This week in The KCSBeat, the Santa Barbara Independent‘s columns on anything and everything KCSB-related, Colin Marshall spends some time with Roots to the Source, Marta Ulvaeus’ Sunday-afternoon jazz exploration of the collaborative, the hybrid, and the improvisational:
It’s fitting that Ulvaeus connects so strongly with her listeners, since her own love of the jazz she plays came originally from radio. Upon first joining up with KDVS, she began exploring the station’s music archives. “They had this phenomenal vinyl library there,” she remembered. “I spent a certain number of hours each week in their listening rooms, just listening to it all, A through Z. That shaped my musical tastes.” Steering the show into a Thelonious Monk cover by the saxophonist Arthur Blythe, she illustrated her story sonically. “I heard this guy’s sound, and it was so beautiful to me. I looked for who he played with, then who they played with, then who they played with. All of a sudden, it catapulted me into another world.”
When Roots to the Source caught the right ears at Berkeley’s KPFA, the well-known station invited Ulvaeus to do a number of guest shows over seven years. While there, she enjoyed direct exposure to some of the hosts who had inspired her, including Jim Bennett of Forms and Feelings and Art Sato of In Your Ear. All the while, she remained at KDVS, putting in time as the station’s music director and eventually becoming its “informal jazz director.” Though the schedule was more known for its punk shows than anything else, Ulvaeus managed to win even the hardcore-loving general manager to her kind of music: “He tuned into my show, then started branching out to Ornette and Anthony Braxton.”
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