Celebrate Legacy in Jazz Radio and Education: KCSM

Jayn Pettingill | September 4th, 2021 | Leave a Comment »

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 KCSM.org to help the cause and keeping Jazz alive at 91.1 FM and KCSM.org.

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

Jayn Pettingill | May 30th, 2020 | 4 Comments »

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!

Jayn Pettingill | March 18th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

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

Jayn Pettingill | March 10th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

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

Jayn Pettingill | March 8th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

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

Ron Lee | March 1st, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

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

Fred Witt | February 28th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

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).

KCSM Features Nina Simone Special with Jesse “Chuy” Varela on Jazz In The Afternoon

Fred Witt | February 28th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

Nina Simone is an iconic voice in American popular music and renown as “The High Priestess of Soul”. Jesse “Chuy” Varela celebrates Nina Simone with a profile of her life, legacy and controversy.

Jazz & blues singer Nina Simone of North Carolina started at the classical piano, singing to keep her education going. If you sift through her songs over the early years look for influences like Johan Bach in her piano work! With a great voice she became one of our heartfelt blues & jazz singers.

The civil protests of the 60’s loomed and entered her work (but did not completely take it over – the ballads of everyman’s heart are still there).

One of the KCSM Nina specials will be Wednesday, 2/19 with Jesse “Chuy” Varela on Jazz In The Afternoon

Machito Featured on KCSM

Fred Witt | February 28th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

Hola Jazz Fans! Join Jesse ‘Chuy’ Varela and Chris Cortez for a celebration of the Machito Orchestra.  With his longtime musical director, Mario Bauza, Frank Grillo, better known as Machito, blended Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz in the 1940s and gave America a vibrant new Latin twist. 

In between, if you don’t have any tracks of your own, get a little of the flavor with a few clicks in your YouTube window. This group has some great clips out there. One of KCSM’s special on this will be Sunday, 2/16 – celebrating Machito’s 100th Birthday with Jesse “Chuy” Varela on The Latin Jazz Show.

Winter 2020 – Thelonius Monk – Mon 17 Feb 2-6pm

Ron Lee | February 16th, 2020 | Leave a Comment »

Monday Feb 17 marks the passing of Thelonius Monk in 1982. Here is a short description of him and his music.

Pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk is one of the major figures of bebop and revered, alongside such luminaries as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, as a father of modern jazz. But, in so many respects, his stylistic approach to the music differed from his illustrious contemporaries. While Parker, Gillespie and his fellow pianist Bud Powell often displayed their considerable technique at ridiculously fast tempos, Monk’s approach was entirely different with a keyboard technique that used a considerable amount of space and relied greatly on its percussive qualities for impact.

If you are interested in reading his biography I highly recommend the book “Thelonius Monk, the life and times of an American original” by Robin D.G. Kelly. This book provides a great up close view of Monk’s career and music.