Play It By Ear

  • Sunday 10am-1pm

A program of jazz music that crosses multiple sub-genres with heavy emphasis on bebop but we also delve into big band, the avant-garde, funk and fusion as well.


Althea Rene (flute) LOCAL ARTIST
Ben Dixon (drums)
Bob James (piano)
Cab Calloway (composer/conductor)
Dmitri Matheny (flugelhorn)
Don Alias (percussion)
Don Pullen (piano)
Ernie Andrews (vocals)
Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax)

Guitarist Julian Lage

A Room With A View

The Layers

Two Blue Note Releases by this guitarist featuring fellow guitarist, Bill Frisell!

One Killer Baritone Sax Player

Jason Marshall

This young man is making waves on the scene. Deep, rich sound! Check it out!
In our WHFR library!

Jazz Birthdays on Sunday, Feb 5th

Bill Mays (piano)
Jorge Sylvester (alto sax)
Vinnie Colaiuta (drums)

Jazz Birthdays Sunday, Jan 29th

Dave Young (bass)
Derek Bailey (guitar)
Jeanne Lee (voice)
Bobby Scott (piano)
Ed Shaughnessy (drums)
Don Shirley (piano)

Jazz Birthdays on Sunday Jan 22nd

Alan Silva (bass)
Eberhard Weber (bass)
JJ Johnson (trombone)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Lizz Wright (vocals)

Jazz Birthdays Jan 15th

Baikida Carroll (trumpet)
Gene Krupa (drums)
Gerry Gibbs(drums)

Mack Ave Records as Tribute to Gretchen Valade

Tune in Sunday, January 8th as I attempt to play as much music in our station library of Mack Avenue recordings as a tribute to the record company's founder Getchen Valade.

Jazz Birthdays on Sunday, Jan 8

Bill Goodwin (drums)
Dave Weckl (drums)
Pamela Wise (keyboards)
Thurman Barker (drums)
Bobby Battle (drums)

New Years Jazz Babies

Al McKibbon (bass)
Charlie Apicella (guitar)
Chris Potter (sax)
Daniel Carter (reeds)
Manny Oquendo (percussion)
Milt Jackson (vibraphone)

This gentleman has a debut

Tim Lin from Taiwan

This gentleman has a debut recording out called "Romance in Formosa" featuring Bob Shepard is nice!! We played some tracks from it last week and expect to hear more next week.

A Couple of Suites to be showcased by Arturo O'Farrill

Over the next couple of Sundays, you will be hearing music from this recording.
Two suites from this recording.

"Despedida" which takes inspiration from Jorge Luis Borge's poem about the ending of a relationship. The other suite is "Dreaming in Lions" which is inspired by Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea"

This all is to celebrate his upcoming performance in Detroit on Friday, November 18th at the DSO Orchestra Hall.

Pianist and Bandleader John Beasley on the show August 28th

Tune in as I interview leader of the MONK'estra band John Beasley on this week's show.

He is a Grammy award winning artist and he will participate in the 2022 Detroit JazzFest with Chucho Valdes and the Yoruban Orchestra.

Concert of Colors Performance by Marion Hayden Ensemble

On Saturday, July 23rd in the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theatre, I was treated to a wonderful show by Detroit's own bassist Marion Hayden and her Ensemble bringing back to life the music of Alice Coltrane.

Like her husband, John Coltrane, her music was very spiritual. Brandee Younger was a special guest on the harp (an instrument rarely heard in jazz).

Brandee announced that John died just before Alice released her recording, " A Monastic Trio" so he never got to hear her on the harp. Also, she was one of the first Black artists to have a recording based upon how she wanted the music presented and not how the record company wished for her to do.

At times, I could just see Alice smiling from the heavens above.
It was truly a magical late afternoon of music from one of our beloved jazz treasures. Thanks to all for making it a great day!!!

Alice Coltrane is also a native Detroiter!!!

Grachan Moncur III (1937-2022)

Trombonist was a legend in the post-bop and avant garde jazz realm.
Worked with Archie Shepp, Dave Burrell, Joe Henderson, Sunny Murray, Jackie McLean, Cassandra Wilson, and others.
Sad story too that he passed on his 85th Birthday!

Charnett Moffett 1967-2022

I am deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of bassist Charnett Moffett at the age of 54 due to a heart attack. He was one of just a few bassists that I enjoyed either on upright bass or electric bass.
I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Detroit Jazz Festival. I told him how much I loved his playing and we took a picture together. I will miss his creative playing on his many recordings and had the pleasure of seeing him in performance three times. Everytime I heard his music, I felt like I was stepping into another dimension in time. He was forward-thinking. RIP...YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!


Although known as a smooth jazz group, they were one of the biggest bands in the jazz fusion revolution.

Smalls Live All Star

He appears with Spike Wilner and the Smalls Live All Stars