Steve Williams Retiring After 31 Years
Music Director and Jazz Host Steve Williams announced his retirement from the University of Utah. Williams has hosted the Nighttime Jazz music program on KUER public radio since 1984. His last day on-air will be June 30, 2015.
John Greene, KUER’s General Manager, says Steve’s retirement marks the end of an era, “Over the past 30-plus years, Steve has shared his encyclopedic knowledge and love of jazz music with listeners in Utah and surrounding states. He introduced all of us to the best of the best in this uniquely American art form.”
Born in Manhattan’s theater district at the end of WWII to a mother who was a singer and dancer and a father who was a professional musician in the big band era, Williams says he was essentially “sentenced to a lifetime of music.” With his father’s woodwinds strewn throughout the house, Williams started playing the clarinet and saxophone. "My dad, Murray Williams, was a horn player. He lived in New York and played gigs with Charlie Parker, Gene Krupa and Joe Venuti, among others."
Steve Williams studied music at the University of Utah. In 1979 he became a volunteer board operator with KUER and was hired as Music Director and weekday Jazz Host in 1984. Throughout the past 30 years, Williams has been the voice of jazz music in Utah. He’s hosted concerts and music series throughout the state and emceed jazz festivals nationally, including Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Telluride.
Steve’s unwavering support of Utah’s jazz community includes collaborations with non-profits and schools, interviews with up-and-coming musicians and featuring albums by lesser known musicians and acts. Williams has also been actively involved in the national and international scenes as well, interviewing such legends as Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Lionel Hampton.
Williams looks forward to spending time with his wife, Vicki, “I’ve been at it for over 30 years, and I’ve loved every minute of it. But I’ll turn 70 next year, and my wife is looking forward to having me home each night. She’s as ready as I am to begin this next chapter of our lives.” Williams intends to stay connected with the musicians and organizations that make up Utah’s vibrant jazz community, “We’re very lucky to live in such a rich jazz culture here. I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me over the years.”
KUER is partnering with Excellence in the Community to host a free jazz concert in celebration of Steve Williams’ tenure at the University of Utah on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City featuring the Corey Christiansen Organ Trio.