During Women’s History Month, I’m honored to highlight two albums I’ve enjoyed over the past few months. One is the very recent release from Gayelynn McKinney and McKinney Zone. McKinney is a percussionist out of Detroit, the daughter of noted composer and pianist Harold McKinney. This album, Zoot Suit Funk
, ranges from straight-ahead to slightly-smooth jazz, with a bit of funk in between. “Just a Little Bass and Drums,” the eighth track, even throws in some scat with the funk. It’s one of my favorites on the album. So is the title track, which lays in some really nice organ and lead guitar flavor. Here, McKinney displays her drummer chops, too.
The other release to be noted is from music professor and bandleader Lenora Zenzalai Helm. She and Tribe Jazz Orchestra present her seventh album, For the Love of Big Band
. It’s a live 2020 set of beautiful just-what-it-says, recorded in an old church near Durham, N.C. There are the expected standards, new material, and the searing “Mississippi Goddamn,” made famous by Nina Simone. I really haven’t played enough of this album on The Soul Show. Time to fix that.
Every Women’s History Month, I present weekly celebratory features on The Soul Show. Week One was “All Day Women,” followed by “Second To None,” which focused on the trajectory of female vocalists from backup to lead roles. The archives are at soulshowmike.org
Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3fm. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in four national markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. He is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.