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KCUR’s Newest Show Brings The Music That Inspires Jazz Trumpeter Hermon Mehari To Kansas City

World-renowned jazz musician Hermon Mehari is bringing his voice and record collection to Kansas City airwaves in the form of KCUR's new music show, The Session With Hermon Mehari.

Though the award-winning trumpeter currently resides in Paris, Mehari’s Kansas City roots have called him back starting Saturday, March 13 at 7 p.m. on KCUR 89.3.

The Session With Hermon Mehari is an hour-long radio show featuring jazz, hip-hop, soul, R&B and more. In The Session, Mehari explores the musical roots of the African diaspora with a curated playlist, dipping into all aspects of Black culture, including modern hip-hop.

“KCUR has a long history of locally produced and hosted music programs like The Fish Fry, Night Tides and Cyprus Avenue,” says KCUR’s Program Director Ron Jones. “These programs have resonated with thousands of listeners. After a week of news, listeners are seeking ways to unwind.”

In a city where the roots of jazz music run deep, The Session will be one of a handful of Kansas City radio shows featuring jazz music. But Jones says The Session will offer something different for its listeners.

“While jazz is at the heart of The Session, the show features a unique mix of music from the African diaspora,” Jones says. “You will hear soul, R&B, hip-hop in addition to jazz, all carefully curated by Hermon and served in a way that makes sense to the listener.”

As Jones describes it, listening to The Session is like spending time with your good friend Hermon, “listening to the music that inspires him.”

“I call it the KCUR approach to presenting music programming — much like what listeners experience as they listen to Chuck Haddock (Fish Fry) or Renée Blanche (Night Tides),” says Jones.

Mehari says that going from being interviewed by KCUR hosts and reporters to hosting a show of his own is a pleasure.

“KCUR is a station I've had a lot of respect for over these years, and even being interviewed each time was an honor,” Mehari says. “So to be able to host a show is an incredible opportunity for me.”

Hosting The Session is also a way for Mehari to connect with his home base from Paris, in a time when international travel isn’t ideal.

“Since I've been based in Paris the past few years, I've always wanted to keep a foot back home,” says Mehari. “Normally, I do, in a very physical way — Icome back and play often. Given the pandemic, that has been an impossibility for me so the timing of this opportunity couldn't be better.

“In reality, it is another way for me to express myself musically and connect with others.”

Mehari is well-positioned to bring this new show to life. In addition to being a world-renowned performer, he’s a familiar face to the Kansas City music community, having studied at the UMKC Conservatory and as a founding member of the award-winning jazz group Diverse.

“While performing at various venues throughout the area, he attracted a large loyal following of jazz aficionados,” says Jones. “Even though he currently resides in France, KCUR approached Mehari with the idea of hosting a ‘different’ kind of music show, based on his diverse musical tastes, and he loved it.

“He brings a fresh approach to hosting, exuding passion for the music, but not sounding pedantic. I think listeners will make The Session a Saturday night destination.”

Join us Saturday, March 13 at 7 p.m. to hear the first episode of The Session with Hermon Mehari. Tune in to KCUR 89.3 or stream online at KCUR.org.

Grace Lotz is a digital producer for KCUR and the Kansas News Service. You can reach her at grace@kcur.org.
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