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Meet Geoff Anderson

Meet Geoff Anderson
AAJ Staff By

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I currently live in: Littleton, CO

I joined All About Jazz in: 2007

What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz? It all started at a concert by George Brooks and his band Summit at the Boulder Theater around 2002. The band featured tabla maestro Zakir Hussain as well as guitarist Fareed Haque. Brooks played tenor sax, Steve Smith was on trap drums and Kai Eckhardt played bass. The music was a unique combination of Western jazz and Indian music. I was so blown away that I felt compelled to write about the concert and tell my friends. I wrote up a review and emailed it to a couple dozen of my musically inclined friends. They liked it! Of course that only encouraged me to do more. I realized it was greatly entertaining for me, helped me remember the great concerts I attended, and usually people liked the reviews. I just emailed the reviews around for a few years. Then, in poking around the web, I came across All About Jazz. The website said they wanted writers. OK, why not? I started submitting the reviews I was writing and they published them!

How do you contribute to All About Jazz? I concentrate on live reviews. I've enjoyed going to concerts since at least high school. Denver has an outstanding live music scene with bushels of top drawer local talent of every genre and, because there are so many music fans around here, it has a reputation as a great stop for national acts touring the country. As a result, there are WAY too many concerts than I have time to attend. It's a little frustrating at times, but it's a great problem to have.

What is your musical background? I played trumpet and French horn in junior high, high school and college and messed around with piano a bit in college. I eventually concluded I'm better at listening than playing. My main musical outlet over the years has been radio. For some reason, I was enthralled with radio even at an early age. I started in radio in 1976 at KCSU, the campus radio station at Colorado State University in my hometown of Fort Collins. While I was there, the station became affiliated with National Public Radio and began broadcasting All Things Considered and the (at the time) brand new Morning Edition. The format kept plenty of music programming and I dove in enthusiastically. The station literally played everything from classical to folk to country to rock to jazz. It was intent on not being commercial and it was almost as if the staff had an unwritten rule to see who could play the most obscure stuff. I learned a huge amount about all kinds of music including jazz. In fact, for a year or two I hosted a show called "Mostly Jazz" from 9 p.m. to midnight weekday evenings. There were a number of hosts and I did that show two or three nights a week.

In 1978, I got a gig at the local rock radio station, KTCL, now know as "Channel 93.3." At the time, the station called itself "Progressive Radio" and had an expansive playlist for a rock station. We played much of what is now known as "Classic Rock;" acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Little Feat, etc. But the list went far beyond that. We played country-rock like the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Poco. We played bluegrass by bands like the New Grass Revival and local favorites Hot Rize. We played progressive rock by bands like Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson and Gentle Giant. We played jazz fusion by acts like Return to Forever, Weather Report, Jean-Luc Ponty and the Crusaders. Like KCSU, the disc jockeys had wide latitude in what we played. Needless to say, they don't make radio stations like that anymore.

I worked at KCSU from 1976 to 1982 and at KTCL from 1978 to 1982. So I worked at both stations simultaneously. Sometimes I would do Mostly Jazz on KCSU from 9 to midnight, hop on my bike and ride across town and do the 12:30 to 6 a.m. shift at KTCL. Those were the days.

In 1982, I moved to Denver to attend law school at the University of Denver and put my radio career on hold. After I graduated and worked as a lawyer for a couple years, I decided to get back into it. KUVO had gone on the air in 1985 with a jazz format and ran, almost exclusively, on volunteer power. In 1988, a radio acquaintance told me that the program director there was always looking for experienced announcers so, after getting a couple years as a lawyer under my belt, I contacted Carlos Lando, program director at KUVO. I quickly landed a Tuesday evening slot and I've been there ever since. Twenty-five years later, I still enjoy going to the studio on Tuesday evenings to play jazz on the radio from 7 to 10. BTW, Lando is still there too and, for my money, is one of the best program directors around. I say that not only because he lets the DJs more or less play what we want, but also because it works! The station has a great sound. It's diverse, yet it hangs together.

I've always been a music proselytizer and radio has given me a great opportunity to do that. Writing concert reviews and emailing them to friends was another step in that process. Being able to post those reviews on All About Jazz gives me a wider distribution to talk about the music that I enjoy and often touches my soul. Hopefully, through all this, I can inspire others to seek out and hear music that can inspire them as well.

What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today? Up until recently, the answer to that question was Who's Next (Decca, 1971) and Led Zeppelin IV (Atlantic, 1971) both purchased on the same fateful day in 1971. These were the first two rock records I bought and I'm still impressed that I picked those two because they are clearly two of the top albums of the Classic Rock era.

I became enamored with music at a very early age. The interest was encouraged by my parents who bought me a little record player and records about things like train songs. As I got older, I wanted to buy my own records, but my parents weren't too sure about that Rock 'n Roll stuff I was interested in. The compromise, for a time, was that I was allowed to buy non-rock albums and I gravitated to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

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