On April 18th, 2007, at 8:00 am we arrived at WBGO’s station, located in Newark, NJ. It was a chilly overcast day and I was really nervous. We were greeted at the door by Mr. Walker. His friendly smile quickly erased all of my fears of making a fool out of myself. We walked down a hallway that had these wonderful pictures on the wall. We found out later that it was an exhibit of an artist that photographed places in the south that looked as if time had stood still. Our walk ended in a sitting room that looked into the announcing area of the studio. There was a table there, that had fresh fruit and coffee. Mr. Walker was finishing up the first half of his morning show which begins at 6:00 am. I was scheduled to go on at 9:00 am.
The funny thing about this interview was, I thought that it was only going to last around 15 minutes. You know, announcing the new CD, I say a few words and then off I go. But instead, it was an entire hour. An hour spent with an intelligent, witty man, extremely knowledgable about this music that I love so much. And from his enthusiasm, I could tell he loved it as much as I did. The hour passed so quickly that it could have easily been that 15 minutes I originally thought would be the length of my interview with Mr. Walker.
Now you might say, “you’ve done radio interviews before, what makes this one so special?” Well, when I moved to New York City, I listened to WBGO. It was THE radio station and still is, for real jazz. At the time, I thought how incredible it would be to hear myself on that station. I guess that’s every musician’s dream, to hear themselves on the radio. Little did I know that over thirty years later that would be a reality.
We started off with a couple of cuts from the CD at the top of the hour and then we talked a bit. Mr. Walker had certainly done his homework and it showed with the ease in which the interview was conducted. This was the format for the rest of the hour. Music, then talk. It was really easy to laugh with Gary and I felt as though I had known him all of my life and that we were just sitting, shooting the breeze. It was fascinating being behind the scenes of my favorite radio station and meeting some of the on-air personalities. Everyone was so laid back, sort of what one would expect at a jazz radio station.
This blog is a thank you to Gary Walker for having vision, integrity and the courage to take a chance on a relatively unknown musician, but one who has over three decades of history in the jazz world. To acknowledge this is a rare thing to find these days in the music business. And most importantly, for helping me make a long-held dream into a reality.
I can’t wait to do it again. So I better get to work and get out the next CD!