One day you just wake up and realize it’s over. Simple as that. It was a long glorious run, my first shows were in August 1996, making it 24 years. Wide listenership, too! The KUNM terrestrial signal nearly blankets the state of New Mexico. But, 24 was enough, really. And streaming on the web nowadays made it worldwide. I interviewed countless numbers of jazz artists: Paul Horn, Fred Katz, Putter Smith, Gary Foster, Bobby Bradford was eloquent and a regular, Curtis Fuller, Vinny Golia, Chris Garcia, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan many times, Kazzrie Jaxen, Buell Neidlinger, Jesse Sharps, Charley Krachy, Bobby Shew often, the jazz scholar Kirk Silsbee, Carol Liebowitz, Marty Krystal, Arlen Asher, Connie Crothers at least once a year! Andrea Wolper, Terry Gibbs, Bill Payne, Ted Brown, Kali Z Fasteau, Cameron Brown, Sam Newsome & Meg Okura, Hal McKusick, Ernie Andrews every December at Christmas his birthday, Leroy Jenkins, SUE RANEY, Johnny Smith (yes, the renowned guitarist), Mundell Lowe (the other renowned guitarist), Toshiko Akiyoshi, Buddy Collette, Ray Anderson, the magnificent Joshua Breakstone 3 or 4 times, KENNY DAVERN was my co-host during 2005-2006, Gene Cipriano Yo Cip! Lanny Morgan, Nick Lyons, Med Flory of Supersax twice, Janet Feder, Brother JAMES NEWTON (we came up together), Michael Anthony, accordionist Frank Marocco, Johnny Pisano (I got 4 of the original Chico Hamilton Quintet! but Chico got away before I got around), David Parlato, Richard Tabnik, Matt Wilson, Cal Haines, David Sherr, Mark Dresser, Dave Wayne, Robin Eubanks, Eddie Marshall, J.A.Deane, DARYL SHERMAN, Giacomo Gates, Dick Hyman, Butch Morris, Ali Ryerson, William Roper, Henry Franklin, Laurie Pepper curator of Art Pepper’s legacy, Adam Caine, Gildo Mahones, jazz philosopher Dan Morgenstern, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, Charles McPherson, Bill Smith the clarinetist, Anthony Ortega, Warren Smith of M’Boom, poet Todd Moore, Matt Brewer (hilarious as I forgot and left my notes at home!), multiply that by ten and that’s how many guests I had either via telephone or live in-studio. AND all the local vibrant jazz scene, and the Outpost Performance Space w/ Tom Guralnick a regular. And I hope these talks will be useful to future historians, they are all archived at Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, Newark NJ, and at my deposit at UCLA special collections. Live in-studio guests for the most part played their instruments right there in the control room with me.
I suppose it was the Covid Lockdown —- the station went to automation at the end of March (2020) —- and is still running that way for safety, this bug can kill you in a minute. RIP. As of today July 1, 2020) the death toll in the U.S. is 130,390, and worldwide 516,335 and climbing, RIP I’d say “only” 497 deaths in New Mexico but 497 is a lot, and more than half are up on the Navajo Reservation, so much grief. But, having a break from the treadmill made me realize 24 was enough and time for someone else to have some fun.
Others I still wanted to bring to the airwaves in live interviews: Carol Tristano, Jay Clayton, Jerry Bergonzi, Carla Bley, Lenny Popkin, Anthony Braxton, Abdullah Ibrahim, Anita Brown, Ratzo B Harris, John Pizzarelli, local tenor saxophonist Sarah Griego, and anon. Next time!
In production at the time of my decision (many shows mature over time and development): I wanted to do an over-view of boogie woogie; trumpeter/physician Eddie Henderson; the genesis of Coltrane’s “Impressions” which is actually ready to go, very interesting how it came into being; Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra; MORE Zoot! to continue where the late John Breckow left off with our Zoot Sims obsession; and an ethnography on the subculture of local jam sessions which I had been recording . . . . . I’ll sneak onto the airwaves and get those out there, someday.
