MICHMUSIC TALK PODCAST decoration_beige

The MichMusic Talk Podcast goes straight to the heart with gifted artists and highly accomplished industry professionals. Take a glimpse into who they are on the inside, what thrills them, what annoys them, how they do that thing they do, and what they can share to help you on your path. Listen, learn, get inspired! (The MichMusic Talk Podcast was formerly called, “The MichMusic Talk Video Blog.” As of episode MMT #009 we are using an audio only format.)

Enjoy the conversations!

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with Ray Chu (December 2013)

Ray Chu has been a virtual father figure for vocal group culture in Taiwan. He is wholeheartedly, passionately committed to the art of a capella, and the mentorship and performance opportunities he has provided for so many singers in Taiwan and outside Taiwan are truly admirable. || Ray quit his profession in 2000 to pursue his dream of choral music, forming the Taipei New Choral Cultural Arts Foundation/Taiwan Choral Music Center with a group of friends. Chu has spent much effort in developing TCMC and started the first Taiwan International A Cappella Festival, which has become the largest international a cappella competition in Asia. This alone has done much in advancing contemporary a cappella music in Taiwan. Internationally acclaimed for his efforts in choral music, he was included in Germany’s Who is Who in Choral Music, 2007. This is a unique honor for those in Taiwan choral music circles.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with O-kai Singers (December 2013)

I have loved working with, arranging for, and hanging out at the Taipei night markets with my friends, the O-kai Singers! This beautiful group has won several Golden Melody (Grammy) awards in Taiwan, and their CD features arrangements by Mark Kibble, David Maddux, Andy Jaffee, Phil Mattson, myself and members of the group. || Founded in 2004, this A Cappella group, with members from one of the Taiwanese Indigenous groups – Taiya Tribe, has received numerous awards in A Cappella competitions both in Taiwan and around the world. Three members of the group are siblings and they inherited the vocal talents from their aboriginal ancestors.

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Talk Podcast with Peter Eldridge (January 2014)

Peter Eldridge could easily be voted most lovable person of all time! Smart, funny, and genuine, Peter is awesomely musical. Listen through to the end of the podcast when he performs an entire tune (an original) with just he and, a box. Really. || Peter’s combination of talents include an eclectic mix of performing, composing and arranging, recording, as well as teaching, currently at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. To date he has released four acclaimed solo recordings, and is currently working on two new recording projects, one with jazz pianist Kenny Werner and strings, and the other a project of originals and covers with his trio (Ben Wittman on drums/percussion and Matt Aronoff on bass). Peter is also a founding member of the vocal group New York Voices, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with Anders Edenroth (February 2014)

Besides being a member of one of the most important vocal groups of our time – Anders has a clarity and wisdom about him that comes through in his beautiful arrangements and singing. In this conversation we had time only to run to a dressing room to talk for a few minutes before a Real Group performance that night. || Anders started playing piano and singing in choirs at an early age. Later, after five years of studies at The Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, he and his fellow-students formed an acappella quintet – The Real Group. Anders has written and published many original songs for the Real Group, constantly exploring the development of new vocal textures and the integration of vocal percussion and rhythmic effects. He has been awarded several grants from The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs and has engineered and produced albums for many artists as well as arranging music for other vocal groups, big bands and symphony orchestras. The Real Group has performed in more than 40 countries and has recorded 20 albums, many of which he has produced.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with Phil Mattson (February 2014)

Phil was my first and most significant (by far) mentor in music starting from age 17, and has long been a family-like friend for many years. His teaching and piano playing goes beyond, “great;” it is often more in the realm of, “profound.” Thanks Phil for recording this conversation with me. || Phil Mattson is a pianist, arranger/composer, conductor and teacher. Currently he resides in Minneapolis, MN and works as a vocal coach, accompanist, conductor, teacher and arranger. Phil teaches vocal jazz at MacPhail Center for Music and also leads The Phil Mattson Singers. Phil served as Director of Choral Activities at Foothill College (CA) and Gonzaga University (WA). He has also taught at Pacific Lutheran University (WA) and The School For Music Vocations (IA). He completed undergraduate studies in Philosophy/Religion and Music at Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), summa cum laude, and graduate work in Choral Literature and Conducting at The University of Iowa as an NDEA Fellow. Phil has written many arrangements for vocal jazz ensemble and choir including The Manhattan Transfer, Chanticleer, The Real Group, The Dale Warland Singers and The Four Freshmen.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with Greg Jasperse (July 2014)

Greg has been a stunning contributor to music education and the vocal group world through his arranging, singing and piano playing. He has earned the respect of many, and you’ll hear in our talk we’ve had a lot of good friendship and guacamole time too! || Following eight years as a professional musician in Los Angeles, Greg Jasperse has returned to Kalamazoo as an assistant professor of vocal jazz and the new director of Gold Company and GC II at Western Michigan University. A world-renowned composer and arranger, he is sought after internationally as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor. His conducting credits include all-state jazz choirs in New York, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Iowa, as well as the British Columbia Honors Jazz Choir. Jasperse’s voice can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks and he recently had the pleasure of singing at the 85th Annual Oscars with Adele on her song “Skyfall.” Jasperse is a member of the professional vocal group, Vertical Voices.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with Rosana Eckert (July 2014)

