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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 Gary.  "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, Gary 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."

Gary 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 and wrote liner notes for leading jazz record labels.

In 1980, Gary moved to Sacramento to serve as Jazz Music Director at KXPR, Capital Public Radio’s original, multi-format station.  For the next 11 years, in addition to supervising the station's jazz programming and concert activity, he produced and hosted Jazz International, a popular nightly jazz program. When CapRadio added its second station, KXJZ, with a jazz and news format in 1991, Gary easily assumed the role of music director. Before the station celebrated its fourth anniversary, Gary was named "Jazz Broadcaster of the Year" by the Gavin Report, a respected, national music industry chart. In 1993, the same publication proclaimed KXJZ "National Jazz Station of the Year."  More recently, Gary was recognized by Jazz Week with the prestigious Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award, acknowledging his lifetime of achievement and service to the community.

CapRadio’s program schedules have changed over the years, meeting the community’s growing demand for more NPR and NPR-style news programming.  The “Excellence in Jazz” sound established by Gary nearly four decades ago – a sound he continues to refine -- is now featured Sunday through Friday evenings, following a full day of classical music on KXPR, KXSR, and KXJS.  Gary continues to host EIJ three nights a week,  along with Acid Jazz, Saturdays on KXJZ.  He also programs CapRadio’s 24-hour digital music service, www.JazzStream.org.

When he's not on the air or previewing music for the station, Gary enjoys visiting the Bay Area, cooking, and teaching Iyengar yoga, which he has studied for more than 30 years. "I also have an interest in fine Italian 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."


  • Acid Jazz

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


  • 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.


  • 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.

    Stories by Gary G. Vercelli

  • Gary Vercelli Previews New Releases From The Jazz World

    April 20, 2017

    Jazz Music Director Gary Vercelli talks about new releases in the jazz world on Sound Advice.

  • Jazz Host Gary Vercelli Highlights Notable Female Performers On Sound Advice

    March 16, 2017

    Capital Public Radio’s Gary Vercelli joins this week’s Sound Advice with a look at some of jazz’s top female performers, including a 14-year-old pianist and composer.

  • 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.

  • courtesy The Kurland Agency

    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.