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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."
Old school, New school...the soulful experience of Acid 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 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.
May 24, 2017
CapRadio's Jazz Music Director, Gary Vercelli, sat down with Paul Fingerote to talk about the book he co-authored with Dr. Herb Wong, "Jazz On My Mind."
April 20, 2017
Jazz Music Director Gary Vercelli talks about new releases in the jazz world 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 28, 2016
We travel to the Crocker Art Museum for this week’s Sound Advice with CapRadio's jazz music director Gary Vercelli.
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.