Chris Heim

Music Producer

Chicago native Chris Heim began a lifelong love affair with radio after wandering into the campus station at the University of Chicago and being unexpectedly offered a music show. She got her first job in radio at one of the area’s last “free-form” stations, worked at Chicago’s only progressive rock station and then joined Chicago’s NPR affiliate. It was here where she hosted a jazz show and a world music show (the latter being one of the longest running world music shows in public radio). She has also served as a Music Director and produced and anchored national broadcasts of the city’s jazz, blues, and Latin music festivals, as well as a long-running series done in partnership with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater.


At KMUW, Chris produces and hosts Global Village, a nationally and internationally distributed world music show heard in more than 40 states and nearly 40 countries; the nightly jazz show Night Train, and Crossroads, KMUW’s twice-weekly blues and R&B show. In 2020, Chris received first place in Special Program from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival, as well as first place in DJ Personality Air Check for Night Train.

Chris received a Master of Arts in communication from Wichita State University. Chris is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune (where she had a weekly column), Utne, Global Rhythm, Dirty Linen, and Option, among others. She serves as a participating critic in several Best of the Year polls, including DownBeat, NPR Jazz, Transglobal World Music Chart and fRoots.

Ways to Connect

Monday, December 14

Global Village devotes the entire show Latin soul boogaloo. We’ll hear classics and rarities from the all-too-brief period of the music’s heyday from the likes of Joe Cuba, Joe Bataan, the Fania All Stars, the Latinaires, Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, and Ray Barretto.

Tuesday, December 15

Global Village highlights music from the Middle East and North Africa, including selections from NEA Heritage Fellow Rahim Alhaj, Rai modernizer Sofiane Saidi, Moroccan rockers Gabacho Maroc, a classic reissue from Nubian star Ali Hassan Kuban, oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil, Golan Heights brothers Tootard, and Palestinian brothers Le Trio Joubran.

Wednesday, December 16

In conjunction with the December Fado feature, Global Village marks the birthday of one of the biggest stars of the contemporary fado scene, the singer Mariza. We’ll hear music from her debut album, some of her signature songs, and some of the ways she has expanded the sound of fado to incorporate new elements and influences. Mariza will also be the featured artist for the December Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival show, airing later in the month. We’ll also hear the latest from Irish multi-instrumentalist John Doyle, the Mavericks first album En Español, and another contemporary fado singer – Carla Pires, and we’ll sneak in a little holiday cheer from guitarist Luis Villegas.

Thursday, December 17

Global Village highlights music from Crescent City legend Art Neville, Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Wailers’ drummer Carlton Barrett, and harp man Paul Butterfield – all born on this date. We’ll also explore some music from Ethiopia, including the latest from the contemporary band Qwanqwa, and check out some of the latest from Nation Beat and Nohe & Sus Santos.

Friday, December 18

Global Village offers a little break from the cares of the day with a Global Village Dance Party. We’ll hear some lively sounds from Sugar Pie DeSanto with Etta James, the Skatalites, Tito Puente, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Nation Beat, Brave Combo’s Group Dance Epidemic, and more. So clear the floor, put on your dancing shoes and join us for some non-stop fun this time in the Global Village.

It pretty much goes without saying that if Shemekia Copeland has an album out, it will be on Best of the Year lists, though credit too to Will Kimbrough who co-wrote most of the songs, played guitar, and produced her latest album. We also couldn’t stop playing the 2020 release from soul blues veteran Frank Bey.

There were lots of fine classic and Chicago blues releases in 2020, including sets from Alex Dixon (Willie’s grandson), John Primer & Bob Corritore, Kim Wilson, and, happily back again, Nora Jean Wallace (Brusco).

Another great soul singer, Sonny Green, got his first full album after a decades-long career, while Maceo Parker returned with his first new release, a set of fun and funky favorites, in eight years.

Local favorites Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations, and Mike Finnigan (with the Phantom Blues Band) did the town proud with their 2020 releases, while Quad Cities favorites, and 2020 International Blues Challenge Semi-Finalists, the Avey Grouws Band showed great promise with their debut release.

