WUMB November Program Guide

Perry’s A-Train Jazz/Soul Odyssey

The long adventure is almost over. After seven weeks of unexpectedly filling in for A-Train, it’s time for me to hand the reigns over to a new full-time host starting in July.

It’s been said in so many words that The Unexpected can provide moments you flourish in. Each week of hosting A-Train (Sundays 8am to Noon) has been a bit of a surprise. For instance, on the third week I stared at my prospective song list on Friday morning–still with major holes to fill–and waited for inspiration to hit. Something finally sparked the creative juices… and I wound up with a good show. Phew!

Hosting A-Train has at times turned me into a manic obsessive. A random fragment of song I’d hear mid-week would have me thinking, “heyyyyyyy, that will work well for the show.” It was not necessarily what I expected. If you’d told me two months ago that a song from Bill Morrissey–the New England folk singer’s Folk Singer–would be good for A-Train, I would have rolled my eyes at you. But Dana Colley’s honkin’ sax in Morrissey’s He’s Not From Kansas City (He Just Blows That Way) really flashed my lights. The song legitimately SWINGS, Baby! And sure enough, it was a natural segue way to perhaps Mr. Colley’s favorite saxman…John Coltrane. There was the day a lyric and irresistible riff from 20 years ago suddenly slipped into my brain. It was I’m Diggin’ You Like An Old Soul Record by MeShell Ndegeocello. That song has a groove and basslines that can sprain your oblique. It made me a dancin’ fool for days. Bringing more contemporary artists like Ndegeocello, India Arie, Esperanza Spalding, and Garaj Mahal into the A-Train mix was exciting.

What else have I enjoyed from hosting this show? Playing my favorite versions of Birdland for you (Quincy Jones, Manhattan Transfer, and of course Weather Report). Playing air bass with embarrassing abandon in the air studio to Stanley Clarke’s School Days on the weekend that graduation tents dotted regional campuses. May we never have a webcam in the air studio… Remembering a discovery of many years ago in the “Echoes of an Era” project. This included Chaka Khan, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, and Lenny White. Discovering some jazz and jazz-related albums in my own collection, including local stalwarts Johnny A or The Love Dogs (hmmm, a perfect match for some Cab Calloway). And–here’s the part my parents will probably like the best–being utterly melted by the likes of Billie Holiday, charmed to no end by Ella & Louis, finding myself singing Lena Horne for the better part of a week…
I leave the Groove that is A-Train…and look forward to shifting back to the Vibe of early Sunday mornings shortly.

It’s been more fun than I’d expected. Thanks for listening,


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