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Bil McCannThe Jazz Journalists Association has named Bill McCann a 2012 ‘'Jazz Hero.” JJA “Jazz Heroes” are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

Bill McCann has graced the airwaves, mixing mainstream and classic jazz with new releases as host of "The Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz" since April, 1985. His weekly four-hour program, 8 am to noon, issues from the studios of WCDB-FM, the station at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and is heard on-line at WCDBFM.com. An attorney by day, Bill is also member of the board of directors of A Place for Jazz, a not-for-profit corporation based in Schenectady, New York, which has presented concert series for more than 25 years, as well as providing scholarships and clinics to students in local schools and colleges.

The 2012 “Jazz Hero” awards will be presented in conjunction with the 2012 Jazz Journalists Association's Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism. Locally, the JJA Jazz Awards Satellite Party will be held at the Van Dyck, 237 Union St in Schenectady, on June 23 at 5:30 PM. It is co-sponsored by A Place for Jazz and the Swingtime Jazz Society. The event is free and open to the public.

A strong believer in supporting his local scene, McCann invites area musicians and promoters to showcase their projects in an oft-featured segment of his "Saturday Morning Edition" called "the Jazz Corner"; several times a year he invites local fans and players to sit in as guest DJs, picking featured music. He's instituted special programs including an Annual Duke Ellington Birthday Bash (just prior to Ellington's birthday, April 29), and an Annual Jazz Christmas Show -- nine hours long on the Saturday before Christmas (and Bill’s favorite show of the year; he likes to say it is "All of your favorite holiday music done in a jazzy way."

Bill grew up in a Rockland County suburb of New York City. His father was a jazz fan and his major influence, introducing him to the music via recordings, jazz performances in clubs and at concerts throughout the metropolitan area. He regularly attended meetings with his father of the Jazz Record Masters of Northern New Jersey, a group that still meets most Tuesday nights to hang out for listening parties, and he tagged along when his father made regular guest appearances on Steve Possell's "Good Old Jazz" radio show on local WRKL-FM.

For his jazz support efforts, Bill has been named "Best Jazz DJ" by Metroland, a weekly alternative news and arts publication in New York's Capital District, and has received official appreciation from the Albany Musicians Association, Local 14 of the American Federation of Musicians. In April of 2010, he marked the 25th Anniversary of his Saturday morning radio program with a day of jazz at the University at Albany, featuring seven bands constituted with the who's who of area jazz musicians. As Tom Bellino, president of the Catskill-based non-profit jazz promotion group Planet Arts says, "Bill's a real community guy when it comes to supporting music. If it wasn't for guys like Bill and shows like his, I think there'd be a real void. Plus, his articulation - the way he speaks - is coming from the jazz vernacular."

Bellino calls Bill a resource for the region; McCann himself describes his program as his weekly therapy session. "I play what I love. That way, my excitement gets carried over the airwaves, and when I get excited, it just gets other people excited." McCann often gets so excited that he comes back on air after a segment of music saying breathlessly, "Man, if that didn't get you going, you need to seek immediate, and I do mean immediate medical attention, 'cause you just might be dead." Bill McCann is a real live Jazz Hero.

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