storyville RecordsAdonis Rose Piece of Mind-Live at Blue LLama. The New Orleans drummer and Blue LLama artistic director Dave Sharp discussed making this record while the club was still being designed, and the results are an excellent mix of electric and acoustic jazz.

The club has now taken the next step and formed a label, Live at Blue LLama Records.

Friday Five: John Beltran, Approachable Minorities, Prhyme Rhyme Boss, Canada, Velveteen Blue

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 05-28-2021

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

This week features ambient techno by John Beltran, hip-hop from Approachable Minorities and Prhyme Rhyme Boss, indie-folk rock by Canada, and neo-lounge via Velveteen Blue.

Avery Williamson | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Avery Williamson | AADL BLM mural

Avery Williamson (b. 1990)
Cleo, Tidal and Delores 1948
averywilliamson.com
Instagram: @aisforavery

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist and AADL Black Lives Matter Mural Artistic Coordinator Avery Williamson.

Curtis Wallace | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Curtis Wallace | AADL BLM mural

Curtis Wallace
Instagram: @cw_creatyv | @BeCreativeYpsi
Facebook: @curtis.creatyv @BeCreativeYpsi

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist Curtis Wallace.