Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

33 1/3: Part Three, Andy Warhol’s Album Covers

April 22nd, 2022

As the 1950s continued, Reid Miles moved to Blue Note and continued to work with Warhol on some projects. Perhaps as a precursor to the gorgeous photographic covers that were to come at Blue Note, Warhol and Reid chose to do sketches for the covers. The first were for guitarist Kenny Burrell.

In 1956, Blue Note went to a 12″ format for its releases. This Burrell album is the first in that new size. Warhol and Reid chose a photograph of the guitarist’s hands most likely taken by Blue Note’s founder, Francis Wolff. Warhol did the sketch and signed his work which can be seen on the cover.

The second Burrell album cover, is a free form sketch that Warhol did. A double volume, the figure remained the same but the background color differed. This time no photograph was used, however drawing from photographs, interpreting them or using them for inspiration, continued to be a “thing” or a device that Reid and Warhol relied on.





This J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding album cover (below right) was inspired by a photo of an 8th century drawing of King David surrounded by musicians (below left). Like any great artist, Warhol was a genius at”borrowing” ideas and making them current.


April 23rd is International Record Store Day, we hope to catch you in the aisles, browsing and supporting your local store! Next time we’ll look at another artist and his hand drawn album cover, Miles Davis.

33 1/3: Part Two: Andy Warhol’s Album Covers

April 16th, 2022

Advertising became driven by cultural shifts happening post-WWII and a new market that was emerging: teens and young adults. Plus, innovations made during the war effort and now consumer market ready— the turntable (with the emerging standard of 33 1/3 RPM) and the reel-to-reel recorder/player—had an eager population wanting to experience the joys of collecting; of having a home stereo system to explore the latest sounds. To capture this new consumer group, and to invoke the “new” modern sensibilities, design in the 1950s started moving away from standard fonts and visual narratives.  Record labels were a big part of pushing graphic design into new frontiers.

Reid Miles (of the iconic 1950s Blue Note covers fame) partnered with Andy Warhol looking for eye catching designs for the album covers for the Prestige label. Miles felt that Warhol’s graphic design had a powerful combination of “freedom and structure.” This Monk album from 1956 is a potent example: MONK spelled out in a basic font proclaims the artist’s name easily despite the letters uneven placement.  A florid script gives more details about the recording.

The combination of these fonts are arresting, underscoring the “freedom and structure” that Miles appreciated about Warhol’s work.

Warhol had asked his mother to do the calligraphy for this Monk release. Julia Warhola, an ardent illustrator herself, grew up drawing and doing calligraphy, developing her own type-face in a sense. Warhola herself eventually published a book of her drawings on her favorite subject: cats.   

Lastly, here’s another album cover that Warhol was assigned—“The Story of Moondog” featuring musician Louis Thomas Hardin (Prestige 1958)— and it featured his mother’s script entirely. Next time, Warhol’s sketches on albums.

33 1/3 on Thursdays: Warhol Album Art

April 7th, 2022

Here at KCSM, we love dropping the needle on an Lp, savoring sounds of Jazz from an era before CDs and enjoying the spin of 33 1/3.

With one of the largest radio broadcast libraries, our vinyl library is a Jazz treasure trove. In anticipation of Record Store Day on April 23, we want to feature some of the album covers from our collection. In particular, cover art done by a very well-known artist: Andy Warhol.

Before The Velvet Underground or the Marilyn Monroe screen prints, Warhol made his way as a pen for hire, working often with legendary graphic designer Reid Miles. As a result, some of Warhol’s early design work can be seen on the Columbia Masterworks label on releases for Carlos Chavez, Vladimir Horowitz and Arturo Toscanini.

From 1955 on, we find Warhol’s work exhibiting a more personal touch. Which, if you consider the genre and the artists he was assigned, it is a logical, and necessary, progression for his work. In a sense, one could say that this “begins” mid-decade of the ’50s with a full face portrait of Count Basie.
This album features a pen and ink drawing that Warhol did of the band leader. Turning the Lp over, next to the liner notes, there is a photograph showing Basie seated at the piano, smoking a cigarette. Warhol used this photo to sketch the portrait on the front. It wasn’t until he began working for Prestige and Blue Note that Warhol began to sign his work.

Next week, another Warhol cover featuring his graphic design and his mother’s calligraphy.

