Jake Shimabukuro Feb. 14th

Ukulele player as rock star? How about taking center stage at a symphony hall? Almost hard to imagine unless you’ve heard Jake Shimabukuro. An international phenomenon, Jake’s played loud rock on his uke in front of thousands in Japan, classical music with orchestras and jazz with the best of them in New York. He’s written and recorded originals on a pile of CDs and does killer covers of Beatles, Queen and yes, Jake does play heartfelt Hawaiian music (he was born in Honolulu).

Uke lovers: Jake Shimabukuro performs Valentine’s Day, February 14th at the Coconut Grove in Santa Cruz (not quite “under The Boardwalk”). Showtime is 8 pm.

The Love Bug

There’s something in the air beyond the need for that Volkswagen’s smog check. Yes, the road to Valentine’s Day is paved with programming on KZSC. Many of your favorite shows will be paying tribute to Thursday’s holiday with specials focused on amour. Cupid couldn’t be happier. To request a dedication for that Certain Someone or to “heart” your favorite DJ, you can send an instant message to The Great 88 anytime by clicking on the “Chat With The DJ” button on our homepage.

Stay tuned to KZSC – The Station For Lovers…like you.


If you ever wanted a visual clue to what is in the mind of a KZSC programmer when they come up with a show title, here it is. This white board hangs in our lobby to show off our schedule for winter 2013. An electronic copy of our program schedule (although not as colorful) can be found on our Schedule & Playlists page. It’s the same place you’ll find music show playlists (some going back to 2005) and direct links to purchase some of the music you hear on The Great 88.

Henry Henry

In honor of  punk rock icon Henry Rollins, I will now pile on 16 tons of Henry knowledge. Germanic in origin and meaning, “Henry” is well used as a first or last name. Dozens of royals in multiple countries have been named Henry plus the Roman numerals. Thanks to Joseph Henry, science uses “the henry” (symbol H) as i, H/m (henry per meter). Many musicians have sung about the legend of John Henry and his steel-drivin’ ways. The King of Pirates, Henry Every, boosted loot on the high seas and disappeared into the mists of time with no known date of death. Major General, Henry Shrapnel,  invented a hollowed-out cannon ball filled with shot, hence the word shrapnel. St. Henry is the patron saint of the childless; his feast day is July 13th. Henry Miller’s 1934 “Tropic of Cancer” was deemed obscene until 1964 when the Supreme Court ruled that the erotic novel was art.  The first foreign-born kabuki actor in Japan and the only foreign-born rakugoka (story teller), was an Australian by the name of Henry James Black. And finally, as I finish typing this blog, local printmaker Bridgette Henry has put together a show called “Cemetery Polka” featuring 16 artists presenting works inspired by the music of Tom Waits. It’s on display at the Felix Kulpa Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz until February 24th.

ZZ Ward Feb. 13

ZZ Ward’s raw edge evokes blues greats such as Big Mama Thornton with a modern twist. Her “Eleven Roses” mixtape began to catch the public’s attention when she sampled hip-hop beats over her bluesy vocals allowing for an explosive fusion of soul, blues and hip-hop.  Her recent releases, the “Criminal” EP and “Till the Casket Drops”, continue her bold freshness.  ZZ Ward presents a live show you definitely do not want to miss! She appears at The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz Wednesday, February 13th at 8 pm

ZZ Ward- Better off Dead


Jazz Album Review: Branford Marsalis “Four MFs Playin’ Tunes”

This week I had the opportunity to listen to Branford Marsalis’ newest release, Four Mfs Playin’ Tunes. This album is the first of his to feature 21 year old drummer Justin Faulkner who in the last 5 years has replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Jeff “Tain” Watts. Tain is one of the most powerfully aggressive modern drummers out there who helped change the face of modern jazz in the 1980’s, but now is busy with his own projects which is why Faulkner has taken over since 2009 (when he was 18). Branford Marsalis’ quartet has a very nostalgic sound to it, as it really hasn’t changed much since 1984. The same hard driving swing that characterized the young lions from the late 80s/early 90s is still there, but so is the more relaxed and fluid songs that seem to lack time whatsoever: another Branford specialty. All in all, the album is what I expected, which doesn’t mean it’s bad at all, it’s your classic Branford, none of the guitar and drums heavy pretentious stuff you might hear at a Berkelee College of Music jazz senior recital, this is just four MFs playin’ tunes.