Every year this work is both coveted and dreaded, the former because it demands a review of the year’s really great music, the latter because of the required demotion of candidates. One thing that changed for The Soul Show in 2019 is that WYEP’s rule of listing the albums sequentially was not imposed. In truth, slicing and dicing with such granularity sometimes bordered on whimsy.
If you compare my playlists with the Top Ten selections, you might not see the correlations you expect. Sequencing of shows requires managing of ebb and flow, equity of representation, and other factors. Some albums were discovered late, but deeper review revealed true gems that simply had not been given adequate airtime.
And so on…..
Female rappers (Little Simz et al) truly came into their own in 2019.
Charles, Olatuja and Sessoms are all songbirds.
BFE is a perennial contender. Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her.
Brittany Howard was a very late album discovery, but the early single had me expecting a lot. I wasn’t disappointed
Pittsburgh’s Starship Mantis hit the big league, and it’s so sad that they are dissolving.
How can one not include the Daughters? They are a synergistic powerhouse of craft, and that’s before the songs hit you.
Saadiq brings pain to beautiful West Coast styling, or the other way around.
Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her, since she never gets close.
BFE is always in the mix.
The List, alphabetically:
Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Stay Good
Tanika Charles – The Gumption
G&D – Black Love & War (Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime)
Brittany Howard – Jaime
Little Simz – Grey Area
Alicia Olatuja – Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women
Calvin Stemley & Stemtecs Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/26
Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 12/27
Jazz Night at Parkway Theater, 12/27
Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/28
Live Music Saturday at Backstage Bar, 12/28
The Holiday Hangover Jazz Show at Wooley Bully’s Juke-joint, 12/28
Artistree at Crafthouse, 12/28
Christmas Music for Folks of Color
Here is the archive of The Soul Show’s 12/21/19 Annual Christmas Special, including the Robert “Kool” Bell continued interview:
and a 100% Christmas Mix, aired on The Soul Show on WTJX on 12/21/19
and here is 12/14/19 edition of The Soul Show on WYEP, including Otis Redding reflections by folks who were connected with his final performance. Also, this episode airs the first segment of a three-part interview with Robert “Kool” Bell, in this the 50th year of The Gang’s existence.
The Robert “Kool” Bell interview
If you’d like to hear the interview segments separately from the actual TSS episodes, here are all three segments for your convenience.
Sembene Film Festival – Eddie Jefferson Film Documentary at City of Asylum, 12/16 +++++highly recommended+++++
JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 12/17
Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge, 12/17
“A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 12/17
Spirit Sessions: Live Open Mic & Stage: Kelsey Hillock at Spirit, 12/18
Roger Humphries Quintet Thursday Residency at Con Alma, 12/19
Up Close and Personal: Winter Chill Jazz Series (#1 of 4) at The PA Market, 12/19
The Flow Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/19
Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/21
Live Music Saturdays at Backstage Bar, 12/21
and on the horizon, …
4th Thursday with Calvin Stemley & the Stemtecs Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/26
The Holiday Hangover Jazz Show at Wooley Bullys Juke-joint, 12/28
Spirit NYE 2020, 12/31
New Years Eve with The Clock Reads, Shaq Nicholson & Afro N’at at Salem’s Event Center, 12/31
Cécile McLorin Salvant & Sullivan Fortner at MCGJazz, 1/21/20
Soulive, February 2020
Otis Redding reflections
On the 52nd anniversary week of Redding’s death, The Soul Show presented personal stories about the Cleveland show hours before the tragedy. One is from Don Patterson (TSS cofounder), the other from Leo Green, whose Imperial Wonders opened for Otis. Here are the interview excerpts from the 12/14/19 episode:
Toshi Reagon and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 12/9
The Soul Show on WYEP this weekend
Over the next few weekends, TSS will feature a Robert “Kool” Bell interview, the Top Ten Albums of 2019, and the Christmas Special. On 12/7, get ready for a Little Richard birthday. Also, Lou Rawls and Barbara Weathers of Atlantic Starr. We’ll dig into the Prince “Originals” album some more, and continue to review music in the Top Ten “primaries”.
Vinyl Happy Hour plus Howie Alexander Trio at Con Alma, 11/25
Dwayne Dolphin at Backstage Bar, 11/26
A Taste Of Soul at Genuine Pub, 11/26
Interval Jazz Night at Spirit, 11/27
Roger Humphries Thursday Residency at Con Alma, 11/28
Jazz Night at Parkway Theater, 11/29
Level Up @The Spot, 11/29
Rodrigo y Gabriela at Roxian, 11/29
Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 11/30
‘We Want the Funk’ Weekend at August Wilson, 12/6 & 12/7
Antonio Hart Sextet at New Hazlett, 12/7
Toshi and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 12/9
Latin Jazz Night, Con Alma
The first time to Con Alma was the right time: Noel Quintana at Latin Jazz Night. #soulshowmike image 19.11.24. The $5 cover is unusual in this emaciated-artist city, but justified and necessary to turn the tide.
Blind Boy Paxton, Jontavious Willis at Calliope
Thx to @augustwilsonculturalcenter, we were treated to young comet Kingfish in Sept. On 11/23, @calliopehouse brought “the two others,” @jontaviouswillis (23yo, front) and @blind_boy_paxton (30). Carnegie Lecture Hall was pretty full and very awestruck.#soulshowmike photo
On the 11/30/19 edition of The Soul Show (WYEP), we’ll do an interview with Toshi Reagon to get you ready for her 12/9 free performance at Pittsburgh Playhouse. She’ll be performing from the Bernice Reagon songbook WITH her mother, the founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock. Bernice retired from SHR fifteen years ago, and retired altogether in 2014, so this is a very big deal.
Here’s a teaser for the upcoming broadcast. We talk about Toshi’s Smithsonian Folkways recordings, and about how her palette extends far beyond. Enjoy.
The 2019 Prince release has 15 tracks, including Jungle Love, Gigolos, and The Glamorous Life. Listen to 3 of them on TSS_WYEP from 2 to 5pm Eastern, then another 3 on wtjx.org at 7pm Eastern/8pm Atlantic. The archives will be available after the broadcasts.