It all started on 9/11/2001… seriously…
The best and worst day ever
I had just relocated to Florida from a long stint in California where I went to college, worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation and then Comedy World Radio Network.
Let me back up… At CWRN in California I wore many hats. I was the manager of the archiving department overseeing eight people in the archiving of all the radio shows on the network, I did graphic design and I produced a morning radio show called Netheads aired throughout the network of radio affiliates. I loved it. It was a crazy few years in an indoor trailer park in a warehouse in Marina de Rey and I worked with a ton of wonderfully creative people and famous comedians who I still know and love. And then we had the infamous e-crash and it all went south. On the Ides of March I lost my job and the company folded, and soon after an unsuccessful job search, I had to leave the state. Who can afford to live in LA unemployed? I was burning through my savings and had family in Florida, and through some connections I was offered a job doing graphic design for a company in South Florida. That company offered to pay relocation and a nice salary that would go a longer way in Florida than it would have in CA, so off I went.
Unfortunately the company never reimbursed my relocation, and never paid me a cent, and folded as well. Nice…..
I threw my resume up on job sites and pounded the pavement. On 9/10/2001 a recruiter called me and asked if I could interview at XM Satellite Radio’s engineering facility in the local area where I was living in South Florida, the next morning for a job doing GUI design (Graphic User Interface). Hells yes!
On 9/11 I woke up to my phone ringing off the hook. My former partner and host of Netheads called and told me to put on the TV. He was up before I was in CA and as I turned on the TV I saw the second plane hit the towers. TOTALLY freaked out like every other person who was aware, I sat glued to the TV and after a couple hours realized I should call my recruiter. The interview was still on. It had been months of draining my savings and although my head was spinning, I went to the interview.
And I landed the job that would change my life forever.
I have always been drawn to music I can dance to, or that took me on a journey. As a long time Dead Head (is that surprising? Ask me about it some time… let’s go down that rabbit hole!) I love improvisational instrumental intelligent music. I went to college in the Bay Area and saw LOTS of music, the Grateful Dead, TJ Kirk, Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard, Brand New Heavies, X (the band), fIREHOSE, Fishbone and so many more. So sitting at my desk doing graphics and listening to the programming on XM, and of course having internal email, I started harassing DJs.
“If you are playing THIS why aren’t you playing THIS? Have you heard THIS? How about THIS????” Finally Russ Davis asked me why I did not have a show on the network. I said “because no one had offered me one”. He asked me to record a demo and that night after a few glasses of wine, I did just that. The rest is history as they say…
Over the next year I stayed in the Florida XM facility but transitioned into a regular host and presenter on XM Satellite Radio’s XM 72 Beyond Jazz Channel with Mr Russ Davis as my mentor, friend and colleague. He was beyond supportive (pun intended) as I truly felt the need for a window into the even more current Jazz movement. And so the long running program Jammin’ Jazz – Jazz For The New Generation, was born in 2002.
Running five times a week on XM, Jammin’ Jazz was one of the most popular shows on the channel. The show started as a one hour program and over the years until the service was merged with Sirius Satellite Radio, I produced over 200 original shows, including interviews and special programs. This is all while continuing to do GUI design, building the interface for the XMPCR for which I have a patent (so cool!) and laid the groundwork for all of the XM portable radios released. I am very proud of all of the work I did for XM. I would still be there today if only….
I still have recordings of every show and maybe someday I will upload them somewhere for archival purposes. But now the current show has transformed and doubled in length. It has expanded from one hour to TWO hours of intense funk driven jazz, and that last half hour…. wooooo weeee kick off those cobwebs and get ready to dance around your living room!
Jazz is something that evolves and reflects the times, and this music does that right now, and more. The current wave of artists pay homage, merge influences, experiment, as well as lay new ground. The music is playful, and dark, moody and danceable, and intricate, celebratory, ethnic and worldly… it is boundless and deserves a platform. That is what this show is all about.