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.
Hour Duration Artist Title Album Label
5:09 John Pizzarelli Walk Between the Raindrops Double Exposure Telard
8:11 Wynton Kelly June Night Kelly Great Vee Gee
8:01 Steve Davis Inner Glimpse Correlations Smoke Sessions
5:07 Mary Stallings Stolen Moments Songs Were Made to Sing Smoke Sessions
5:45 Eddie Daniels Tango Nove (New Tango) The Heart of Brazil Resonance
9:26 Medeski Martin & Wood Nostalgia In Times Square Free Magic Inderecto
5:02 Vincent Herring “Fly, Little Bird, Fly” Night and Day Smoke Sessions
9:14 Charles Mingus Pussy Cat Dues Mingus Ah Um Columbia
9:30 Betty Carter Bridges The Music Never Stops Blue Engine
7:54 Ralph Peterson and the Messenger Legacy Along Came Betty “Legacy Alive v6, at the Side Door” Onyx
5:40 Geri Allen In Real Time Timeless Portraits and Dreams Telarc
3:56 Elvin Jones Dear John C. Dear John C Impulse
5:23 Kurt Elling Tutti For Cootie 1619 Broadway Concord
3:17 Miles Davis and Michel LeGrand Paris Walking II Selections from Dingo OMPST Warner Bros.
11:35 The Jazz Crusaders Wilton’s Boogaloo The Festival Album Pacific Jazz
7:52 Jazz At Lincoln Center Orch. w/ Wynton Marsalis I Left My Baby Live In Cuba Blue Engine
8:11 Wayne Shorter With Hunt Speak No Evil Blue Note
9:07 Kermit Ruffins If I Only Had A Brain Happy Talk Basin Street
12:59 “Thad Jones, Mel Lewis Orchestra” Backbone All My Memories Resonance
5:32 Mr. Bruce Roy Hargrove Habana Verve
2:25 Jazzmeia Horn Social Call A Social Call Concord
3:09 Bill Frisell Bryant’s Boogie Guitar In the Space Age Sony
6:35 Bobby Hutherson Herzog Total Eclipse Blue Note
6:17 Donald Byrd The Loner Slow Drag Blue Note