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Playlist: Music Station Picks for Jan. '10

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.sprixi.com/i/7897542928?link=direct&size=4">Rick Harris</a>
Image by: Rick Harris 
Curated Playlist

Here are January picks for music stations from PRX Music Format Curator David Srebnik of Virtuoso Voices.

Find out what David listens for in music programming.


Suggestions from David:

"Are you on Twitter? PRX is on Twitter — I've found it to be an invaluable programming resource, providing information and updates on new program that are available on PRX. It's like getting an instant update from PRX without having to go to the PRX site.

"One PRX Twitter feed contains a link to each new PRX piece.

"The second PRX feed tells you which programs have been bought in real time."

Ruby Elzy: Black Diva of the Thirties

From Boyce Lancaster | 58:59

Producer/Host Boyce Lancaster threads two musical biographies in "Ruby Elzy: Black Diva of the Thirties."

Ruby Elzy and George Gershwin. These two musician's lives, coincidentally, were themselves entwined. Soprano Ruby Elzy was George Gershwin's choice to portray the role of Serena in the original production of Porgy and Bess.

With the George Gershwin and Porgy and Bess phenomenon as a backdrop, the program follows Elzy's rise from small-town, Jim Crow-living in Mississippi in her quest and "deep desire to become a singer," and to one day sing in a “big hall.”

This is a wonderful story of personal determination, lovely heart and soul, superb musicianship and survival amongst the most difficult of all odds. It's well told and mixed with several electrifying historical musical performances.

Here's your Black History Month programming, but it would be a crime to limit it to only one month of the year. "Ruby Elzy: Black Diva of the Thirties" is also entirely friendly to formats beyond classical, including stations with regular doc slots.

Ruby1937_small Ruby Elzy was one of George Gershwin's hand picked leads for the original production of Porgy and Bess.  Hailing from the small Mississippi town of Pontotoc, Ruby Elzy's voice carried her to Ohio State University, Juilliard, Broadway, and concerts coast to coast.  Tragically, her life would end before she took the next step to the Metropolitan Opera stage in Aida.

In the year 2000, soprano Ruby Elzy was one of the first inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Sixty-five years earlier, she was chosen by George Gershwin to create the role of Serena in Porgy and Bess. Ruby appeared in feature films with Paul Robeson and Bing Crosby. She attended The Ohio State University and Juilliard School of Music and performed on Broadway, in Hollywood, and on national radio.
Ruby would have been one of the first black artists to appear in grand opera had she lived beyond her 35 years. 
  This program is based upon the book Black Diva of the Thirties - The Life of Ruby Elzy, by David E. Weaver, published by the University Press of Mississippi.  Archival recordings for this program were also provided by Mr. Weaver.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE Presents: Marcus Roberts

From Savannah Music Festival LIVE | Part of the Savannah Music Festival LIVE - Season Two series | 59:01

Looking for a way to feature Pianist Marcus Roberts in a special way -- beyond a couple of Roberts' tracks back to back?

Here he is in concert at the Savannah Music Festival — solo, with his trio and with guests.

Roberts is a music specialist, but his connection to George Gershwin is singularly special. Intoxicating playing and listening.

Hats off to Marcus Roberts Trio drummer Jason Marsallis and guest trumpeter Marcus Printup.

Show production and assembly could be a bit cleaner and tighter, but the music wins.

Marcus_roberts_web_small In the 100 years since jazz music became an integral part of American culture, the piano has remained fundamental to its development. There have been many great pianists whose original contributions and achievements have helped define the course of jazz, and that tradition still remains intact today. In this episode of the Savannah Music Festival LIVE, we listen to one of the most extraordinary pianists of our time, Marcus Roberts. Hear Roberts perform solo, with his trio and with a few special guests during his spring 2008 visit to the Savannah Music Festival.

Elvis 75

From Joyride Media | 25:00

Either Elvis in 75-second snapshots works on your station or it doesn't. If it doesn't, skip on to the next. If it does, or might work, this series of 20 (1:15) Elvis vignettes is terrific.

The series was produced to acknowledge the King's 75th birthday anniversary (January 8th).

For everyone who knows to take Elvis seriously, and to those open to hearing the stories and real world behind the phenomenon, this series reminds us a real musician, artist and soul was present most of the time. Each of the 75-second modules becomes more and more compelling.

For consideration during your arts magazine program, and as a drop-in during local music programming. Could also be a nice interstitial transition at the right time on your schedule.

Elvis 75
Joyride Media

Elvis_75_-_logo_-_50s_small Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old on Jan 8, 2010. You can honor this anniversary all year long with with this series of 75-second modules featuring clips of his most famous songs and interviews with those who knew him best.

Track titles refer to the last music clip in each piece.  All 20 segments begin with the intro to "A Little Less Conversation" as the theme for the series.

Gems of Bluegrass 951: The Odd History of the Banjo

From Philip Nusbaum | Part of the Gems of Bluegrass series | 06:40

Banjo -- it's not just for bluegrass, country music and that memorable moment from "Deliverance"...

The history of the banjo is in the very solid musical and historical hands of producer/host Philip Nusbaum.

Permit me (or forgive me) to repeat a line from an earlier recommendation: "Philip Nusbaum has all of the radio goods for craft, writing and hosting, and this is an interesting, attention-grabbing feature.” Consider this for your local magazine program or as a feature/insert during a local music program where solid banjo playing is a welcome presence.

Phil2-web_small The banjo has a curious history. Some say it is the signature sound of bluegrass. But it hasn’t always been a lead instrument, and how it’s been used has changed over time.