In a new venture, Washington, DC, Rifftides correspondent John Birchard (so that’s what he looks like) is combining his broadcast experience, devotion to jazz and fascination with the internet. The former Voice Of America newscaster has posted his first installment of a webcast he calls Cyber Jazz Today. It is an hour program in which he plays music, speaks briefly but cogently about it and, in a valuable wrinkle, provides glimpses of the future. John writes:
I have come up with a weekly feature for the show, “Jazz Goes to College” (remember the Brubeck Columbia album by the same name?), in which I single out a college-level music school for recognition. It runs a couple of minutes, includes comments on programs, faculty and a name or address where interested parties can contact the school . I also am encouraging the schools to provide me with CDs of the students performing. So far, having started with Berklee, I’ve gotten enthusiastic responses from Manhattan School of Music and the U of North Texas. The first show, with the Berklee feature, incorporates two cuts from Berklee students from their latest student-produced CD “Octave”. I will have two from the Manhattan School next week and two from North Texas’ big bad One O’Clock Lab Band the following week.
To hear John’s maiden voyage, go here and click on “Enjoy The Show.” While you’re at the site, investigate the FAQ section. A sample:
Q: Did John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet invent the fugue?
A: No, but he did invent the tuxedo.
Despite that, Rifftides is adding a Cyber Jazz Today link in the right-hand column under Personal Jazz Sites. Bon voyage, John.