Radio journalist and Jazz fan David Kidd (years) covered the scene in upstate New York and New England for several broadcast interests. At the apex of his career, in the 1950s, Kidd witnessed much of the fertile summertime activity at Music Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts. Many of the interviews here were broadcast first on WBRK in the Berkshires, where Kidd was a regular weekly host before transplanting to WGY in Schenectady.
Kidd took many of the photographs in this collection at performances he attended, and all of this audio was recorded by Kidd in (mostly) makeshift studio situations, always pursuing the music and its creators to wherever they were appearing.
What follows is Kidd’s 1960s autobiographical digest of his own musical journey. (The original typescript version of it appears the "Gallery" section.)
David R. "Dave" Kidd is one of those who fell under the spell of
fine music at an early age, and as always happens, has never been able to escape, not that he has tried.
He feels that this is an area in which one may find more real pleasure than in almost any other.
Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Dave found himself a member of a family
which included a wealth of musical talent. Both mother and father were excellent amateur musicians, his
older brother still performs professionally as a fine pianist.
Dave believes that all young people first show interest in whatever music
is available to them, and strongly feels that the present day low in teenage taste is caused by the fact
that the majority of adults fail in their stewardship of culture in caring or knowing themselves, and in
passing it on to their youngsters.
Of course, at the beginning of his formative years, Dave was subject to the s
ame kinds of simple music that other children were subject to. However, when in his early teens, by
happenstance he had the opportunity to hear two of the very greatest large jazz bands of the day, the
Fletcher Henderson band, and the Glen Gray Casa Loma band. From this rapidly grew an intense interest in
jazz, which led to an interest in knowing more intimately how it was made. Dave subsequently studied reed
instruments, mainly the clarinet, from a former Boston Symphony Orchestra clarinetist. The influence of
this man led to an introduction and an increasing interest in orchestral music of the concert hall. Dave
studied theory and harmony, and held down saxophone chairs in various area bands in Massachusetts from
the mid-thirties until he joined the Navy in World War II. During the way, he played in a band on a
battleship which included almost all "name" musicians, and was noted in the Pacific for its way
with large band instrumental jazz offerings. At war's end, Dave returned, but did not return to the public
performance on reed instruments, due to an increasing aversion to the performance of commercial music.
During all these years from the very beginning, phonograph recordings were of
prime interest to Dave. Of course, they have always been the way to learn what the most advanced people are
doing, short of being on the scene. During post-Depression years, when nobody had any money, Dave nonetheless
managed a couple of dollars each week for records, and he was fortunate to like the kind that survive, as he
uses some of the selfsame jazz recordings during his radio presentations.
Dave has maintained an active interest in all the fine individual musicians and
the development of more modern styles and techniques. He has acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of the
records and the musicians involved. He has a personal jazz record collection in excess of 50,000 titles, and
he is conversant about each of them.
The Dave Kidd Jazz Show, in which Dave discusses jazz performances and shares
his recorded music, is heard on WGY, Schenectady, each Monday evening for two and a half hours beginning at
8:05. It is heard each week up and down the entire Eastern seaboard, and as far west as Milwaukee, if
listener response is a criterion.