David R. “Dave” Kidd is one of those who fell under the spell of fine music at an early age, and as always happens, has never been able to escape, not that he has tried. He feels that this is an area in which one may find more real pleasure than in almost any other.
Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Dave found himself a member of a family which included a wealth of musical talent. Both mother and father were excellent amateur musicians, his older brother performed professionally as a fine pianist.
Dave believes that all young people first show interest in whatever music is available to them, and strongly feels that the present day low in teenage taste is caused by the fact that the majority of adults fail in their stewardship of culture in caring or knowing themselves, and in passing it on to their youngsters.
Of course, at the beginning of his formative years, Dave was subject to the same kinds of simple music that other children were subject to. However, when in his early teens, by happenstance he had the opportunity to hear two of the very greatest large jazz bands of the day, the Fletcher Henderson band, and the Glen Gray Casa Loma Band. From this rapidly grew an intense interest in jazz, which led to an interest in knowing more intimately how it was made. Dave subsequently studied reed instruments, mainly the clarinet, from a former Boston Symphony Orchestra clarinetist. The influence of this man led to an introduction and an increasing interest in orchestral music of the concert hall. Dave studied theory and harmony, and held down saxophone chairs in various area bands in Massachusetts from the mid-thirties until he joined the Navy in World War II. During the war, he played in a band on a battleship which included almost all “name” musicians, and was noted in the Pacific for its way with large band instrumental jazz offerings. At the war’s end, Dave returned, but did not return to the public performance on reed instruments, due to an increasing aversion to the performance of commercial music.
During all these years, from the very beginning, phonograph recordings were of prime interest to Dave. Of course, they have always been the way to learn what the most advanced people are doing, short of being on the scene. During post-Depression years, when nobody had any money, Dave nonetheless managed a couple of dollars each week for records, and he was fortunate to like the kind that survive, as he uses some of the selfsame jazz recordings during his radio presentations.
Dave has maintained an active interest in all the fine individual musicians and the development of more modern styles and techniques. He has acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of the records and the musicians involved. He has a personal jazz record collection in excess of 50,000 titles, and he is conversant about each of them.
The Dave Kidd Jazz Show, in which Dave discusses jazz performances and shares his recorded music, is heard on WGY, Schenectady, each Monday evening for two and a half hours beginning at 8:05. It is heard each week up and down the entire Eastern seaboard, and as far as Milwaukee, if listener response is a criterion.