Honoring Felix Hernandez—The Maestro Of The Groove

Dominic Preziosi at Commonweal:

“Good morning, my soul-licious listeners” is how Felix Hernandez recently greeted his Saturday-morning audience, the many thousands who tune in for his long-running Rhythm Revue show, which airs and streams on WBGO, Newark’s public-radio outlet. I’ve counted myself among them since early 1995, when my boss on the copy desk of the magazine I worked at informed me of the show’s existence. Nearing what then seemed to me the wise old age of forty, he possessed an edgy wit and encyclopedic knowledge of mid-century American jazz and soul, his headlines sometimes containing sly references to Charlie Parker or Wilson Pickett. On Mondays he would grill me about what I’d heard on Rhythm Revue that weekend, and, clearly more important, what I’d liked. Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day” or Al Green’s “I Can’t Get Next to You”? Aretha Franklin’s “Think” or Little Sister’s “You’re the One”? Pickett’s version of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” or The Supremes’—and why? It was like a test I had to pass to gain his trust, which I think I did, eventually. When I told him a few months later that I’d received the special three-CD Rhythm Revue compilation for giving money during WBGO’s spring pledge drive, he reacted as if I’d been saved from perdition.

more here.