Daybreak Express
(Monday through Friday, 5:00 - 8:20 am)

Out To Lunch
(Monday through Friday, 12:00 - 3:00 pm)

Jazz Alternatives
(Monday through Friday, 6:00 - 9:00 pm)

These shows form the core of WKCR's jazz programming. In them, our rotating cast of DJs presents the entire range of recorded jazz, from its birth in New Orleans through its most avant-garde incarnations on today's scene. Each programmer has his or her own unique approach to the music; on a given day, one may hear anything from an in-depth examination of a focused theme to an eclectic presentation covering a broad mix of styles. Additionally, many DJs are known to invite prominent and up-and-coming artists to our studios to discuss their music; the Wednesday edition of Jazz Alternatives is always reserved for this purpose..

Bird Flight
(Monday through Friday, 8:20 - 9:30 am)

WKCR's own Phil Schaap, one of the world's leading jazz historians, hosts this daily forum for the music of Charlie Parker. Besides offering a variety of approaches to listening to Bird's music, the show is often an example of scholarship in action, as Phil uncovers and preserves jazz history through countless on-air interviews.

Wednesday Musician's Show
(Wednesday, 6:00 - 9:00 pm)

Every Wednesday, we invite a working musician into our studios to act as a "guest DJ" on Jazz Alternatives. The show has long been popular with local musicians: besides getting a chance to spin some of their favorite records, they have the opportunity to discuss their own music and inform our listeners about their current projects.

Traditions in Swing
(Saturday, 6:00 - 9:00 pm)

Phil Schaap has hosted this award-winning show for over thirty years. He offers thematic presentations of jazz from the first half of the twentieth century, from the earliest records of the 'teens through the end of the swing era in the mid-forties. Phil takes pains to find the best sound sources, often the rarest, in order to present the music in its highest quality.

Jazz 'til Dawn
(Sunday, 2:00 - 6:00 am)

This overnight show typically features some of the jazz departmentıs most adventurous programming. Listeners can expect to hear extended works and complete albums.

Jazz Profiles
(Sunday, 2:00 - 7:00 pm)

This five-hour feature, WKCR's longest regularly-scheduled show, presents an in-depth look at one specific artist or theme. Our DJs conduct thorough research to offer rare recordings alongside acknowledged masterpieces, thus presenting our listeners with a fully-rounded portrait of the chosen musical subject.

Monday Morning in Mono
(Monday, 2:00 ­ 5:00 am)

Our weekly jazz programming begins with this show, which explores the world of jazz in the first half of the twentieth century. Like 'Traditions in Swing', these thematic presentations are recommended for learning about and enjoying earlier styles of jazz. MMM begins a 7.5 hour block of continuous jazz, WKCRıs longest in any style.

Jazz archives

About WKCR Jazz

The sounds of jazz have been heard over the WKCR FM airwaves for over 60 years. In that time we have cultivated a position of great respect among both listeners and musicians (Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus have walked our hallways, and this past year we have been visited by Billy Taylor, Dick Hyman, Randy Sandke, Henry Grimes, Art Davis, and Lawrence Lucie, among many notable others).

Roughly 67 hours (about 40%) of WKCR airtime is currently devoted to Jazz music each week and, quite simply, we present American art music that no other radio station plays. We practice a 'one foot in the past, one foot in the future' approach. Unlike other 'jazz' stations, WKCR is deeply commited to the rich and storied history of jazz music and its numerous genuises, many of whom have been unfortunately neglected in recent decades. Additionally, we feature and interview cutting edge, avant-garde musicians who are seldom heard in more commerically-driven media.

At WKCR, all of our resources and efforts are directed towards presenting America's art music in a historically conscious and educational fashion. Guided by alumni members, who are among the foremost jazz experts in the world, our DJs have produced a variety of festivals, serving to educate both programmer and listener. Beginning in 1970 (see Phil Schaap interview), WKCR began to present extended broadcasts, generally exceeding 150 hours in length, whose purpose was, and still is, to present the complete recorded works of an important musician. A few notable examples include the Louis Armstrong Centennial Festival Part I (June 30 - July 7, 2000; 184 hours), and the Duke Ellington Centennial Festival (April 23 - May 1, 1999; 240 hours). A two-week John Coltrane Festival is currently planned for the spring of 2004.

Aside from festivals such as the ones just mentioned, WKCR's jazz department also presents 14 annual 'Birthday Broadcasts,' 24-hour marathons that celebrate the birthdays of the pivotal figures in jazz history as holidays. In addition to the Birthday Broadcasts, WKCR also occasionally interrupts regular programming for unscheduled 'Memorial Broadcasts' which serve to pay tribute to musicians upon their passing and alert the jazz community to memorials and funeral plans. Mindful that jazz is not just a recorded phenomenon, but a rich community based on human interaction, WKCR serves as a vital bulletin board, announcing upcoming concerts and music-related events. Overall, we are committed to keeping our listeners abreast of all significant jazz happenings.

With this kind of dedication and attention to the history and ongoing preservation of the jazz legacy, we seek to simultaneously address the needs of both the newcomer to jazz and the aficionado. Listeners turn to WKCR because they know that we lead them to the classic, rare, and cutting-edge sounds of Jazz.

Special Programming

Besides the weekly shows mentioned above, numerous special broadcasts occur throughout the year, pre-empting all regular programming for at least 24-hours. These include:

Birthday Broadcasts

Long ago it became tradition at WKCR to play 24 hours of a jazz great's music on his/her birthday.

Max Roach
(b. January 10, 1924)

Roy Eldridge
(b. January 30, 1911; d. February 26, 1989)

Ornette Coleman
(b. March 9, 1930)

Bix Beiderbecke
(b. March 10, 1903; d. August 7, 1931)

Billie Holiday
(b. April 7, 1915; d. July 17, 1959)

Charles Mingus
(b. April 22, 1922; d. January 5, 1979)

Duke Ellington
(April 29,1899; d. May 24, 1974)

Louis Armstrong
(b. August 4, 1901; d. July 6, 1971)
   (he believed his birthdate to be July 4th 1900, so we celebrate both birthdays.)

Lester Young
(b. August 27, 1909; d. March 15, 1959)

Charlie Parker
(b. August 29, 1920; d. March 12, 1955)
   (combines with Lester Young to form a three-day broadcast)

John Coltrane
(b. September 23, 1926; d. July 17, 1967)

Thelonious Monk
(b. Oct. 10, 1917; d. February 17, 1982)

Clifford Brown
(b. October 30, 1930; d. June 26, 1956)

Coleman Hawkins
(b. Nov. 21, 1904; d. May 19, 1969)


WKCR is perhaps most famous for its extended marathon festivals. Beginning with Albert Ayler in 1970, the Jazz Department has periodically pre-empted all programming in order to present, in chronological order, the complete recorded oeuvre of a jazz great (see Phil Schaap interview for complete list).