San Diego's Jazz 88.3

“America's Finest Jazz & Blues from America's Finest City”

On The Air
Now Playing
- RSS feed of the latest articles by the selected author.

African-American Jazz in California- Jelly Roll Morton

February 4, 2020- Today's BHM topic is: Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton on the West Coast 1917-1922. After Bill Johnson established himself in Los Angeles several other New Orleans musicians
travelled to the west coast. Most notably was Jelly Roll Morton who arrived in Los Angeles sometime in 1917.
Jelly Roll was one of the earliest New Orleans pioneers to leave the crescent city and take the
music on the road.

His companion was Anita Gonzales who happened to be Bill and Dink Johnson’s sister.
Once in Los Angeles he began running shows at the Cadillac Cafe which was located at 553
Central Ave. His shows featured a number of other entertainers including Florence Mills and
Ada “Bricktop” Smith. He wasn’t happy with the local musicians ability to play his music and sent back to New
Orleans for Buddy Petit, Frankie Dusen and Wade Whaley. He also added Anita’s brother Dink
Johnson to the ensemble.

In 1918 he and Anita set up shop in San Francisco by opening a club called The Jupiter which
was at Columbus and Pacific. After San Francisco he formed a “ Creole Orchestra” in San Diego for a short time with side
trips to Tijuana. During 1919 and 1920 he worked mostly in San Franciso and also ventured further north into
the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Throughout 1921 he spent time in Los Angeles, San Diego and Tijuana.

In Los Angeles he worked at the Paradise Gardens which drew many celebrities. His “Tango”
and “The Crave” were big hits in Hollywood. At this time he also teamed up with The Spikes Brothers and opened the Wayside Amusement
Park at Leake’s Lake in Watts. In November he played an extended engagement in San Diego at the US Grant Hotel. He also
played regularly in Tijuana at the Kansas City Bar. One of his most famous compositions: Kansas City Stomp was named for the Tijuana saloon.

There were no recordings of Jelly Roll Morton during his stay on the west coast. In 1923 he
relocated to Chicago and began a substantial recording career including a number of
compositions written while living on the west coast.

He returned to Los Angeles at the end of his life where he passed away in July of 1941 at the
age of 50. He’s buried at the Cavalry Cemetery in Los Angeles.


African-American Jazz in California- Bill Johnson

February 3, 2020- Today's BHM topic is: Bill Johnson

Most people associate jazz on the west coast with the well known Los Angeles scene of the
1950s. There was however jazz on the west coast in the very early years of the music’s
beginnings and it was brought here by a group of New Orleans transplants.

The story of jazz in California begins with bass player Bill Johnson. Johnson was working in
the New Orleans Storyville district between 1903 and 1905 at the infamous Tom Anderson's
saloon. He also worked with a variety of New Orleans ensembles including Frankie Dusen’s
Eagle Band and the Peerless Orchestra.

Around 1908 he formed a band and travelled to California to introduce New Orleans music to
the west coast. They played a one month engagement at The Red Feather tavern in Los
Angeles followed by Johnson returning to New Orleans. The cornet player he brought with
him to Los Angeles, Ernest Coycault, stayed on the coast and became a significant musician in
the area.

Back in New Orleans, Johnson formed his “Original Creole Orchestra”, a seven piece group
that toured the Southwest. In 1912 he re-formed the band in Los Angeles and set up
permanent residence. Over the next couple of years he fine tuned the personnel which
required importing some musicians from New Orleans.

Members of the Original Creole Orchestra included his brother Dink Johnson, clarinetist
George Baquet and most notably cornetist Freddie Keppard.

Keppard followed Buddy Bolden as the next great New Orleans cornet player and had been
enjoying much success with the Olympia Brass Band and Frankie Dusen’s Eagle Band.
Johnson convinced him to come to Los Angeles which was a major addition to the group.

Around 1914 the Orchestra auditioned for the Pantages vaudeville circuit and ended up touring
the country between 1914 and 1918.

Since there are no recordings it’s hard to know for sure what the group played on the vaudeville
circuit but it is likely that this was the group that introduced the New Orleans sound to a good
portion of the United States.

In 1915 they played an extended engagement at New York’s Winter Garden theater. Victor
records approached them with an offer to record. Freddie Keppard didn’t want to take the
chance of having other musicians “steal his stuff” so they turned Victor down.

If they had accepted Victor’s offer they would have made the first jazz recordings.
Unfortunately today the pioneering group is mostly unknown.


Sinatra at the Sands Fundraising Concert

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:January 28, 2020

TONIIGHT AT 7:30PM is your chance to relive one of the most celebrated concerts ever to be recorded. Sinatra at the Sands. Esteemed Drummer and Conductor Michael Berkowitz will be leading the KSDS Jazz Orchestra for a night you will not forget as he and the band will be playing the original arrangements from this famous engagement. Singer, Ned Rifken, one of the foremost Sinatra-styled vocalists, is billed as the “Ambassador of Swing” and he will transport you back in time with his interpretations of these Sinatra-Basie classics. The show is SOLD OUT! The box office opens at 6pm. Doors open at 7PM. All tickets can be claimed at will call. Here is the parking pass (FREE PARKING) for the concert. You can park anywhere on campus with the pass but Lot 8 is closest to the theatre which is located on C street across from 14th street. Here is a map.

