Editor’s note: Michael Gourrier is a New Orleans native, now living in Richmond, Va. He has been broadcasting jazz for 43 years, initially in Galveston, TX in the early 70s and then at WWOZ-FM in New Orleans for another 24 years. After Hurricane Katrina, he relocated to Richmond, VA in 2006 and has been affiliated with WRIR-FM and was named Jazz Director in 2008.
Michael has been affiliated with University of New Orleans and Loyola University as well as serving in various capacities at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro. He has also served as Master of Ceremonies at several Satchmo Summerfests.
Currently he’s guest lecturer at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Jazz Studies Department. He’s been presenter at both the Richmond Jazz Festival and the Richmond Folk Festival.
Michael has made donation of CDs to Jazz Pensacola for our Jazz Room at downtown West Florida Public Library and for our CD sales.
Michael wrote: “I am a living testimony to the pleasure that was the Pensacola Jazz Festival. I looked forward to the Spring of the year to make my annual trek to Pensacola to experience America’s Original Performance Art Form under a shady tree right on the Gulf of Mexico.
“My old friend, Dr. Norm Vickers and his krewe of aficionados would line up a really nice presentation on a yearly basis of national acts along with regional and local performers to whet the appetite of any serious music devotee.
“Highlights over several years, in no particular order, included former Charlie Parker Bandleader Jay McShann; phenom at the time, Christopher Holliday; native Floridian, Nat Adderley with multitalented Larry Willis on piano; the inimitable Miss Betty Carter. From California came the rocking aggregation of Jimmy and Jeannie Cheatham and the Sweet Bay Blues Band that included one of Charles Mingus’ teachers Red Callendar. From Philadelphia, the student of the occult, Kenny Barron (Marie Laveau, Things Unseen, Other Places). Vibe Master and educator, Gary Burton showed how four mallets are handled. Also, vibes master Bobby Hutcherson wowed the audience.
“They are all just fond, pleasant memories lingering over the Gulf. And the band played on!”
Editor’s note: Gourrier refers primarily to the period 1988 to 1997 when Pensacola JazzFest was under the superb direction of WUWF-FM with Jazz Society and Pensacola Arts Council in supporting roles.