WRVR Jazz – Sunday Salsa Show – Celia Cruz

The Fania All Stars got a huge boost from airplay on Dawson’s Sunday Salsa Show. Here they accompany Celia Cruz during a 1974 classic live performance in Zaire.

I don’t know much about Latin Jazz, except that I like it. I guess I can differentiate between Afro-Cuban, Mambo or Salsa, and also recall descriptions of Cruz’s singing style as being masculine, probably focusing on her relatively deeper pitch and rapid-fire vocal attack. Think Tina Turner with a little less shimmy, although Celia moves around plenty in her own right. Visually she might remind you of Patti Labelle, when she fronted the group featuring her name.


WRVR Jazz NY – Billie Holiday – Just Jazz with Ed Beach

My exposure to WRVR was during the station’s second act, after the sale to Sonderling Broadcasting Corp. in 1975. The earlier jazz broadcasts from Riverside Church were hosted by the legendary Ed Beach. His Just Jazz series of programs from the early 60’s to mid 70’s have been preserved in their entirety and are to be included in the aforementioned archives of historic recordings from WRVR. Fans of Beach recognize Just Jazz as the archetype for all great jazz programming.

ed beach

Just Jazz focused on a single influential jazz artist, with classic recordings introduced by Beach and connected by the deejay’s wealth of background information on the musicians, their influences and the key elements to each composition. Each broadcast was a Master’s-level course in Jazz Appreciation.

I had to search hard to uncover one complete broadcast, this episode featuring Billie Holiday. The link provided will allow you to download the program in its entirety. I’m not sure why all of Beach’s broadcasts are not available through NPR or similar channels, but this representative sample is my introduction to the early days at WRVR.

Billie Holiday Just Jazz with Ed Beach

I’ve always been a fan of Billie Holiday, and the story of her sad life has been well documented in literature and film. Below is a quick taste to lead in to the WRVR program. I hope you’ll take the time to experience America’s native contribution to the art world.

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