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.
JAZZFEST DETROIT 1-9-2021
Time Start Artist Title Album Label Duration
Charlie Parker Bluebird The Savoy Recordins (Master Takes) Savoy 2:52
Tommy Flanagan 50-21 Beyond the Bluebird Timeless 7:14
“Lambert, Hendrix and Ross” Twisted The Best Of Rhino 2:19
Wardell Gray Twisted Wardell Gray Memorial v1 Prestige 3:12
Billie Holiday I Hear Music Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday v6 Columbia 2:40
Miles Davis “So Near, So Far” Seven Steps to Heaven Columbia 6:58
Cyrille Aimee It’s A Good Day It’s A Good Day Mack Avenue 2:29
Wayne Shorter Steak No Evil Speak No Evil Blue Note 8:23
Antonio Adolfo Fe Cega Faca Amolada Bruma AAM 4:46
Eric Reed It’s You or No One For A Time Such As This Smoke Sessions 5:50
Eric Alexander The Real Thing The Real Thing High Note 6:23
Johnny Griffin and Eddie Lockjaw Davis Funky Fluke Live In Copenhagen Storyville 12:11
Walter White Blue Rondo A La Turk BB XL Walter White 5:42
Freddie Hubbard & Woody Shaw Tomorrow’s Destiny The Eternal Triangoe Blue Note 7:04
Erroll Garner Misty The Original Misty Mercury 2:49
George Shearing The Late Late Show In The Night Capitol 2:32
Mary Lou Williams Without A Soung At Rick’s Café Americain Storyville 7:00
Steve Nelson Brothers Under the Sun Brothers Under the Sun High Note 4:51
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Close Your Eyes At the Jazz Corner of the World Blue Note 11:22
Steve Nelson Melody for Mulgrew Brothers Under the Sun High Note 5:33
Marck O’Connor’s Hot Swing Trio w/ Wynton Tiger Rag In Full Swing Odyssey 5:20
Joey DeFrancesco Ashley Blue Oran-ized High Street 5:32
Chick Corea Gary Burton Harlem String Quartet Mozart Goes Dancing Hot House Concord 7:14
Clifford Brown & Max Roach I’ll Remember April At Basin Street EmArcy 9:13
Charles Mingus Moanin’ The Very Best Of Atlantic 8:02
Ben Webster Lover Come Back To Me Soulville Verve 8:20
Artie Shaw Begin the Beguine Greatest Hits RCA 3:13