Reuben takes you on a new adventure every week, exploring the great American invention called jazz. You’ll explore the back roads and alleys of the genre, the musicians and standards you love, and experience that essential element of surprise. Reuben also shares his in-depth knowledge of the stories behind the music.
Reuben Jackson is a poet, music critic and educator with jazz in his soul and radio in his blood. He hosted his first jazz radio program as a student at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Now, after 50 years in Washington, D.C., Reuben has returned to Vermont to teach and share his passion for music.
Reuben was curator of the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years. His music reviews have been published in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Reuben is also a poet, a mentor with The Young Writers Project and educator. He now teaches English at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont.
“I am drawn to jazz's emotional and structural possibilities."
- Reuben Jackson
Reuben says that he loves music – period, and because of that, he doesn’t always distinguish between genres. However, “I am drawn to jazz's emotional and structural possibilities. It allows the player room for his or her musical personality to profoundly shape the musical direction and output. I look forward to sharing what poet/musician Patti Smith dubbed the 'sea of possibilities' within this rich genre.”
What can listeners expect on Friday nights?
“I seek to achieve chronological, stylistic and emotional balance. I'm a romantic with a real thing for ballads, so I have to constantly remind myself that I'm not in my living room (although I hope listeners feel that degree of comfort), and that not everyone wants to hear ninety versions of 'Time On My Hands.' I also think that we as jazz programmers have to include more female performers - and not just vocalists.”
“I think that a well-arranged show is not unlike a well-written piece of music. You want it to be interesting to the audience, and you want the audience to feel like they’re part of the experience. I also feel that variety is important. I'm reminded of something the great saxophonist Lester Young told a journalist: 'You've got to be original, man.'"
We hope you’ll join Reuben, a true original himself, on Friday nights beginning August 31!