[JPL] about "The Maj"-China Valles

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Mar 7 18:27:13 EST 2007

Yeah, China!  Great guy, great DJ!

At 05:50 PM 3/7/2007, you wrote:
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>Thanks to Ricky for mentioning one of my radio heroes, China Valles who was
>nicknamed by Dule Ellington, "The Maharajah, Purveyor of Swirls" back in
>1956 and over the years became the "Maj".  According to China, Duke said to
>him, you are not just another dee jay spinning platters, hence the reference
>to swirls. China who is of Cape Verdean descent was raised in the same Rhode
>Island area as other Cape Verdeans,  Paul Gonsalves and Horacio Silver, in
>fact it was Horacio Martin Ward da Silva Tavares who introduced Thelma to
>China, his wife of nearly 50 years. China used to host a jazz show on a
>Providence area radio station where he was nicknamed by Duke as it was the
>station for the Newport Jazz Festival. China moved to Miami in 1962 or '63
>where he was the overnight jazz voice of South Florida until circa 2002 when
>a change of station ownership switched formats from classical-days and
>jazz-nights and became a club music station. When the "China Gate" closed, I
>asked China to host a weekly shift on WDNA, however after a few months China
>retired as it was difficult for him to host a show as a volunteer after over
>50 years as a paid announcer. China's theme song since the late 60s was
>China Gate as performed by Ramsey Lewis from his Cadet LP, Movie Themes. In
>the 70s China was part of the legendary WBUS, "The Bus" a free form radio
>station typical of the 1970s, part of a line-up that included Symphony Sid
>Torin playing only salsa and Latin jazz(his last gig), Alan Grant, his son
>Stu(now a Miami smooth host), Boston Bob(owner of Miami's Blue Note Records)
>and many others.
>China is a founder of the Sunshine Jazz Organization, a society that
>presents jazz throughout the year, educates and publishes a monthly
>newsletter. His son is now the President, his wife is still very active
>while China is President Emeritus.
>Arturo Gómez
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