Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2 Weeks Inside Studio D, of Fantasy Studios

February 15th, 2019

“In September 2018 producer Karen Lile brought some of the Bay Area’s musicians together for one last recording session at Fantasy Studios before they closed up shop.  The fantastic result is a recording session release, a documentary film and interview project titled, “Two Weeks inside Studio D.”

Fantasy Studios of Fantasy Records in San Francisco and then Berkeley was *the* production place of many new jazz music movements in the Bay Area in the ’60’s and ’70’s. When a hot popular creative artist came out in the area, their recording work was probably done at Fantasy. Early artists included the likes of Brubeck, Chet Baker, Cal Tjader and Vince Guaraldi. Fantasy did a lot of film work in addition to audio. Studio D was an expansion in 1980, and was the most elaborate of the properties. Journey’s Escape was an early Studio D recording.

Karen Lile will join me and Jayn Pettingill on Morning Cup of Jazz our first day of pledge, Valentine’s Day. Then Dick Conte and Kathleen Lawton will air the whole session on Jazz in the Afternoon, Saturday March 2nd from 2pm-6pm. And, Dick will tie in his new release that he recorded over in that studio on the Bill Evans piano. 

Lots of bay area musical love connections are coming up on Valentine’s Day then March 2 here on Jazz91″


February 15th, 2019

Join Dick Conte and Kathleen Lawton on Saturday February 23rd for aspecial feature on the great award winning jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans.  Dick had the great joy of having known Bill as a mentor and friend and will share some stories about Bill’s life and times, as well as lots of music in various settings. Also a few tracks from Dick’snew CD, Blue In Green, dedicated to Bill. 

So please tune in on Saturday afternoon, February 23rd from 2 until 6, for a tribute to Bill Evans on KCSM Jazz 91


February 15th, 2019

Extra-ordinary and Unforgettable! The immensely talented and immortal Nat King Cole continues to inspire millions of fans, 60-plus-years after his death.

With a voice as smooth as silk and fingers that danced over the piano keys with elegance, he recorded over 100 charttopping hits becoming the first black entertainer to host a popular American television series.

Join Melanie, Chuy and Keith as we celebrate the centenary of the great Nat King Cole, on Sunday February 17th from 10am-2pm and Friday March 1st from 2-6pm, right here on KCSM, the Bay Area’s Jazz Station.


February 15th, 2019

Tune in Sunday, February 17th, to the Latin Jazz Show with Jesse ‘Chuy’ Varela and Chris Cortez, as they celebrate the Salsa sounds of singer, composer, actor and political activist, Ruben Blades.

It happens from 2-6pm on Sunday, February 17th, at or 91.1 FM

Aretha Franklin – Feb 15 2pm – midnight, Feb 16 2pm – 6pm

February 8th, 2019


August 16th, 2018, was a sad day for the music world. That’s when Aretha Franklin transitioned to that Soul Group in the sky, and we haven’t been the same since. The outpouring of grief at her passing, was un-surprisingly stunning and well deserved. KCSM is taking this day to honor her memory.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is best known for her hits like Respect, Chain of Fools, Spanish Harlem and Freeway of Love. Aretha started out singing gospel as a child at her dad’s church. See started her secular career at Columbia records singing jazz standards. Listening to those early recording at Columbia are a great surprise. Aretha’s commercial success really took off when she move to Atlantic records. She would eventually record 88 charted hit singles. There is no other singer like Aretha.

Join Chuy, Harry, Pete, Dick and Mel, as we show OUR Respect for the Queen of Soul, on Friday, February 15th from 2PM to Midnight, and Saturday, February 16th, from 2 to 6PM, right here, on KCSM, The Bay Area’s Jazz Station.

Happy Valentines Day! – Billie Holiday 14 Feb – 2pm-6pm

February 7th, 2019


Billie Holiday’s songs are some of the best in depicting the joy and sorrow of love. Her story has been told through many biographies and movies. I first learned about Billie Holiday through Diana Ross’s movie “Lady Sings the Blues”. I didn’t even know about her when I heard Credence Clearwater Revival do “God Bless the Child”. Once I discovered here I loved her music.

Lady Day got her start in the 1930s in Harlem. Lester Young nicknamed her Lady Day. She would go on to perform and record through her passing in 1959.You can find out more at her web site

On Thursday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, join Jesse ‘Chuy’ Varela and Melanie Berzon, for a celebration of Billie Holiday. Who else can help us understand the joy and pain of love through song, better than Lady Day? Valentine’s Day, from 2-6pm PCT at 91.1 FM or

Listen to her sing God Bless the Child. Love you madly!

Winter Special Programming is coming! Feb 14 – Mar 2

February 4th, 2019

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

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.