I got my start in public/community radio at WFBE in Flint, Michigan in the late 1970s. I talked my way into being the self-appointed assistant, apprentice and substitute for a Thursday night program called John's Jazz.
The show was hosted by John R. Davis, journalist and unmatched jazz enthusiast. He very kindly let me tag along and learn things about music and radio.
John’s Jazz theme song was "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" featuring Johnny Hodges on sax.
Once a year, on the anniversary of the début of the show, we’d play every jazz version of that song we could find, all through the night…preferably instrumental, but of course we had to spin* some vocals, too.
(*Spin: verb, to play a vinyl recording on a turntable for over-the-air broadcast.)
I got to wondering the other day what my old friend and mentor would think about recent versions of his theme song by young upcoming artists like Trombone Shorty and Halie Loren.
I’m sure JRD would approve.
Halie Loren performs on KPLU’s Jazz Cruise on August 10, and Trombone Shorty appears at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo Tunes series on August 17.
Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.