Pssst. C’mere. I’m going to tell you a secret.
The best two hours of radio anywhere is on Sunday nights. And it broadcasts from Rochester, N.Y., on 88.5 FM, WRUR, from 6 – 8 p.m. Sunday.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sunday Session, hosted by the fabulous Ruth Elaine.
There is little available online biographically of this DJ powerhouse, whose delivery is reminiscent of Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman and takes a listener some time to adjust. For a time she was name-checked in our house as “that crazy jazz lady.” A Google search brings up a D&C feature done on her on October 20, 2009, but the rest of the article ain’t available. Disappointed. But the search did unearth this from her, regarding her cool style:
“It really is my voice,” Ruth Elaine assures me, clearly accustomed to the question. There’s no hint of exasperation in her answer; she knows that her distinctive sound-a slow, snaking alto dripping with cool-cat enthusiasm-is instantly recognizable to anyone who has heard her hosting “Sunday Session with Ruth Elaine,” her weekly jazz radio show on WRUR-88.5 FM.
But if I am near a radio or other contraption that will deliver a broadcast at that time, I will be listening. Because Ruth Elaine succinctly delivers in those two hours some of the best jazz you will ever hear. As a taste-maker, as a person whose ear you trust absolutely, as a friend of yours to go hey, listen to this, she is the finest. I am a resolute Ruth Elaine fan and by gosh, her show is on the radio right now. Here. You can go listen right here.
Which brings me briefly to yet another item for the Zappadan.
Zappa is often quoted as saying “jazz is not dead, it just smells funny.” As noted in the hour-28 radio documentary I’m about to share with you, Zappa’s relationship with the form was, well, odd. But, the truth is, among the things one could accuse him of was that he was essentially a jazz band leader.
Take the time, kids, I’m telling you. This is one meaty documentary. It’s British, of course.
And if you’re not gonna listen to that, at least give Ms. Ruth Elaine a shot. You will gain a lovely education.