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The University of Hartford

A Backward Glance: WWUH’s ’98 Jazz Activities
by Chuck Obuchowski

    WWUH continued to play a major role in the region’s jazz scene in 1998, even extending its reach to the global music community thanks to a newfound presence on the World Wide Web. Jazz has been an integral part of the 91.3 FM programming mix since the station’s inception in 1968.
    One of UH’s 30th anniversary celebrations took place in Hartford’s Bushnell Park on July 27 where The Mingus Big Band offered one of the summer’s most exciting jazz performances; special thanks to Monday Night Jazz Series director Paul Brown for his cooperation. Not only did the station broadcast the event live, as is tradition on Mondays in July and August, but several UH jazz announcers also emceed the concert and gave away a bundle of 30th anniversary T-shirts to grateful fans of the station.
    On a sad note, the jazz world lost a number of wonderful musicians last year who had enlivened the Bushnell Park stage on many a sultry summer’s night: Walter Bishop, Jr., Thomas Chapin, Ted Dunbar and C.I. Williams. We also said good-bye to Betty Carter, Denis Charles, Dorothy Donegan, Tal Farlow, Kenny Kirkland, Frank Sinatra and Attila Zoller in ’98; WWUH offered musical obituaries for each of these marvelous artists.
    In addition to the Bushnell broadcasts, WWUH maintained a booth at the third annual Litchfield Jazz Festival August 8 and acted as a media sponsor of the inaugural Liberty Bank Jazz Festival in Norwich on September 20. UH staff members also helped to document on audio and audio tape--and in photographs--In Harmony: A Vision Shared, the Thomas Chapin benefit concert held February 1 at Manchester’s Cheney Hall.
    The WWUH jazz staff wrapped up the year with a benefit concert for 91.3 featuring The Jim Cifelli New York Nonet. The event took place Friday, December 4th at Wilde Auditorium, located down the hall from the UH studios in the Gray Center on the University of Hartford campus. Merci beaucoups to the nine members of the Nonet, and to all the volunteers who helped make the evening such a success.
    UH Jazz announcers in 1998 carried on a time-honored practice of including musician interviews during their programs. Ron Carter, Chick Corea and Doc Severinsen were among the artists who shared their thoughts on the WWUH airwaves last year. Connecticut musicians also got their due, through airplay of recordings, in-studio interviews and concert announcements. The WWUH Jazzline (860-768-5267) remains one of the most comprehensive concert listings available by telephone in the Northeast. As regular listeners are aware, ticket and CD giveaways are a regular part of the station’s jazz broadcasts.
    In June, WWUH was accepted into a select group of radio stations which submit weekly jazz playlists to The Gavin Report, an industry trade publication that tracks airplay around the country. Consequently, the station’s record service has increased greatly, which means that UH listeners now have greater access than ever before to new jazz recordings. Stuart Feldman and Chuck Obuchowski represented WWUH at last October’s annual JazzTimes convention, held in New York City; another windfall of recordings and industry connections for the station resulted. And, lest you think we’re all lining our pockets with your donations, keep in mind that WWUH announcers are all volunteers. We’re crazy enough to do this simply for the love of the music! Here’s wishing each and every one of our listeners another year of harmonious, improvisational joys!

Copyright©WWUH: January/February Program Guide, 1999

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