In the 1960′s there were few guitarists more prolific and higher profile than Michael Bloomfield. Cutting his teeth with blues masters like Muddy Waters, session playing for Bob Dylan’s famed Highway 61 and backing him up at the legendary “electric” Newport Folk performance of 1965, then serving an essential role in the white rediscovery of the blues with the Paul Butterfield Band before playing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival with his own band Electric Flag. What could be considered a career of legendary status for most, it was not a bad decade for Mike. In the 70′s he continued to do session work, collaborating frequently with fellow Dylan alum Al Kooper. Plagued by constant insomnia and personal demons, Bloomfield would die of an overdose in 1981. In an effort to elevate his old friend to the legend status he deserves, Al Kooper put together “From His Head to His Heart to His Hands”, a 3 CD box set showcasing some of his finest work. The DVD documentary, ” Sweet Blues” is included as well, profiling Bloomfield at work through all phases of his professional career. For anyone interested in blues, the San Francisco music scene in the late 60′s or the blues revival in America, this is as good a place as any to start. And when you hear his electric guitar, give a nod to Michael Bloomfield.
February’s programmer of the month is DJ SPONDEE (aka Matt Wranovics) with KZSC’s fuzziest program Fuzz Tone.
Gracing Santa Cruz and the world with the best of noise rock, lo-fi, garage, experimental rock and your daily dose of guitar distortion and reverb, Matt week after week delivers quality programming with a particular passion for rock ‘n roll that’s
hard to find. Rumor has it that the slightest reference to rock in Matt’s presence will light up his face and get him talking about the latest Ty Segall record or Beat Happening demo — he loves the genre, and on Fuzz Tone, it definitely shows.
Matt started volunteering (and became both an asset to the station and a KZSC fixture) in fall 2012 (the start of his freshman year, no less!) and started DJing his own program in summer 2013. He also subbed on some other KZSC favorites, such as Joe’s Garage and Kill Fugly Radio.
Get your fuzz fix every Friday, 7-8:30 p.m. on Fuzz Tone with DJ SPONDEE. You won’t want to miss it.
The hosts of “Stirrin’ the Soup” had the pleasure of hosting two members from the Chicago-based group known as the John Hanrahan Quartet last week. John (the leader/drummer, now based in Santa Cruz) and his longtime bandmate/tenor saxophonist Brian Kephart, joined us for an exciting discussion about their show at Kuumbwa Jazz. When I heard that this group was going to perform Coltrane’s magnum opus A Love Supreme, I was impressed at the ambition of these guys – I mean, what a piece to tackle! Here’s the crazy part: these guys meet up transnationally from Chicago to Santa Cruz every few years to play A Love Supreme without rehearsal, straight from the heart and from the top of the head. I went to their show and can say with unmatched certainty that these guys are amazing. Brian absolutely tears it up on the tenor sax and the rest of the band carries the tunes phenomenally. There was something special happening inside the Jazz Center that night; several attendees of the show reported sharing a feeling of spiritual connection to the music throughout the performance. Not quite speechless, but I can only express so much via text so please, find a comfy chair, sit back, relax and check out our discussion about the music we call “Jazz” if you like, and I hope you find it as stimulating as we did. Disclaimer: It’s a long one.
The old adage “time flies when your having fun” certainly applies to Kevin Spitzer. He first joined KZSC 14 years ago; long-time listeners will recall programs he’s hosted in the past such as “Celtic Undercurrents”, “Freedom Flight”, “Turtle Island” and “Imagine”. Kevin was also a regular substitute host of countless folk and talk shows, served twice on our Program Review Committee and helped on a variety of construction projects at KZSC. Even if you’re not familiar with his past, no doubt you’ve heard Kevin’s current show, “Conciliation Sunday”. In the spirit of his program, we can share with you that Kevin is having his “second Saturn Return”. As such, a change has got to come, even if all of us wish it weren’t so. Kevin is heading out on a new adventure, which will take him beyond the range of our 20,000 watts. With his heart and spirit devoted to raising consciousness among our staff and our listeners, Kevin Spitzer will be sorely missed by all of us at The Great 88. He is one of the volunteers who helped make us what we are today.
In 1971 the band played a four night run at New York’s Academy of Music that culminated in a powerhouse New Years Eve show. In 71′ the tightest band in rock n’ roll was at an apex, ripping through their extensive repertoire. Recordings of this run were originally released in 1972 as the double LP “Rock of Ages,” but now the shows are getting the just in time for the holidays box set treatment. The five disc set includes many never before released versions of Band classics including the entire New Years Eve set which features a visit from old bandleader Bob Dylan himself. At this time Dylan was just beginning to step back into the spotlight after his 1966 motorcycle accident, and his presence here is the kind of the thing that makes history major rock nerds like myself giddy.
Chris Webster and Nina Gerber will be visiting the Backroads show live on KZSC on Sunday, December 15, 2013 between noon and 2pm prior to their concert appearance at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA at 7pm that evening. They’ll be celebrating the release of their new CD “Apple Blossom Lane” which features Chris’s warm bluesy folk vocals and Nina’s tasty guitar backup. Both are veterans of the Bay Area folk scene.