By Don Heckman
Jazz at radio station KJAZZ took a significant step in the right direction this past Sunday with the scheduling of “Corky Hale’s Jazz Showcase” on Sunday afternoons, 12 noon to 2 PM Pacific time.
Like most lovers of jazz, I was first introduced to the real essence of America’s improvisational music via a radio show. And in the best of circumstances it was done with the guidance of a deejay with the /experience and knowledge to select a range of music that was entertaining, educational and swinging.
That was years ago for me. But the music has continued to show up, in all its many manifestations, on jazz stations around the country. With first rate stations such as the Southland’s KJAZZ, jazz at its finest has usually been introduced by musically well informed program hosts.
Corky’s presence on a weekly basis provides the Southland with a rich array of jazz programming, introduced by a host with a world class jazz history. A pianist, harpist and singer, she has an astonishing resume of her own. Among the many names on that resume: Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, June Christy, Benny Carter, Nat “King’ Cole, Mel Torme, Barbra Streisand, Joe Williams, among many others. Add to that her role as one of Billie Holiday’s last accompanists.
The list of recordings that Corky played on her first Sunday program was equally sparkling with the music of great jazz artists – many of whom had been her creative associates. Her introductions were informative, musically engaging and often witty and humorous.
So add it to your weekly listening schedule. “Corky Hale’s Jazz Showcase” is reminding us of the pleasures of jazz on the radio at its finest. Don’t miss it.