Among the acoustic blues offerings of the year were fine sets from Rory Block and Blind Lemon Pledge (who we would include if only for the name). Peter Parcek continues to prove he is among the most inventive of the blues guitarists on the scene today.

Speaking of inventive guitarists, Cindy Cashdollar — who has worked with Asleep at the Wheel, Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball and scores more —released a star-studded set of her own, not strictly blues, but too good not to include.

The cigar box guitar and earth-shaking vocals of Gina Coleman made the Misty Blues Band release a stand out. Solid stuff too this year from veterans Robert Cray, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray, and Lloyd Jones. And Savoy Brown, around now for 55 years (!) just keeps on keepin’ on – no surprises, but it’s hard not to like their trademark British blues rock sound.

Here are the Crossroads Top 25 Favorites of 2020 in alphabetical order:

1. Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations – My Getaway (Dustin Arbuckle)
2. Avey Grouws Band – Devil May Care (Avey Grouws)
3. Frank Bey – All My Dues Are Paid (NOLA Blue)
4. Blind Lemon Pledge – Goin’ Home (Blind Lemon Pledge)
5. Rory Block – Prove It On Me (Stony Plain)
6. Cindy Cashdollar – Waltz for Abilene (Silver Shot)
7. Chickenbone Slim – Sleeper (Lo Fi Mob)
8. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
9. Robert Cray – That’s What I Heard (Nozzle)
10. Alex Dixon – The Real McCoy (Dixon Landing)
11. Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – Rise Up (Stony Plain)
12. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
13. Jimmy Johnson – Every Day of Your Life (Delmark)
14. Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run (Vizztone)
15. Lisa Mills – The Triangle (BMG)
16. Misty Blues Band – Weed ‘Em & Reap (Misty Blues)
17. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers – Vol. 1 (Stony Plain)
18. Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin’)
19. Maceo Parker – Soul Food: Cooking with Maceo (The Funk Garage)
20. Phantom Blues Band – Still Cookin’ (Vizztone)
21. John Primer & Bob Corritore – The Gypsy Woman Told Me (Vizztone)
22. Savoy Brown – Ain’t Done Yet (Quarto Valley)
23. Sugar Ray and the Bluetones – Too Far from the Bar (Severn)
24. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
25. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (M.C. Records)

Despite a global pandemic, there continued to be a steady stream of global sounds throughout 2020. And if we couldn’t travel literally, perhaps more of us will be inclined to do so musically and discover some of the great work that musicians from all around the world have to offer.

This year you could travel the Silk Road from one end — with the Chinese band Manhu and Mongolian ensemble Khusugtun — to the other — with Turkish oud player Mehmet Polat — or explore the whole route with 3,14 (whose 2020 release takes its title from the scientific name for the silk worm.)

It’s hard to resist almost any Afrobeat, and there were quite a number of choices this year, but especially so if you go to the source (Nigeria’s Bantu) or one of its more unlikely outposts (Lithuania’s Ojibo Afrobeat).

As usual, there were so many great and different sounds and styles of Latin music to choose from; from the salsa jazz of master pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba with electric vocalist Aymee Nuviola (easy to see why she was chosen to play Celia Cruz in a Colombian telenovela), to the rock influenced approaches to Mexican marimba music (Son Rompe Pera) and cumbia (Santa Fe’s Nohe y Sus Santos), to classic son (Buena Vista guitarist Eliades Ochoa), and lively yet elegant Brazilian choro (Aquarela).

Reggae fans could savor the Ernest Ranglin-like reggae-jazz of guitarist Kubix, or the offbeat yet entrancing meeting of reggae and theremin from Italian artist Gaudi.

Speaking of music from unusual places, the Mexican brass band Los Rurales combined Oaxacan and Balkan music. Nation Beat seamlessly fused Brazilian and Crescent City sounds. Morocco’s Majid Bekkas served up inventive North African psychedelic jazz. And the always fascinating cellist Matthieu Saglio brought together an international cast of musicians for his own evocative world jazz fusion.

