Jazz!

A jazz show I’m doing / did over the summer of 2023 at CFRC, the campus/community radio station in Kingston, Ontario.

It’s a jazz show, obviously; the wrinkle is the only things I say during the show are:

  • The station’s call letters and frequency
  • The word “jazz”

As an experiment, it’s an interesting one; first, it’s really stressing any limited ability I have as a performer to convey meaning when only saying one word. I’ve tried a few things — having imagined dialogues with people, reading famous soliloquies and speeches, going on rants.

Second, people’s reactions are all over the map. Some people think it’s weird fun, other people think it’s a horrific affront to jazz, jazz aficionados, and broadcasters.

For the record, I love jazz! Mingus Ah Um is one of the greatest things ever recorded.

I’m grateful to the station for letting me be this weird in public. Oh — don’t tell anyone it’s me; part of the whole thing is it’s done by “Mr. Jazz” and my identity is an (obviously not well guarded) secret.

In retrospect I wish I’d thought of the project differently; a few episodes in I wish I’d started with just “jazz” and playing kinda baby’s first jazz: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, John Coltrane’s Blue Train, and some easier listening/jazz stuff, then get into more “difficult” jazz over time while dialing up the English, to kind of reflect the journey of somebody who is getting into it — completely opaque at first, but as you delve further in, the language around the music as well as the music starts to clarify itself and make more sense. But now I’m a bunch of episodes in. Alas.