Open your ears

Jazz 88’s Chad Fox challenges listeners to, uh, listen.
  • Jazz 88’s Chad Fox challenges listeners to, uh, listen.

“I do get complaints,” says KSDS assistant music director Chad Fox, who expanded the station’s night-time programming last year to focus on nontraditional jazz that might sound like noise to the uninitiated listener. Fox calls the nightly series Progressive Nights.

“Recently, I played John Coltrane’s ‘Ascension’ [a 38-minute piece of free-jazz intensity], and I got an e-mail or a call from somebody, and they were livid — so pissed off that I played it! I don’t know...I think you have to have open ears when you listen to this music, and as a matter of fact, I’d say that at least 85 percent of our listeners have been very positive.”

For more than 25 years, adventurous listeners have tuned in to KSDS Jazz 88 on Thursday evenings, from 10 till 12 to catch Miff Mole’s Free Time, a show with virtually no precedent in the country. But that’s about it when it comes to music on the fringes, even on Jazz 88, which allows every DJ the freedom to program their own show.

“I drew inspiration from him,” says Fox. “And about the time I started at the station [2009], I learned about [experimental concert promoter] Bonnie Wright, and I started doing research on what she’s been doing in the community, and I felt like I needed to contribute something. So, I went to Claudia Russell with the idea of expanding our coverage of creative music Monday through Thursday, and she was onboard from the get-go.

“What Progressive Nights is, really, is an extension of Mole’s Free Time; it’s almost an homage to his show. So we put together the idea, and we had a rough patch at first — not every DJ in that time slot was really passionate about the music — but things really started to gel when we got Tony McGee to take the Tuesday-night slot — he’s really raised the bar — and I’m doing Mondays and Wednesdays.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Coltrane at his worst, conveyed more passion and soulfull prowess than any of these "smooth jazz" musicians around today. Sure, the technical mastery of their instrument is on the money. But all the chops in the world don't amount to a thing if you ain't got that..........,y'know.

I hear ya, man! Coltrane still sounds fresh, too. Even after all these years. Chad, Tony and Miff are all doing a service to the community by exposing them to creative music.

If you're into the free Jazz thing, you would dig Nice World. We're playing at Tin Can Thursday August 1.

We have an album out but some of the song titles are a bit disturbing! :D Also, we just recorded the new release Thursday and it's going to be pretty sick. We had Mike Watson come in and play Fretless guitar with us; it's very interesting.

Ministry, Old Floyd, Beefheart, OOOOh, yeah Tin Can, Thursday, If you cant recognize me, I'll be the FatCat (in ah,... the hat) it just writes itself man I have no control over the digits anymore......

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader