Orin Keepnews, Jazz Producer 7 May, 9 May and 14 May KCSM Pledge Special

Ron Lee | May 6th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

Orin KeepnewsNEA Jazzmaster and Grammy award winner Orin Keepnews was a major record producer for over 60 years. He started in 1953 with the founding of Rivermark Records in New York. He produced many of the recording for Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderly, Wes Montgomery and many more. After the bankruptcy of Rivermark he started Milestone Records. After Milestone was acquired by Fantasy Records  he moved to the Bay Area to oversee Fantasy’s jazz catalog. After he left Fantasy Records he started the Landmark Records label. Orin continues to work with Riverside artists like Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans as well as picking up new artists like Bobby Hutcherson and the Kronos Quartet.

You can take a look at a list of his works and teh artists he has worked with  at:


A longtime Bay Area resident, tune in to hear Orrin Keepnews talk about his life and legacy, in an in depth interview with KCSM Music Director, Chuy Varela on Thurs May 7th and Thursday May 14th from 2pm-6pm.

On Saturday May 9th Dick, Kathleen and Melanie will have their own special tribute to Orin and his work with Bill Evans.

Seattle Jazz Artists – Sat 09 May – KCSM Pledge Special

Fred Witt | May 6th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

Seattle is one of the hidden sources of American jazz.  Of their dozens of players some have emerged to form the art and have national following.  How serious is Seattle about Jazz?  Well how about Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Ernestine Anderson just to name a few.

15_05_03_KCSM_QJonesQuincey Jones, a prominent trumpeter and later a towering producer (read, America’s biggest selling albums) was born in Chicago, then arrived in Seattle when his family moved there after WW II.  His career spanned from trumpeting with Ray Charles to producing with Michael Jackson.  Quincey’s style “covered the whole countryside” for jazz listeners.



15_05_03_KCSM_EAndersonSeattle’s blues & jazz singer Ernestine Anderson, born in Oklahoma, also moved to Seattle during WW II as a child, and was already singing choir solos.  Her blues & jazz career has had performing, touring, and dozens of releases.  Try her lively style here.

The blind Ray Charles came into the jazz industry through many small steps, making Seattle his home along the way.  His industry career was in one sense slender, in the size of groups and tours, but in another sense 15_05_03_KCSM_RCharlesoverreaching across society in his powerful, emotional and commanding singing.  In addition to his appeal, his voice was called “the industries’ most recognizable.”

Celebrate the Seattle Jazz Scene with one of its natives, Mr. Sonny Buxton, and his side kick, Melanie Berzon, on Midday Jazz, Saturday, May 9th, from 10AM to 2PM, right here on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.

Nat King Cole – Fri 08 & Sun 17 May – KCSM Pledge Special

Fred Witt | May 5th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

14_01_23_NatKingCole_1It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 50 years since Nathanial Adams Cole left us, but fortunately for us, his voice remains alive as ever!

Nat King Cole, born in Alabama & raised in Chicago got a launching to his musical carer from his family.  He learned organ & piano from his mother Perlina, who was the organist to his father’s Baptist church. He performed at 4, started lessons at 12 in jazz, gospel and Western classical, and was in a famous musical school program at DuSable High School. He was already performing in his own group in his teens.

Nat’s did start out commercially as a jazz pianist but his real career with the nation was of him as the singer. He had a soft voice that welcomed all, and carried his fame for decades after his life. Not even 20, and playing in his own jazz trio, someone said “Nat, you should be a singer”. The hit records started rolling. Cole performed on multiple NBC radio shows in the late ’30’s and early 40’s. He recorded for Excelsior Records, and then moved on to the young Capitol Records.  His hot record sales helped float the company in it’s early life.

Nat’s singing successes carried on from there through the rest of his life, (which ended in 1965).

Celebrate the Life and Music of one of the most Unforgettable Vocalists and Pianists to ever grace our planet.  The Nat King Cole Story, Friday, May 8th from 2 to 6PM and Sunday, May 17th, from 10AM to 2PM, right here on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.

