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Lazaro Vega

Ralph Towner

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1979? First assignment for The State News (MSU): interview Ralph Towner and write a concert advance from the conversation. When I told Towner it was my first time speaking to any musician for the record, he graciously jumped in and pulled me along. The story he told about hitching a ride on a steamer ship to Europe to study classical guitar in Vienna with Karl Scheit isn’t repeated. The steamer ship part, anyway. Towner wrote a piece for The Paul Winter Consort called “Juniper Bear,” which a group of Grand Rapids musicians – Ric Troll, Marc Larson and Kevin O’Connell – took as their band name, promoting improvisational music throughout Grand Rapids in the 1970’s. Seeds are sown. Tonight, to celebrate my 34 anniversary broadcasting “Jazz From Blue Lake,” we’ll hear the music of Ralph Towner (on his 77th birthday) and give you good reason not to dread insomnia. 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. eastern via


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