If I could become be a different person with the snap of my fingers, I might choose to be my dear friend, Rosana Eckert. She has led a charmed life in many ways, but more importantly, she has CREATED a charmed life for herself! Check her out. || Rosana Eckert is an internationally recognized live and studio vocalist, songwriter, arranger, jazz educator, and voice-over talent based in Dallas, TX. As a vocal artist, she has recorded four solo CDs and performs regularly throughout the United States and Canada. She has had the pleasure of performing with such jazz greats as Lyle Mays, Kenny Wheeler, George Duke, Jon Faddis, Marvin Stamm, and Bobby McFerrin, and she toured Europe and Scandinavia as a sub in the Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet New York Voices. Her newest CD, Small Hotel, once again showcases her knack for songwriting as well as her unique arranging style. The CD includes liner notes and a guest appearance by legendary trumpeter Marvin Stamm as well as contributions from renowned arranger Michele Weir and the incomparable Christian McBride on bass.

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MichMusic Talk Podcast with The Swingles (October 2014)

I was honored to talk with a few members of this wonderful historically important vocal group, originally known as, “The Swingle Singers.” Wow, this group is seriously doing some awesome singing and arranging! || For more than half a century The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy® winners since they first made waves in the 1960s.

With two new releases in 2015, The Swingles celebrate that legacy by starting a whole new chapter. In 1963, American-born Ward Swingle first assembled a group of Parisian session singers to sing Bach’s keyboard music. Since then their repertoire has grown to include a huge variety of music, as well as new original songs. They have released more than 50 recordings, winning five Grammy® awards and appearing on numerous film and TV soundtracks including Sex and the City, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy and Milk. 2015 has seen the release of two new albums: the sonically audacious Deep End and a Christmas album, Yule Songs Vol. II.

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rhiannon_croppedChatting with Rhiannon was like breathing fresh air – enlivening and satisfying. She is a powerful woman! || Rhiannon is a vocal artist with a vision of music as a vehicle for innovation, healing, transformation, and social change. A vibrant, gifted singer, performance artist, composer, and master teacher, Rhiannon has been bringing her unique and potent blend of jazz, world music, improvisation and storytelling to audiences for four decades paving a unique path as an independent artist. Collaborations include the all-women’s jazz ensemble Alive!, a cappella ensembles SoVoSo and WeBe3, Bobby McFerrin and Voicestra, the instrumental trio Spontaneous and the improvised theatre piece with Japanese dancer Shizuno :The Ocean Regards Us All As One. Rhiannon’s book about her life and teaching methods, Vocal River, The Skill and Spirit of Improvisation, was published in 2013. Rhiannon lives and works on her farm on the Big Island of Hawai’i, currently building a teaching/ performance space, Ha Lau Leo Nani, The Gathering Place, honoring culture and community.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Rhiannon (January 2016)

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(Educational materials for vocal improvisation)

Kim inspires me – she has such a great combination of musical talent, emotional expression and energy “buzz;” what an exciting performer! || For the past 25 years Kim Nazarian has been harmonizing all over the world with New York Voices (NYV). Along with the many recordings Kim has made with NYV, she has collaborated with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Manchester Craftman’s Guild on a concert tour dedicated to the late, great Ella Fitzgerald. Kim also enjoys being part of a special program called “Vocalese,” (created by visionary producer, Larry Rosen), which integrates NYV with Manhattan Transfer, and Jon Hendricks. Her recent solo CD release is entitled, “Some Morning.” Remarkable guests include: Paquito D’Rivera; Gary Burton; John Pizzarelli, and Sean Jones.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Kim Nazarian (February 2016)

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Janis_Siegel_photoJanis is a world-class singer who is ever-active and full of life. We talked about everything from her long tenure with The Manhattan Transfer, to meditation, to creating a jazz cruise to Antarctica, and finally to how to make a béchamel sauce. (Plus a little music talk in there too!) || Over the past four decades, the voice of Janis Siegel, a nine-time Grammy winner and a seventeen-time Grammy nominee, has been an undeniable force in The Manhattan Transfer’s diverse musical catalog. Alongside her career as a founding member of this musical institution, Siegel has also sustained a solo career that has spawned more than a half dozen finely-crafted solo albums and numerous collaborative projects, amassed a large international fan base and garnered consistently high critical praise.