Joni Mitchell – Wed 06 May, Sun 10 May – KCSM Pledge Special

Fred Witt | May 3rd, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_02_KCSM_JMitchellOur California singer-song writer, in folk, jazz, & pop music – Joni Mitchell – has been named in an SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement award. On Friday, May 8th, Wayne Shorter, NEA Jazz Master and longtime Joni collaborator, will be in attendance and will accept this award on Joni’s behalf. Appearing with the award will be an all-star musical tribute to this living legend.

In honor of this momentous occasion, KCSM will broadcast Paul Ingles’ thought provoking documentary “The Emergence of Joni Mitchell”, an examination of one of the most heralded songwriters of our time. Joni, the self- directed artist, the self-directed producer did it her way for a lot of her career. When you look into this music, you see how Joni saw it.

Join Keith & Mel Wednesday or Sunday for the early music & life of Joni Mitchell.

That’s “The Emergence of Joni Mitchell”, Wednesday, May 6th from 2 to 6PM and Sunday, May 10th from 10AM to 2PM, right here on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.

KCSM Spring Pledge – Special Programming

Ron Lee | May 3rd, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

71097_193349651122_1526328_nIt is Spring and time for our Spring Pledge Drive. This year it begins Wed May 6 – Tues May 19. To celebrate we have scheduled special programming. We will be highlighting this programming in the blog over the next few weeks. We will be featuring:

Joni Mitchell

6 May 2pm-6pm and 10 May 10am-2pm

Nat King Cole

8 May 2pm-6pm and 17 May 10am-2pm

Seattle Jazz

9 May 10am-2pm with Sonny and Melanie

Orin Keepnews, prolific jazz producer

7 May 2pm-6pm with Chuy and Mel

9 May 2pm-6pm with Dick, Kathleen and Melanie

14 May 2pm-6pm with Chuy and Mel

Buena Vista Social club

10 May 2pm-6pm with Chuy and Chris

Mudddy Water’s 100th Birthday bash

11 May 2pm-6pm with Chuy and Kathleen

Hammond B3 Organ Blowout

12 May 2pm-6 pm with Chuy and Pete

Gil Evans and Miles Davis

13 May 10am-6pm with Chris and Lee and Chuy and Mel

Charlie Parker

16 May 10am-2pm with Sonny and Melanie


Jeff Denson – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sun 03 May

Fred Witt | May 2nd, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_05_02_JDensonJeff Denson, a mid-career bass performer, recorder, and instructor was born in Virginia and in the last 15 years has settled in the Bay Area.  In addition to a full professorship at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory his ongoing work includes his international touring and additions to his more than 10 recordings.  Jeff has appeared this spring in the Bay Area, and in May and June will be performing in Oakland, Berkeley, and Napa.

Jeff’s style has been viewed as “improvised middle America jazz” over his performances and recordings.  It is possible to find samples of his music on the net to experience his style.  An example is his latest CD release “I’ll Fly Away.”

Tune in Sunday 03 May at 8 am to hear Jeff Denson’s version of his journey in life & music.  This show will be on the I’m Talkin’ Jazz program with KCSM’s Alisa Clancy.

The Real Thing – Cuban Jazz On The Ground with KCSM – 1 of 6

Fred Witt | April 29th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

15_04_29_KCSM_Cuban1On the ground in Cuba ?  Cuba relations have been  in national news recently, and KCSM has been right up to date with it.   A KCSM tour group recently spent a week and a half visiting the musical side of Cuba people-to-people style.  The visitors were seeing musicians, restaurants, show-people, and music schools, along with a little general touring.

Who did they see ? It’s true there are a few Cuban musicians who have made it to the US are are well known (read, Chucho Valdez, etc.).  However there are a whole body of players that have never had the reach out of their country.  The real magic of the tour was the visitors got to look into that layer of Cuban musicians that haven’t been seen or heard out of their country.   Right now, these are the people you get to see by visiting.

“How did they get to Cuba ? ! ”  Oh, right.  The tour was managed by a smaller company, Earthbound Expeditions in the state of Washington.  The Cuban visits are authorized by arrangement under a special “people-to-people” program with our federal government.

