Albert Camus once said, "One's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those one or two great and simple things, in which their heart first opened."
"To me," says Dan Karcher, WBGO's full-time substitute host, "This applies to both the true jazz musician, and the listener."
"Today, like any other day, we may wake up empty and frightened. If you take the time to open a door to the study and read, take down a musical instrument as well. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Try to imagine the first jazz musician. They weren't playing for an audience, or a market, or working on their next recording, or touring with their show, or working on their image. They were playing out of need, out of their need for the music."
Like many of WBGO's staff, jazz has always been in Karcher's life. "Nat Cole, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker -- they've been in my life since I was a child," says Karcher. "At a time when my peers were digging into 'pop,' I was digging into Louis 'Pops' Armstrong. "What is that you're listening to?" they would ask, "It doesn't make any sense!" to which I would reply, "Certainly it makes sense, think of it as having taken leave of it -- if only in order to actually hang onto it."
Karcher's radio broadcasting career began in Birmingham, England on Radio BHN with a program entitled "American Heart Beat," a countdown of America's Top 40 hits.
"That... that was a struggle. With a title such as "American Heart Beat," at least for me - I would expect the format to be jazz. After all, is jazz not the true American heart-beat?" asks Karcher, "However, the program was pre-formatted, saving me from having to select the music to air. I had very little knowledge about pop-culture music. I was listening to the likes of Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and so forth. You want an American heart beat? Listen to Bud Powell, Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster. THEY'RE the perfect example of the "American Heart Beat."
Returning to the USA, Karcher then reunited with radio once again at Philadelphia's jazz station WRTI for a brief time, then to Princeton University's WPRB. He then came to WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM in 1997.
Off air, Karcher has worked as a film designer (www.haxan.com) and is best known for his work on "The Blair Witch Project" in which Forbes Magazine awarded Karcher's work on Blair Witch the "best media campaign, ever."