Saturdays | 7 – 10 pm
John Penney was born and raised in Ithaca, New York, and began hosting and programming weekly jazz and folk music programs on student owned commercial radio station WVBR-FM at the age of 15.
In 1967 WVBR became one of the first FM radio stations in the country to program “progressive rock.” John was instrumental in the creation of the format and became one of WVBR’s most popular on-air personalities, frequently featuring live studio performances on his show. He served as Music Director beginning in 1970, and continued to program jazz, folk, and rock programs through 1971.
In 1978, at the age of 25, John became the National Promotion Director of Amherst Records in Buffalo, New York, where he was instrumental in establishing the career of the platinum selling band Spyro Gyra. He also became the most popular jazz host on public radio WBFO, as measured by Arbitron and listener donations.
In 1984 John moved to Detroit as the Michigan Regional Representative for Action, and in 1989 was hired by Warner Elektra Atlantic as a sales rep. During his 15 year career with WEA John gained a national reputation as a creative and innovative marketer, among other things designing and executing the company’s first regional catalog promotion with Wal-Mart, which was used to leverage the first national event.
John joined the air staff of public radio WDET-FM in Detroit in 1986 as host of a music variety program. John pioneered the concept of presenting “all the varieties of music” in such a way as to demonstrate the continuity between diverse musical forms by making the connection between current and historic recordings. His program became one of the most popular on the air.
John is a popular and sought after MC for live events, and for years was a fixture on stage at the Detroit Jazz Festival in Hart Plaza. He helped to create an innovative format for radio broadcasts of the festival, and served as national co-anchor for five years. John began his association with the AMRF in 2004 when Ron Harwood asked him to MC the 6th Annual Motor City Boogie Woogie and Blues Festival. He became consultant/Director in September of 2005. John is also collaborating with Ron on a book about the life and times of classic blues singer Sippie Wallace and her siblings.
JAZZFEST DETROIT PLAYLIST 2021-2-20
Time Start Artist Title Album Label Duration
Herbie Hancock All I Want River: The Joni Letters Verve 4:15
Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Maiden Voyage Blue Note 7:55
Donald Byrd I’m An Old Cowhand Chant Blue Note 7:37
Eddie Henderson Toys Be Cool Smoke Sessions 6:37
Joey De Francesco Ashley Blue 40 High Note 7:01
Herbie Hancock Fat Albert Rotunda Fat Albert Rotunda Warner Bros 6:27
Miles Davis Seven Steps to Heaven Seven Steps to Heaven Columbia 6:22
John Scofield Fallen Grace Swallow Tales ECM 5:24
Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell The Tealeaf Prophecies River: The Joni Letters Verve 6:33
Herbie Hancock Butterfly Thrust Columbia 11:17
Eric Colphy South Street Exit The Illinois Concert Blue Note 7:30
Freddie Hubbard Suite Sioux Red Clay CTI 8:44
The Hi Lo’s There is A Small Hotel This Time It’s Love Columbia 3:16
Clare Fischer Voices Bachi …And Sometimes Instruments Clare Fischer Prod. 6:10
Herbie Hancock First Trip Speak Like A Child Blue Note 5:58
Herbie Hancock Chameleon Head Hunters Columbia 15:40
Tim Warfield Inspire Me Inspire Me Herb Harris Music 8:25
Tony Bennett Danny Boy Jazz Columbia 4:57
Herbie Hancock Oliloqui Valley Empyrean Isles Blue Note 10:44
Regina Carter Crying In the Chapel Ella: Accentuate the Positive Okeh 6:24
Herbie Hancock Hornets Herbie Live: Detroit Chicaho unknown 5:00
Herbie Hancock Both Sides Now River: The Joni Letters Verve 5:00