Keith Hines: Mixing Moods and Musical Textures

Jazz 91's Keith Hines, Co-Host of A Morning Cup of Jazz (Sunday)

Sorting through a treasure trove of CDs old and new, Jazz 91's announcer Keith Hines is creating the mood for his Sunday Morning Cup of Jazz program. Even with many years of broadcasting experience, it isn't always such an easy task. "I love the challenge of putting together a show that flows smoothly; everything fitting together. It don't always come out like that." But for this set, a journey through modern jazz, he is right on target and finds the perfect link between John Scofield and Joey Calderazzo--a segue that is quite impressive.

Mixing moods and musical textures has been something Hines has been perfecting for years. Following work as Program Director for Cal State Hayward's TV and radio stations, he joined San Francisco's KBLX where he happily paid his dues. "I was working at [KBLX]. But I was an intern so I wasn't on the air. For four years, I just made tapes of me talking and playing all kinds of music. It was a lot of fun. So I kind of trained myself in that regard." Along the way, he befriended on-air personalities Tony Kilbert, BK Kirkland, Lee Michaels and KCSM's own Clifford Brown, Jr., all of whom took Hines "under their wings."

When Hines arrived at KCSM in 1987, the station had yet to make the full transition to a 24-hour jazz format. In those days, FM 91.1 aired news programs, some jazz and talk shows. Initially, he did overnight programs where he was able to develop his craft further. By the time the station moved towards an exclusively jazz format, he was hosting regular programs.

Through radio, Hines has been able to help preserve the compelling legacy of jazz--a goal that he feels is most effectively realized through outreach to the community, particularly younger audiences. "It's important that kids be exposed to this music and carry on the tradition," a belief which he has translated into a number of outreach activities. He currently hosts local jazz events, mentors elementary students and helps brings music into the lives of young people through The Prominence Project, the Marin-based community outreach program he founded.

Hines does admit jazz music can be a tough sell to younger audiences, especially when competing genres of music are saturating the market. But he has every intention of changing that trend. After all, "[the history of music] didn't start with Christina Aguilera."

Keith Hines hosts A Morning Cup of Jazz every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.