cover photo by Chuck Andersen

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Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip Hop and Beyond

The first of its kind to capture the full spectrum of Detroit popular music from the early 1900s to the twenty-first century.

RJ Spangler

RJ Spangler


Drummer RJ Spangler has been on the Detroit music scene for many years. In fact, he earned his first Motor City Music Award in 1982 with a band he co-founded called the Sun Messengers. After 15 years as a Messenger, RJ went on to running the band for Detroit blues guitar master Johnnie Bassett. With Johnnie, RJ made his way coast to coast in both the US and Canada as well as many European tours.

His résumé includes blues and R&B gigs with Eddie Kirkland, The Drifters, Earl King, Wanda Rouzan, James "Thunderbird" Davis, Big Jay McNeely, Larry McCray, Francine Reed, Tad Robinson, Shawn Pittman, Sir Mack Rice/the Falcons with Eddie Floyd, Johnny Adams, Bob Schultz, Eddie Bo, Andre Williams, Nathaniel Mayer, Robert Penn, Eddie & Jimmy Burns, Pinetop Perkins, Ron Levy, Shirley King, James Montgomery, Martha & the Vandellas, Catfish Hodge, Hamonica Shah, Mr. Bo, Willie D. Warren, Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe, Thornetta Davis, Jos'lyn B, Geno Parks, the Griswald Brothers as well as jazz gigs with James Carter, Faruq Z. Bey, Bill Heid, Leon Thomas, Marcus Belgrave and Roy Brooks.

Today he is a WC Handy nominated drummer, producer of CDs & live events & guiding force behind the Planet D Nonet in addition to leading a very busy organ trio.

RJ is on over 70 nationally available CDs.

View RJ's Full Discography

Projects / Bands

Planet D Nonet, RJ Spangler Trio...and more


Untitled Document


  • Sunday, July 21, the Paxton/Spangler Band at a PRIVATE EVENT
  • Sunday, July 21, the Paxton/Spangler Band at the Michigan Jazz Festival
  • Saturday, July 27, the Paxton/Spangler Septet plays South African Jazz at Motor City Wine.
  • Saturday, August 17, the Tap Room AllStars return to Ye Olde Tap Room on the east side of Detroit, on the GP border! James O'Donnell, Tbone Paxton, RJ and more! 
  • Sunday, August 18, the Paxton/Spangler Band perform at a wedding. 
  • Saturday, August 24, the RJ Spangler Quintet w/ James O'Donnell the Redford Library brought to you by the jazz Foundation of America.
  • Wednesday, August 28, the Paxton/Spangler Band at Hook in St Clair Shores on the Nautical Mile. 7 pm.
  • Saturday, August 30, the Paxton/Spangler Septet plays South African Jazz at Motor City Wine.

Planet D Nonet

Untitled Document

Spangler Jazz & Blues Productions represents:  Airey B & her Blues Boys & T-Bone Paxton.

To book the Planet D Nonet contact Amanda Stanger-Read at Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates:



Recordings are available for purchase in both CD and downloadable formats.

Record Labels

Find recordings from RJ Spangler at these record labels:
Detroit Music Factory Eastlawn Records

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RJ Spangler

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