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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

  • 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.

  • SFJAZZ Collective Interprets Michael Jackson At Brubeck Festival

    October 5, 2015

    The SFJAZZ Collective is, quite simply, one of the most talent-rich ensembles in contemporary jazz. Gary Vercelli has this preview of their upcoming performance during the Brubeck Festival.

  • Monterey Jazz Fest Stays Fresh And Focused On Future

    September 14, 2015

    For 58 years, the third weekend in September has signaled the start of the longest, continuously-running jazz festival in the world. This year, the Monterey Jazz Festival will feature more than 500 top jazz artists.

  • Pianist Jim Martinez Honors A Jazz Giant

    August 10, 2015

    Vince Guaraldi is well-known for his popular soundtracks to the Peanuts animated TV specials. But Guaraldi had another important claim to fame: he "jazzed up the mass." Pianist and fan Jim Martinez is honoring Guaraldi with a new CD and concert.

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    Latin Jazz A Prominent Player At San Jose's Summer Fest

    August 5, 2015

    The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest gets underway this week with a stellar lineup including Latin jazz legend Eddie Palmieri. As CapRadio's Gary Vercelli explains, Latin jazz and salsa have been front and center at this festival from the beginning.

  • Sound Advice: Criss Cross Jazz

    July 2, 2015

    CapRadio's jazz music director Gary Vercelli guides us through a sampling of new releases from the highly regarded Dutch record label, Criss Cross Jazz.