The 1950s and 60s were among the most innovative years for American small band jazz music. For Ladysmith’s Russ Barling, the sound of that music is right in the “sweet spot”. It’s been on his bucket list to share that music on the radio.
Barling hosts The Sweet Spot, a jazz radio program on 101.7 FM CHLY in Nanaimo every Friday 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Fresh off his 65th show, Barling says hosting The Sweet Spot has expanded his view of jazz music.
“My great challenge, when I took on doing the radio program, was to find Canadian content that was going to fit in the sweet spot,” Barling said. “… To my surprise, and delight, there’s tons of great Canadian small band jazz that fits into the sweet spot.”
Some of the Canadian artists Barling plays include: Richard Underhill, Morgan Childs, Monik Nordine, PJ Perry, Oliver Gannon, Corey Webb, Sharon Minemoto, Oscar Peterson, and Diana Krall.
Before coming to Ladysmith in 2013, Barling spent years abroad working in Europe. He said the music he plays lends itself more to an evening audience. For his friends in Europe, the show plays Friday at 8:00 pm.
“I get a lot more feedback from Europe than I do from the Island,” Barling said. “I’d love to hear from anybody in Ladysmith that loves jazz — that loves the kind of jazz that I love.”
Barling said he’s delighted by the quality of live jazz on Vancouver Island, particularly in Nanaimo and Duncan. Ideally, he’d like to see a jazz lounge in Ladysmith, but recognized there may not be adequate demand for such a lounge.
“If there’s a society, if there’s group of people, who are willing and avid jazz listeners, I’d be happy to be a part of that, and contribute as much as I can,” Barling said.
Although there is no dedicated home for jazz in Ladysmith yet, Barling’s show is on the radioevery Friday. He encourages listeners to call in at 250-740-1017 and share their feedback on the music.
“It’s a bucket list for me. It’s something I’ve always really wanted to do and I just really love doing it. I hope people can enjoy it as much as I do,” Barling said.
Listeners can tune in to 101.7 FM on their radio dial, or online at chly.ca/listen.