Count Basie – KCSM Pledge Drive – 5 Sept 2-630pm, 6 Sept 10 am-6pm, 7 Sept 830am-2pm

Ron Lee | September 3rd, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

RFM_CBOvintage_sliderCount Basie was one of the most important and influential bandleaders of the swing era.  His amalgam of piano, bass, guitar and drums were known as the “Cadillac of Rhythm Sections”. William “Count” Basie was one of the top swing band leaders of the 1920s. His best known performance are One O’clock Jump and April in Paris.

Join us as we pay tribute to The Kid from Redbank on the 110th Anniversary of his birth with COUNT BASIE, THE MAN & HIS MUSIC, Friday, September 5th from 2-6:30PM, Saturday, September 6th from 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, September 7th from 9AM-2PM.  Get ready to snap your fingers and tap your feet on our BASIE BLOWOUT WEEKEND, on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.


Horace Silver/Bill Evans – KCSM Pledge Drive – Thu 4 Sep & Sun 13 Sep

Fred Witt | August 30th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

“Tunes in the Key of Horace & Bill” will be airing in the pledge drive the first two weeks of September.

These two men of great influence were also a pair of great contrast. Horace was the high energy black guy of “hard bop” and Bill was the laid-back “modal” jazz white guy. They are both nationally recognized in their separate styles.

Silver_1Horace Silver’s piano & band work brought out the quick- rhythms of “hard bop” to the nation. At the same time Horace could be very fluid in quickly shifting to more romantic phrases. His music came up in the 50’s through Stan Getz, and then on with Horace’s own bands. Try clicking here for a sample of his enduring “Song for My Father.” Horace released many albums with Blue Note on into their sidelining in the 80’s. Horace passed away this summer at age 85.


14_08_30_KCSM_BEvansBill, heralded as one of our piano greats played with other greats like Miles Davis. Bill and his cohorts changed the world of jazz in the late 50’s by bringing out “modal” music to the wide audiences. Here
is a sample
of their “Kind of Blue” album, a lead example of their new music (and a best-selling album of our times). Bill, with his great artistry also had great personal travail, with only a 25-year career.

The Horace & Bill story will come out Thursday 4 September, and then Sonny Buxton, Kathleen Lawton,  Dick Conte and Melanie Berzon will air it again for you on Sunday 13 September.

David Liebman – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sun 31 Aug

Fred Witt | August 25th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_25_KCSM_DLiebmanOur veteran career saxophone player & educator Dave Liebman, from Brooklyn, continues on from NYC.  Dave’s early years came up playing with the country’s jazz greats of the age. He continued, developing new musical styles. His music ranges from “pretty good stuff” to “way out there.” Even now, when he is on one of his “progressive” tracks, he can still be pretty sane listening. Click on a few tracks here to see for yourself.  Dave is on the nation’s list of top 100 jazz sax players.

Dave has been a very strong performer during his career, playing several long stretches with groups. Some of these were groups he organized. In Dave’s later years he put more and more effort into educating the coming generation. He is now Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), while playing on almost continuous international touring. Last month saw him in NY, Phily, Germany, and South Africa. (This month will be NYC, PA, Finland, Italy, France, Canada, and Chicago…)

Chris Cortez will be bringing the David Liebman story Sunday morning 31 Aug on KCSM’s “I’m Talkin’ Jazz” for you to hear first hand from one of this nation’s top career jazz saxophonist.

KCSM Memorial – Leonard Bernstein – Jazz In The Afternoon – 29 Aug

Fred Witt | August 24th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_24_KCSM_LBernsteinBernstein, from Massachusetts, was America’s first internationally-famed symphony composer & conductor. With this he broke the mold which had held that first rank symphony conductors were trained in Europe. While his fame came from the symphony, our general reading of his work shows him into a lot of American music, including jazz. Large parts of his work lived out at the edge of symphony, such as his play & movie score “West Side Story.”  At some point   it seemed as though he had “played or conducted in almost everything,” classical and American.

In Bernstein’s 30’s he held and recorded a seminar on the musical practices and elements of American jazz. In the course of the presentations he would play a conventional American work.  He would then  explain some jazz musical elements and explain, with this style, here’s how the same piece sounds, by way of illustration. His recorded seminar on CD is still available.

Bernstein’s work will be described and illustrated for KCSM by musician and actor Hershey Felder.  Felder has made a career of presentations showing the style, manner, and work of some leading classical musicians.

Join Chuy Varela & Melanie Berzon Friday afternoon 29 Aug on KCSM’s memorial to hear the presentation and tracks from Leonard’s life work.

KCSM Fall Pledge Memorial – Little Jimmy Scott – Jazz In The Afternoon – 11 Sep

Fred Witt | August 23rd, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_20_KCSM_JScottAmerican jazz singer Jimmy Scott passed away in June at the age of 88. Given a youthfully high voice (Kallmann syndrom) and his own musical instincts Jimmy’s singing was called “all heart” and he captured the following of many of America’s big singing names; Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, and Dinah Washington to be included. If you closed your eyes to some of his 90’s work, you’d believe you were listening to a star crooner from the 50’s.

