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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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    Stories by Gary G. Vercelli

  • Sound Advice: New Jazz Releases With Gary Vercelli

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    This week Jazz Music Director Gary Vercelli shares new takes on jazz and blues standards. You'll hear Tierney Sutton, Andy Bey, Sergio Mendes and more.

  • Courtesy Of The Artist

    The Cookers: Forever Young, Forever Modern

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Gary Vercelli lays out the argument for why you should go see The Cookers.

  • mmw.net

    Sound Advice: Gary Vercelli

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Jazz Music Director Gary Vercelli brings us two new takes on Antonio Carlos Jobim classics, the latest by Stanley Clark and John Scofield teams up with Medeski Martin and Wood.

  • Cole Thompson / Monterey Jazz Festival

    John Santos: Bringing History Alive Through Music

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Gary Vercelli talks with latin jazz performer and educator, John Santos, ahead of his free concert in West Sacramento.

  • Vercelli's Vault: An Hour With John Pizzarelli

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    In talking with Capital Public Radio’s Gary Vercelli, John Pizzarelli reflects back on 32 years of work as a professional musician, recounting the influences of Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, George Shearing, Benny Goodman, and his prolific father.

  • Rich Pedroncelli, file / AP

    Vercelli's Vault: Remembering Jimmy Smith

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    The late jazz legend and master of the Hammond B-3 organ Jimmy Smith called Sacramento home for a time in the mid-90's. Our own Mick Martin performed and recorded with Smith, and Jazz Music Director interviewed Smith in-studio more than 20 years ago.

  • Catherine Russell: Soulful, Hip & Historically Minded

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Gary Vercelli talks with jazz royalty, Catherine Russell, about her recent album.

  • Peter Maiden / San Jose Jazz Fest

    San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Shines with Expanded Line-Up

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    Jazz host, Gary Vercelli, provides the low-down on the San Jose Jazz festival, and we're giving away tickets.

  • Seth Wenig / AP

    Insight: "Playing By Ear"

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    Gary Verecelli speaks with music Dan Oulette about his book on Bruce Lundvall.