It won’t be anything like the Christmas music you hear at the shopping mall! This Wednesday the 21st, I’ll be back on WETF, the station that streams jazz 24 hours a day, every day, to host another hour of Collectors Choice: Jazz from New England. It’s an all-Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Christmas show! We’ll hear familiar melodies, Mark Harvey originals, big-band arrangements of centuries-old carols, and a few tunes sung by Aardvark’s special guest, Sheila Jordan, to top it all off.
If you couldn’t attend Aardvark’s annual Christmas concert at earlier this month, do drop in for this one. Catch this holiday edition of Collectors Choice on Wednesday, Dec 21 at 12:00 noon EST. The show repeats on Saturday Dec 24 at 9:00 a.m. Hope you can listen in on jazzradiowetf.org.
Brent Banulis, a good friend of Boston jazz, hosts a one-hour radio show called Collectors Choice: Jazz from New England on radio station WETF, streaming worldwide. Even a jazz lover like Brent deserves a day off, so I occasionally substitute for him. I’ll be on the air on Wednesday July 28 from noon to 1:00 p.m., repeating at 11:00 p.m, and repeating again on Saturday July 31 at 9:00 a.m. The show theme is “A Salute to Newport,” with all the music recorded at the festival. We’re honoring the real thing happening this weekend.
Then we do it all again with part two of the Salute to Newport the following week. I’ll be on the air on Wednesday August 4 at noon, repeating at 11:00 p.m, and repeating again on Saturday August 7 at 9:00 a.m.
There will be plenty of good music, for the most part staying away from the chestnuts of the festival’s early years. Do listen in if you can’t make it to Fort Adams State Park! The station streams jazz all day, every day. They don’t call it WETF: The Jazz Station for nothin’.
The warmer weather is here and people are venturing outside again. That means it’s time to start my entertainment district walking tours for 2021. First up is “Boston Nightlife at Mid-Century,” a stroll through the Theatre District and Bay Village—by day—on Saturday, June 5.
The 90-minute Theatre District nightlife walk is sponsored by Lexington Community Education, and preregistration is required. The cost is $25 per person. For complete info, or to register, go to the Lexington Community Education website.
What: Walking tour, “Boston Nightlife at Mid-Century.”
When: Saturday, June 5, 2021 (rain date Saturday, June 12) 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Where: Meet on the Boston Common, at the corner of Boylston and Tremont streets.
Accessibility: Route follows city sidewalks.
Among the notable people whose paths we’ll cross are James Brown, George Carlin, Miles Davis, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Christine Jorgensen, and Diana Ross. We’ll also meet two generations of Boston entertainers and a couple gangsters who prefer not to be identified at this time. Hope to see you there.
In September 2019, I worked with Chandra Harrington and the staff at the Museum of African American History to develop the exhibit, Jazz Scene in Boston: Telling the Local Story. It ran in parallel with a second exhibit, Jazz Greats, a traveling exhibition of fine photos taken by master photographers. In late 2019 and into the new year, the Abiel Smith School galleries were filled with the images of America’s—and Boston’s—rich jazz history. Jazz Scene in Boston is a visual delight. It includes images by noted photographers Lee Tanner and Jack Bradley, and photos and memorabilia from my own collection, as well as from the Carrington family collection and others. There are institutional contributions as well, such as Boston Jazz Society items from the University of Massachusetts archives, and Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike photos from the archives at Salem State University. The exhibit should have closed in the spring, but the virus shut down the museum, and the staff had to come up with a plan B. They did, and it includes keeping Jazz Scene on display until further notice. If you missed it, you have another opportunity to see some great photography and an assortment of vintage posters and flyers. It’s all at the Museum of African American History, 46 Joy Street on Beacon Hill. Visit their site for hours and more information.
This is a short welcome message to introduce you to my new website, richardvacca.com. It has one purpose—to be a place where I can share the history of Boston jazz and nightlife in the mid/late 20th century. It’s a new home for The Boston Jazz Chronicles.
This site replaces my online home for the past seven years, troystreet dot com. Why the change? Simply put, the publishing company idea never really took off, and it makes no sense to tie my jazz history project to it. That site was in need of a reboot anyway, so… now’s the time.
Most of the content has migrated to the new site, so it’s still about the blog and the books. Your blog subscription will continue as before. I hope you find the user experience to be better, and you won’t find any popups or clickbait. Just a little peace and quiet for your reading pleasure.
I have new posts coming on bassist Teddy Kotick, saxophonist and singer Fat Man Robinson, organist Phil Porter, and more, so do visit often, and please spread the word.
Finally, my thanks to the endlessly patient Deborah Perugi of Perugi Design for making it all happen.