KRTU’s year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of the station’s jazz programming finishes this Sunday, Oct. 7, with a return to Trinity’s campus, a performance of the “San Antonio Jazz Suite” and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band.
Ron Nirenberg, associate general manager of KRTU, has been involved with the Year of Jazz and how it has evolved over time.
“We began by approaching nonprofits and centers of the arts in the San Antonio area to inquire about whether they would like to be involved in a city-wide showcase spearheaded by KRTU that would show what the arts community has to offer,” Nirenberg said.
The Year of Jazz brought together different factions of San Antonio and its cultural and art communities in creative ways, from the second jazz concert at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico to the Art in the Garden Opening with jazz accompaniment from John Magaldi and the Primetime Jazz Orchestra, with Richie Cole
“An exciting aspect of the Year of Jazz has been that it gave us a very cool chance to stray out of our comfort zone. Getting to bring music into new spaces — bringing music of the gypsy Parisian guitarist Django Reinhardt to the Southwest School of Art with the space being just incredible, for example, has been amazing. Usually KRTU does a concert series, but here was a chance to pair new bands with new spaces which really provided some of the most satisfying moments for me,” said J.D. Swerzenski, KRTU operations manager.
Nirenberg believes that the idea behind it was about more than celebrating KRTU’s 10th birthday. The station recognized its unique position as a part of San Antonio and as a part of Trinity University. Due to this understanding of the station’s role, those involved at KRTU wanted to celebrate the milestone in a meaningful way.
“San Antonio is currently coming into its own, with major projects like SA2020, and we thought of three major things that we wanted to emphasize: number one, San Antonio is all about the arts and culture — that’s what sets it apart. Number two, KRTU is at an academic institution, facilitated by brainpower, student passion and university support for our mission. Number three, jazz music has a really rich history in San Antonio — so what better way to celebrate our identity as a city and our history as a jazz station than to bring those components together,” Nirenberg said.
Central to the concept of the Year of Jazz celebration was the establishment of KRTU as an influential cultural entity in San Antonio.
“I’d like to see the model of collaboration we developed through our 12 events between art centers and nonprofits spread like wildfire — people aren’t appreciating music, the arts and jazz as they should be,” Nirenberg said.
The Grand Finale event will cap off the series of 12 events with a return to the home of the station, Laurie Auditorium. Many of the organizations that have participated in the Year of Jazz will be set up around the area so that attendees will be able to learn more about them. A reprise of the “San Antonio Jazz Suite” will also be performed, emphasizing the link between jazz and San Antonio’s rich cultural history.
“In addition to having a second performance of the “San Antonio Jazz Suite,” we will also be flying in musicians from all over the country, including some old San Antonio names in the jazz scene. Ron Wilkinson, who was a resident of San Antonio for many years, and Jerry Gibbs, who is one of the top drummers in the nation, who was another big force behind the switch to jazz programming on KRTU — those guys are just some of the performers who will be in attendance,” said Kory Cook, the station’s music director.
The Grand Finale is free and open to the public, and it begins at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7 with the concert component in Laurie.