What’s the scene like there ? KCSM’s Alisa Clancy was one of the tour co-hosts and took some time to tell us about her experiences.  It’s a rich, individual culture in the country.  The Cuban economy is fairly basic, with not a lot of spare money floating around.   Making a living is largely more “personal” than “corporate.”  If you’re a musician you’re playing for whoever is in town.  If you’re living on it, you are bringing a performance people need.   Alisa said the big message from this tour was that when “the diplomatic doors roll up” for Cuba, we will finally be able to see & hear this body of “in-the-country” musicians.

Next up on the blog.  In some following posts we will take up a few of the local Cuban jazz performers and show their work, as best we can discover it.  Keep an eye here on the KCSM jazz blog.

KCSM Early Bird Pledge 91 CD List

Ron Lee | April 28th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

71097_193349651122_1526328_nBe an Early Bird! Make your donation between April 20 and May 5 and you will pick up the Crazy Bout The Blues Tee Shirt as well as the new Mid-Day Jazz T-shirt with cool images of Chris Cortez, Lee Thomas and Sonny Buxton (artwork in process!) You will also be entered into our raffle to pick up a fantastic “Early Bird” 91 CDs special! It’s a great way add to your collection or start one. The Winner for the 91 CD’s will be drawn Wednesday, May 6th during Midday Jazz!

Pledge Now!

KCSM Early Bird Pledge

 The 91 CD collection was picked by KCSM host Chuy Varella, the host of Sunday Latin Jazz and weekday Jazz in the Afternoon. Chuy just sent us the list of the CDs and here is what you get if you are the winner of this collection:


Artist Title Label
Al Jazzbo Collins Fairy Tales For Hip Kids EL Records
Alice Coltrane Ptah, The El Daoud Impulse
Allen Toussaint The Bright Mississippi Nonesuch
Andy Bey & The Bey Sisters Prestige
Anita O’Day Anita Sings The Most Verve
Art Pepper A Taste of Pepper Not Now
Bessie Smith The Anthology Not Now
Bill Evans Trio Sunday at the Village Vanguard Riverside
Bill Frisell All We Are Saying Savoyjazz
Billie Holiday Ken Burns Jazz Verve
Billy Eckstine JHR
Billy Taylor Trio with Earl May & Percy Brice Prestige
Blossom Dearie The Complete Verve Albums 1957-1961 Not Now
Bobby Hutcherson Somewhere in the Night Kind of Blue
Bobby Timmons The Best of Bobby Timmons Riverside
Bud Powell The Amazing Bud Powell Vol.1 Blue Note
Bud Powell The Amazing Bud Powell Vol.2 Blue Note
Cal Tjader & Stan Getz Sextet Fantasy
Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans Know What I Mean? Riverside
Cassandra Wilson Coming Forth By Day Legacy
Cedar Walton Cedar Chest High Note
Charles Mingus A Modern Symposium of Music and Poetry Bethlehem
Charlie Musselwhite Memphis Charlie Arhoolie
Chet Baker My Funny Valentine Not Now
Chick Corea The Best of Chick Corea Blue Note
Chucho Valdes Border – Free Jazz Village
Count Basie Atomic Basie Not Now
Dave Brubeck The Definitive Dave Brubeck on Fantasy, Concord, and Telarc Concord
Diana Krall All For You Impuse
Dinah Washington Music For Lovers Blue Note
Donald Byrd Blue Byrd Not Now
Eddie Lockjaw Davis The Best of Eddie Lockjaw Davis Pablo
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong The Best of Ella & Louis Verve
Eric Dolphy Out There Not Now
Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Heads Up
Frank Sinatra Ring A Ding Ding Concord
Frank Sinatra & Count Basie The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings Concord
Gene Ammons & Sonny Stitt Boss Tenors in Orbit Verve
Giacomo Gates The Revolution Will Be Jazz Savant
Gil Evans Out of the Cool Impulse
Gil Evans Gil Evans & Ten Prestige
Grant Green Street of Dreams Blue Note
Hank Mobley Dig Dis Not Now
Jackie McLean 4, 5 and 6 Prestige
James Moody & Hank Jones Our Delight IPO
Jerry Gonzalez y Los Piratas Del Flamenco Sunnyside
Jimmy Reed The Anthology Not Now (2CDs)
Jimmy Witherspoon Live at the 1972 MJF MJF Records
Joao Gilberto The Bossa Nova Vibe Not Now
Joe Zawinul Brown Street Heads Up
John Coltrane Blue Train Not Now
John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman Impulse
Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now Reprise
Les Paul with Mary Ford The Best of the Capitol Masters: 90th Birthday Edition Capitol
Louis Armstrong Satchmo at the National Press Club Smithsonian Folkways
Marian McPartland Plays the Music of Mary Lou Williams Concord
Marian McPartland 85 Candles – Live in New York Concord
Mark Murphy Giants of Jazz Savoy Jazz
Memphis Minnie Me and My Chauffeur Proper
Michael Feinstein Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin Concord
Miles Davis Live in Europe 1967 Columbia Legacy
Miles Davis In Person Friday & Saturday Night at the Black Hawk Not Now
Milt Jackson Sunflower CTI
Mongo Santamaria Afro Rhythm Not Now
Mose Allison The Best of Mose Allison Atlantic Jazz
Nancy Wilson & George Shearing The Swingin’s Mutual Capitol Jazz
Nat King Cole After Midnight Capitol Jazz
Nat King Cole The Piano Style of Nat King Cole Capitol Jazz
Oscar Brown Jr. Sin & Soul …and then some Columbia/Legacy
Pat Metheny Day Trip Nonesuch
Preservation Hall Jazz Band That’s It! Legacy
Preservation Hall Jazz Band & guests Preservation Preservation Hall Records
Ray Charles Live in Concert Concord
Sarah Vaughan Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection Pablo
Sonny Clark Three Classic Albums Not Now
Sonny Rollins The Sound of Sonny Riverside
Stanley Turrentine The Best of Stanley Turrentine Blue Note
Stephane Grappelli & Toots Thielemans Bringing It Together LiSem Enterprises
Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music Vol.1 Blue Note
Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music Vol.2 Blue Note
Thelonious Monk The Very Best of Thelonious Monk Riverside
Tommy Flanagan & Hank Jones Our Delights Galaxy
Tommy Flanagan & Jaki Byard The Magic of 2 Resonance
Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck The White House Sessions Live 1962 Columbia/RPM/Legacy
Trombone Shorty For True Verve Forecast
Various Artists Los Angeles Rhythm and Blues 1944-1954 Acrobat
Vince Guaraldi The Very Best of VG Fantasy
Wayne Shorter Footprints: The Life and Times of Wayne Shorter Columbia Legacy
Wes Montgomery Ultimate Wes Montgomery Verve
Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis Two Men With The Blues Blue Note



