Public Radio Debuts Weekly Live Jazz, Blues and Comedy Jam on 12 O'Clock Jump


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By Mark Edelman

Public radio has always been home for late night jazz programming. Add to that line-up 12 O'Clock Jump, public radio's brand new jazz, blues and comedy jam. Broadcast live every Saturday night/Sunday morning from midnight to 1AM central time, the weekly variety show is streamed live at wwww.kcur.org for the world to dig.

Kansas City's 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District plays host to 12 O'Clock Jump. Broadcast live from the Mutual Musicians Foundation--where Charlie Parker met Dizzy Gillespie--the weekly public radio show continues the Kansas City jazz tradition from the very same room where Count Basie,Big Joe Turner, Mary Lou Williams, Jay McShann and contemporary artists like Pat Methenyhoned their craft at all night jam sessions.

“We're doing a jazz-focussed radio show in the style of Prairie Home Companion“ explained 12OJ co-producer Dave Fuson."We combine straight ahead jazz with some topical sketch comedy in a variety format that's kind of like the old radio broadcasts that put Kansas City on the jazz map in the 30s and 40s."

The show's format includes an homage to a well-known jazz artist celebrating a birthday that week, some Kansas City jump jazz and several comedy sketches like “Blues in the News" and “Mother Jazz" (a nursery rhyme send-up). Student players from Bobby Watson's University of Missouri jazz program sit in with the show's guest artists on cutting contests, just like Basie and Parker did when they were starting out.

“The show's got a great vibe," continued Fuson."It's like we're working on hallowed ground at the Foundation. We have alot of fun with it; but sometimes it's sobering to think about all the great musicians who played this very room."

The show archives its past performances at www.12oclockjump.com. Upcoming featured artists include Dave Brubeck (Dec 5), Eddie Palmieri (Dec 12), Bob Brookmeyer (Dec 19) and John Scofield (Dec 26). Guitarist Jerry Hahn will make a guest appearance on the Scofield show.12 O'Clock Jump is broadcast live on Kansas City's public radio outlet KCUR-FM 89.3 with streaming audio at kcur.org.

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