Jazz Currents

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.  


In the 1940’s, Charlie Parker helped to create a new musical language called bebop, and became arguably the most influential alto saxophonist of all time. Parker was not satisfied with this alone, and began to look for new ways to express himself musically. 


Guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny recorded his debut album as a leader in 1975. At the young age of 21, Metheny redefined the sound of the traditional jazz guitar. 


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