And old sounds got new treatments. Some of the finest township sounds to be released internationally since the heyday of Graceland appeared this year thanks to the great Vusi Mahlasela. Trio Tekke continued its fascinating exploration and re-invention of Greek rembetiko music. And Solas co-founder Seamus Egan stepped out on his own for a new and expressive take on traditional Irish music.

Those and many more fascinating musical excursions were available in 2020.

Here are the Global Village Top 25 Favorites of the year in alphabetical order:

1. 3,14 – Bombyx Mori (Worlds Within Worlds)
2. Alhousseini Anivolla & Girum Mezmur – Afropentatonism (Piranha)
3. Aquarela – A Bela Vida (Buda Musique)
4. Bab L’Bluz – Nayda! (Real World)
5. Bantu – Everybody Get Agenda (Soledad)
6. Majid Bekkas – Magic Spirit Quartet (ACT)
7. Xabier Diaz & Adufeiras de Salitre – The Silenced Cathedrals (Musicas de Salitre Spain)
8. Seamus Egan – Early Bright (THL)
9. Gaudi – 100 Years of Theremin (Dubmission)
10. Amir John Hadad – Andalucia (Galileo)
11. Khusugtun – Jangar (Buda Musique)
12. KUBIX – Guitar Chant (Attik)
13. Jaakko Laitinen & Vaara Raha – Borek (Playground)
14. Vusi Mahlasela – Shebeen Queen (ATO)
15. Manhu — Voices of the Sani (Riverboat)
16. Nation Beat – The Royal Chase (Nation Beat Music)
17. Nohe & Sus Santos – Tempestad (Avokado)
18. Eliades Ochoa — Vamos a Bailar un Son (Eliades Ochoa)
19. Ojibo Afrobeat – Ojiboland (Ojibo Afrobeat)
20. Mehmet Polat – The Promise (Aftab)
21. Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymee Nuviola – Viento y Tiempo (Top Stop)
22. Los Rurales – Ocotita (Classicos Latinos/Cugate)
23. Matthieu Saglio – El Camino de los Vientos (ACT)
24. Son Rompe Pera – Batuco (Aya)
25. Trio Tekke – Strovilos (Riverboat)

It probably had something to do with the kind of year we had, but the albums that seemed to stand out in 2020 were often ones that brought the most comfort: the balladry of Jeremy Pelt, the elegant and understated weave of strings used by Eric Alexander, the sunny effort from Bill Cunliffe, and especially (the one album not in alphabetical order here) the warm boleros featured in the quarantine project from John Daversa and his all-star group (Gonzalo Rubalcaba – who also shows up in the Global Village favorites, Dafnis Prieto, Sammy Figueroa, and Carol de Rosa).

Though vocal albums (with a few notable exceptions) have been rare on best-of lists, there were a few that stood out this year: the airy concept set from Kat Edmonson, the Latin balladry of Lauren Henderson, Kandace Springs’ salute to the women among her influences, and a powerful and moving jazz/roots project from Chanda Rule.

Meanwhile, a trend-let for all-female bands continued with the Artemis supergroup of Renee Rosnes, Anat Cohen, Melissa Aldana, Ingrid Jensen, Noriko Ueda, Allison Miller, and 2020 genius grant recipient Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Brazil’s Aquarela, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra (and guests), and the elegant Latin-influenced compositions of John Finbury (performed by vocalis Magos Herrera, pianist Chano Domínguez, bassist John Patitucci, and  drummer Antonio Sánchez) were among the standouts in what continues to be a very strong Latin jazz scene, while on the soul jazz side we had live sets from Brazilian keyboardist Ricardo Bacelar, and KC favorites Guitar Elation.

One of the surprises of the year was Jordan Siegel’s inventive tribute to film composers, evoking their style with his own engaging original compositions.

