Liner Notes: The A.M. Bridge is with you every Monday through Friday, adding swing and soul to your late morning hours. Host Meg Samples dives into your old (and new) favorite artists to explore the journey of jazz through the decades.
Meg Samples Morrow is a percussionist and radio DJ from Kentucky. She enjoys playing her records too loud, hiking to non-operational fire towers, and hunting for the best available corn dog. She currently volunteers with Pacific Northwest Search & Rescue and is the Executive Director of Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble.
You can follow Meg @megsamples.
Learn more about Meg.
In addition to DJing, you’re a serious musician yourself – what relationship does your playing have with your radio work? Do you find the processes to be similar or totally different?
“I’ve always got to highlight great drumming on any track I play while Djing. I think my ear tends to notice what the drummer is doing first, and if it peaks my interest, then I want to share it! So many great drummers to explore! Jazz is the whole reason the drum set even exists. I also love other percussion instruments. A track that has a great tambourine player on it, or just a really groovy triangle part somewhere in the mix, is my -absolute favorite. That kind of thing can make me pull over on the side of the road just to listen harder. Plus, those instruments are overlooked; but hard to play! They add a layer that makes a song extra special.”
Describe your very first experience with radio DJing. What was your favorite part of the experience? How have you and your radio personality changed since then?
“I started filling in as an on-air DJ for a great station out of Louisville, Kentucky- WFPK, mainly on the late night program. I was nervous. I usually approached music behind the drum set, but I was also very excited to get behind the mic and share some of my favorites. I think I probably talked too fast! I probably still do. There is just so much I want to share about the music I like, why I like it, why I think you’ll like it, or your friend will like it or anyone that’s listening. That nerdiness I have for music, and the people that make it, feels the same every time I get on air and talk about a track or an artist. Music nerds unite!”
What do you think makes jazz different from other genres of music? What’s the most special thing about it?
“Sometimes when I describe what I love about Jazz, I end up using the same adjectives I use to describe my favorite physical places. The way you feel it deep down in the arches of your feet when you listen to someone improvising- that’s a great connection with the music. It’s a genre that builds on imagination and collaboration with others. Two things I try to prioritize, and that is why I think Jazz continues to evolve and expand.”
You’re also the Executive Director of the Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble – tell us a bit about that! Any exciting happenings going on over there that our readers & listeners should know about?
“It is really great to work with an organization where the main goal is to highlight new works in Jazz! So much of genre is about the history, which is important to celebrate, but there are great Portland Artists making new jazz music. Being able to highlight that and have it performed by a large ensemble is what PJCE is all about. We also have a record label that highlights the new projects of Portland jazz musicians. We have three brand new releases planned for the fall that are all very different and very fresh. We’ve got works planned with someone well known musicians, poets, and other creative folks. I’m excited to keep exploring what Portland artists are creating and to share it with bigger audiences this year.”