Monday nights from ten to eleven pm you’ll find Cole Emhoff in the SOCC studio djing his radio show, Jazz n’ Shit. The name is pretty self-explanatory- Cole plays his favorite jazz music, and the ‘shit’ is basically an excuse to play whatever else he wants at any point.
He came up with the name long before he actually had a radio show, or even thought he would have one.
“I remember fantasizing in my car one time while I was driving and pretending I was a DJ, putting on songs and announcing them. I was thinking of things I could call a show and ‘Jazz n’ Shit’ came to my head. I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to call it.”
Cole always intended to have his show focus on jazz music. His taste for jazz developed when he was young and involved in musical theater. He performed in a surprising amount of productions, but his favorite musical was Anything Goes by Cole Porter, a notable jazz standard composer. The score for Anything Goes has been called Porter’s best composition, and many jazz musicians continue to play and interpret these songs. The songs from the musical resonated with Cole from an early age, before he knew exactly how influential they were to more popular jazz songs of the time.
His actual interest in popular jazz music comes with a notable story. It started in 10th grade after he’d gotten his license. His mom enforced a strict curfew at the time, and one night Cole spent a little too much time at his girlfriend’s house and was going to be late.
“I was freaking out and bolted out the door. I was driving back on the freeway pretty fast and I knew I needed to relax. My friend Jake had told me he was listening to Kind of Blue, a classic penultimate jazz album. I put it on, specifically the song Blue in Green, and it really mellowed me out. I was a different person after hearing that song. It’s still my favorite jazz song. I remember listening to it and being amazed at how it affected me emotionally. I’d enjoyed other good music objectively, but I hadn’t really heard anything that had that kind of physical affect on me.”
After his initial exposure Cole began researching other jazz artists, spending hours on Wikipedia and music blogs. He sought out information on jazz artists he’d heard of and then went further to see who they played with and who they were associated with. In the process he discovered not only the music, but the stories surrounding the musicians, as well.
“I mean, Charlie Parker lit himself on fire and jumped out a window. They’re all crazy, but it was the epitome of cool. They were cool when being cool meant something different than it means now.”
Jazz n’ Shit is Cole’s attempt to bring awareness to the music he loves and to share it with others. He says sternly that jazz is under appreciated, as it was before, and wants people to recognize the historical elements and the skill that surrounds the music.
“There’s talent behind the music they’re playing. The way they use their instruments is amazing, and I feel like there’s not that many parallels now in terms of just pure skill. You gotta be crazy and the best, and these musicians are.”
His radio show also serves his own sanity, and offers him a time during his busy day to forgo what weighs on his mind and simply relax.
“I love jazz and I love sitting and listening to it. The show gives me an excuse to drop whatever I’m doing and whatever is stressing me out and just chill. That’s why I started listening to it originally. It mellows me out.”
Cole says he will definitely continue Jazz n’ Shit for the rest of the semester, and hopefully into his remaining time at CC. He has developed an incredible taste for jazz over the years through diligent research and a natural ear for good music. His show is perfect for Monday nights, and listeners who are looking to expand their jazz repertoire or, as Cole says, mellow out, should tune in.