Celebrate Legacy in Jazz Radio and Education: KCSM

September 4th, 2021

Hey Jazz Fans!

In 2022 the College of San Mateo will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding March 31,1922. The legacy of this educational alternative to the four-year college will stand front and center and here at KCSM JAZZ 91 we are proud to be part of this legacy and its accomplishments.

As one of the few remaining 24/7 jazz radio stations in the United States, we continue to serve the San Francisco Bay Area, and the world, with the best in Jazz. Presented with aesthetic and educational purpose, our small but mighty crew of broadcasters and staff all share the mission of providing the best programming service possible for listeners like yourselves.

The list of luminaries who have graced our airwaves are legendary figures like Al Jazzbeaux Collins, Pat Henry, Tee Carson, Bob Parlocha, Jack Springer, John Rogers, Melanie Berzon, Alisa Clancy, and our current list of Jazz radio royalty like Dick Conte, Sonny Buxton and Richard Hadlock. Add to that legacy the numerous students who have interned and volunteered at Jazz 91 and of course our present on-air hosts who create an impressive stream of Jazz programming that is presented in a variety of diverse flavors.

Important to the legacy of Jazz 91 as well is how we have contributed to the growth of Jazz music in performance presentation and educational development. As a onetime Jazz studies student, I was blessed to have had KJAZ radio (founded in 1959 by Pat Henry) as guide to this music. Today there are listeners discovering Jazz for the first time and thanks to KCSM JAZZ 91, and your financial support, we are guiding and teaching them about the joy of Jazz and its heroes and heroines like Miles Davis and Billie Holiday.

I want to thank you for your support of Jazz 91. Your generosity means a lot to all of us here at the Bay Area’s Jazz station and speaks to the love you have for this music in all its diverse flavors. Now we need to ask you to help with a contribution during our Fall Fund Drive so we can continue to blanket the Bay Area and the world (via the internet) with Jazz music. You can make a pledge contribution at to help the cause and keeping Jazz alive at 91.1 FM and

In closing, as the College of San Mateo celebrates a century of existence, Jazz 91 celebrates being part of an acclaimed community resource that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of students by providing opportunity to higher education, the great American equalizer. Through interviews, musical presentations, and most importantly our knowledgeable Jazz 91 announcers, Jazz 91 too educates our community, and the world, about the legacy of America’s indigenous musical artform, Jazz.

Thanks for listening (and contributing).

Bright moments!
Jesse ‘Chuy’ Varela
KCSM JAZZ 91 Music Director/Co-Program Director and
Host of The Latin Jazz Show on Sunday, and Jazz in the Afternoon, Monday-Wednesday.

Bob Parlocha’s “Black Master” Series

May 30th, 2020

This summer KCSM is airing Bob Parlocha’s “In the Spotlight: Black Masters.” This series was created by Bob for the commercial jazz station that once filled the Bay Area’s air waves: KJAZ 92.7FM.

Originally aired in 1982 on KJAZ, these programs have not been heard anywhere since. It is with great thanks to the Parlocha family, who have digitized the original recordings from reel-to-reel and have made them available to KCSM, that we are able to now hear them once again.

The programs, for their focus on one particular artist and their music, illustrate the history of the music, and the very tragic and complicated history in the United States of racial injustice. Bob’s commentary is thoughtful and to the point, never losing sight of the music’s wondrous development and the players who truly lifted the bandstand, making great art and great sacrifices.

The Black Masters, in total, is 38 hours of programming featuring a Black master: their life, their work, and their influences. KJAZ broadcast one hour each week. Some artists were featured for 3 weeks, some for four and a handful for five. We start the series with John Coltrane on June 6 and this particular segment will run for five weeks. 9PM-10PM, Saturday nights on KCSM 91.1 FM is the place to be!

Bringing the Music to You!

March 18th, 2020

Here is a  brief, non-exhaustive list of some organizations that might be of help, lend a hand or point in a new direction for artists in need. And below that, bring the club to you via the stream! (This may change, as of today, Small’s was still scheduling live events.) Also check our Facebook page, more links to organizations that have compiled resources can be found there as well.

COVID-19 and freelance artists: an assortment of links that may be of help for almost every discipline

Rogue Habits: a blog with some California oriented links for assistance.

SFJazz + returned tickets policy: donate your tix for a tax refund

Jazz Clubs/Organizations with streaming

Small’s Jazz Club: free membership, they stream gigs nightly. A paid membership offers you access to their archived shows.

Wolfgang’s Music: streaming service, pay a low monthly fee and voilà, access to a ton of concerts, new and old.

Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy has an array of offerings, performances to education, many free, some pay to view.

Jazz Women: Martha Young

March 10th, 2020

Her uncle was Lester Young, her other uncle was drummer Lee Young. Her mother, Irma Young, played saxophone in the family band. And her grandfather, Willis Handy Young, was both a bandleader and teacher to her mother and her uncles. Following the family tradition, Martha Young also received her first music lessons from her grandfather on her instrument of choice: the piano.

As a working pianist, Martha Young cut her teeth in the burgeoning Jazz scene of a post-war Los Angeles. Backing players like Dexter Gordon, she worked as a house pianist in many of the top clubs. She was a well-rounded and seasoned musician; she had a style uniquely suited to commanding a room’s attention contrasted by an attentive and sensitive accompaniment style sought out by singers.

Unfortunately for us, Martha Young is not found on many recordings. In the early 1980s, she had a series of engagements in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of which was recorded (and subsequently released as an album) by the late Bob Parlocha. “The Martha Young All-Stars” was a live date at the defunct club, Bajones.

In 1982 I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Young at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz: her swing feel made you feel as though a locomotive was coming through the room: her presence behind the piano, the cohesion of her group and the great joy heard in her interpretations, remain unforgettable to me. Sadly, she remains an elusive presence in Jazz history; I very much hope that one day her story will be told and her artistry more fully appreciated.  (Below: Ms. Young with Stan Getz, 1982 in San Francisco. Photo by: Jerry Stoli)

International Womens Day

March 8th, 2020

As a woman, having functioned in the field for some decades now, it is clear that my perspective/work/contribution, is most potent when it acknowledges my make up as a complete human being, and my womanhood is at the core of that. Pianist/Composer Geri Allen

For almost 30 years, KCSM has set aside a day of programming to honor the women that make the music: instrumentalists, composers, band leaders, producers. Today, March 8, 2020 we proudly carry on that tradition.

On March 8, 1908, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The day underscores the aims of that long ago protest and has set a “tone” for the subsequent decades: Unity, Celebration, Reflection, Advocacy and Action sum up what the day, and that initial protest, were founded on. And what better music is there, than Jazz, to reflect that call for unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and indeed, action.

And since the entire month of March–via a 1980 presidential order by then President Jimmy Carter–is designated as Women’s History Month,  KCSM will continue to feature the great female artists who have contributed to this music. For the month we’ll put the spotlight on a Jazz foremother, or a woman who has perhaps eluded your notice, working steadily as a valued “sideman.” Jazz is a music of tradition and innovation, and we’ll share the new voices as well as the older established female artists. Stay tuned and thank you for your support!

Winter 2020 – Bobby Hutcherson

March 1st, 2020

Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson was part of the Blue Note post bop “new thing” group of artists. He started with the bebop style and moved his music on to newer things. Bobby was inspired by Milt Jackson of Modern Jazz Quartet but developed his own sound and techniques.

Bobby started his career on the west coast and played with Les McCann, Billy Mitchell and other prominent west coast jazz musicians. Bobby moved to New York where he built a reputation and was picked up by Blue Note records. This was in the 1960s and he appeared on many of the post-bop, avant guarde and free jazz style recordings. After losing his cabaret card in NY he returned to the west coast where he eventually settled in Montara, Ca just north of Half Moon Bay(south of SF).

In his later years he was a founding member of SF Jazz Collective with Joshua Redman, Miguel Zenon, Nicholas Peton, Renee Rosnes, and Eric Harland. He would regualarly play to sold out performances on both coasts.

His most popular composition is “Little B’s poem” which composed for his son.

Friday Feb 28-March 1 2020. Nat King Cole and the Singers Weekend

February 28th, 2020

Be sure to tune in all weekend long as your favorite hosts celebrate Nat King Cole and the great singers and pianists of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s…..The Golden Age of Jazz!

Nat King Cole, born in Alabama & raised in Chicago got a family launching to his musical carer ! 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 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).