Thank you for coming this far with me. Perhaps you’ve heard my web radio station “Curt’s Café” and wanted more information about what you heard there. Or, maybe you’ve read my reviews or my column “Browsing the Bins” in Jazz Inside Magazine (formerly JazzImprov). Whatever brought you here, I’m grateful for your time and attention and I’ll try to make it worth your while.
The title of this first post comes from a question I’ve been asked by people online, who hear the music and then assume that my “café” has four walls and a kitchen. Though I do know my way around a stove, the plan is for my café to remain a virtual one.
I’m not fond of talking about myself, but I know that a little exposition is needed in any story, even a blog, so here goes. I’m a native New Yorker (Bronx and Long Island), who has lived in Charlotte, NC since 2000. I’m married, for almost 20 years, to a beautiful, brilliant and creative woman, who is still yet to realize how remarkable she is. We have one son, age nine, who is already a jazz fan and keeps us both on our toes.
My love for jazz started also before I was ten, as curiosity about my older brother’s record collection. It blossomed during my college years, as I worked in the campus music library. It came to fruition in the late ‘90’s as I worked in terrestrial jazz radio and began to write.
Curt’s Café Noir (or Curt’s Café) has been on the air since November 2004. I’d listened to a few Web based radio stations for about a year before that and finally decided to try it myself. It was originally a mix of jazz, soul, classic R & B and Gospel Music. We found the jazz segments to be the most popular, so we went all jazz in 2006.
That’s enough about the past. We “jazz people” spend more time than we should there, which is one of the myriad reasons that jazz is in the fix that it’s in now; but that’s a rant for a future post. Curt’s Café the blog and the web radio station, will devote a major portion of airtime and blog space to the present and future of jazz. Please understand that I love the history of this music and I have a deep, abiding respect for those from the past, who created much of what we still listen to regularly. You will hear much of their work on the station. However, there’s a lot of great music being made today, by artists who deserve to be heard and must be supported by the jazz loving public, if jazz is to have even the hope of a viable future. So half of our prime listening hours are devoted to playing music made solely by living and working jazz artists, and not just those named Marsalis, Burrell and Rollins. I hope that you will listen to these musicians and then support them, by buying their CDs or their legal music downloads. I then hope you will take the next step and go out to see these artists in a live, paying performance. While free concerts are nice for the public, they generally don’t pay the artists enough to even cover expenses. So let’s dig a little bit into our pockets jazz fans, and pay to see the artists that we say we love, so they might see playing jazz as more than just a wallet draining avocation.
For those of you new to the station, we stream 24/7 through Live365.com. In addition to the living artists, we play a good deal of the classics and rare tracks. We also stream programs devoted to special interests, like the catalogs of Blue Note, Verve and Original Jazz Classics records. We have two streams; a commercial stream, for which there is no charge, but like terrestrial radio, does include ads. We also broadcast an ad-free stream, for which listeners pay Live365.com a monthly fee and in return, they hear programming without commercial interruption. The choice is yours. Either way, I promise to bring you great jazz. Our programming is traditional for the most part, but not to the point where you can’t hear the young innovators who are the art form’s future, like Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Christian Scott. You can listen right now, by clicking on the link on my homepage www.curtscafejazz.com or direct, through Live365 at http://www.live365.com/stations/curtjazz?play
This blog will be an extension of the station. I will post a new article at least once a week. Sometimes freeing my “mind” so “the rest” can follow; sometimes posting an interview or discussion with some of the cool jazz peeps who I think you’ll find interesting. Additionally, I’ll post short, but useful CD reviews, that will always be candid but never cruel. Several times a week I will keep you up to date on new tracks that have been added to the playlists and, in a nod to my pop radio origins, a list of the most popular tracks currently heard on Curt’s Café. Where possible, I’ll also provide links to my past reviews and articles in JazzImprov and Jazz Inside.
Well, now that we’ve met, I hope you won’t be a stranger and that you’ll visit often. Believe me, I’ve got a lot on my mind about jazz and I plan to share a lot of it with you in this forum. I don’t promise that you’ll always agree with me, but I hope that you’ll find it interesting enough to keep reading. I also hope that this won’t be a one way conversation and that you’ll share your thoughts and opinions with me as well. Feel free to leave your “comments” after each post. Many of us met on Twitter, so let’s all feel liberated by having more than 140 characters to express ourselves.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll see you next time, until then, as always, the jazz continues…
If they post blogs in Heaven, Mom and Dad, I love you and I hope you liked this. Say “hi” to “Dr.” Woods for me.