I grew up listening to New York City radio
personalities. The DJs at that time were entertaining and some used the art of
rhyming during their broadcast. I would listen to the "Soul of Sunrise Show" hosted by Eddie O'Jay
on WLIB AM every morning before I went to school. After I returned home from
school I would listen to WBLS FM and all of their evening personalities,
especially Frankie Crocker and Vy Higginsen.
This was between 1968 and 1975, the renaissance period of Soul Music. Back then
I would stand in from of a mirror and mimic my favorite radio jocks. One day in
1968 my parents asked me if I would like to go with them to see Joe Tex
who was performing at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. I said sure. I
really did not know much about Joe Tex, but I wanted to go and see what the
excitement was all about. We sat up front during the show. The band was hot,
the audience was electrified and Joe was a master performer. He sang, danced
and told jokes entertaining the audience. The ending was a 15 or 20 minute
version of his big hit that year "Skinny
Legs and All". This also included bringing girls up on the stage from
the audience for a skinny legs contest. For an 11 year old boy, this was a
great night! It changed my life.
From that, we began to frequent the world famous Apollo Theater,
the Mecca of Soul Music. From 1968 until 1975 I saw all of the groups like The
Temptations, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Lynn Collins, The JB’s, Bobby Byrd,
Stevie Wonder, Freda Payne, Black Ivory, The Five Stairsteps, Ike & Tina
Turner, The Chairmen of the Board, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Electric
Express, Jimmy Briscoe & the Little Beavers, The Detroit Emeralds, Kool
& The Gang, Brenda & the Tabulations, Patti Labelle & the Blue Bells, The Dramatics, Bobby Womack,
Peaches & Herb, The Intruders, The Chi-lites, Tryone Davis, The Detroit
Emeralds, Clarence Carter, The Lost Generation, The O’Jays, The Main
Ingredient, Blinky, The Fuzz, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Four Tops, The
Supremes, plus many more and too many to mention here. Also many of
my favorite radio personalities were the MC's of the shows. One in particular
was Sad Sam.
I started a hobby at this time, which was to collect everything that I could
find about the artists that I saw at the Apollo Theater. I continue to do this
to this very day, which includes LP's, 45's, 8 tracks, CD's and souvenir
broadcasting on the air in 1996 as an understudy for Jazz jock Larry Thomas on
90.7 WNCU FM. The show was called Evening
Jazz with Larry Thomas. The format was Mainstream Jazz, playing mostly the
classics. Less than a year later, I was given my own show on Saturday evenings
from 9 PM until midnight. It was called Saturday Evening Jazz.
I followed the show Marian McPartland's
Piano Jazz and Jazz with Bob
Parlocha followed me. My format was mainstream Jazz while I played the
classics during the first two sets which included Dizzy
Gillespie, Thelionus Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus
etc. I also played current music during most of my show by new and vintage Jazz
artists. The most popular part of the show was my Latin Jazz / Afro Cuban set.
This was where I received most of my phone calls. My theme song was "I'm In The Mood For Love" by King Pleasure.
It had been the theme song of my childhood idol Frankie Crocker of WBLS FM.
In 2003, I was awarded "Best Jazz Announcer"
from 90.7 FM WNCU. That was a real honor for me. That same year I began