Monday, December 12, 2011

George Thomas Remembers Dave Sanjek

A friend died recently who was directly responsible for my start & style in radio. Dave Sanjek was on WCNI in the fall of 1972 at Connecticut College For Women (the year the school went co-ed) doing a jazz radio show. He was playing absolutely amazing selections but talking for what seemed like a half hour between each cut. I called him up at the station and said something to the effect of, “you're playing great music, man, but you talk too much." He got off the air at the end of his show, asked around and found out who I was and showed up at my dorm room with a stack of LPs under his arm.

We started listening to what was, at the time, very rare jazz, delicious stuff, and then he noticed the photos all over my walls from The Farm & Wilderness Camps in Vermont where I had been a camp counselor that summer . It was an instant trade. He found the summer camps of his dreams, I got a start in radio and a lifetime education in music: jazz, Holy Modal Rounders, Dave Van Ronk, on and on. We also shared a love of poetry. He gave me Living/Dying by Cid Corman and Hayden Carruth's great poetry anthology The Voice That Is Great Within Us.

In my 39th year of radio, I think of him every show I do. Thank you Dave for all of it: the 20 page catch-up letters with writing so dense you could walk on it; your dad’s record collection; your mother’s exquisite Chinese cooking; the joy of an obscure movie. You shared it all. I miss you terribly. And yes, Oliver Nelson’s solos on Blues And The Abstract Truth were the best.

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