Dan Morgenstern on Symphony Sid

Now, A Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Hot House" CD: Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker Town Hall, Uptown UPCD 2751 (cut 6)

Each year, one NEA Jazz Masters Award goes to a non-musician. It's called the Jazz Advocate award. Recipient Dan Morgenstern is a writer and historian. It was 1947 when he moved from Copenhagen, Denmark, to the great jazz mecca of New York City.

Dan Morgenstern: My first night in New York I listened to the radio and I had this mistaken impression that I would find a lot of jazz on the radio. This of course is in the days when it was AM only, 1947. But I finally found something at the tail end of the dial and that was Symphony Sid.

MUSIC: "Groovin' High" (Symphony Sid broadcast) CD: Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker Town Hall, Uptown UPCD 2751 (cut 4)

Symphony Sid Torrin, a New York institution from the 1940s to the '60s, spun records and broadcast live jazz on his weekly show, originally based out of 52nd street's "Royal Roost" jazz club.

The Royal Roost, I think Symphony Sid dubbed it the Metropolitan Bopera House. (laughs) And then Sid wasn't exactly a master of the English language. Sometimes he messed up the musicians names. Most of the time he was really pretty loaded (big laugh). But he had a great radio voice, wonderful radio voice. And he never messed up the commercials. Those he did right. (laughs) He was a character, Sid was.

MUSIC: up for punctuation, then fades

...writer and historian Dan Morgenstern remembering legendary New York DJ, Symphony Sid. This Jazz Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts. I'm Delfeayo Marsalis

Dan Morgenstern on Symphony Sid