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 Playlist 10/17/2020. Sequence is, “Artist, Tune, Album, label, Duration”
Charlie Parker, “Autumn In New York,” Charlie Parker With Strings, Verve, 3:32
Double Six of Paris, “Early Autumn,” Les Double Six, Philips, 3:26
Cannonball Adderley, “Early Autumn,” Sonethin’ Else, Blue Note, 10:58
Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Something to Sing About,” Jazz Impressions of New York, Columbia, 3:56
Cal Tjader & Stand Getz, “Big Bear,” Sextet, Fantasy, 4:37
Eddie Henderson, “Smile,” Shuffle and Deal, Smoke Sessions, 4:14
Houston Person, “Learning the Blues,” Rain or Shine, High Note, 6:19
Herlin Riley, “Wang Dang Doodle,” Perpetual Optimism, Mack Avenue, 6:39
Larry Willis, “Heavy Blue,” I Fall In Love Too Easily, High Note, 3:41
Jimmy McGriff & Hank Crawford, “Jimmy’s Groove,” On the Blue Side, Milestone, 4:43
Mark O’Conner’s Hot Swing Trio, “Limehouse Blues,” In Full Swing, Odyssey, 7:12
Roy Hargrove, “Una Mas,” Habana, Verve, 8:08
Eddie Palmieri, “Grandpa Semi-Tone Blues,” Ritmo Caliente, Concord Picante, 6:00
Stan Kenton, “Jump For Joe,” Easy Go, Capitol, 3:04
Illinois Jacquet, “Port of Rico,” Along the Way, Not Out of Style, 2:45
Stephan Grappelli, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” Uptown Dance, Columbia 6:00
Tom Harrell, “Apple House,” Moving Picture, High Note, 5:12
Jaco Pastorious, “Liberty City,” Truth, Liberty & Soul, Resonance, 10:03
Corea, Clarke & White, “On Green Dolphin Street,” Forever, Concord, 8:41
Miles Davis, “The Sorcerer,” The Sorcerer, Columbia
Shirley Horn, “The Boy From Ipanema,” With Friends, Verve, 5:12
Wynton Marsalis Quintet & Richard Galliano, “La Foule,” From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf, Rampart Street, 6:44
Clifford Brown & Max Roach, “Sandu,” Study In Brown, Emarcy, 4:59
Christian McBride Big Band, “Down By the Riverside,” For Jimmy, Wes & Oliver, Mack Avenue, 8:20
Oscar Peterson Trio, “Mack the Knife,” +One Clark Terry, Verve, 5:21
Sonny Rollins & Thelonious Monk, “The Way You Look Tonight,” Sonny & Thelonious, Prestige, 5:13
Bill Charlap Trio, “I Walk With Music,” Stardust, Blue Note, 5:04
Hoagy Carmichael, “Lazy River,” Hoagy Sings Carmichael, Pacific Jazz, 2:46
Bobby Watson, “Elementary My Dear Watson 2020,” Keepin’ It Real, Smoke Sessions, 7:08
Count Basie, “Splanky,” The Atomic Mr. Basie, Roulette, 3:35