Monday, June 16, 2008

I did a leisurely fill show at WFMU last night. A leisurely show is when I have a choice of 2-4 minute music & 6+ minute music, I go with the latter for the most part, the sets run long, & I'm leaning back in the studio chair & listening. Sometimes I'm so into listening that I type the music info into the online "accuplay" setlist but forget to hit "enter" until the piece is halfway through, which means I have to fix the playlinks later. It also featured a quick getaway finish; reserving the longest selection for the end of the program because I need to refile everything in the library & get out the door fast to make a train connection in Newark, crucial on Sunday night when it's either the 1 am local or the 2 am local. It can still get hairy. Toward the end of the first set I had to run into the library twice to find a specific Jimmy McGriff record I absolutely had to hear in honor of the late, great organist, hardly his finest number, but a funky fav I aired many times late at night to perk up the mood. The opening set got such a friendly listener response that I felt bad knowing we were headed somewhere else in the second set. Contrariness was my weakness in an earlier era, when I stubbornly refused to play more to the musical strengths listeners pointed out in my shows (like an ability to make a wide variety of music sound oddly jazzy), & so I failed to win them over as loyal fans. As a fill in DJ, I just want to hang on to some of the absent DJ's regular audience.

I was also determined to play "Spirit Road" by Neil Young no matter how it fit in. Usually, Neil anchors or caps an angst-filled set, but I wasn't feeling it last night, & by the end of the second hour I'd decided not to juggle the intense, turbulent music I'd selected for the occasion - that stuff goes goes back into the maybe next show list. For a free form DJ a song can be like an itch, you can't put it aside until you've played it on a show. Easy to scratch if you're on air every week.
Watching the direction of big red thunderstorms on animated radar, I thought it best not to pick up the book the library is holding for me. They may miss, but if they don't, I'll be very sorry I took the risk even if I have an umbrella.


I stumbled across the WFMU stash of Jimmy McGriff records during my stint as a fill-in many years ago, so thank you for playing him on the air!
A few years ago, an acquaintance in California landed a six hour overnight jazz slot on a public radio station & asked if I had any advice. I said only to become familiar with lots of B3 organ jazz albums because they usually have long tracks perfect for bathroom & snack breaks.
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