TOMORROW (SATURDAY): KCSM'S JAZZ AND CHILL ON UP THE HILL
When jazz happens in an institution of higher learning, you’d expect an elevated experience. And you get that here in the Bay Area, direct from the College of San Mateo, where the campus radio station, KCSM-FM, broadcasts jazz all days and all nights all year. But there’s more: once a year, on the first Saturday of June, we get it live and outdoors at the campus’s Jazz On the Hill Festival, where music from the stage, offered free-of-charge, mixes with the aromas of food vendors, the tastes of fine wine, beer, and coffee, and the delights of arts-and-crafts, positioned in booths alongside community groups. A food court will replace the food trucks seen in past years.
For those strolling or lounging on blankets on the grass and on lawn chairs, it’s a higher time in more ways than one. “We have gorgeous panoramic views of the Bay Area from up here, and the weather is getting nice”, says KCSM-FM station manager Dante Betteo, referring to the campus’s almost 700-foot elevation and Saturday’s expected high in the seventies. “It’s our way of showing our appreciation for the audience.”
And the audience, over the event’s many years, has returned the appreciation. “This year we have [veteran blues harmonica player] Charlie Musselwhite back, by popular demand,” notes Betteo. “And we want to continue to introduce jazz to younger audiences, because jazz should be part of the educational process. In the past, we had a dedicated stage for youth bands, but this year we’re bringing the youth bands to the main stage, to give them a bigger audience.”
The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars will start off the festivities tomorrow (Saturday, June 4) at 11 am, and the San Francisco Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble is the last-scheduled act, at 5:30 pm. The delicious variety of older musicians in between includes “Creole Soul” trumpeter Etienne Charles (12 Noon); Lynne Arriale, Grace Kelly, and Charenee Wade celebrating fellow female greats Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, and Joni Mitchell (1:45 pm); and Musselwhite (3:45 pm). The Festival closes at 6 pm.
“Another thing we’re really excited about, which we’ve never done before, is that we’ll be simulcasting the entire festival,” says Betteo. “And we’re gonna have a place behind the stage, where we’ll talk with performers between acts. Our distance audience is growing, we have a lot of people listening in other states and even overseas, and there’s a lot of people in the Bay Area who can’t come because of work or family events. But it’ll also entice people who hear it to come up the hill, and enjoy it in person.”
Another first will be the 7 Mile House’s booths, dispensing goodies and information and hosting meet-and-greets with some of the venue’s musical masters: Dave Bendigkeit (12 Noon), Melissa Morgan (1 pm), Vince Lateano (2 pm), Andrew Speight (3 pm), and Don Alberts (4 pm).
“I’m thrilled to have the 7 Mile House here, as part of the family,” offers Betteo, who visited the venue during Jazz Appreciation Month. “We’d like to continue and grow that relationship, including the possibility of doing remote broadcasts from Brisbane.”
For directions, information on parking, and other aspects of Jazz On the Hill, click http://www.jazzonthehill.org, Visit the 7 Mile House booths while you’re up there, and remember to keep listening to KCSM, 91.1, wherever you are.