Ode to 4 Jazz Radio Themes - JazzWax

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May 15, 2009


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Don Brown

Ah, how well I remember back to my twenties (the early 1950s)listening every Saturday afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 to the CBC's Jazz Unlimited with host Dick MacDougall. Dick used Duke Ellington's classic 1940 original recording of Cotton Tail as his theme. That piece of music is so strong that even the constant weekly repetition couldn't wear out its welcome. It remains one of my all-time favourite recordings.

Jeff Rzepiela

I grew up in Chicago and listened to Dick Buckley on WBEZ. He used Louie Bellson's "Skin Deep" as his theme. That was a dramatic opening with Duke's reed section trilling, followed by the brass fanfare, and then swinging the theme so hard.

Ed Leimbacher

A collector/historian turned deejay named Ken Wiley has been on Seattle-Tacoma's jazz station KPLU (worldwide on the web), Sunday afternoons, for 25 years. And he too opens and closes the show with Duke and Ben and the band wailing through "Cottontail." That tune never gets old, just too damn joyous and exciting even now, 60-plus years later.

Bill Forbes

Jazz never got a good deal here in the UK in the 1950s from "auntie" BBC, which was said to have banned both boogie woogie and bop from the airwaves at one stage. So people like me turned to Radio Luxembourg which had a show called Jamboree Jazz Time. I don't recall the DJ's name - might have been Barry Aldiss - but I'll never forget his roarin' theme tune: Shorty Rogers and His Giants playing "Sweetheart of Sigmund Freud". This show played a great part in my jazz education, as it was there that I first heard both Coltrane and Ornette in 1959.

Of course, I wasn't in the right place to hear the legendary American DJs, but am so pleased that dozens of shows by the great Oscar Treadwell have been preserved on www.oscartreadwell.com, so I can hear them now.

van jay

I was taken back by the info posted on this site.my name is van jay.and you are not to far off, i used that theme along with red garlands blues for ann,and my opener you better go now.sonny mann of wfas used it as a music bed to take him up to the station id and the news.leon spenser passed away this year.thank you for remembering wrvr.van jay

van jay

Leon spencer spelling of last name corrected.max cole and ed.beach passed away.some listeners did not know.wrvr/wlib/wrfm/wtfm/wfas/made there contribution to jazz.ed.beach,max cole,van jay,felipe luciano,charlie brown,father norman j.o'connor,les davis,g.keith alexander, vy higginson.wlib,del shields,billy taylor,ed"maiden voyage"williams, rahoul hardy.wrfm,mort fega,rhette evers and sonny mann.since then the mantle has been passed to wbgo,wkcr and npr stations and of course internet radio.it's 2012 and jazz is still alive and well".vous that swing"

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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