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.
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.
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.