In these days of auto-tune hits and factory-produced songs, there is a wealth of creative and beautiful music made by real people that flies below the radar of the increasingly fragmented (and too often syndicated) mainstream media. Part of my self-adopted mandate is to connect musicians, presenters, listeners and venues so that music makers can find their audiences and music lovers can feed their Curious Ears for both familiar and unfamiliar sounds. This comes through the information of whoâ€™s playing and whatâ€™s happening where and programming the best of jazz and other creative musics from around the world, across the country and in our community â€“ Iâ€™ve had many artists tell me that the first time they ever heard their music on the radio was on the A-Trane!
Although the Canadian broadcasting rules mandate a minimum of 25% Canadian content for jazz, The A-Trane generally exceeds that quite handily. But in a way that supports the community by giving local artists exposure, playing them alongside current releases from the Canadian and international jazz scene and providing some historical context for the music in general. I think that’s necessary to keep an appreciation for the music alive and vibrant – although everyone has their favorite ‘golden ages’ of jazz, featuring them to the exclusion of the excellent music being produced today risks turning jazz into a museum piece.
I think of the A-Trane as part of the Vancouver Jazz Ecosystem – the Vancouver scene is extremely active and diverse for a city this size. Besides the formally established venues like Frankieâ€™s Jazz Club, Patâ€™s Pub, The Tangent Cafe etc, the active arts organizations and programmers like Coastal Jazz, the Capilano University series, the Chan Centre, Vancouver New Music, The Rogue Folk Club etc, there is a wealth of musician-run spaces (Merge, Gold Saucer Studio, China Cloud, Toast Collective etc), house concerts and musical presentations which simply arenâ€™t of interest to the mainstream media outlets in the city. Where can a music lover go to find out about what interesting music is going on in their community? And where can they hear some of the artists beforehand especially the ones they donâ€™t even know that they might be interested in?
The weekly idiosyncratic events listing called The A-Trane Calendar evolved over the years out of my passion for music, my appreciation for the richness of the Vancouver musical community and my desire to contribute to making the scene even better. As a weekly part of the A-Trane, itâ€™s meant as both a community outreach and guide for the music you hear on the radio show.
The medium that makes all this possible is CFRO, a radio cooperative that has been broadcasting in the lower mainland since 1975. The cooperative part means that itâ€™s owned by its members (thatâ€™s you and me) and almost all volunteer-driven â€“ you can count the number of employees on the fingers of one hand!
The non-commercial part means that we donâ€™t sell ears to advertisers, we use the airwaves to present our passion in music, public affairs, community access, alternative voices and to strengthen our community. Being non-commercial means that we rely on our members for funding through memberships and donations. This allows us to maintain our independence and ensure that the quality content that we present is solely tied to satisfying our audiences.
So if youâ€™ve ever gone to a concert because you saw it on the A-Trane Calendar or had your gig listed or your music played on the A-Trane or heard something that knocked your socks off, please consider making a donation or taking a membership. Itâ€™s an investment in your community thatâ€™s sure to pay dividends!
Just click through to the A-Trane Fundraising Page and do what comes natural â€“ youâ€™ll be contributing to your community! Itâ€™s even tax-deductible!
Thanks for listening!