The Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis has added more jazz programming to the schedule of their new classical station, as "Somethin' Else," a new hour-long weekly broadcast hosted by Calvin Wilson, has joined the lineup at 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Named with a nod to the titles of classic albums from Cannonball Adderley and Ornette Coleman, "Somethin' Else" is the first foray into radio for Wilson (pictured), a veteran print journalist who covers jazz, art, film and dance and works as a copy editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The title also describes his intent to bring a new and personal approach to the program.
"I'm doing the jazz show I never heard anybody else do," he explained, calling it a program designed to be equally accessible to veteran jazz fans and curious newcomers. "You can expect to hear living artists, as well as the people who came before. What we're trying to do with this show is number one, let people know that jazz is a living music. People are playing it now, they're still doing it and expanding on it. It's not just a nostalgia trip, and you don't have to have any special knowledge to appreciate jazz. Some people give the impression that listing to jazz is like an academic exercise."
Wilson said each week's program will be organized around a theme, but was reluctant to discuss that in too much detail because "I want people to come to the show fresh every time." He did say that the notion of theme could deal, for example, with a particular instrument, time period, or style, the work of musicians from a particular city or that of a specific composer, such as last week's inaugural effort, organized loosely around the music Thelonious Monk. "I've got an enormous amount of albums. Just looking at them, I get ideas of how I could put them together thematically."
Though the initial plan is just to play music, Wilson said he might consider adding interviews with musicians to the mix at some point in the future. "So far, I'm just doing music, but as the thing evolves, I might be talking to people."
"Somethin' Else" will air as part of a Saturday block of jazz programming on RAF-STL, preceded at 7:00 p.m. by the nationally syndicated "Jazz at Lincoln Center" and followed at 9:00 p.m. by Jason Church's locally produced "The Jazz Collective."
RAF-STL's programming can be heard over the air at 107.3 FM; on HD radio at 96.3 FM; and online at rafstl.org/listen/. You can follow Calvin Wilson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CalvinWilsonStL.