In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’ll celebrate the life and music of Lalo Guerrero—composer of “Cancion Mexicana” and zoot-suit swing and collaborator with groups such as Los Lobos—who passed away this March. Also a visit with young hot Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Perez, who blends avant-garde with the traditional music of his home country.
A musical return to that fount of styles called the blues as we take a tour of the Mississippi Delta, and also visit kinfolk in Memphis, Chicago, and Oakland. We’ll hear about blues roots and routes in conversations with singer Little Milton, Delta Deejay Early Wright — famous for his “snake alerts” — and at a Clarksdale, Mississippi, barbershop where stropping the razor to a beat is an art form.
We’ve got the Blues… and American Routes focuses on two of the genre’s heavyweights: the late Muddy Waters from Rolling Fork, MS, and the very much alive Buddy Guy, formerly of Baton Rouge, LA. First, a portrait of Muddy from his band members James Cotton, Willie Smith and Bob Margolin, with biographer Robert Gordon. Then Buddy Guy, who played guitar with Waters as a young rising star on the influential 1964 LP “Muddy Waters: Folk Singer,” and has been regarded as one of finest players of electric city blues for years. We’ll talk with Guy about his extraordinary life, his most recent CD “Blues Singer”—an acoustic tribute to the ’64 Muddy album—and his present-day Chicago nightclub devoted to the blues.
“Cool”—it’s one of those words that’s difficult to define, but you know it when you hear it. Join us as some of our favorite folks expound on the meaning of “cool,” and play some really cool music—Tom Waits, Dave Brubeck, Solomon Burke, Carol Fran, Dr. John and lots more. Plus, there’s interviews with a couple of guys that definitely fit the cool criteria, “In Crowd” member and pianist Ramsey Lewis, and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz.