Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mingus and Parker: Gratitude

November 16th, 2018

Birdland, 1955, New York City.

It was a night that would probably remain in anyone’s memory if they had been there. Jazz critic Nat Hentoff was and he paints a picture of a stage that became, for that night anyway, a theater of warring “..dissonances, musical and personal.”  The combatants were certainly worthy of one another; the figureheads of modern jazz assembled together on an intimate bandstand: Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus.   Read the rest of this entry »

Carmen McRae, Royalty

October 28th, 2018

“Carmen occupies a place in the hearts of jazz musicians that is a very special place, and its special quality means no criticism of the other great singers of her time but only that Carmen is very, very special. If Ella Fitzgerald will forgive me, I’d like to quote MiIes Davis on the subject because it sums up the way they feel, the way we all feel. Miles was looking up at a billboard in San Francisco one night which announced Ella was playing at the Fairmont’s Venetian Room and it called her “The Queen of Jazz.” Miles grunted and then growled, “If Ella Fitzgerald is the Queen of jazz, what the fuck is Carmen?”

“Carmen McRae” from Celebrating the Duke, and Louis, Bessie, Bird, Carmen, Miles Dizzy and Other Heroes by Ralph Gleason (Da Capo Press, New York. 1995)

As Miles Davis asks, What indeed, is Carmen? A listen to Carmen McRae’s “Live at Sugar Hill” will inform anyone with a good pair of ears of the great magic and artistry that Miss McRae possessed and will make said listener wonder why this vocalist is never placed higher on the list of  Jazz Royalty. This recording serves two purposes: it underscores McRae’s rightful place in the pantheon of Jazz royalty and decades later, it continues to bear witness to the sublime and powerful form that a live jazz performance can be.

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Transmitting Our Thanks to You!

September 28th, 2018

Wonder where your membership dollars go? On Wednesday September 26, the Board of Trustees authorized KCSM to purchase a new state of the art transmitter to replace the old and tired one we currently have.

How old is old? Well, as you may have guessed, almost any piece of technology over five years old can be deemed “over the hill.” And as we each have experienced in the digitally driven world we live in, each year presents new and improved versions of just about any kind of technology. With FM transmitters, there have been significant changes in operation and in efficiency over the last decade. As a result, our current transmitter, having served the station for fourteen years, has outlived its role as a reliable, and primary, transmitter.

The new FM transmitter cost is approximately $120,000. Funds garnered from our recent Pledge drive will go toward this purchase, allowing KCSM to now have a back up transmitter in the form of the old one and to now have a brand new transmitter, keeping the station a truly thriving one! We thank you for your support, we could not have done this without it.




KCSM’s Killer Black Knit Jacket

September 14th, 2018

Fall in with KCSM’s new knit zip-up tech shell. Comes in both men’s and women’s sizes. Check out the jackets here modeled by Kathleen Lawton and her Mystery Man. Yours as a thank you gift for your $150 pledge to support KCSM’s jazz radio. Get on-air recognition points if you guess who Kathleen’s Mystery Man is!


September 7th, 2018

Unknown until 2004, and unheard until now, the tracks on “Both Directions at Once – The Lost Album,” by the John Coltrane Quartet are, as Sonny Rollins says in the liner notes, like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid.

Featuring the Classic Quartet: John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, the music on this album represents one of the most influential groups in music history. They were both performing in a musical style they had perfected and reaching in new, exploratory directions that were to affect the trajectory of jazz from that point forward.

Join Jesse Chuy Varela and Melanie Berzon on Friday September 14th from 2-6PM on Jazz in the Afternoon as we explore JohnColtrane’s “Both Directions at Once – The Lost Album” right here on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.


September 7th, 2018

The Count (with Count Basie Orchestra) meets the Duke (with Duke Ellington Band) meets the Royal Vocalists here on KCSM. We all love the singers and everyone has their favorites; Jimmy Rushing, wonderful Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. Sarah, Ella, Billy Eckstine…they all sang with these two great bands at the intersection of Swing and Party Streets!

Tune in on Saturday September 15th from 10AM to 6PM with Sonny Buxton, Melanie Berzon, Kathleen Lawton and Dick Conte.  They will host The Count Meets the Duke Meets the Royal Vocalists right on KCSM Jazz 91.1FM and streaming live at


September 4th, 2018

Tony Bennett is 92 and can still sing circles around anyone a quarter of his age. If the Great American Songbook ever needed a champion, Bennett is it!  Tony Bennett has been thrilling audiences in San Francisco and beyond since the 1950’s. At the age of 92, he’s still performing, recording and going strong.

Join Sonny Buxton, Dick Conte and Melanie Berzon on Saturday, September 8th, from 10AM to 6PM, as we celebrate Tony Bennett’s legacy and his latest endeavor with Diana Krall, right here on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.  KCSM is celebrating Tony’s latest release with Diana Krall on this Saturday with a Bennett Blowout, right here, at 91.1FM and, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station

Buddy Guy: The Blues is Alive and Well! 7 Sept 9-midnight

September 4th, 2018

Buddy Guy is also alive and well. After playing for 65 year this Chicago Blues guitar player is still on the road touring. Buddy got his start working for Chess records in Chicago. He hit the big time during the blues revival in the 80s. He is best know for his playing with harmonica player Junior Wells. Buddy is a recognized influence of artists like Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and many other. These artists are on his latests recordings.

In July Buddy celebrated his 82nd birthday and has a new CD out. On Fri Sept 7 Kathleen and Harry will be celebrating the music of Buddy Guy!

Sam Cooke: The King of Soul

September 3rd, 2018

Sam Cooke 51PA3DVxDdL._AA160_ Sam Cooke has been described as the father of soul music. Sam started his career in Chicago as a gospel singer. In the late 1950s he crossed over into the pop category and had hits like “Chain Gang”, “You Send Me” and “A Change is Gonna Come”. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he produced hit after hit. Sam Cooke was also an accomprished songwriter and music entrepeneur. He owned his own label as well as a music publishing business.

Chuy and Melanie will be exploring the musical legacy of Sam Cooke on Fri 7 Sept 2-6pm and Sun  9 Sept 2-6pm with Keith and Melanie.


August 29th, 2018

Hey Jazz Fans! For our Fall Fund Drive Jazz 91 is putting its own spin on the iconic symbol of American feminism, Rosie the Riveter. Indispensable during WWII, The Rosie’s worked tirelessly supporting the war effort in factories and shipyards and led to strong advancements for women toward equal rights.

Our theme is “Rosie, Riveted by Jazz!” and it’s a gorgeous dark navy blue t-shirt designed by KCSM’s own Juanita Celaya! It’s a 100% Comfort Soft cotton with double needle sleeves, hem and cover seamed crew neck, lay flat collar with shoulder – to – shoulder taping and comes in sizes from Small to Triple Extra Large.

Where can you get your Rosie the Riveter, Riveted by Jazz Tee Shirt? Where else! At of course! That’s!