Last but not least, for the first six months of the year we were treated to reissues of the remaining, long unavailable Erroll Garner Octave albums, a charming reminder of why he was once one of the most popular pianists in the land.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the Night Train Top 25 Favorites of 2020:

1. John Daversa Quintet – Cuarentena: With Family at Home (Tiger Turn)
2. Eric Alexander – With Strings (High Note)
3. Joey Alexander – Warna (Verve)
4. Aquarela – A Bela Vida (Buda Musique)
5. Artemis – Artemis (Blue Note)
6. Ricardo Bacelar – Ao Vivo No Rio (Bacelar)
7. John Beasley – MONK’estra Plays John Beasley (Mack Avenue)
8. Bill Cunliffe – Sunrise Over Molokai (Metre)
9. John DiMartino – Passion Flower (Sunnyside)
10. Kat Edmonson – Dreamers Do (MRI)
11. John Finbury – Quatro (Green Flash)
12. Bill Frisell – Valentine (Blue Note)
13. Erroll Garner Octave Reissues – That’s My Kick, Up In Erroll’s Room, Feeling Is Believing, Gemini, Magician and Gershwin & Kern (Octave/Mack Avenue)
14. Guitar Elation – Double Live at the Green Lady Lounge (Jazz Daddy)
15. Lauren Henderson – The Songbook Session (CD Baby)
16. Ian Hendrickson-Smith – The Lowdown (Cellar Music)
17. Harold Mabern – Mabern Plays Mabern (Smoke Sessions)
18. Delfeayo Marsalis & Uptown Jazz Orchestra – Jazz Party (Troubadour Jass)
19. Christian McBride Big Band – For Jimmy, Wes & Oliver (Mack Avenue)
20. Pearl Django – Simplicity (Modern Hot)
21. Jeremy Pelt – The Art of Intimacy Vol. 1 (High Note)
22. Chanda Rule + Sweet Emma Band – Hold On (PAO)
23. Jordan Siegel – Beyond Images (Wonderbird)
24. Spanish Harlem Orchestra – The Latin Jazz Project (Artist Share)
25. Kandace Springs – The Women Who Raised Me (Blue Note)

Monday, December 7
Night Train continues with music from December featured artists Dave Brubeck and Clark Terry; marks birthdays of singers Louis Prima and Tom Waits, organist Pat Bianchi, and Latin jazz drummer Robby Ameen; and highlights new releases from  bassist Martin Wind, the Flying Horse Big Band in a salute to Ray Charles, and Conrad Herwig’s Latin Side of Horace Silver.

Tuesday, December 8
SPECIAL: Night Train marks the birthday of jazz organ pioneer Jimmy Smith with music from him and from the artists and bands who have followed in his wake. We’ll hear holiday and classics tracks he recorded, a cover of one of his songs off a new album from Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, and a tribute to the work Smith did with Wes Montgomery and Oliver Nelson from the Christian McBride Big Band. We’ll also hear selections from organists Everett DeVan, Brian Charette (on a new album from Doug Webb), and Akiko Tsuruga in hour one, and a special in hour two featuring contemporary jazz organists and groups, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Organissimo, and the Deep Blue Organ Trio.

Wednesday, December 9
Night Train marks birthdays of trumpeter Donald Byrd and jug band pioneer Dan Hicks (including a concert special with Hicks in hour two of the show; continues with music from December featured artists Clark Terry (with Count Basie) and Dave Brubeck (including a cover on of his classics by the Calle Loiza Jazz Project); and highlights new releases from Loudon Wainwright III, Brazilian guitarist Diego Figeuiredo, and saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.

Thursday, December 10
Night Train ’gives the drummer some’ in a show devoted to great classic and contemporary jazz drummers – including Jack DeJohnette (with Miles Davis and with the supergroup Hudson), Stanton Moore, Paul Wertico, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Roy Haynes, Louis Hayes, Mel Lewis, WSU alum Matt Wilson, and more.

Monday, December 7
A visit to Italy this time in the Global Village for some of the many artists and bands that are exploring, and sometimes reinventing, the traditional musical forms of that country. We’ll hear selections from Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana, Cesare dell'Anna & GirodiBanda, Agricantus, Brigan, BandAdriatica, Newpoli, the Hot Club of San Francisco (doing a Paolo Conte song), and even some Italian reggae from Mellow Mood.

