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Programmer of the Month: Bruce Larsen

If you’ve ever wondered who the very first voice heard on The Great 88 was in 1974, here he is. KRUZ, the early “pirate” version of broadcasting on campus, went legit in 1974 with a license to broadcast at a whopping 10 watts as KZSC. Bruce Larsen stepped up to the microphone and history was made. Hosting a wide range of programs at KZSC while getting his UC Santa Cruz degree, Bruce Larsen was bitten by the radio bug. He moved over to fledgling community radio station KUSP, where he continues to host a program called “It Takes All Kinds”. Thankfully Bruce has returned to his roots at KZSC has the Monday morning musical mix master of “It’s All Good”. Bruce has also done a great deal of custom woodworking for the station and recently served as a member of the hiring committee to replace Broadcast Advisor Michael Bryant. When asked about his musical favorites, Bruce quotes Duke Ellington who famously said, “There are only two kinds of music; music that sounds good and whatever you want to call that other stuff.” Examples of this axiom can be heard Mondays from 6-9 AM with your friend and mine, Bruce Larsen, on KZSC.

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Synapse(!) @ Club Kuumbwa

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If you weren’t at Kuumbwa Jazz Center for progressive jazz-fusion group Synapse(!) last Saturday night, you surely missed out! The dynamic, sharp styling of saxophonist Nikki Mokover and trumpeter Nick Bianchini was backed by an amazing rhythm section; featuring percussion monster Jaime Sanchez, keyboardist Ittai Rosenbaum and bassist Robert Ross. Oliver Whitcroft provided live sampling and looping throughout the show as well. The 1.5 hour set took the entire audience by force- with wild dancing, cheering and general mind expansion as a result.

Synapse(!) is “a cultural culmination of musicians whose diverse backgrounds each add a unique flavor to a fresh yet mature sound. Synapse is alchemy, melting multiple genres into one in pursuance of solid gold.”

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Club Kuumbwa is a concert series launched by Kuumbwa Jazz Center’s own Bennett Jackson, and strives to be a venue that provides a casual setting to showcase local/independent artists, all while being accessible to a larger community audience at a lower cover charge. Bennett encourages up-and-coming artists to contact them for booking, and new dates continue to be added, so don’t miss the next Club Kuumbwa Show!

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Programmer of the Month: Arantxa Figueroa

Arantxa Figueroa, better known to listeners as DJ Harvey, began at KZSC last spring as a guest on our sports show “Slug Talk”. After talking soccer over the airwaves and sitting in on friends’ music shows, she got swallowed whole by The Great 88. She took our radio class and began hosting a Britpop show titled “London’s Calling”. DJ Harvey explains, “A close friend was introducing me to new bands and next thing I knew I was stuck on the accent-crazed “BritPop” generation. I fell in love with bands like Pulp, Blur, Suede and Elastica. I knew I wanted to put BritPop in the spotlight, with mellow music and high energy.” In addition to “London’s Calling”, DJ Harvey also subs for others and now serves as KZSC’s PSA Director. Why would a Slug want to volunteer like this? “What attracted me to KZSC ” says Harv (as we are known to call her), “was definitely the wide range of shows. I knew I wanted to have a music program where people could listen to me around the world. I also wanted a ‘voice’ to represent my university, and I found our campus radio station to be the best place for that.” You can listen to DJ Harvey and “London’s Calling” Tuesdays from 4-6 pm on KZSC. And if you send us a misspelled Public Service Announcement, you can thank her for fixing on your behalf.

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Andre 3000 is Jimi

John Ridley won an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of “12 Years A Slave”, but he has a hard time containing his excitement over his next film, “All Is By My Side” Both “12 Years a Slave”and his Jimi Hendrix biopic made their debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, but it’s the former that he wrote, directed and executive produced. A complicated man and a difficult movie to make when the Hendrix estate would not allow any of his music to be used. Will people believe Outkast’s Andre 3000 as Jimi? “All Is By My Side” is due for release in May.
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Programmer of the Month: Luisa Cardoza

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 7.26.18 PMIn January 2004, Luisa Cardoza (aka DJ LC) started spinning music on The Great 88. Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 7.23.38 PMIt all started when she enrolled in our broadcast class while working at the UCSC Ticket Office.  Luisa loved our Friday afternoon “Not So Distant Relatives” program so when host DJ Abel graduated, she and DJ Soul Patch (Ben Kutcher) took over.  LC also did a great job as part of the longest running women’s radio collective  in the world, Breakfast in Bed (Sundays 9-noon) and subbing on “Jazz Kitty” (Saturdays, noon-2). Luisa has recently moved to San Francisco, where she’s hosting the show “Tapestries” on KCSF Radio every Wednesday as part of SF City College’s Broadcast Media program. The station streams live via TuneInRadio with programs also archived on Mixcloud.com. Even though LC is now on a different spot on the dial, she’ll always be a loyal fan of where she got her radio start, KZSC.

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Laura Marling

This post (and picture) comes courtesy of DJ Compost, one of the hosts of KZSC’s “Dead Energy” program.

Full Disclosure: The last time I saw Laura Marling in concert, it was before I came to KZSC. I used  a fake press pass to get into the 21+ venue. With a hand-crafted and surprisingly legitimate looking photo ID badge and the acting skills of Nicholas Cage on a good day, I somehow got into the show. When I told Laura about it after her performance, she called me a “fucking genius” and told me of her own experiences as an underage music aficionado in England where she’d sneak into shows with nothing more than fake DJ equipment and confidence. A bonding moment to remember. I recently saw Laura again at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and this time, as a real media-type person. Laura walked on stage to a microphone stand three inches taller than her pixie-like self. Standing on her tiptoes, she timidly chimed “hello,” before beginning to play. I thought she’d adjust her mic to better accommodate her height, but she never did. It seemed strategic for the self-proclaimed and endearingly awkward folk singer to hold her head craned upwards where her eyes could easily travel to the ceiling. She opened with the first four songs from her new album, “Once I Was An Eagle”, each one blending seamlessly into the next, which built to the fifth and angriest track on the album, “Master Hunter.” Laura joked that if she were us, she’d be rioting against hearing new material, then played a pair of brand new songs. Apologizing for her lack of bantering skills, she laughed ironically then announced, “Now for the hits”  and played gems from her previous three albums plus a beautiful Townes Van Zandt cover of “For the Sake of the Song.” Laura let us get to know her during the next hour and a half, but only as much as she wanted, keeping parts of herself hidden away-dark, mysterious, vulnerable and inviting at the same time. Closing with “Where Can I Go?” from “Once I Was An Eagle”, Laura cooed gently: “I am cold and I am bright/ It’s a curse of mine to be sad at night.” At 23 years old, she seems to bare more of the world on her shoulders than she should have to; a blessing and a curse as a songwriter. She voices an honest vulnerability that is absolutely inspiring as if she’s swallowed up the entire world and spat out the good in beautiful prose and the bad in fiery spurts of fury. Find out more about Laura Marling at her website and listen for her on KZSC.