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During the fall and spring semesters at San Diego City College, Jazz Live is a monthly concert series, gearing up to bimonthly performances in July and August. The concerts are almost always scheduled on the second Tuesday of the month.

Jazz Live is also the longest running program on KSDS Jazz 88, the area's only full-spectrum, nonprofit radio station. It has been going since the mid 1970s, originally being broadcast from a classroom known as "the pit." Now the shows are held in the acoustically pristine Saville Theatre with a 275-seat capacity.

"Back in the day, we had a little six-channel, battery-powered Yamaha mixer," says Larry Quick, the long-time station chief engineer, adding, "the batteries would usually die on the day of performance."

In the old days, the performers were local, and the audiences were usually sparse.

There have been many changes made along the way, but one thing has remained constant: the shows have always been broadcast live on the radio, (88.3 on your FM dial), and now you can stream them on the internet at jazz88.org

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At the head of the Jazz Live pyramid is station manager Mark DeBoskey who's been with KSDS just under 10 years. He decided the program needed to grow. "When I got here the audiences were very small, sometimes 15 or 20 people. I decided, if the station was going to be involved, we needed to step it up, and start featuring people who don't usually get seen in San Diego."

DeBoskey reorganized the structure, and brought in sponsors, most notably the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which, along with membership contributions afforded Jazz Live the ability to attract artists with national and international profiles.

"The change speaks for itself, because the shows are almost always sold-out" said DeBoskey.

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Jazz Live is also a City College student production. Headed by former KPBS personality and long-time radio professional Professor Dave Drexler, the class involved is RTV 132, officially known as Radio Remotes and Special Events. Students are "responsible for all aspects of the production, including providing stage mixing, house mixing and the radio broadcast mix," said Drexler. It's a great way to learn how to put on a concert from the technical aspect of microphone placement and usage and learning to operate the boards and lighting consoles.

KSDS radio announcer Vince Outlaw emcees the concerts, introducing the performers and conducting a 15 minute interview that airs immediately following the 90 minute broadcast.

In the last few years the Jazz Live series has presented quite a few big-names in the jazz world, like vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Louis Hayes, as well as a number of soon-to-be big namers such as trumpeters Christian Scott and Rebecca Coupe Franks and local pianist Joshua White.

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Emcee Vince Outlaw with pianist Henry Butler

In terms of value for the buck, there is no better option for jazz enthusiasts. You can choose to attend a single concert for the low price of $10 per ticket, but by far the best plan is to become a Jazz88 member for a minimum annual $50 donation. That gives you two free tickets to 14 concerts, a $280 value. Since seating is limited, the station recommends calling 388-3037 at least a week ahead of time, to secure reservations.

Registration for RTV 132 at City College is open now.

photo of Mark DeBoskey by Anthony Cecena, all other photos by Larisa Rose.

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