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.
Don’t miss John’s 13-part series about Detroit’s contributions to the world of jazz. Hear “Jazz City” Tuesdays at 7p and Sundays at 9p only on WRCJ 90.9 FM.
Time Start Time End Artist Title Album Label
7:00:00 7:05:00 Billie Holiday I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm Quintessential Billie Holiday Columbia
7:05:00 7:08:00 Errol Garner You Do Something To Me Closeup in Swing Octave/Mack Ave
7:10:00 7:15:00 Roy Hargrove/Betty Carter Let In Snow Jazz For the Holidays Verve
7:15:00 7:27:00 Freddie Hubbard Red Clay Red Clay CTI(
7:28:00 7:36:00 Mike LeDonne and Groover Quartet You’ll Never Know What You Mean to Me From the Heart Savant
7:36:00 7:41:00 Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco The Way Young Lovers Do You’re Drtiving Me Crazy Sony
7:42:00 7:52:00 Cannonball Adderley Spontaneous Combustion Cannonball Savoy
7:54:00 8:00:00 Ron Carter Yes Indeed Where Riverside
8:02:00 8:15:00 Woody Shaw Nutty Bemsha Swing Blue Note
8:16:00 8:20:00 Blue Mitchell The Head Blue Soul Riverside
8:20:00 8:26:00 Poncho Sanchez Soul Bourgeois Trane’s Delight Concord
8:26:00 8:33:00 Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong Isn’t It A Lovely Day Ella and Louis Verve
8:35:00 8:45:00 Thad Lones Mel Lewis Orchestra The Second Race Live At the Village Vanguard Blue Note
8:45:00 8:52:00 Recina Carter Accentuate the Positive Ella: Accentuate the Positive Okeh
8:52:00 9:00:00 Ellen Rowe Ain’t I A Woman Momentum Smokin’ Sleddog
9:02:00 9:08:00 Spyro Gyra Secret Agent Mash Vinyl Tap Amherst
9:08:00 9:12:00 Jazzmaia Horne No More Love & Liberation Concord
9:13:00 9:23:00 James Carter Tricotism Live At Baker’s Keyboard Lounge Atlantic
9:24:00 9:30:00 Abbey Lincoln Avec Le Temps A Turtle’s Dream Verve
9:30:00 9:35:00 Ahmed Jamal Dolphin Dance The Awakening Impulse
9:37:00 9:43:00 Branford Marsalis Beneath the Underdog Mo’ Better Blues Sony
9:44:00 9:50:00 Count Basie Orchestra Shiny Stockings April In Paris Verv e
9:50:00 9:55:00 Gregory Porter Smile Nat King Cole and Me Blue Note
9:55:00 9:59:00 Lionel Hampton Flying Home Swingsation GRP