My only regrets are the artists that won’t see airplay anymore, like my ten favorite pianists: Carol Liebowitz, Kazzrie Jaxen, Virg Dzurinko, Harvey Diamond, Wayne Peet, Connie Crothers, Don Preston, Alan Broadbent, Lennie Tristano, Horace Tapscott, and throw in Cecil Taylor for good measure! I loved turning the listeners on to artists they probably hadn’t heard before, Johnny Guarnieri, Don Byas, Jimmy Wyble, George Van Eps, Bud Freeman, Gigi Gryce, Lorraine Geller, Rob Blakeslee, Billy Lester, Melba Liston, Larry Koonse, George Barnes, Spike Robinson, Gene Bertoncini, Cheryl Richards, Andy Fite, Richie Kamuca, Ernie Krivda, Miff Mole, Joanne Grauer, MICHAEL VLATKOVICH, Marty Grosz, Bucky Pizzarelli, Mary Osborne, ad infinitum. Jazz is a living music as Kenny Davern kept driving into my head. Not that I didn’t know that already, but he was not fond of the idea of “repertoire music.” To him Irving Berlin and Pee Wee Russell were not dated or not right here with us, now.
It was Mark Weaver the tuba maestro who brought me on-board. Mark had the Thursday jazz show for 18 years before me. Seriously, before that I had zero aspirations to be a disk jockey. Sure, I’m a record collector and the notion has percentage in it. Growing up in L.A. I grew up in the golden age of radio and the exuberance and passion that went into music in the Sixties. Then, when FM came around and with that I discovered what radio could be, I lived in the vast suburbs and it was a lifeline. But, it never crossed my mind to be a host, not one whit, I’m a writer, a whole other bag. Which is what I have gained by stepping back, much more brain space to continue working on my jazz book. Selfish, yes, but I’m protective of my brain space and a weekly radio show takes at least 20 hours to prepare, or 40, a lot. I could never do jazz wallpaper radio, I had to respect the art, the listener, and myself, and deliver the best I could, no compromise. It’s no fun otherwise. KUNM afforded me that. I was left alone to deliver my idea of what jazz is. And thank you to General Manager Richard Towne, who was my ally all those years. You need allies. Long live public radio !
I am really sorry to hear about this both personally and professionally. You did more for the more lesser known and unknown artist than anybody anywhere. THANK YOU! Your interviews were always inspiring, intelligent and informative to me and receiving that monthly package of cd’s was something I always looked forward to. Thanks again and here’s hoping that we can get together again some time soon…Bill Payne
sad sad sad… you were such a fine know-all jazz man artiste… and always will be one way or another… your fans will miss you!
Sorry to see you leave the airwaves. Johnny Williams was a fixture at Glen Johnston’s shop. He was our mouthpiece man. John Carter was there a lot too, and Glen was famous for Dexter Gordon allowing him to reface his mouthpieces. We hung out there for many hours. He had a great attitude, very warm and inquisitive.
I will miss getting your wonderful messages and photos … Your a great guy indeed. I am so very very sorry to see this incredible information on jazz leave. You did a great job and we need more fantastic friends of jazz like you Mark. Love and best always. xoxoxoxoxo Sheila
Say It Ain’t So
Say it ain’t so, Joe, please, say it ain’t so
That’s not what I wanna hear, Joe and I got the right to know
Say it ain’t so, Joe, please, say it ain’t so
I’m sure they’re telling us lies, Joe,
Please, tell us it ain’t so
Murray Head 1975
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for everything.
I will look forward to reading your jazz book when it comes out and I’m sure we will still be in touch through our music connections.
Best of luck going forward and we will miss hearing you witty and educational voice on the jazz show.
