Phoneathon 2013

WNUR Phoneathon 2013Phoneathon 2013 will run from February 7-14. The usual deal: your support helps to keep us doing what we do. Fine premiums to be had by way of thanks. Crank up the checkbook, dust off the credit card, and help keep us on the air!

All that meat and no potatoes…


This website has been slightly updated, old links might be broken, but all the content —posts and playlists— have been moved across. I have fixed external links when it made sense, though archived posts may have the occasional dead link where the target has disappeared.

My WNUR Playlists: What I’ve played on my show since the summer of 2002. I update this pretty much in real time during my show, so it’s the place to go if you want to know about what you’ve been listening to (with the new palylist system what’s playing should also show up on the WNUR home page). Other DJ’s WNUR Jazz playlists can be found here.

Links to Jazz Labels: A simple lsit of links to most of the labels that distribute the music you hear on WNUR.

Jazz links: There isn’t much point in my creating and maintaining a list of links to jazz resources on the Web when Bob Keller has done a far better job than I am ever likely to do.

wnur-logoWNUR — my radio home since 1986, and where I have had a jazz show regularly since the summer of 1987. The station streams live via MP3 /mobile for those unlucky enough to live outside broadcast range. It was also home of the sadly defunct JazzWeb (via the Internet Archive), originally started in 1993 by Joe Germuska; but there were plans afoot to resuscitate the project as part of the WNUR wiki, but nothing seems to have come of it.

A memento from the early days

I was tidying some paperwork at home and came across this letter, sent twenty- five years ago today; it must have been one of the first letters I received at the station. I have redacted the identifying details to protect the innocent, and appended the text of the letter below the image for clarity:

1987 listener letter

July 30, 1987

Flavian Wallace WNUR Evanston Campus Northwestern Unlversity Evanston, Il

Dear Mr Wallace:

For almost 2 hours this morning you contaminated the airwaves with eternally long monotonous musical marathons, which merely showed the technical proficiency and endurance of the various performers.

I am aware that the term “jazz” has a broad spectrum, but to extend it to the ridiculous with cacophony causes irreparable harm and damage to the memory of such giants of Jazz as Armstrong, Goodman, Basie etc.

I am aware that all people cant be pleased at all times, but if the sounds you are sending over the airwaves the majority of time constituted the basis of our history of Jazz, 1t would never have gotten off the ground.

I suggest that 1f Armstrong and Lester Young were playing in one saloon, and Parker and Gillespie were playing in another the Armstrong and Lester place would be filled forever simply because they reach the people and their sounds are compatible with the common man.

This is an over simplification, of course, and I took 4 of the of the best, but the point 1s that bebop, contemporary and other forms of mutilated music called Jazz, has never and w111 never match or compare with the great traditional sounds of Jazz, which extend from the Dixeland, to the Honk Tonks and nite clubs, and from the small combos to the b1g bands.

Come back home. Maybe with this kind of music we can once again bring Jazz back into the mainstream of our popular music.

Sincerly yours,

I really do appreciate hearing from listeners, even when they have negative comments (of course the positive ones are nicer, but hearing the other side is good too). I wonder if this gentleman gave up and went elsewhere, or if he stayed listening to my show to see if I would come round to his point of view. I hope he’s still around somewhere enjoying the kind of music he likes best; he’s right that the old masters were indeed great, even if I can’t agree with him that everything from bebop on is necessarily inferior (Sturgeon’s Law notwithstanding).

My thanks to all of you who have ever taken the time and trouble to call or write, it is always nice to know that there’s someone out there listening. Here’s to the next twenty-five years of listener feedback!

XXV and counting

It’s amazing to think that five years have passed since we moved into our new studios; that move roughly coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of my association with the WNUR jazz show. That means that I must now have clocked up a quater of a century of jazz shows! So that such a milestone did not pass totally without notice I did a couple of week’s shows (1, 2) entirely comprised of music from 1987 or before (I briefly considered making it only 1987, but that seemed a little restricting). Shades of the, now seemingly defunct, WNUR Dillo Day tradition of the Flashback Weekend when the station would play nothing recorded after 1970 (at least that was the date when I started, though the cutoff moved forward over the years).