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Max Cole leaves the planet

May 18, 2007 Max Cole leaves the planet

Dizzy Gillespie continues making my jaw drop. (Photo from Library of Congress’s website).

By the age of twelve, I was into jazz music with a fury. While most of my peers were listening to Aerosmith, Zep-lite, and Peter Frampton and sometimes giving me strange looks for my jazz fanaticism, I was mesmerized by, and ultimately experienced in live performance, Diz, Chick, McCoy, and dozens more.

I played the trumpet for ten years uninterrupted, and ultimately learned to play jazz improvisation. The experience has served me well as a trial lawyer, helping make me more comfortable performing live, thinking and improvising quickly on my feet, and finding creative ways to persuade.

When I first started listening to jazz radio on the public and commercial airwaves, I got the only available steady stream of jazz throughout the day and night from New York City’s WRVR 106.7 FM, whose history is here of eventually getting changed overnight to a country music format a few years later to earn higher profits for its owners. A brief background of WRVR announcer great Les Davis is here. Here is an online station that focuses on replicating WRVR’s music format.

Still on the lineup when I started listening to WRVR was announcer Max Cole, who played unadulterated great jazz, and spoke more like he was from a friendly Midwest town than from the rough-and-tumble New York. I just learned that he passed away last July at 91. He influenced me very much during his short time that remained on WRVR when I started listening. The least I can give back is to sing Max’s praises here, and to give him a final thanks for helping to add an indispensable dimension to my life. Jon Katz.

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