Is Jazz Hopeful?

I didn’t use to think so. I thought jazz was heavy and sorrowful and sad. Singing the blues was what it was about. When Billie Holliday wasn’t singing the blues she was warbling Goodmorning Heartache. Ella Fitzgerald croons about her time spent in regret in Cry Me a River. And then Nina Simone’s rendition of Sinner Man is haunting but quite the opposite of cheerful.

Maybe the crackly recordings added to an unsatisfactory listening experience. Because it certainly wasn’t the quality of the voices. Heavens. The remastered versions of their performances show off the extraordinary voices which made them famous.

It wasn’t too many months ago that I was running the search on my car radio hoping desperately for a break from earworm pop and classical MPR when I stumbled on Jazz 88.5 FM. It made my day- a real DJ was selecting and talking about the cuts he or she had chosen. Some are performers themselves and give insights into their preferences. But most of all the music was joyful and upbeat.

The station operates in conjuntion with the Minneapolis Public Schools. From its website:

Listener-Driven Jazz, Roots, News and Traffic


Jazz88 is the Twin Cities’ source for jazz & roots music, MnDOT traffic, and BBC World News.  Jazz88 is one of the highest-rated full-time jazz stations in the nation and an Ampers Station of the Year recipient.  A self-supporting service of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Jazz88 receives nearly half of our annual revenue from individual listeners.  Your gift supports the radio and digital services, live events, and our hands-on educational program.