VIP (DINNER) ATTENDEES- Please arrive at the Old Spaghetti Factory (275 Fifth Ave.) between 4:30-5pm. You will check in with a Jazz 88 staff member.

Any questions or for more information about tonight Just call 619-388-3301 or e-mail us at you there!

KSDS Fundraising Concert- The Cookers

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:January 10, 2020

TONIGHT at 8pm will be a concert for the ages and a one-time only KSDS Fundraising Event. The Cookers come to the Saville Theatre! This is truly a band of Modern Jazz Heavyweights- Billy Harper (ts), Cecil McBee (b), George Cables (p), Eddie Henderson (tpt), Donald Harrison (as), David Weiss (tpt), Billy Hart (d). The concert will be at the Saville Theatre here at City College. FREE PARKING (no pass required). The concert is SOLD OUT. Please arrive around 7pm to get your tickets at will call. If you have questions or need more information about this event please e-mail us at or call 619-388-3301.

Mission Bay Preservationists- JFG 2020 Concert Series

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:January 9, 2020

The Mission Bay Preservationists, from Mission Bay High School, are known as one of the finest traditional youth jazz bands in the country and have played prestigious gigs like Preservation Hall, WWOZ Radio, The Old U.S. Mint Performance Hall in New Orleans, The House of Blues and here at the KSDS, Jazz 88.3 studios. They are resuming their The Japanese Friendship Concert Series  which takes place at Balboa Park's Japanese Friendship Garden and is held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month February-April (1st and 3rd Thursday in May). All monies raised will go towards supporting the music progam at Mission Bay High School. Click here to support them! NOTE- As of now all concerts are cancelled through the month of April. Please check back for updates about the May shows. 

Jazz Live- Gilbert Castellanos and his Young Lions

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:January 3, 2020

Jazz Live is happening NOW! It features, for the first time, Gilbert Castellanos' Young Lions Jazz Conservatory Big Band to the Saville stage. Gilbert will be playing along side these tremendously talented kids. Please pick up your tickets no later than 7:30pm as they will be released to the public after that time. You need to be a valid Jazz 88 member to go to this concert. You can make your reservations in the SpeakeasyAny questions about membership can be answered by the membership team or you can call 619-388-3037. As always, thanks to Big Front Door Sandwich Shop, located in University Heights (Park Blvd.) for all of our Jazz Live artists. If you are going remember that good ole' parking pass!

Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:December 16, 2019

The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center is presenting "Fred Hersch: A Solo Piano Concert in Memory of Loraine Stern," Monday, April 13th at 7:30PM at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre. A select member of jazz’s piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is a pervasively influential creative force who has shaped the music’s course over more than three decades. A solo performance by Hersch is an elegant, pensive and playful invitation to explore the possibilities of both the instrument and the song. Tickets can be purchased here.

The 2019 Holiday Membership Drive

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:December 12, 2019

Jazz 88.3's 2019 Holiday Membership Drive was a big success! Thank you so much for your support. We welcomed many new and renewing members and the music will continue to thrive because of it. If you missed your chance to call during the drive you can still donate towards the campaign by clicking here. We are now running SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, brought to you by KSDS and California Coast Credit Union. It will conclude at 11:59PM on Christmas Day. Many thanks to Dave Grudt and Ken Borgers for making it happen. Happy Holidays! Here is the top ten list from our most recent drive:

1. Bill Evans

2. Billie Holiday

3. Ornette Coleman 

4. Louis Armstrong

5. Pat Metheny

6. Paul Desmond

7. Count Basie

8. Duke Ellington

9. Herbie Hancock

10Coleman Hawkins

RETIRED INCLUDES: Miles Davis (Fall 2015), John Coltrane (Spring 2016), Frank Sinatra (Fall 2016), Ella Fitzgerald (Spring 2017), Thelonious Monk (Fall 2017), Dave Brubeck (Spring 2018), Stan Getz (Fall 2018), Nina Simone (End of Year 2018), Chet Baker (Spring 2019). Charlie Parker (Fall 2019)


Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:November 19, 2019

The 2019 Holiday Pledge drive will begin December 5th (and runs through the 12th) and we need your help. If you are a passionate Jazz88 listener sign up to become a volunteer and help us answer phones. You will meet all sorts of great people- jazz88 hosts, fellow listeners and members, and various business and restaurant owners. We have various shifts available that can fit your schedule. If you would like to know more about volunteering or becoming a superviser you can contact Ken Borgers at 619-388-3301 or by e-mailing him at SIGN-UP here to volunteer. If you are volunteering this is where you can access your DAILY PARKING PASS (scroll all the way down the page).

Holiday Jazz Live- December 9th

Blog Name:Home Page News

Blog Author:San Diego's Jazz 88.3

Posted on:November 19, 2019

Our SOLD OUT Holiday Jazz Live is happening Monday, Monday, December 9th and it will feature vocalist James Tormé. He is the son of the late legend Mel Tormé and will be bringing a swinging band to the Saville stage. The evening will be billed as "Tormé for the Holidays." Please pick up your tickets no later than 7:30pm as they will be released to the public after that time. The show is SOLD OUT but unclaimed tickets can be picked up at 7:30pm the night of the show. Any questions about membership can be answered by the membership team or you can call Ken Borgers at 619-388-3301. As always, thanks to Big Front Door Sandwich Shop, located in University Heights (Park Blvd.). If you are going remember that good ole' parking pass!