All posts tagged Jazz

On Facebook, my brother Alan just posted a YouTube of violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Diz Disley with the comment, “Maybe the ultimate Sunday ‘morning’ music for me.” This sent me on a quest yesterday.

Still have it.

One evening in 1979, on or after April Fool’s Day, I tuned in KWGS on my “new” 1969 Sony ST-80F AM/FM stereo tuner and happened onto some great acoustic jazz.

I fired up my reel-to-reel tape deck to capture it.

It turned out to be Grappelli and Disley, plus David Grisman doing the music he wrote for “King of the Gypsies” (1978) with Grappelli and Tony Rice. All but Grappelli were unknown to me at the time.

By June 2, 1984, I had transferred what I had recorded to cassette, editing out the between-song patter.

After seeing my bro’s Facebook post, I listened to my tape again and wondered if that radio show might be available anywhere. No luck commercially, then I found this blog post:


An entire show was there for download, archived as two .rar files. The description sounded like what I taped:

This is a real nice recording with David Grisman and Tony Rice on the last five tracks.

Stephane Grappelli Group
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA
Soundboard > NPR radio

John Etheridge – guitar
Brian Toff – bass
Diz Disley – guitar
Stephane Grappelli – violin

Comparing it with my partial recording, the songs, arrangements, and ambience are the same, but the solos are different. Amazing to find an entire show from the same tour.

(By the way, according to Gary Chew, then Station Manager, KWGS’ first broadcast programming from NPR was in early December 1977.)

I used free 7-Zip to extract the 320 kbps .mp3 files from the .rar files.

I retitled each .mp3 with the song name. With free Mp3tag, I gave all the tracks the same Album Artist and Album name (these are key tags for Plex). I added track number tags and brief comments about content.

Mp3tag view after I finished. (Click  to enlarge)

Next I moved all the .mp3s into an “album” folder under a Stephane Grappelli folder for my Plex system, conforming to its naming and organizational conventions. Added art to Plex from the internet.

Live Stephane Grappelli 1978 NPR radio show now on my Plex system. (Click  to enlarge)

Now I can stream it to browser, smartphone, Roku or the Raspberry Pi.

Maybe my frequent playing of the tape in 1979 stuck in my brother’s mind, the sound having seeped through his bedroom wall. I like the result of this 38-year boomerang.

Detail of the “album”. (Click  to enlarge)

Plex client playing ATJ's 1st 3-hr show.

Plex app on a Galaxy Note II

I recently mentioned my free, PC-based DIY internet radio recorder, which I use to record an .mp3 of “All This Jazz” on KWGS @ 9pm Saturdays (now expanded to 3 hours).

In an earlier post, ‘All This Jazz’ in the home and on the run, I described how I used FTP to copy the show from my PC to a hand-me-down, wifi-only smartphone. I then plugged the phone into a radio in the kitchen or a boombox in the workout room to listen.

Now that my wife has moved up to an iPhone and an iPad, there is a better way. I am the proud owner of her old devices, a Galaxy Note II phone and a Google Nexus 7 tablet. Both are capable of running the free Plex client app, unlike the older smartphone.

Plex lets me stream the recorded show directly to the Note II from my laptop running free Plex Media Server software.

To celebrate the expansion of the show and the new devices, I spruced up Plex’ presentation by associating a photo of host Scott Gregory with the show name.

In addition, I can listen through a media room Raspberry Pi computer running PleXBMC software, or via the Plex channel on a Roku box or TiVo.

Even if I were at a Starbucks in Hong Kong, I could stream the show to either new device from our house using Plex. Pretty amazing.

Here is a new “All This Jazz”-related story I posted over on Tulsa TV Memories@Facebook:

Our nephew Jared (and also nephew Jordan) have been spending time at our house doing some scanning/archiving work for my wife. We added Jared’s preferred Pandora channels for his listening pleasure on TiVo. After he got tired of listening to what he wanted, he put it on Shuffle, which included my Pandora stations.

Lee Ritenour’s version of the Oliver Nelson jazz tune “Stolen Moments” came on at one point. I hadn’t heard my CD of it for years, so I found it and ripped it to one of our Plex Media Servers for later.

