The Sound of Swing began over 20 years ago on WCVE Public Radio. It was a bit of a fluke. A producer in another part of the country offered a swing music program for distribution on the Public Radio Satellite System, and WCVE Public Radio decided to add it to its schedule. The program guide went to press listing the new program, but by the time the start date rolled around, the producer, for whatever reason, had withdrawn the offering. So, there we were with a listing and no program. I was a part timer in those days with a regular slot on the air Saturdays and Sundays. Station manager Tom Calmeyer came in to see me one Saturday and casually asked if I knew anything about swing. “Sure,” I said. “I used to play in a high school swing band back in the mid-sixties. Why do you ask?” Tom explained the situation and asked if I thought I could put together a live program to debut the following evening... just for a few weeks. Well, for months, I had been doing little other than rolling tapes and babysitting the audio board, so I jumped at the chance. Never one to allow ignorance to get in the way of opportunity, I became a clueless swing “expert” overnight. In reality, I didn’t know the difference between Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. They were just a couple of clarinet players to me.
Little by little, though, through the years, I began to get a feel for the material, to learn a little of the “vocabulary” of the language, to learn some of the history and to identify the unique voices of some of this music’s key players. What caught my attention made its way into the program with the thought that it might catch yours, as well. And so it goes, this weekly exploration of early jazz and swing. I’m still learning and still discovering and still passing it along for your consideration. It’s the longest lasting and most enjoyable temporary gig I’ve ever had.
The Sound of Swing with Steve Clark airs Saturdays @ 11:00 AM.