His high pitch made his work a unique corner rather than national attraction. While he was remarkably popular with some audiences the public missed quite a few of his performing years in the midst of on and off relations with the labels and other artists working problems.  Try some of his tracks here to pick your favorites.

Join Chuy Varela & Melanie Berzon Thursday afternoon 11 Sept on KCSM’s memorial to hear interviews and tracks from Jimmy’s life work.

KCSM Fall Pledge – “Meshuganah” Mambo – Jazz In The Afternoon – 12 Sep

Fred Witt | August 21st, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_21_KCSM_MeshuganahMeshuganah Mambo, or “crazy Mambo.”

Here is the mix of Jewish and Latin in American music. Once you start listening, neither genre “owns” the music, but both are big players. Sometimes you lose yourself and don’t know which theme to follow in the piece.

If you’ve planted your foot of musical listening into either (or both) of these areas, there could be a lot of listening fun for you. Examples of pieces that are up are Xavier Cugat’s “Miami Beach Rhumba,” The Barry Sisters’ “Channah from Havana,” Tito Puente’s “Grossinger’s Cha Cha,” and Mickey Katz’s “My Yiddishe Mambo.”  Try a little of the original 50’s music here.

Chuy & Mel will present “Meshuganah” Mambo, or ‘The Catskills meet the Palladium’ Friday afternoon on KCSM to cover the Jewish/Latin music connection in our jazz.

Nicole Henry & the Top Shelf Band – Jazz Summer Fest Performance Review – 9 August

Fred Witt | August 18th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_16_KCSM_NHenryThe best, or arguably one of the top performances at the Jazz Summer Fest was Nicole & the Top Shelf Big Band playing to a 200-person house at the California Theater. If you had heard this in 1960 you would have believed you were listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s younger sister ! Nicole’s voice is great, and she was great every song, all the way through. She also has power. If the mic had gone out it was obvious she could have carried the theater on her own. One telling point on the whole performance is that the audience held Nicole and the band through two encore numbers. Nicole is some 10 years into her career and works from Florida.

The Top Shelf Band was started in 2009 by Robert Marr and works out of Sunnyvale in the South Bay. They are a volunteer group, and play to keep the “big band” magic sound alive. The band was great.

They not only were good musicians, but they did their job right. Folks who got there early saw the band go through 20 minutes of mic level-setting, section by section. The proof was in the delivery. The horns never rolled over the strings. The drums never ran over the horns, and no one played out on top of the singer or drove the audience out of the hall ! (The unfortunate news here is too many groups don’t attend to this part of their performance.)  Nichole & the band didn’t allow any such thing for our show at the Jazz Summer Fest, and are our heroes for it.

Russell Malone – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – 10 August

Fred Witt | August 9th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

One of America’s top 100 jazz guitarists, originally from the state of Georgia, Russell Malone is a veteran who started his swing and bebop style that in the 80’s. Russell’s guitar work brings solid, lively full melodies for your favorite music.

In his career he has belonged to a number of national bands, such as the Harry Connick Jr Big Band. Performances that do a particularly great job of showing Russell’s work are sessions with some of his famous singer partners such as Diana Krall, and Dianne Reeves.

Hear Russell’s own story of a music career Sunday morning, 8 am 0n KCSM’s I’m Talkin’ Jazz with Alisa Clancy

Charnett Moffett – KCSM Listening Lounge – Sun Aug 10 530pm

Ron Lee | August 9th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Charnett-Upright-Becca-3640clrJadj1Charnett Moffett is a sought-after bass player with a highly-distinguished career in jazz. He first appeared on a recording at age seven with the Moffett Family Band, left Juilliard at the age of 16 to join the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, and has since worked with music icons like Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Arturo Sandoval, David Sanborn, among many others.Recently, Moffett has been on tour with sultry vocalist Melody Gardot. Moffett recorded nine albums, three under Blue Note Records, before his path led him to Motéma. Whether as a leader or in a supportive role, Moffett’s well-seasoned performances have been heard around the world.

Charnett will be doing a solo set at the KCSM listening lounge. Get your tickets now!

Christian Tamburr Quintet – San Jose Jazz Summer Fest – 10 August

Fred Witt | August 6th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_08_07_KCSM_CTamburrChristian Tamburr, coming from the Indian River area of Florida is just moving along in his career. He brings command of the vibraphone in his jazz execution and has a long list of big-name jazz artists that he has toured and performed with internationally. Christian is now leading his own Quintet.

Try some of the sample tunes and then compare the quintet’s work (with their noted trumpeter Dominick Faranacci) with some of your favorite vibraphone and piano groups.

You’ll have two chances at the SJ Jazz Summer Fest to hear Christian’s Quintet live. They’re on Sunday at 1:30 pm in the KCSM Music Lounge (Lounge tickets free but first-come, first-serve !) in the California Theater and later at 4 pm on the Blackbird Tavern stage.