Saturdays | 7 – 10 pm
John Penney was born and raised in Ithaca, New York, and began hosting and programming weekly jazz and folk music programs on student owned commercial radio station WVBR-FM at the age of 15.
In 1967 WVBR became one of the first FM radio stations in the country to program “progressive rock.” John was instrumental in the creation of the format and became one of WVBR’s most popular on-air personalities, frequently featuring live studio performances on his show. He served as Music Director beginning in 1970, and continued to program jazz, folk, and rock programs through 1971.
In 1978, at the age of 25, John became the National Promotion Director of Amherst Records in Buffalo, New York, where he was instrumental in establishing the career of the platinum selling band Spyro Gyra. He also became the most popular jazz host on public radio WBFO, as measured by Arbitron and listener donations.
In 1984 John moved to Detroit as the Michigan Regional Representative for Action, and in 1989 was hired by Warner Elektra Atlantic as a sales rep. During his 15 year career with WEA John gained a national reputation as a creative and innovative marketer, among other things designing and executing the company’s first regional catalog promotion with Wal-Mart, which was used to leverage the first national event.
John joined the air staff of public radio WDET-FM in Detroit in 1986 as host of a music variety program. John pioneered the concept of presenting “all the varieties of music” in such a way as to demonstrate the continuity between diverse musical forms by making the connection between current and historic recordings. His program became one of the most popular on the air.
John is a popular and sought after MC for live events, and for years was a fixture on stage at the Detroit Jazz Festival in Hart Plaza. He helped to create an innovative format for radio broadcasts of the festival, and served as national co-anchor for five years. John began his association with the AMRF in 2004 when Ron Harwood asked him to MC the 6th Annual Motor City Boogie Woogie and Blues Festival. He became consultant/Director in September of 2005. John is also collaborating with Ron on a book about the life and times of classic blues singer Sippie Wallace and her siblings.
Time Start Time End Artist Title Album Label
7:00:00 7:08:00 Aretha Franklin Just Right Tonight Hey Now Hey the Other Side of the Sky Atlantic
7:08:00 7:15:00 Kenny Barron & Regina Carter Softly As In A Morning Sunrise Freefall Verve
7:15:00 7:21:00 Herbie Hancock First Trip Speak Like A Child Blue Note
7:22:00 7:30:00 Branford Marsalis Quartet Dance of the Evil Toys Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul Sony
7:30:00 7:37:00 Herline Riley Rush Hour Perpetual Optimism Mack Ave
7:39:00 7:46:00 Charlie Haden Hello My Lovely Best of Quartet West Verve
7:46:00 7:49:00 Johnny Hartman We’ll Be Together Again Songs From the Heart Bethlehem
7:49:00 7:56:00 Booker Little The Blue Book The Book Cooks Bethlehem
7:56:00 8:02:00 Joe Williams with Count Basie The Comeback Basie Swings and Williams Sings Verve
8:02:00 8:06:00 Betty Carter Ms BC The Music Never Stops Blue Engine
8:05:00 8:11:00 Betty Carter Make It Last The Music Never Stops Blue Engine
8:11:00 8:24:00 Miles Davis Stella By Starlight My Funny Valentine Columbia
8:25:00 8:32:00 Buster Williams Audacity Audacity Smoke Sessions
8:32:00 8:39:00 Phil Woods Quintet + 1 Weaver Flash Concord
8:41:00 8:47:00 Marc Johnson Faith In You The Sound of Summer Running Verve
8:47:00 8:52:00 Xavier Davis Prologue Rise Up Detroit Detroit Music Factory
8:52:00 8:58:00 Weather Report Eurydice Weather Report Columbia
9:01:00 9:07:00 Eddie Harris Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova Best of Quartet West Atlantic
9:07:00 9:12:00 Count Basie & Oscar Peterson Soft Winds The Timekeepers Verve
9:12:00 9:17:00 Elvin Jones Lycra Too? Midnight Walk Atlantic
9:18:00 9:21:00 Plant D Nonet If It’s Good Kins of Kansas City Swing Eastlawn
9:21:00 9:28:00 Los Hombres Calientes New Second Line V3 New Congo Square Basin Street
9:28:00 9:35:00 Cory Weeds Getaway Let’s Groove Cellar Door
9:35:00 9:42:00 Horace Silver Pretty Eyes The African Queen Blue Note
9:43:00 9:47:00 Django Reinhardt Blue Moon Django Swings Nuages RDC
9:47:00 9:51:00 Catherine Russell Alone Together Alone Together Dot Time
9:51:00 9:56:00 Joe Locke Last Ditch Wisdom Love Is A Pendulum Motema
9:56:00 10:00:00 Count Basie Doggin’ Around Ken Burns Jazz Verve