Jeremy Pelt: Griot, Jazz, and the Power of Personal Narratives

Tune in on Friday, June 25 @ 3pm PST on KZSU-FM Stanford

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Jeremy Pelt, 2018 Photos by Kasia Idzkowska

What can resonate even more than the truth? The story. And so, Jeremy Pelt, renowned trumpeter (who has played with one of my favorite groups, the Village Vanguard Orchestra) and musical story-teller, has a new book that is inspired by the West African oral “griot” tradition. In Griot: Examining the Lives of Jazz’s Great Storytellers, Pelt interviews jazz colleagues with fascinating backgrounds and insights to share. He speaks with musicians spanning several decades, from Paul West to Bertha Hope to Wynton Marsalis to Robert Glasper. His questions are direct and open up deeply personal conversations.

Jazz is known as the first American art form, and this book is Pelt’s first volume looking at the maestros of the genre. Pelt seems to have an unquenchable passion for this search for meaning in music culture, delivering surprising perspectives and important insights into how we relate to each other in our endlessly-networked world. Tune in for a dynamic discussion of culture, music, civil rights, whether jazz should be still be streamed from clubs after Covid, and the controversy around the name “jazz” (and check out the accompanying album!)


Rock is Here to Stay, But is Adapting Fast! Interview with the Bad Penny band

Top (L-R): Bad Penny guitarist/songwriter Mike Holtzman; Host Dave Levine. Bottom (L-R): Bassist Danny Miranda (formerly of Queen); Drummer Jules Radino (Blue Oyster Cult)

Has the global pandemic killed live performing and rock and roll dreams?

On tonight’s show (January 29 @ 8pm pacific on KZSU), Bad Penny, made up of former band members from Journey, Queen, and Blue Oyster Cult and newcomer/songwriter Mike Holtzman, discuss collaborative recording spun from historical metal styles.

As technology has continued to flood our lives, it’s become a standard medium for business, shopping, and economics. However, technology has increasingly upended the arts world, providing new kinds of tools, social media outlets, and streaming business models. It’s inevitable that we turn to electronically-mediated music and its future on Hearsay Culture.

What is the professional musicians’ routine and prospects for a livelihood?

We discuss making a living, the economics of the new digital music landscape requiring higher ticket prices, and the different generations of format – like the LP record album – an art form with its liner notes, jacket, pictures of the band, credits and lyric sheets. Of course, we also hear bits of the band’s first three explosive tunes; one of which that was released today! Join us as Hearsay Culture expands beyond its traditional topics, but in its own signature style.