We hope that all of you are enjoying a much-needed break with the best food Thanksgiving has to offer. With last week's DJ of the week being a jazz specialty show, we thought to ourselves, why not keep the groove train rolling? This week's spotlight goes out to a DJ that started WIRE at the beginning of the semester, but nevertheless, has rapidly caught the ears of many of our listeners. We are of course talking about our coffee drinking and wax spinning phenomenon, Nocturnal Ned, representing his show, Jazz Wax!
Who are you and what’s the concept behind your show?
I’m a guy who really likes jazz and occasionally studies computer engineering at Wentworth. The show is about playing the best jazz records of the avant-garde era uninterrupted on an actual vinyl record. Unfortunately, when the show began the studio did not have a turntable, so the albums are played through a music streaming service. There is a break in between “side 1” and “side 2” where I like to provide some info on the album about personnel, how it was recorded, and why the album was impactful.
How did you get your name “Nocturnal Ned”?
There was a cartoon that I watched as a kid called Hey Arnold! In the cartoon, the characters all listen to the most popular radio station in the city MJZZ, a jazz radio station. The name of the DJ for the station was Nocturnal Ned. The main character of the show is also a huge fan of jazz, so I felt it was very fitting
How long have you been listening to jazz-- did your enjoyment stem from any other genres?
I’ve been listening to jazz since the past four or five years now but I didn’t really take a deep dive into it until about three years ago. I’d say my initial interest stemmed from rap and hip-hop music, since many artists of those genres in the 90’s heavily sampled jazz records. My interest in the Grateful Dead and other jam bands in the past year has encouraged me to look deeper into jazz as the playing style of the Dead and jazz are very similar.
Who do you consider to be some of the greats in jazz music?
Definitely John Coltrane and Miles Davis, probably the most famous avant-garde jazz musicians. Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington are amazing pianists. Freddie Hubbard and Chet Baker are amazing trumpeteers. For jazz singers, definitely Ella Fitzgerald. I really like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock are amazing keyboardists.
Any newcomers on the scene that you think deserve some recognition?
Unfortunately, I haven’t really gotten into the newer wave of jazz artists, but I think Ibrahim Maalouf is a pretty amazing jazz trumpeter. He’s a French-Lebanese jazz artist whose music sounds really cool. I highly suggest his album Wind. I also really enjoy Bohren & der Club of Gore, a dark ambient/jazz group. Taking inspiration from German metal bands, this group’s sound really gives off that dark and mysterious feel that is akin to noir films.
Tell us about some of your favorite Jazz Bars in Boston.
One in particular is Wally’s cafe on Mass Ave. It’s an extremely small bar that has music from 6pm to 2am played by Berklee students. All the people play there are absolutely incredible and each time I’ve gone there, the band has been different, so you never really know what you’re going to listen to when you open the door.
What can we expect for the future of you show?
The studio has recently gotten a turntable, so you can expect to hear actual jazz records on the air, rather than played through a streaming service
Where can we find you, Nocturnal Ned?
Tuesdays at 8pm in the WIRE studio, or Saturday nights at Wally’s.
Whether it be older jazz or newer artists like Ibrahim, Jazz Wax has just what you need for your late night studies. In the words of Nocturnal Ned, "Grab your coffee and light your pipes" to Jazz Wax, every Tuesday at 8PM here on WIRE. We thank you for tuning into this week's DJ of the week segment, and we look forward to ending the year off strong with a few more spotlights!