I know how it felt to leave the airwaves but I did a mere 13 years. I always enjoyed your personal way of doing your show. Good back stories on the sessions, unique artist choices, interviews, and poetry. And your documentation (in photos & in writing) and record keeping of things was amazing. It was always nice to get an email from you commenting on one of my shows. Great tips and suggestions. I’ll miss your radio shows. I hope to see you haunting the Outpost and other places when live performances in front of live humans resumes.
I will miss your information, your pure love for the music as I know others will too. I’m thankful that you took time to listen to my music and share it..I know I’ll see you again, so thanks for now. Your friend Henry Franklin
Mark! It’s the end of an era. Man, you did something great for so many years! You will continue doing great stuff, that’s for sure. And I’m honored as hell to be on that list of guests.
I appreciate and enjoy all of your musical contributions through the years. In terms of writing, photography, radio programs, interviews, poetry performances. Basically making things happen in general. I look forward to your continued contributions and will continue to listen to various recordings that you’ve been a part of.
Many thanks, Best, Mike Johnston
Your vast knowledge and diverse taste – deep respect. Thursdays won’t be the same. Your organization, documentation and meticulous notes I envy. See you and Janet on the other side of this.
I will truly miss your show more than I could ever put in words with all the information that came with the great music as I will miss our impromptu chats on thursday mornings ahead of your show. I hope to see you at the Outpost when things become more normal…. and maybe I’ll still be able to get you fruit cake when the season comes around.
Damn, I am so sorry to hear you say you’re leaving. I heard so much music on your show that I never would have heard anywhere else.I love your unmitigated pleasure in the music, whether it’s some smoking trad jazz or the most abstruse extrapolations imaginable. You really expanded my ears.
Thanks so much, Mark. —Mel
Thank you Mark. I always had a warm feeling seeing you pass by my office heading toward the control room on Thursdays. To me, you epitomize the true spirit of community radio. Opening the door for a true original to step up and become an engaging creative conduit…celebrating the art of others in a thoughtful, respectful, enthusiastic way. In that way, you and I are kindred spirits.
Thanks for working with me on that New Mexico Jazz series. Great fun…still great results. All should go to newmexicojazz.org to hear Mark’s expert interviews with Kenny Davern and other local jazz luminaries there. I also appreciated your contribution to two of my Beatles specials. Remembering when you first heard I Wanna Hold Your Hand (“play it again”) and when you first heard of the death of John Lennon (strung out on a mattress in a flop in LA). And for you and Janet consistently supporting PEACE TALKS RADIO.
Great job amigo. Hope to see you here and there someday when I’m actually going here and there again. We’ll set up some 1 on 1 when I can toast you with a ginger ale on ice and thank you in person for your 24 years of selfless devotion to your radio magic. It is magic you know. Throwing voices and music into the air to be heard far and wide by people we usually never meet. That is some magic trick, no?
You and your show will be sorely missed by jazz fans. Thanks for deepening my understanding of the music and its roots and introducing me to players I might not have otherwise encountered. Happy trails, mi amigo. –Seamus
You will be missed Mark, end of an era indeed. Perhaps you will have more time to devote to poetry. I hope you don’t mind if we indulge your followers with this extraordinary Virgil-esque poem Mark Weber penned in 2017, enjoyed by the Breckow-Dutton Clan at STUDIO 111 Corrales, With Love:
THE HISTORY OF GUITAR SOLOS
Somebody hammering on their roof
probably loose shingles, it’s been windy
and now the dogs barking like idiots
at the edge of the sea
After this, there is nothing
it is wide open: where a guitar solo would go
contoured in its own melody
shifts gears, double-clutches, stomps a foot pedal
the guitarist is holding a souped-up ’55 Chevy
flames shooting out the back, rubber curling
speakers emitting butterflies, condors
We’re circling the Andes
floating in thermals of sawtoothed notes
Chuck Berry duck walking
while a teenager in a London flat
never knew what hit him: his soul has been taken over
the TV box and his guitar box
drift in circles around Stonehenge
the invasion at Hastings 1066, like to Anglo-Saxons
he goes underground only speaks this old language
among rolling stones, old hillforts, the roads
that lead back to the Druids
who could see the future of all guitar solos
speaking exuberance and wild ecstasy
MARK WEBER 2017
Mark, thanks so much for creating a thoughtfully diverse, smart and entertaining show! and also for teaching me how to broadcast! 24 years, that’s a lot of dedication. We’ll sure miss you on the airwaves.