Tuesday, December 8
Today is the birthday of the late, great reggae legend Toots Hibbert and Global Village marks the occasion with a number of his classic recordings. In conjunction with the December Fado feature, we’ll hear music from one of the stars of the music, Mariza (this month’s featured artist on Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival) along with fado veteran Maria da Fe. And we’ll hear the latest from the Star Feminine Band, Les Amazones d’Afrique, Kubix, Los Piranas, and Shooglenifty.

Wednesday, December 9

Today is Independence Day in Tanzania and Global Village joins in the celebrations with a show devoted to music from that East African nation, including the popular sounds of taarab, dance band music, and bongo flava. We’ll hear some Tanzania’s most popular ensembles, including the 115-year-old Ikhwani Safaa Musical Club, Remmy Ongala and the horn-driven Mlimani Park Orchestra, and the fascinating musical meeting of bluesman Taj Mahal with the Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar.

Thursday, December 10

It’s Human Rights Day – marking the anniversary of the U.N. adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Global Village marks the occasion with music from around the world in celebration and support of human rights. Highlights include selections from Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Miriam Makeba, the Listen to the Banned compilation, and Femi Kuti.
More information about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be found here.

Friday, December 11

Today is Independence Day in Burkina Faso and Global Village marks the occasion with a show devoted to music from that West African nation. Highlights include music from one of the country’s most revered musicians, Amadou Balake; pioneering electronic group Burkina Electric; the internationally acclaimed band Farafina; traditional artists Gabin Dabire and Le Freres Coulibaly; and the Bambara Mystic Soul compilation that highlighted the rich and diverse music of ‘70s Burkina Faso.

Friday, December 11 and Sunday, December 13

Crossroads kicks off the December feature marking the 90th birthday of legendary singer and activist Odetta with music from her debut album and from a guest appearance she made with blues harp great James Cotton.
The show also marks birthdays of Lurrie Bell, Lucky Peterson, and Big Mama Thornton (including a special featuring her hour two of the show).
New music this time includes Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos with Bob Corritore, the Nighthawks, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Walter Trout, and Duke Robillard.

1. Kubix – Guitar Chant (Attik)
2. Bert Jansch – Crimson Moon (Earth)
3. Shooglenifty – Acid Croft, Vol. 9 (Shoogle Music)
4. Duo Coincidencia – Veracruz: Sones y Flores (Classicos Latinos/Cugate)
5. Various Artists – Putumayo Presents New Orleans Mambo (Putumayo)
6. Los Rurales – Ocotita (Classicos Latinos/Cugate)
7. Vusi Mahlasela – Shebeen Queen (ATO)
8. Okan – Espiral (Lulaworld)
9. Supergombo – Sigitolo (Z Production)
10. Qwanqwa – Volume 3 (Wuzzawazzee)

1. Javon Jackson – Déjà vu ( Solid Jackson)
2. Christian McBride Big Band – For Jimmy, Wes & Oliver (Mack Avenue)
3. Alan Broadbent Trio – In Motion (Savant)
4. Harold Lopez-Nussa – Te Lo Dije (Mack Avenue)
5. Flying Horse Big Band – Florida Rays (Flying Horse)
6. Ian Hendrickson-Smith – The Lowdown (Cellar)
7. Artemis – Artemis (Blue Note)
8. Claire Daly – Rah! Rah! (Ride Symbol)
9. Eddie Henderson – Shuffle and Deal (Smoke Sessions)
10. Steve Cardenas – Blue Has A Range (Sunnyside)

1. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
2. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (MC Records)
3. Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run (Vizztone)
4. Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ the Dirt Road (VizzTone)
5. Maceo Parker – Soul Food (Funk Garage)
6. Kevin Burt – Stone Crazy (Gulf Coast)
7. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
8. Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin’)
9. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
10. Misty Blues – Weed ‘Em And Reap (Misty Blues)