Since I had no handy liner notes while listening, I read the AllMusic review of the album and Lee’s followup, “Wes Bound” on my wifiphone. The reviewer snootily inquired why you should be listening to this when you could be listening to Wes Montgomery himself. I happen to like both Ritenour albums a lot, but was reminded of the monstrous Montgomery tune played on Scott Gregory’s All This Jazz show on KWGS a short time ago.

Since I save the shows and the playlists, I searched “Montgomery” on my PC with Agent Ransack and found that Wes’ stunning version of Coltrane’s “Impressions” was played at 11:08 pm on 5/23/2015. I listened to it again on my recording, and then bought “Smokin’ At The Half Note” on MP3 from Amazon.

What a guitarist! Disciplined, driving and musically brilliant. Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, and Paul Chambers made it a highly cohesive unit.

The musical journey started with Blake Shelton and ended with prime Wes Montgomery.

Scott Gregory

Scott Gregory

The home theater is for music as well as video, and some of the best music can be heard on “All This Jazz”, Saturdays at 10 pm on KWGS 89.5.

ATJ is hosted by Scott Gregory (read more about his background in the NYC book business at the link).

Besides all the good work he does at KWGS, he has a special connection to Tulsa media: his dad is Bob Gregory, who is a former CBS News reporter and news director at KTUL-TV.

But we are here today to talk about jazz, something at which Scott is highly adept. He brings to the show knowledge and enthusiasm from his listening experiences in the Big Apple, the Midsized Apple (Tulsa) and other tasty locales.

A simpatico host is important for this music. I once worked a fund drive for KLON-Long Beach (then available on Tulsa Cable) while on vacation just to meet jazz hosts Chuck Niles, Sam Fields, Ken and Helen Borgers. Scott ranks in their rarified company.

A few weeks ago in the Tulsa World editorial section, there was a dueling pair of columns, con- and pro-jazz. I suspected that Scott might send a trenchant Letter to the Editor. Sure enough, he did:

(Re: the Aug. 14 point, counterpoint: “Is Jazz Dead or Alive and Kicking?”)

“Jazz? Dead? Really? I guess a host of jazz-driven record labels both great and small — Blue Note, Concord Jazz, Verve, ECM, Sony/OKeh, Sunnyside Communications, Mosaic, Palmetto, et al. — haven’t received that memo. Nor have the people buying all those recordings.

“Of course, some people also think newspapers are dead, yet here we are.

“Maybe what’s really dead — in this digitized, online, all-media-all-the-time era — is writing or thinking about any form of art or entertainment in ‘Is It Dead?’ terms.”

Check out the ATJ Facebook community, and Scott’s “Occasional KWGS Jazz Journal”, Kind of Blog.

The main subject of this blog ostensibly being home theater, I want to tell you how I get the most out of Scott’s show.

Even though ATJ is rebroadcast at 7 pm on Sunday nights on Jazz 89.5-2, I am sometimes not able to catch the show at either broadcast time. But I have my own free digital audio recorder at DAR.fm (FAQ link).

In brief, to get your own personal ATJ DAR, create a login, then type ‘All This Jazz’ into the DAR.fm search box. You will see a Record button for ATJ. Push it, and from then on, you can download the show in eight 15-minute mp3 segments to your computer. That’s it. Download at your leisure and enjoy.

Needless to say, I don’t stop there. My Plex content is accessible by my Raspberry Pi media computer, any of our Roku boxes with the Plex channel, or a browser anywhere in the world, so I can pull up a show anytime, anywhere, and kick back.


Smart-radio in the kitchen

I also use a free Android app called FtpCafe to copy the show over to my hand-me-down, wifi-only smartphone (I run the free Filezilla Server on the laptop to make this possible). I can then plug the phone into a radio in the kitchen, a boombox in the workout room, or a little iHome powered speaker for listening in other rooms at home or away. (If I had a more up-to-date phone, I could just run the Plex app.)

But wait, there’s more! A little FM radio/mp3 player called a Sansa Clip is my running and walking companion (I’m now in training for the Tulsa Run). Hook it up to the computer, bring up Windows Media Player, and drag a few shows over for syncing. I might get a couple of training runs per show.

And then sometimes I listen live on the radio.