(Not Quite) A MoodSwing Reunion: Jazz all-stars electrify Hill Auditorium despite missing a key member

MUSIC REVIEW

Brian Blade, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, and Brad Mehldau by Michael Wilson

Brian Blade, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, and Brad Mehldau—a MoodSwing reunion. Photo by Michael Wilson.

Joshua Redman comes across as surprisingly shy for one of the best saxophonists in the world. Instrument held slightly off to the side, he addressed the immense crowd at Hill Auditorium on Thursday night from behind his reading glasses and with an endearing timidity, almost apologetically searching for the right words as he gave titles for the night’s first two pieces and introduced his band. Never once did he betray even a hint of the fact that a minute before he’d delivered the kind of virtuosic performance only a handful of people in the world could give. 

The saxophonist and composer was joined onstage by talents no less ferocious than his own, almost a full reunion of the Joshua Redman Quartet lineup from the ‘90s. Bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade—Grammy winners both—grounded the ensemble as its rhythm section throughout the night, occasionally breaking out for breathtaking solos, and the only absence from the old days was pianist Brad Mehldau, who was originally slated to appear but called in sick at the last minute.

Friday Five: Kat Steih, The Biscuit Merchant, Evan Starr, Chirp, Good Mother

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album covers for 04-22-2022

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

This week features jazzy electro-pop from Kat Steih, melodic death metal by The Biscuit Merchant, hip-hop pop by Evan Starr, a funk-prog mashup by Chirp, and a mega-funk mix by Good Mother.

 

Happy 75th Birthday, Mr. Osterberg: Rare Iggy Pop and The Stooges photos from the Peter Yates collection

MUSIC

The Stooges at Fifth Forum in Ann Arbor, July 1969. Photo by Peter Yates.

The Stooges at Fifth Forum in Ann Arbor, July 1969. Photo by Peter Yates via AADL's Old News.

There are probably more than two great things to come from Muskegon, Michigan, but I want to focus on two: Brunswick bowling balls and Iggy Pop.

The former wasn't born in Muskegon, but the latter was on April 21, 1947.

In honor of Pop's 75th birthday, Pulp's highlighting a few photos by Peter Yates, who moved to Ann Arbor in 1969 and was soon chronicling the Southeast Michigan cultural scene. Last year, the Ann Arbor District Library's Old News team digitized numerous Yates photos, which you can peruse here.

The photos shown here are all from July 1969, soon after The Stooges had recorded their self-titled debut, which came out August 5, 1969. 

Transcontinental Travelogue: Country-pop singer-songwriter Katie Pederson recounts her solo journey on "Limitless"

MUSIC PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Singer-songwriter Katie Pederson balances on a fallen tree as she walks through a forest

Former Ann Arbor-ite Katie Pederson finds a sense of renewal within nature on Limitless. Photo by Sarah Schade.

In November 2019, Katie Pederson embarked on a solo, transcontinental road trip.

The monthlong expedition allowed the pop-country singer-songwriter and pianist to process past sorrows and reconnect with herself before relocating to Tennessee from Michigan.

“When I left Michigan, I knew I was gonna move to Nashville, but I didn’t quite know … so I just left,” said Pederson, who hails from Ann Arbor. 

“I wanted to go to the mountains to get some perspective, so I went out to Alberta, Canada, and stopped at hostels along the way in North America. I did a lot of hikes in different areas, read a lot of Mary Oliver’s poetry, and met a lot of really wonderful people.” 

Those therapeutic experiences provided the magical inspiration for Pederson’s new sophomore album, Limitless, and helped her explore a sense of renewal within a nature-rich landscape. 

Pederson will recount her Limitless journey during an April 24 album release show at The Ark with special guest Grace Theisen, a Kalamazoo blues-Americana singer-songwriter.

Friday Five: Lily Talmers, simulatent, Paper Petals, Russell Tessier, COMFORT KIT

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 04-15-2022

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

This week features two singles from two forthcoming albums by singer-songwriter Lily Talmers, isolationist ambient by simulatent and Paper Petals, jazz fusion by Russell Tessier, and flannel-y punk by COMFORT KIT.

 

Friday Five: Doogatron, Thomas Gun, Claire Cirocco & Fred Thomas, Larynx Zillion's Novelty Shop, angels

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five record covers for 04-08-2022

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

This week features industrial krautrock techno by Doogatron, punky psychobilly by Thomas Gun, clangy drift music by Claire Cirocco & Fred Thomas, experimental glam by Larynx Zillion's Novelty Shop, and electro-pop by cherry seasoning.

 

Recovery Strategy: Chelsea singer-songwriter Scotty Karate finds catharsis on "Always Honey"

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Scotty Karate sitting in a chair on stage, holding a guitar and singing. Photo by Darrin James.

Chelsea, Michigan's Scotty Karate performs live in Washtenaw County as a one-man band. Photo by Darrin James.

Scotty Karate’s therapeutic album Always Honey chronicles a path to personal growth and recovery.

The Chelsea alt-country singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist shares his vulnerable experiences with addiction, loss, and heartbreak on his latest insightful album via Ann Arbor's Ravine Records

“It’s been some pretty heavy-duty times, and with my whole recovery the last four years," said Karate, aka Fredric Scott Leeman, who works at Washtenaw County’s Community Mental Health. "I’ve reflected a lot on past relationships and things like that."

Karate started reflecting on those relationships and experiences in January 2018 when he received treatment at a local rehabilitation center and resided in transitional housing for 15 months. At the time, he saw several friends get kicked out, then relapse, and later pass away.

“With my own experiences and how they worked out, I had to see this [trauma] … you couldn’t not see this living with these people. It was kinda the point,” Karate said. “Even if it wasn’t that, I felt like I was on this boat, and if you got on this side or that side of the boat, everybody fell off … so you had to stay in the middle of the boat. It’s so tricky, it’s not just kids having fun anymore, none of it is.”

Friday Five: The many guises of Laurence Bond Miller and Ben Miller

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album covers for April 1, 2022

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

This week features the Miller brothers with a heavy focus on Laurence, who has been making music in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area for nearly 53 years, ever since he and his brothers, Roger (Mission of Burma) and Benjamin, formed Spronton Layer in 1968 while at Ann Arbor High School (Pioneer).

The brothers are such a prolific creative forces—in the past and in the present—that we also did an all-Millers Friday Five back in December 2021, which you can read here.

There's always a steady stream of new and archival releases by the Millers, and the recordings below span new wave, children's music, lounge, experimental, pop, rock—and everything in between.

 

Friday Five: Chris Bathgate, The Rick Burgess Trio, Kelly Hoppenjans, Katie Pederson

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 03-25-2022

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

This week features a new single by singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate, a memorial compilation of live jazz by The Rick Burgess Trio, crunchy and atmospheric indie rock by Kelly Hoppenjans, country-tinged pop by Katie Pederson, and innovative R&B via Where She Creep.

 

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

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Hannah Baiardi

This story originally ran July 27, 2021. We're rerunning it because March 22, 2022, is the one-year anniversary of the album's release. Her latest single, "Lot Lot," is available here.

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.