Current appearances and short essays by jazz bassist Don Mopsick

New Stanford Double Stream of Riverwalk Jazz Public Radio Series

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I’m sitting here playing “drop the needle” and listening to the new Riverwalk Jazz double stream.

Here’s the deal: somewhere north of 300 shows were created so far in the Riverwalk Jazz public radio series. The series is still on the air on about 200 nationwide public radio stations and Sirius/XM on Sundays. The Stanford Library of Recorded Sound acquired the collection and made it into two continuous streams of hour-long shows: one starting at show #1 and the other starting at show #150 or so. Each stream takes about 18 days to cycle through all the shows.

Stanford has committed to running this double loop for at least 25 years. We can’t exactly tell you which show is coming up next, but you can hear shows that haven’t been on the air in over a decade. It’s kind of a “drop the needle,” “box-‘o-chocolates” experience.

After a few initial hiccups, the website and stream seem to be functioning OK now. Right now on stream 1 I’m listening to the Gospel show with Evan Christopher doing his chart on “Over in the Gloryland.” On stream 2 I caught Rebecca Kilgore and Ron Hockett and the the rhythm section swinging Artie Shaw’s “Moon Ray.”

A few things occur to me. One is that the show covers a lot of ground in its variety of pre-war jazz topics. For example, I’m listening now to Dick Hyman and John Sheridan stomp their way through a 2-piano version a 1926 stride piano novelty rag by Rube Bloom, “Spring Fever.” Later in the same show I heard Becky Kilgore croon her way through “Suddenly It’s Spring” as only she can.

Another is the generally high level of musicianship for a “live” show. We typically had one run-through before recording with the audience, and very rarely resorted to the back-up, so most of what you hear was the live show, warts and all.

I wanted you to be aware of this new format and invite you to drop in sometime to check it out. It could be like having your own personal Riverwalk Jazz satellite channel for your home soundtrack (or maybe its more like Pandora). I know of no other series doing it like this, it’s the bleeding edge of this kind of media presentation.


Written by Don Mopsick

January 4, 2013 at 2:24 AM

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