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Gary G. Vercelli

Jazz Music Director

Gary Vercelli knew at an early age that jazz was his passion. "In high school, there was a 24-hour jazz station in Los Angeles, when commercial radio and jazz were not the oxymoron they are today," says Vercelli, Jazz Music Director for Capital Public Radio. "I used to listen to that station and think, one day, I'd like to work there." Eventually, he did.

While attending college at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Vercelli launched his radio career. "After graduating, I worked at KCRW, an NPR affiliate in Santa Monica," he recalls. "While I was there, I coordinated 70 hours of weekly jazz programming and produced a pilot for NPR's Jazz Alive! series." Vercelli then accepted a job at KBCA, the commercial jazz station of his high school days. During this time, he also served as the L.A. correspondent for Down Beat Magazine

In 1980, Vercelli made his way to Sacramento as Jazz Music Director for Capital Public Radio. For the next 11 years, in addition to supervising the station's jazz programming, he produced and hosted Jazz International, a popular nightly jazz program. When Capital Public Radio added its second station with a jazz, news and information format in 1991, Vercelli easily assumed the role of music director. Before the News Station celebrated its fourth anniversary on the air, Vercelli had earned the distinction of "Jazz Broadcaster of the Year" by Gavin, a respected industry weekly. In 1993, the same publication acclaimed the station as "National Jazz Station of the Year."

In spite of the recognition, Vercelli gently cautions jazz aficionados about taking the music for granted. "Now more than ever," he says, "it's important for listeners to support the station."

When he's not on air or previewing music for the station, Vercelli enjoys visiting the Bay Area, cooking and yoga, which he has studied for more than 20 years. "I also have an interest in wines, which is diametrically opposed to my Yoga interest," he laments with a grin. "I guess I'm a classic example of east meets west."

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  • Excellence in Jazz

    The Giants of Mainstream Jazz plus today's most exciting straight-ahead emerging artists with contemporary vocals and spices of Blues and Latin Jazz.

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  • JazzStream

    Jazzstream is the 24-hour jazz service of Capital Public Radio. Veteran jazz announcers pull from the vast library of new and time-tested tracks to bring you what we call Great Jazz by Jazz Greats. Support comes from Terre Rouge Easton Wines.

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  • Acid Jazz

    Old school, New school...the soulful experience of Acid Jazz

    Stories by Gary G. Vercelli

  • 60's Cool: Sergio Mendes And The Timeless Sound He Created

    January 26, 2017

    Fifty years ago, as British rockers were descending on the American music scene, Sergio Mendes mounted his own Brazilian invasion, delivering a sound that became the epitome of “60’s cool.”

  • Tony Adamo: Hipper Than Hip

    January 25, 2017

    Tony Adamo has been described as a beatnik who arrived sixty years late, but if you ask him, he’s just a raconteur who describes his environment. Adamo celebrates urban life and the jazz masters with "hip-speak" over intense rhythms.

  • Dave Bass / Courtesy

    Pianist Dave Bass: From Jazz To Jurisprudence And Back Again

    January 19, 2017

    Injury stalled jazz pianist Dave Bass' music career and forced him to pursue another course. He became a successful attorney, but jazz never left him. Recently retired from law, he's refocusing on jazz. And his rejuvenated music career is taking off.

  • Bria Skonberg: Beauty, Brains & Bop

    October 5, 2016

    It wasn’t too many years ago that an attractive young trumpeter from Canada was wooing audiences at Sacramento’s Jazz Jubilee. Now all grown up, Bria Skonberg has just released her first album for a major record label.

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    Ann Hampton Callaway: A Singer's Singer

    August 8, 2016

    If you're a regular listener of Excellence in Jazz you know the voice of Ann Hampton Callaway, one of the most widely respected jazz singers of her generation. She performs August 8 in a benefit concert at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

  • Sound Advice: The Evolution of Hipness

    April 28, 2016

    We travel to the Crocker Art Museum for this week’s Sound Advice with CapRadio's jazz music director Gary Vercelli.

  • Album Review: Bob Kenmotsu, 'I’m in Love with You'

    March 4, 2016

    Stockton native Bob Kenmotsu is one of the unsung heroes of contemporary jazz. On his new CD, I’m in Love with You, Bob takes the chord changes to jazz standards and invents new melodic content on his fill-bodied tenor sax.

  • Henry Robinett's Jazz Journey: From Mingus To Mitchell To Mountains

    March 3, 2016

    Guitarist Henry Robinett has a new CD out. That's news because it's been 16 years since he released his previous one! The popular, Sacramento-based guitarist talked about the album and about his musical history with CapRadio's Gary Vercelli.

  • Henry Robinett's Jazz Journey: From Mingus To Mitchell To Mountains

    March 2, 2016

    Guitarist Henry Robinett has a new CD out. That's news because it's been 16 years since he released his previous one! The popular, Sacramento-based guitarist talked about the album and about his musical history with CapRadio's Gary Vercelli.

  • A Conversation With Photographer Veryl Oakland - Jazz In Available Light

    October 28, 2015

    Jazz host Gary Vercelli sat down with jazz photographer Veryl Oakland ahead of his exhibit of photographs at Capital Public Radio.