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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | SOUNDS

Benefit Allows KCSB Fans to Put Their Money Where the Music Is

Station supporters can attend a concert Sunday to raise funds, as well as kick off the new Santa Barbara Jazz Society.

May 23, 1996|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Jazz radio, if never quite an endangered cultural species, has always been a fragile entity, subject to the mood swings of fashion and the kindness of the noncommercial airwaves. In the Ventura-Santa Barbara region, as elsewhere, the jazz radio scene has waxed and waned. Currently, it's waxing, with some help from supporters.

Before KCLU, on the Cal Lutheran campus in Thousand Oaks, started up its blend of mainstream jazz and pop-jazz three years ago, KCSB-FM (91.9) was spreading its programming, with healthy portions of jazz mixed in with other music, along the coast.

On Sunday, the station is staging a benefit show at Santa Barbara's SOhO. Like most noncommercial stations, KCSB brings in money mostly with on-air fund drives, but benefit concerts such as this are a good way to help support the station while in the presence of the music itself.

Saxophonist Dan St. Marseille and pianist Cecilia Coleman, notable Southern Californian musicians, will lead their own groups at the show. Brazilian singer Teka, a regular performer around town, will sit in.

A thumbnail history of the station bears out its slow but steady evolution. KCSB, in the heart of UC Santa Barbara, was formed in 1963 as an all-classical station and became a 24-hour-a-day station in 1969. It has the distinction of being the only station in the country to have been officially shut down: Police pulled the plug as the station was broadcasting live from the 1970 Isla Vista bank burning.

The station increased its broadcast range, first placing transmitters on Broadcast Peak in 1980, and then receiving FCC approval for a power increase to 620 watts in 1982. That was a turning point, enabling the station to beam out alternative programming from Arroyo Grande to the north to Thousand Oaks to the south, reaching a million potential listeners.

Jazz has been a force on the programming roster for years, and is in a healthy state at the moment. Oxnard's own Raul Rico Jr. has maintained his Latin-jazz show on Sunday nights for a decade.

The new energy has to do with the efforts of jazz programmer Stanley Naftaly, who organized the KCSB benefit and has also recently taken over as president of the Santa Barbara Jazz Society. Naftaly has been appealing to jazz-interested parties around the area, securing support and sponsorship from the now-dormant but once-thriving Jazz and World Music Society, as well as 66 California--the steadiest presenter of jazz in Ventura--and the Ventura Jazz Society. Sunday's benefit will serve double duty as the new Santa Barbara Jazz Society's kickoff event.

The Season at a Glance: On the classical music front, the New West Symphony has announced the lineup for next season, its sophomore year. As in the orchestra's inaugural year, concerts will be held at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and the Oxnard Performing Arts Center (nee the Civic Auditorium) on consecutive nights, to better serve the two ends of the county.

On Oct. 4 and 5, guest pianist Arnaldo Cohen will be the star of the program "Pianistic Pizazz," performing Liszt's "Les Preludes," and, from Beethoven, the Third Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasia. This will also be the unveiling of the renovated Oxnard venue.

Piano will again be at the forefront on Nov. 9 and 10, when the dazzling sister team of Katia and Marielle Labeque arrive to perform Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos and works by Dvorak and Brahms. The orchestra will complete the program with music by Alberto Ginastera and Prokofiev.

"Basically Baroque," on Jan. 10 and 11, will include Bach's "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 3; Handel's Concerto for Harp, featuring harpist Marcia Dickstein; and a world premiere from Ventura-based composer John Biggs, a Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, featuring Ojai-based Virginia Kron as soloist.

Pianist Jerome Lowenthal, a mainstay at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, will show up Feb. 28 and March 1, to perform music of Tchaikovsky and Brahms.

Mozart will be the subject on April 4 and 5, with a program that includes the Overture to "Marriage of Figaro," the "Haffner" Symphony and a theatrical presentation of Pushkin's playlet "Mozart and Salieri."

On May 30 and 31, the season will end with a concert titled "Exotic Adventures" that will include a world premiere by Agoura Hills-based composer Joe Curiale, who has worked in television and other ends of the entertainment spectrum. His "Gates of Gold" is a concerto for the Chinese violin known as the erhu. Mahler's First Symphony will draw the season, sprawlingly, to a close.

It's another season, another brick in the foundation of this fledgling orchestra.

DETAILS

* WHAT: KCSB benefit, with Dan St. Marseille and Cecilia Coleman.

* WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

* WHERE: SOhO, 1221 State St., Santa Barbara.

* HOW MUCH: Tickets are $10. Price includes hors d'oeuvres.

* CALL: 962-7776.

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