We remember jazz journalist/producer Orrin Keepnews. He produced classic jazz albums and was the founder of two important jazz labels.
After the sun sets and the lights go out in the newsroom, KJZZ Music Director and Host Blaise Lantana and her team take over the 91.5 airwaves to share the cool sounds of classic jazz.
Lantana is a veteran musician and public broadcaster. She moved to the Valley in 1994 to serve as an on-air host for KJZZ’s sister station, 89.5 KBAQ. While she has a deep affinity for classical music, the sounds of classic jazz lured her to take on the role of KJZZ’s Music Director in 1995.
She began her radio career with Texas Public Radio, playing classical music during the afternoon and jazz at night at KEDT in Corpus Christi. She also took a turn as a Morning Edition host. Lantana jokes that hosting Morning Edition was difficult because she’s a night owl and she was in constant fear of oversleeping. To this day, she still breaks into a bit of a sweat when she hears the Morning Edition theme song.
She has interviewed dozens of jazz legends, including the great storyteller George Benson, Ornette Coleman, Jim Cullum, and Wynton Marsalis, which by the way was on the road, from his tour bus.
Lantana has been a lifelong musician. She was born in Tucson, AZ and grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She began singing at two, playing piano at seven and took up the organ at twelve. She picked up her first guitar in high school and it’s been her instrument of choice ever since. As a student at Rutgers University and Texas A & M, she majored in voice and composition and became enchanted by the sounds of Miles Davis' trumpet and Billie Holiday's voice, which led her to pursue a musical career in jazz and blues.
She spent 20 years on the road performing and composing with blues and jazz ensembles, including some Valley bands. You can still catch her perform at special engagements around town.
As KJZZ’s Music Director, one of Lantana’s primary responsibilities is to scope out new artists and recordings and then decide which selections and interviews to include in KJZZ’s weeknight jazz schedule.
“While I love jazz classics and legends like Stan Getz and Ella, I’m always on the look out for new talent,” said Lantana. “Best of all, I love sharing these new sounds with KJZZ listeners because I think that all of us are still looking to fall in love with something we haven’t heard before.”
Contact Blaise Lantana at firstname.lastname@example.org or by way of facebook.
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