Tag Archives: yesteryear

Chuck Cecil’s “Swingin’ Years”

21 Jun

I’ve taken to sweetening each Saturday morning with big band happiness and Chuck Cecil’s warm voice. (Not that I trust Wikipedia to give me all the facts, but there’s mention of Mr. Cecil having attended the wedding of Marilyn Monroe and her first husband, Jim, in his entry. Interesting.) The two were meant for each other, I’m telling you. Big band and Chuck Cecil, that is. Clearly Marilyn and Jim were not.

If you have something like this to play big band out of, all the better:

1960s Magnavox radio/turntable/record holder

Our radio is actually a bit dinged up, obviously needs a dusting, and isn’t the prettiest of its kind—but it was $25 at the Salvation Army, and it sure makes listening to records in the jazz, singers/standards, and Christmas genres enjoyable. Sometimes clear as a bell just doesn’t cut it. Who wants to  listen to Bing and Frank without some crackling in the background?

But back to Chuck Cecil and his syndicated “Swingin’ Years” program. I’m not sure what it is about listening to big band and swing that results in some sort of fabricated sense memory, as if I’d actually danced to these tunes with my honey in our living room before he was shipped off to Europe. It’s such a bizarre sensation—to feel as though you’re being transported back to a place you never were. My head dizzies in the same fashion when I listen to choral music on Classical KUSC. I’d like to think it’s a past lives thing, but I’d never have the guts—nor would I be capable of maintaining any level of seriousness for any length of time—to be hypnotized to find out. I enjoy it, though—whatever it is. It keeps me going back for more.

And, honestly, in this era when soul-touching music is scarce—at least in my opinion (of course, I am losing my sense of cool and not caring too much about it), having things like Chet Baker or Glenn Miller or Ravel to turn to is a welcome alternative. My only hope is that the public continues to generously contribute to the few remaining jazz and classical stations throughout the country. It’s tiresome to listen to one pledge drive after another, but I’d rather bear with it than face an absence of nearly uninterrupted quality music—especially over my morning coffee.

Edit, April 21, 2014:

The L.A. Times reported on January 27 that Chuck Cecil had made the tough decision to part ways with KJazz due to technical difficulties producing “Swingin’ Years,” his show that has delighted listeners since 1956. The weekend program aired on KJazz for 12 years. According to the article, “The show will continue to be available online, streaming via WPPB.” Read the article here.

A wonderfully heartwarming L.A. Times profile on Chuck from December 19, 2013.

Someone from Chuck’s camp (“Chuck” even—could it be?) commented with a link to his Facebook page, which I recommend readers check out and like—because surely you appreciate his longtime contribution to your weekends as much as I do.

Also, someone called Whit directed me to Chuck Cecil content over at shermanoaks.wordpress.com, which includes, among other tidbits, an interesting L.A. Times article from 2000, as well as some clips.

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