[JPL] Re: Time to re-think...

Toby Gleason toby_gleason at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 16 18:01:29 EST 2009


Though the son of a well-known jazz critic and television producer,  
and steeped in jazz since childhood, I really didn't get into jazz  
until an adult. Oh sure, there were some exceptions to that rule. I  
always dug Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Vince  
Guaraldi, but I had more personal reasons that had little or nothing  
to do with jazz for that youthful affection.

Even when I became a jazz radio programmer, only four years ago, I  
didn't consider myself, really, a jazz person. I enjoyed enough of it,  
and knew enough about it, to pass as a programmer, but I rarely talked  
a lot about the music or it's history on air.

What made the most difference for me, both as a programmer and as a  
listener, was hearing the artists, themselves, talk about their music  
and their processes, on interview tapes my father had recorded as  
background for his work as a journalist. In particular, his recorded  
conversation with John Coltrane, from 1963, was so enlightening for me  
that, whereas before hearing it I had no Coltrane albums in my  
personal collection, and really didn't "get" Coltrane, I now have more  
Coltrane albums than any other single artist, with the exception of  
Duke Ellington.

Through listening to these artists speak about their art, I have grown  
from simply managing my father's existing, collected works to using  
them as a springboard to create new book collections, new radio and  
television programs and DVD products designed to resonate with a new,  
younger audience, as well as long-time fans. I have even expanded my  
business beyond managing just my father's works to managing  
collections for the heirs of other artists and producers.

So while knowledge of jazz's history is important, for foundation and  
perspective, for me the most important and most educational thing was  
having the invaluable opportunity of listening to the artists,  
themselves, talking about their, and other artists', work and putting  
that in the context of their music.

Toby Gleason
Jazz Director
Santa Rosa, CA
91.1 & 90.9 FM
toby_gleason at krcb.org

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