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Release: Aug. 23, 2001

Conroy, Moore, Rapson, Skorton to host 'As Night Falls' jazz program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Frank Conroy, David Skorton, John Rapson and Dan Moore will bring their diverse jazz expertise to a revamped "As Night Falls" on KSUI this fall. The jazz program on Saturday and Sunday evenings has been transformed into a diverse sampling of music from throughout the world.

The updated "As Night Falls" debuts at 7 p.m., Sept. 8 on KSUI, the University of Iowa's public radio station. It will feature four genres of jazz: "Classic" and "Trendsetters" on Saturdays followed by "World" and "Latin" (the first radio programming emphasis of its kind in the listening area) on Sundays. Each on-air host will be paired with a specific genre.

Frank Conroy will host the Classic genre on alternate Saturday evenings. Debuting Sat., Sept. 8, Conroy will feature jazz standards from swing to bebop, from the music of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, to performances by Herbie Hancock and Thelonius Monk.

Best known as the director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Conroy is a self-titled "semi-pro" musician who had his own jazz quintet that performed in the Boston area. He also took a gig as the regular Monday night piano player at the famous jazz haunt Bradley's in New York City. He has also written major articles on jazz for the New York Times Magazine, People, GQ, Esquire and other publications.

Conroy is also the author of the short-story collection "Midair" and the novel "Body and Soul" (about a musician and composer), the editor of "The Eleventh Draft," a book about the workshop process, and "The Iowa Award: The Best Stories from Twenty Years." His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, the Partisan Review, Harpers, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine. He received a Grammy Award in 1986 for liner notes for an album by Frank Sinatra.

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 9, percussionist Dan Moore hosts a format of multicultural music. A relatively recent genre known as World Music, this genre blends aspects of jazz, percussion and indigenous styles. Moore, best known locally for his work with the popular UI Pan-American Steel Band, is an internationally recognized percussionist, composer and expert in world music. He is the director of percussion studies at the UI.

Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he is considered a "total percussionist." For the past 12 years he has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo, and is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion. He has written for Jazz Player, Sticks and Mallets and Percussive Notes magazines.

Trendsetters, hosted by John Rapson, will showcase the best of the new approaches to jazz. Whether it is a contemporary approach to a classic jazz piece or a new composition, Rapson will inform listeners about some of the most interesting and dynamic techniques in jazz music today. Rapson's first take as on-air host begins Sat., Sept 15, continuing on alternate Saturday evenings.

Rapson, a world-renowned professional musician and director of jazz studies at UI, has taken the lead in recording six albums and has appeared on 17 other albums as a sideman or conductor. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. He has also recorded two albums, "A Mingus Among Us" and "Been There, Done That" with Johnson County Landmark, the jazz repertory ensemble from the UI.

His recent experimental jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been received well by critics, hailed as "one of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as "a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent. The CD scored 10 out of 10 for artistic merit in Grammophone magazine's "Good CD Guide" for jazz recordings, which also called it "beautiful and unique."

By day, David Skorton serves as vice president for research and interim vice president for external relations at the University of Iowa. He holds joint appointments at the rank of professor in the departments of internal medicine, electrical and computer engineering, and biomedical engineering. During his 21 years at the UI, Skorton has founded and/or directed a major laboratory, a collegiate division, and an internationally recognized clinic. As a physician/researcher, he has published many scientific articles, reviews, book chapters, and two major texts, and he continues to see patients.

But Skorton's first love and true passion is music. While growing up in Los Angeles and as a professional jazz and rhythm and blues musician in Chicago, Skorton developed a particular passion for Latin jazz.

His portion of "As Night Falls" featuring Latin jazz, debuts Sunday, Sept. 16, and continues on alternate Sundays. It will be the area's first radio program focusing on Latino culture and music.

Latin jazz has become increasingly popular throughout the world. From Afro-Cuban jazz to Bossa Nova, jazz listeners recognize Latin jazz as a key and familiar genre.

"Our enhanced version of 'As Night Falls' signals KSUI's continued interest in broadening the scope of our on-air offerings," said Joan Kjaer, KSUI program director. "'As Night Falls' will now include a greater variety of content paired with a cast of four hosts who have impressive expertise. We hope our listeners respond with enthusiasm."

The four hosts also perform in a new jazz band, Close Enough, with UI colleagues Dan Nuno and Geb Thomas; they will present a benefit concert for the university's Arts Share program, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The fall schedule for "As Night Falls" follows:

7-9 p.m., Saturdays (every-other-week rotations)

"Classic Jazz with Frank Conroy"

Sept. 8, 22; Oct. 6, 20; Nov. 3, 17; Dec. 1, 15, 29

"Trendsetters with John Rapson"

Sept. 15, 29; Oct. 13, 27; Nov. 10, 24; Dec. 8, 22

7-9 p.m., Sundays (every-other-week rotations)

"World Music with Dan Moore"

Sept. 9, 23; Oct. 7, 21; Nov. 4, 18; Dec. 2, 16, 30

"Latin Jazz with David Skorton"

Sept. 16, 30; Oct. 14, 28; Nov. 11, 25; Dec. 9, 23

For more information, contact KSUI at (319) 335-5730.