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.
March 2, 2021
Gary G. Vercelli highlights four notable recordings from Creed Taylors’ CTI Records, featuring Paul Desmond, Joe Farrell, Freddie Hubbard and Jim Hall.
December 1, 2020
Gary Vercelli has been the keeper of CapRadio’s database of holiday jazz music for many years. He’s here to share some of his favorite new releases as well as some classics from years gone by.
October 23, 2020
The University of the Pacific in Stockton presents its annual Pacific Jazz Festival Friday and Saturday Oct. 23-24, bringing concerts and masterclasses to a video screen near you.
October 5, 2020
The 2020 election is set to be consequential for our nation in many ways. No matter how you’re voting, here are some jazz songs to motivate you to use your voice as you cast your ballot this year.
September 22, 2020
Saxophonist Brian Landrus, a new addition to the staff at Sacramento State Univerity’s Department of Jazz Studies, recently spoke with CapRadio’s Gary Vercelli on Landrus' new album, the challenges of virtual teaching, and more.
September 1, 2020
In our current era of political turmoil, pandemic and the fight for racial justice, many songs of protest, struggle, hope and resistance that were written decades ago feel just as relevant today as when they were written.
June 2, 2020
CapRadio Jazz Music Director Gary G. Vercelli takes a deep dive into his music library to answer the question: What makes a piece of jazz music a contemporary classic?
May 4, 2020
CapRadio jazz music director Gary Vercelli interviews Marc Free, the founder of Posi-Tone Records, about the label's artistic philosophy, strong support of young artists and positive outlook during this global pandemic.
March 3, 2020
CapRadio’s Gary Vercelli runs through some great pieces from the catalogue of ECM Records, founded 51 years ago this year.
February 4, 2020
As CapRadio’s jazz hosts review new releases, they find some that just have that magic about them. Here are 10 artists to watch in 2020 who have that something special.