Keith Hall

Host of Jazz Currents

Keith Hall is the host of "Jazz Currents" on WMUK. He is the professor of jazz drum set at Western Michigan University's School of Music.

Keith Hall

Jazz Currents host Keith Hall spends time in the studio with engaging jazz pianist Josh Nelson, an artist with blazing talent whose history of experiences with top players, past and present, inform his music and conversation. Nelson, a frequent collaborator with vocalist Sara Gazarek, has nearly a dozen solo albums to his credit, most recently The Sky Remains (2017).


Martin Klemm

MOSS is probably best described as a collaborative project rather than a band. It brings together five top contemporary vocalists to create, in a short space of time, song arrangements that draw from a wide palette of styles and techniques. Each of the five - Jo Lawry, Lauren Kinhan, Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann, and Peter Eldridge - have unique talents and directions: Kinhan and Eldridge are part of New York Voices, Jo Lawry collaborates with Sting, Theo Bleckmann makes use of electronics in his solo ECM albums, and Kate McGarry often draws on her folk music background. Their kinship is based on recognizing their shared strengths and unique differences.

In 2008, with original member/founder Luciana de Souza (Lawry is her replacement), the five singers made a now-classic album, MossOnly in recent months have their professional lives allowed them to focus on a follow-up project. Western Michigan University, and Gold Company director Greg Jasperse, who arranged a WMU residency for the quintet, has played an important role in reuniting the singers and offering them the chance to work on new music. 

In the studio at WMUK, they sing new works and favorite from their first album, with Jazz Currents host Keith Hall leading them through a musical conversation. 


Rede Conexão, via Flickr

The Brazilian guitarist and singer Chico Pinheiro, newly transplanted to New York City, spent a few days with students at the Western Michigan University School of Music last March. The in-demand musician, who has recorded six albums, also spent an hour in WMUK's studio with Jazz Currents host Keith Hall. They discuss the foundations of Brazilian rhythmic styles, and how they intersect with American jazz. Pinheiro says learning Brazilian music gave him an appreciation of the many cultures - African, Caribbean, European, and more -  that contributed to it.

Pinheiro advocates using small moments in life to stimulate writing music, because, he says, you can't wait for divine inspiration. As an example, he plays a song written after a mysterious event he witnessed with his then-new girlfriend.


Rufus Ferguson

Rufus Ferguson was a freshman at Western Michigan University when Keith Hall first heard the young pianist's soulful, gospel-inflected playing. At that time, Ferguson had only just begun to explore jazz. Through hard work, and under the guidance of piano professor Jeremy Siskind, Keith Hall and other members of the WMU jazz faculty, Ferguson developed into a multifaceted performer and composer who takes pride in the nickname "Sideman Ferguson." He can fit into nearly any performance situation and make it sound good. In an in-studio performance and interview with Keith Hall, Rufus Ferguson takes a turn as a soloist, and talks about what made him the player he is today.

Cybelle Codish

Jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon, a soloist and collaborator with Freddy Cole and Michael Bublé, visits with Jazz Currents host Keith Hall for an hour of music and conversation in the Takeda Studio at WMUK. They cover a wide range of topics, including Napoleon's upbringing in Ann Arbor, Michigan; his move to New York City to pursue a career in jazz, his breakthrough gigs, and how his technique contributes to his sound. Napoleon also plays a selection of standards and originals.  


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