Mark,Your dedication to the music you love and to the magic of radio would be almost impossible to replicate. We have been friends for many years, LA guys still in the desert but a little farther from the ocean. It has been a joy to play music with you and to listen to the best jazz show ever. I have learned so much from you. I am still in radio land down here in Silver City, NM trying to expand people’s musical imaginations and their respect for all kinds of music. You have been the person to emulate. Your Albuzerxque series was fantastic and had such a grand variety of music. Thanks for all the music, especially the Bubbadinos, experimental, outside/inside Okie music. See you again when we travel again. Come on down and do a one off at KURU sometime. Love you my brother, Ken
Dang, Mark. Love and respect to you, to your abiding love for the music. XO N
All good things must come to an end. Best regards on our passage and reincarnation to your next stage. Good-bye Pork Pie Hat. – Kurt Fisher https://youtu.be/5IsNHDuwJrM
others I interviewed on the Thursday jazz show: Idris Ackamoor, Tootie Heath, Trevor Watts, Robert Creeley, Han Bennink, Michael Moore, Gretchen Parlato, Steuart Liebig, Kris Tiner, Geoff Muldaur, Paul Gonzales, Allan Vache, Jimmy McGriff, Mike Baggetta, Doug Lawrence, Paul Plimley, Bayou Seco, cellist Mike Richmond, David Moss & his dad Roy! Mose Allison, Alex Coke, Chris Calloway, Frank Morgan, Willem Breuker, and the magnificent violinist Iva Bittova
Dear Mark, We will miss you on the radio but look forward to seeing you in person! Thank you for the many excellent shows!
Congratulations, Mark. Time to start phase 2. I enjoyed the tapes from your show, wish I had lived in Albuquerque to hear you live.
…and your’e still the greatest Mark.
Thanks Mark for all the years. More than anything I will miss your interviews. No where else in the world can you get that!
You’ve done a great service to jazz and jazz lovers and musicians and poets and all others who love
jazz, Mark. Thanks! — Fred Voss
That carbuncle over Horace’s eye he had removed in 1978, I think at the same time he was in hospital for the aneurism. When I asked him what it was he said, “Impurities in the body.”
Hi Mark. Yes this is truly the end of an era, but the beginning of something new – I am happy you will be free to write and spread your own wings in different ways – something you enabled so many artists to do! Thank you, Mark, for recognizing and supporting so many artists, for sharing your thoughts and knowledge, for ALWAYS being there with freshness, humor, creativity, kindness and insight. Thank you for your original and great poetry. I am moved to have been included in your sphere! Bon continuation as they say in France!! As always, in friendship, Carol
In this time of all-about-me, Mark was all about the community. With Breckow gone, KUNM was no longer all about me and my taste. My heart has a little ache for Mark and his choices for broadcast, not to mention his knowledgeable interviews and commentaries. I am so pleased that Allison Davis is going to fill John’s Thursday slot and it looks like Albuquerque jazz will survive Covid and the loss of its venues. I am making donations to KUNM and Outpost in honor of Mark Weber.
Sorry for the mistyping. Allison is filling Mark’s Thursday slot and she will do a grand job.
Thank you, Lynn, that’s very kind. And just for the record: I’m still in the game! You can catch my little updates on FaceBook————-all best to you, MW
your show on famed jazz bassist Sonny Dallas was an historical event
Thanks for all the support through the years, for the music and for the music I play. Looking forward to the book!