Winter Special Programming is coming! Feb 14 – Mar 2

Ron Lee | February 4th, 2019 | Leave a Comment »

It is time for winter special programming at KCSM. We will have three weekends of great music, shows and documentaries about the musicians played on KCSM.


Things start off on Valentine’s Day Feb 14th with Chuy and Mel honoring Billie Holiday. Aretha Franklin is the guest of honor on Fri and Sat Feb 15th and 16th. Keith and Mel will be covering the Nat King Cole story Sunday morning Feb17th.


Then on the morning of  Sat Feb 23rd Sonny and Mel dive into the Empresses of the Blues Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. Then Kathleen and Dick are covering Bill Evans in the afternoon on Sat Feb 23rd. We wind up the weekend on Sun Feb 24th with Chuy and Chris covering the Cuban Descarge.


Our final weekend starts on Fri Mar 1st with Mel and Chuy talking about Nat King Cole and on Sat Mar 2nd Dick and Kathleen will review Two weeks inside Studio D recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.


Also don’t forget our International Women’s Day celebration on March 8th midnight to midnight. A full 24hrs of women in jazz!


We are looking forward to have you join us!

Thursday, 2/14, 2-6PM – Billie Holiday w/Chuy & Mel
Friday, 2/15, 2-7PM – Aretha Franklin w/Mel & Chuy
Friday, 2/15, 7PM-Midnight – Aretha Franklin w/Harry & Pete
Saturday, 2/16, 2-6PM – Aretha Franklin w/Dick & Mel
Sunday, 2/17, 10AM-2PM – Nat King Cole w/Keith & Mel
Sunday, 2/17, 2-6PM – Ruben Blades

Saturday, 2/23, 10AM-2PM – Bessie Smith & Billie Holiday w/Sonny & Mel
Saturday, 2/23, 2-6PM – Bill Evans w/Dick & Kathleen
Sunday, 2/24, 2-6PM – Cuban Descarga w/Chuy & Chris

Friday, 3/1, 2-6PM – Nat King Cole w/Mel & Chuy
Saturday, 3/2, 2-6PM – Two Weeks Inside Studio D Recorded at Fantasy Studios w/Dick & Kathleen

Friday, 3/8, Midnight – Midnight, 26th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration, All Women All Day!

Mingus and Parker: Gratitude

Jayn Pettingill | November 16th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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

Jayn Pettingill | October 28th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

“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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Transmitting Our Thanks to You!

Jayn Pettingill | September 28th, 2018 | 2 Comments »

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

Fred Witt | September 14th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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!


Fred Witt | September 7th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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.


Fred Witt | September 7th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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


Fred Witt | September 4th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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

Ron Lee | September 4th, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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

Ron Lee | September 3rd, 2018 | Leave a Comment »

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.