Category Archives: CKCU

one more cup of hot brown drink

Tomorrow evening, I plan to be at the NAC’s Fourth Stage for a musical tribute to my late friend Jacques Emond, to whom I paid tribute on this blog in the days following his passing, barely two months ago. Jacques’ death was a blow to those in search of — in need of — a little jazz in their lives. Few in this city knew jazz like Jacques.┬áThose present tomorrow evening will attest to that — to his passion for the music and to his support of musicians local, national and international. Continue reading

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beats out

Okay, one last Alpha Beats show before I return to the land of the dayjob. For a while. And given that we’ve recently completed the 26-letter alphabet (one of my favourite alphabets), let’s view this farewell show as both a refresher and an opportunity to fill in a few gaps. More often than not, an hour seemed far too short to properly explore a letter from my collection, and many a worthy contender failed to make the cut on the day. Hence, in what should be a rather fast-paced 60 minutes, Monday’s show on CKCU will be dedicated to running through the alphabet one last time. That’s Monday morning, 10 a.m., at 93.1 and ckcufm.com. Twenty-six tracks in 60 minutes. Talk may be kept to a minimum. I can’t imagine that will draw any complaints from you, the listener.

And hey, thanks for listening to the show. It’s been fun. We really should do this again sometime soon, yes?

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going zeddy

We knew as long ago as January of last year, when Alpha Beats premiered, that this day would come. Jan. 14, 10 a.m., the 26-episode program brings it all home with a musical salute to the letter Z, courtesy of the bottom-right corner of my record collection. We’ve had some good times, folks. Remember L? That was fun. And how ’bout E? I could go on.

Alas, I will not. Which is not to say I won’t be back with another show in four weeks. I mean, stranger things have happened. But in the name of not repeating myself, I will seek a new format for Alpha Beats‘ successor. Numbers? Nah, too obvious. Symbols? Umm… not… sure… about that one. Gestures? Okay, this is not helpful.

For now, let us celebrate that glorious final letter of the alphabet with one more Alpha Beats hour on CKCU 93.1. As always, should you miss the show Monday, you can hear it on demand at ckcufm.com.

Tune in as zing go the strings Monday morning.

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jazzin’ for Jacques

Funding drive is a stressful time at CKCU. For two weeks, an environment that normally stimulates creativity is all about business: the business of raising sufficient funds to keep Canada’s original campus-based community radio station afloat for 12 more months. And as I meekly entered the phone room to tackle my first shift all those years ago, it was intimidating. Here was I, a lowly would-be announcer and Hog’s Back High student, doing my volunteerly duty while awaiting the chance to inflict my musical tastes on an unsuspecting listenership. (A chance that would not come until months later.) On either side of me were voices already legend at the station: Ron Sweetman, host then and now of the Wednesday-night jazz program In a Mellow Tone; and Jacques Emond, whose Sunday-afternoon Swing is in the Air stands as a veritable online textbook for those wishing to delve into everything from vintage Artie Shaw to the latest in bebop adventurism. Hurriedly pacing up and down the hall and doing his best to instill in all of us a sense of urgency, was Black and Blues host John Tackaberry. And at the end of that hall, in the on-air studio, Chopper McKinnon, whose Canadian Spaces routinely left all others in the dust come funding-drive time. Continue reading

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ours is not to question y

Monday’s Alpha Beats program is a special 150-minute edition, it being the end of the year and all. It’s also special because it’s the penultimate episode of our 52-week/26-show series, trolling through one announcer’s record collection — one letter at a time. The X show sure was fun, eh? Now, it’s time to get Ys to two-and-a-half hours of songs and stories, including a few words of caution (just in time for the debauchery of New Year’s Eve) from Paul “Tex” Yearout. Listen up, folks. That’s 10 a.m. Monday, on CKCU. Hey, it’s not like you’ll be engrossed in your work at that time.

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