Over the years, Janis’ unmistakable voice has become one of the group’s most recognizable trademarks. She sang lead on some of the Transfer’s biggest hits, such as “Operator,” “Chanson D’Amour,” “Twilight Zone,” “Birdland,” “The Boy from N.Y.C.” “Spice of Life,” ”Ray’s Rockhouse,” “The Shaker Song,” “Mystery,” and co-wrote and sang lead on the Grammy winning “Sassy”. She also gained a reputation as a vocal arranger by writing five of the charts for the group’s acclaimed masterwork, Vocalese, seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album Brasil, and won a Grammy herself in 1980 for her arrangement of “Birdland.” In 1993, she and her Manhattan Transfer colleagues received their honorary doctorates from the Berklee School of Music, and in 1999 they were among the first class of inductees into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Her two most recent solo collaborations are “HONEY & AIR” a Brazilian/jazz vocal adventure with her group REQUINTE TRIO, along with percussionist/singer Nanny Assis and pianist John di Martino and “SOME OTHER TIME “ a tribute to Leonard Bernstein with trombonist/singer Nils Landgren.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Janis Siegel (March 2016)

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roger_treece_main_photoRoger and I have known each other since he was in high school and I was only a couple of years out. Josh Groban calls him a “Mad Genius,” and I must concur! One only has to listen to about 30 seconds of any track from the CD “Vocabularies” to get a sense of Roger’s brilliant compositional mind – he’s operating on a higher musical plane than most. || Five-time Grammy nominee Roger Treece is a composer, singer and producer who’s work encompasses jazz, classical, pop, stage and studio, with some of the world’s most popular artists.

Most recently Roger arranged for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical School Of Rock. He was associate producer, arranger and singer on Josh Groban’s #1 selling album, All That Echoes and the composer/producer mastermind behind Bobby McFerrin’s VOCAbuLarieS, a collection of extended world-classical choral works, hailed as “a masterpiece,” “the future of choral music,” “a new standard for choral recording,” and nominated for three Grammy Awards. Roger has toured worldwide for over 20 years as a clinician, conductor, solo performer, and since 2001 as a member of Bobby McFerrin’s vocal ensemble, Voicestra. His book CircleSongs: A Method for developing Musical Fluency is the first study method that uses this popular improvisational form as a vehicle for training musicians.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Roger Treece (May 2016)

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Ben has really been a significant contributor to the a capella scene, and is on track to continue in a big way! He has a great combination of talent, biz sense and energy to see new ideas come to life. || Ben Bram is a Grammy award-winning arranger, vocal producer, and music director from Los Angeles. A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music, Ben sang with, arranged for, and directed four-time ICCA champions the SoCal VoCals during his time at USC. He is a longtime collaborator with Pentatonix, having co-arranged, engineered and produced the majority of their recordings, including the platinum-selling “That’s Christmas To Me”. Ben also has an extensive resume in film, TV, and commercials, which includes work for Pitch Perfect 1 and 2, The Sing-Off, Glee, CoverGirl, Lifetime, and MTV. Together with Avi Kaplan and Rob Dietz, he founded A Cappella Academy, a summer intensive for high schoolers. He is currently helping to develop a couple new groups, and he also sings with and arranges for his LA-based jazz/pop group Level.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Ben Bram (July 2016)

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sunny_wilkinson-main-website-youtube-photoSunny is a person that gives out so much love though her singing (and being) that people are naturally compelled to love her back. She is a veteran jazz singer who is a powerhouse in both the performance and educational world. || Sunny Wilkinson has taken her place in that elite group of jazz vocalists who have stretched the boundaries and found themselves “one of a kind.” In addition to over three decades of professional accomplishments and performances, Sunny has sung with music icons such as The Count Basie Orchestra, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Clark Terry, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Curtis Fuller and many more. Her latest CD is a duo project featuring Los Angeles based pianist Tom Garvin entitled A Gentle Time – When Sunny Meets Tom.

In addition to an impressive performance career, Sunny has also made significant contributions in Jazz education. She served as the Past President of the Michigan chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators and the past chairperson for IAJE’s Women’s Caucus. She is also the co-founder of IAJE’s Sisters in Jazz mentoring program. In October of 2011 she had the honor of performing with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra for their POP Series. Sunny was accompanied by her trio and performed masterfully on arrangements by her husband, renowned pianist and MSU faculty member Mr Ron Newman.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Sunny Wilkinson (September 2016)

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kirby_shaw_mmt_15_websiteKirby is an icon in vocal jazz education! For over 30 years he has been a widely published arranger for vocal jazz ensemble – his works have been a staple in vocal jazz. || Kirby Shaw has made a major impact in choral music education and has shared his musical expertise all over the world. His teaching is infused with a sense of humor and breadth of knowledge that is transmitted in an exciting and highly contagious manner. A composer/arranger with nearly 3000 choral compositions/arrangements in print, Kirby’s music is sung around the world and has sold over 20 million copies. He has many commissioned pieces to his credit, including one for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This creative and prolific output has resulted in numerous ASCAP awards and he has overseen the creation of hundreds of educational recordings, five college and university albums and two solo CDs.

As a vocalist, Kirby is a member of Just 4 Kicks, a zany 4-man a cappella vocal ensemble specializing in Jazz, and he has scatted one-on-one with such notables as Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Jon Hendricks, and other notable jazz singers. Kirby and his wife Markita live in a forest high above Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley. He is currently directing the Jefferson State Choral Coalition at Southern Oregon University.

MichMusic Talk Podcast with Kirby Shaw (October 2016)

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