Chet Baker Memorial – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sun 26 Apr

Fred Witt | April 20th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

15_04_16_KCSM_CBakerChet Baker, who passed away in 1988 was a senior American trumpet player, and is high on the list of best jazz trumpeters. Born into a musical family in Oklahoma, he did a lot of his career work out of southern California.

Chet’s style has been declared as cool jazz, and later straight ahead jazz, and he played in several famous groups of the last century. In the mix of his daily life heroin showed up. While Chet was was a fine performer and prolific artist, the addiction depressed his state of living for many years.

Chet puts out a cool, clear melody bringing lots of easy listening. Try these links to Autumn Leaves, and then to an incredible 1 1/2 hr group performance for a feel of his work, and for your own entertainment.

Tune in Sunday 26 April at 8 am for the experience of Chet Baker’s life & music. This show will be on the I’m Talkin’ Jazz program with KCSM’s Dick Conte.

Billie Holiday Centenary – Jazz Night in America – 14 April 9pm

Ron Lee | April 13th, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

tumblr_n3m82brzCG1t12p91o1_250On April 7, 2015 was the 100th birthday of Billie Holliday. Across the world many jazz stations had special programming that day and through the week. At KCSM we will be playing Christian McBride’s Jazz Night in America show commemorating the Billie Holiday Centenary. The show stars Cassandra Wilson in concert at Kennedy Center. Recently Cassandra released a recording Come Forth by Day featuring her versuions of great Billie Holiday songs. You don’t want to miss this show.

Listen to KCSM online