Warming Your Insides

Think 24, but think Duke not Keifer. Yes, as part of public radio KUCI-FM 88.9's annual fund drive, longtime DJ Roland Holmes will be on the airwaves for 24 hours spinning the glorious, vintage music of jazz great Duke Ellington. Beginning Saturday at midnight, the classic big band and swing standards associated with the most influential composer/bandleader in jazz history will warm your insides—though for a modest donation, please.

A good example of the Duke's signature sound and style is his first hit, 1926's “East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” in which he and his band play in a “jungle style” featuring the distorted, growling sound of trumpeter James “Bubber” Miley. To appreciate Ellington's subsequent musical growth, I highly recommend 1956's Ellington at Newport, a compelling live recording that also helped launch his commercial comeback.

Saturday happens to be the birthday of the late jazz legend, so it's fitting that, much like the far-reaching joy the Duke brought to music lovers everywhere, DJs around the world will be on the air for these 24 hours playing Ellington to raise money for small, indie stations that feature real jazz—as opposed to the wretched twaddle, a.k.a. “smooth jazz,” spewn forth by the likes of the Wave. Not only is this marathon good for one's ears and soul, but it is also important as a means to showcase the real thing while raising some good old cash. So tune in, friends, and be as generous as you can.

KUCI Fund Drive and 24-Hour Duke Ellington Marathon hosted by Dr. Roland Holmes on FM 88.9. Sat., midnight-Sun., midnight. The fund drive continues through May 8. Go to www.donations.kuci.org for more information.

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