A World of Speculation

KMHD radio (pronounced “Kaymaichdee” for those outside the area) is a regional treasure. It’s part of Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, and its 24-hour jazz programming is something you wouldn’t expect in a market our size — running across the jazz spectrum and through the jazz ages, mixing in some blues now and then and a daily half hour of “Nothing But New.”

The announcers coordinate their own shows, and each one has a slightly different approach–one focuses on hot tunes from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s; another on calmer pieces without ever sinking into “smooth” jazz; a duo do the late-night pieces, well, late at night, in a program that starts off with a different version of “Harlem Nocturne” every night.

But sometimes their knowledge and enthusiasm gets in the way of the music.

• Guys, if there are more than five members of the band, don’t name them all. If it’s really important that the late great Jimmie ____ handled the sticks in that piece, well, OK, tell me that. But pick the top three, and then play the song. Sometimes I think that if you played a Glenn Miller piece, you’d name everybody in the orchestra.

• Please tone down the jazz lingo — you know who you are. Not every piece you play is a “date,” OK? Maybe one could be a “date” and one a “song” and one a “piece.” If you want to get creative and throw in an opinion (see below), call it a “standard” or a “great.”

• I already know you think its a good tune. You picked it. I know it’s unique; every piece is unique. If you’ve got something pithy, interesting and short, toss it in. Don’t spend two minutes telling me it’s great and how you saw them play in New York City and they were great or this was a great recording. Just play the music. I already want to hear it or I wouldn’t have pressed my #1 preset button, taking me to 89.1.

• Brief summary: Less talk means more music.