[JPL] Programming guidelines/Question

Nou Dadoun nou.dadoun at gmail.com
Tue Sep 23 02:27:56 EDT 2008

Sorry to jump in a little late on the thread but I wanted to make sure I had
enough time to expand on the philosophy of my show and how I approach

I think of the A-Trane show (3 hours weekly Friday afternoons) as part of
the Vancouver jazz eco-system. There's quite an active jazz scene here.
There are two full time jazz clubs (The Cellar and O'Doul's) along with a
number of other rooms doing regular one/two nights per week gigging, an
annual 10-day major jazz festival (the Vancouver International Jazz
Festival) run by a society that does about 20-30 gigs round the year outside
the festival, and lots of other promoters (e.g. Live Nation etc) doing major
touring artists so in general it's possible to go to hear live jazz seven
nights a week.

There are two very active labels documenting the scene, CellarLive run by
Cory Weeds (whose own cd as an alto player on that label some of you have
featured) and Songlines run by Tony Reif which documents the overlapping of
the local scene with a number of American and European improvisers.  In
addition there's a steady stream of independent releases and it seems rare
these days not to have a 'CD release party' once a week or so. It helps that
two local community colleges have extensive jazz education programs not even
counting the UBC School of Music.   Not to mention a local website with
forum / discussion group (http://vancouverjazz.com/index.html).

So although the Canadian  broadcasting rules mandate a minimum of 25%
Canadian content for jazz, I generally exceed that quite handily.  But I try
to do it in a way that supports the infrastructure by giving local artists
exposure, playing them alongside current releases from the international
jazz scene and providing some historical context for the music in general.
I think that's necessary to keep an appreciation for the music alive and
vibrant; although everyone has their favorite 'golden ages' of jazz,
featuring them to the exclusion of excellent current practitioners risks
turning jazz into a museum piece.

When I first started doing the show (23 years ago now!), I did many artist
retrospectives, four weeks of Mingus, three weeks of Monk etc and although
it was instructive, popular (and fun) but I found that as the local scene
developed so did the show.  Fortunately, I don't have anyone telling me what
I need to play or when - the show is personality-driven, not
committee-driven, not formula-driven - my fundamental rule is that if I
wouldn't play it at home, I won't play it on the show.

The basic format that I've developed for the show gets looser as the show
progresses.  I start each show with a different version of Take the A-Train
as the theme (e.g. this week Joe Henderson/Bheki Mseleku, last week Arne
Domnerus, the week before Jon Hendricks) and use a John Coltrane piece as a
launching point into a related feature.  I usually have some artists and/or
events that I want to feature and some segues in mind, recent releases or
acquisitions - I typically haul down a couple of hundred cds in 'the bag'
every week.  I sometimes do some ongoing features, for instance I have a
long-standing interest in South African jazz and I've been featuring recent
Chris McGregor and Brotherhood of Breath reissues for the last month or so.
The last 30 minutes  or so are usually the most eclectic/improvised where
Nels Cline might bump up against Eddie Lang or Grant Green or Derek Bailey
or Lenny Breau frinstance.

I've got a question of my own, I'm curious how many programmers here are
involved with jazz societies or outreach or education outside their station
activities.  I've been on the board of Coastal Jazz & Blues - producers of
the jazz fest - for about 20 years with 10 in the middle as president.  I've
given talks at the public library on jazz, written for Coda and a number of
on-line publications.  (I also owned and ran a jazz record store for a
number of years but that's another story.)  My philosophy is that building
support in the community is vital for engaging and educating an audience, it
may be obvious to us what people should be listening to but how do we
convince them?

Sorry to rattle on for so long but it's all about the music ...

Nou Dadoun
The A-Trane on the air since 1986 | CFRO 102.7 FM, Vancouver BC
Fri 2:30-5:30 pm PST | http://www.coopradio.org/stream.html

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