J. Michael Harrison

Jazz Host

Mike first ventured into radio as a result of being frustrated with the lack of progressive, diverse, and adventurous music on the airwaves. His first program, Is That Jazz?, debuted on West Philly based WPEB in 1993 and ran for more than three years. Mike joined WRTI in 1994 and The Bridge, which is a local forum for progressive music and poetry, began in1996.

Music is Michael's sanctuary, and a kind of therapy for him. "Music is a passion," he explains, " a reason to live, and a bright moment."

Philadelphia Magazine awarded The Bridge its 2002 Best of Philly prize for "Best Radio Program."

Mike can be heard on Fridays from 10 pm to 2 am.

Ways To Connect

British saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is not a stranger to WRTI. Soweto has proven to be an extremely versatile musician, creatively fusing straight-ahead jazz with hip hop and spoken word; he always brings insight into the world of music. 

This interview on Friday, June 28th is a precursor to Soweto's appearance at the Kimmel Center’s monthly Sittin’ In session. WRTI's J. Michael Harrison is host of the performance as he celebrates 20 years of radio presence in the Philadelphia region. 

Ring in the new year as we celebrate Philadelphia as the music city that it is. You can revisit the city’s past with music from Grover Washington, Jr., Trudy Pitts, the Eubanks’ and other jazz royalty.  There will also be a celebration of today’s Philly jazz scene, featuring Lee Smith, Daniel Peterson, and other local notables who always seem to be on the city’s music calendar. Monday, December 31st, 9 pm to midnight.

Ring in 2013 with timeless music! 

Drummer G. Calvin Weston has been part of the revolving door of guests on The Bridge for years.  It doesn't hurt that he lives just a few blocks from the WRTI studios.  Impromptu late night visits have been part of his relationship with the show, and the audience has been quite the benefactor. 

Charismatic trombonist and Philly homeboy Papo Vazquez commandeers The Bridge to discuss Oasis, the latest release by his Mighty Pirates Troubadours ensemble.  Papo Vazquez is more than 35 years into a career spanning the jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and classical music recording worlds.

A sprawl­ing band of musi­cians from NYC, whose prodi­gious per­son­nel allows them to freely jug­gle a wide swath of the exper­i­men­tal soul-jazz-hip hop spectrum, Burnt Sugar moves amongst many styles, eras and gen­res to devise its own excit­ing hybrids while hon­oring its deep­est inspi­ra­tions: the first post-modernists of Amer­i­can music including Duke Elling­ton, Sun Ra, Par­lia­ment Funkadelic and The Art Ensem­ble of Chicago.

You don't want to miss what plans to be a wonderful evening on The Bridge - THREE truly special guests: master Trumpeter and epic composer Hannibal Lokumbe visits during the first hour to speak about the world premiere of Can You Hear God Crying? at the Kimmel Center, as well as his participation in a much-anticipated John Coltrane celebration.

It's been almost three years to the day since Philly's own Victor Bailey last visited the WRTI studios. Look forward to a lot of catching up! Victor undoubtedly will provide unique insight into his performance that's scheduled the following night at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania's Mauch Chunk Opera House.  The concert will feature fellow icons Lenny White and Larry Coryell. The bass great joins WRTI's J.

A special evening is in store for you as host J. Michael Harrison welcomes two fascinating musicians to The Bridge: Senegalese kora player Ablaye Cissoko and German jazz trumpet player Volker Goetze. It's been several years since their last appearance on the show, and a lot has transpired. 

The duo will discuss their new CD, Amanke Dionti, the follow up to the critically acclaimed recording, Sira, and share details of a recently completed documentary that provides unique insight into Cissoko's life in Senegal.

Conductor Michel Galante joins WRTI's J. Michael Harrison on July 20th at 10 pm to discuss two much-anticipated concerts he'll be conducting at the newly re-opened Rodin Museum. The Spectral Impressions concert series features new works by French composers Tristan Murail on July 22nd, and Phillipe Hurel on July 28th performed by the Argento Chamber Ensemble.

French spectral music focuses on musical color, electronic sound, and impressionist aesthetics.

Join WRTI's J. Michael Harrison as he welcomes the leader of Mozaic Flow, trombonist Jermaine Bryson.  Jermaine will be visiting The Bridge to debut the group's new single and discuss his career and upcoming CD release. As a Temple University graduate, with a degree in jazz performance, Jermaine has a profound love for all types of music. 

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