The Empress of the Blues

Mary Foster Conklin By

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This broadcast opens with a celebration of the music of Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues, in honor of her birthday, with new releases from saxophonist Melissa Aldana, vocalists Emma Larsson, Marc Jordan, Joanna Wallfisch and Claire Martin, plus more birthday shout outs to Dusty Springfield and Carline Ray (member of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and mother of Catherine Russell).


  • Jen Hodge "Chocolate Magic Mushrooms" from All's Fair in Love and Jazz (Self released) 00:00
  • Kat Gang "The Sweet Life" from Come Closer (NKR Records) 05:12
  • The Hot Sardines "French Fries & Champagne" from French Fries & Champagne (Decca) 07:49
  • Carline Ray (feat. Catherine Russell) "Land Beyond the River" from Vocal Sides (Self released) 10:47
  • Host speaks 13:18
  • Vic Dickenson "Long Old Road" from Plays Bessie Smith: Trombone Cholly (Gazelle Records) 16:34
  • Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns "'Lectric Chair Blues" from Bad Kids Club (Continental Records Services) 22:37
  • Dinah Washington "You've Been a Good Ole Wagon" from Back to the Blues (Roulette Record ) 26:35
  • Bessie Smith "Don't Cry Baby" from Empress of the Blues Vol. 2 1929-1933 (JSP Records) 30:25
  • Host speaks 33:35
  • Amina Claudine Myers "Wasted Life Blues" from Salutes Bessie Smith (Leo Records) 35:29
  • LaVern Baker "Back Water Blues" from Atlantic Jazz: Best of the 50s (Rhino Atlantic) 42:22
  • Aretha Franklin "Muddy Water" from Yeah!! (Sony Music) 47:04
  • Host speaks 49:31
  • Five Play "The Time Being" from Live at the Fire House (5Play2019) 52:26
  • Roxy Coss "Nevertheless, She Persisted" from The Future Is Female (Posi-Tone) 59:55
  • Betty Carter "30 Years" from The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine Records) 1:06:08
  • Dena DeRose "Clockwise" from United (HighNote) 1:10:44
  • Host speaks 1:18:06
  • Leala Cyr "Canyon View" from First Instinct (Self released) 1:20:18
  • Judy Wexler "Beautiful Love/Gorgeous Creature" from Easy On the Heart (Rhombus) 1:26:53
  • Emma Larsson & Xavier Davis "Naima's Love Song" from The Makings (Dav Lar Music) 1:30:55
  • Host speaks 1:36:13
  • Melissa Aldana "Elsewhere" from Visions (Motema) 1:38:35
  • The Manhattan Transfer "Sing Joy Spring" from Vocalese (Rhino Atlantic) 1:44:30
  • Host speaks 1:51:39
  • Samantha Boshnack "Choro" from Live in Santa Monica (Orenda Records) 1:53:22
  • Cecilia Sanchietti "Hang Gliding" from La Terza Via (Blujazz) 2:00:20
  • Nora York & Maria Schneider "The Grail" from Alchemy (Self released) 2:06:02
  • Julia Dollison & Kerry Marsh "Journey Home" from Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider (ArtistShare) 2:10:24
  • Host speaks 2:19:24
  • Ellen Rowe "The Guardians" from Momentum—Portraits of Women in Motion (Smokin Sleddog Records) 2:22:17
  • Celia Berk "You Can't Rush Spring" from You Can't Rush Spring (Self released) 2:28:02
  • Dusty Springfield "The Windmills of Your Mind" from Dusty In Memphis (Atlantic) 2:31:24
  • Host speaks 2:35:14
  • Blossom Dearie "A Paris" from Blossom's Own Treasures (Daffodil Records) 2:37:46
  • Peter Campbell "The Sun Died" from Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn (Self released) 2:40:59
  • Kavita Shah & Francois Moutin "La Vie En Rose" from Interplay (Dot Time) 2:45:32
  • Cecile McLorin Salvant "Le Mal de Vivre" from For One To Love (Mack Avenue) 2:49:15
  • Host speaks 2:55:22
  • Lioness "Mocha Spice" from Pride & Joy (Posi-Tone) 2:57:05
  • Pete Malinverni "Eili, Eili" from Heaven (Saranac Records) 3:01:04Time Marker
  • Candace Reyes "Live In the Moment" from Your Way (Self released) 3:06:48
  • Host speaks 3:14:09
  • Mimi Fox "Textures of Loving" from This Bird Still Flies (Origin) 3:15:09
  • Sara Serpa & Andre Matos "Programa" from All the Dreams (Sunnyside) 3:21:02
  • Joanna Wallfisch "Far Away From Any Place Called Home" from Far Away From Any Place Called Home (Self released) 3:23:25
  • Host speaks 3:28:04
  • Rufus Wainwright "All I Want" from Joni 75-A Birthday Celebration (Decca) 3:29:56
  • Alicia Olatuja "Cherokee Louise" from Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women (Resilience) 3:33:44
  • Marc Jordan "Both Sides Now" from Both Sides (Linus Entertainment) 3:39:27
  • Claire Martin "You Dream Flat Tires" from Believin' It (Linn Records) 3:45:02
  • Host speaks 3:49:12
  • Naomi Moon Siegel "Jaam Rek" from Live at Ear Shot (Slow & Steady) 3:53:00

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