With the help of Mike Pappas, chief engineer at Denver’s KUVO Public Radio 89.3 FM, the 25-year-old coast-to-coast celebration, “Toast of the Nation,” will not only be broadcast live by the 100-plus NPR member stations this year, but also by Sirius satellite radio, NPR Worldwide, and radio stations in Europe such as Radio France.
Beginning early on December 31, with a live jazz performance from Paris, NPR will join Parisians ringing in 2005 at the renowned jazz spot Club Sunside. “Toast of the Nation” will then move westward as the countdown to midnight continues across the U.S., featuring performances first from Boston, New York and Washington, DC, a juke joint in Mississippi, a Latin jazz extravaganza in Denver, and ending in the early hours of New Year’s Day at the legendary Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, Calif.
“What we’re talking to them about is how to do 5.1 in a standard FM and digital radio environment,” reports Pappas. “[KUVO’s] left-center-right arrays are going to be Sennheiser MKH800s. The rear channels are going through a Neumann KU100 ‘Fritz’ stereo head because it’s simple and effective.”
KUVO’s contribution to “Toast of the Nation” will feature the Latin Giants of Jazz, formerly led by the late Latin percussion legend, Tito Puente, a band that features four trombone, five saxophone and five trumpet players. “If processing is used to create the LFE channel,” he observes, “The trombones are noticeably affected when you put an 80Hz band-pass in there.”
The U.S. portion of the broadcast will begin in Boston with the Donald Harrison Quintet live from Berklee College of Music at 7 p.m. (EST) on December 31. The show will also include a tribute to jazz vocalist Shirley Horn from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; highlights from “A Great Night in Harlem – a Tribute to Ray Charles” sponsored by the Jazz Foundation of America from the Apollo Theater; the first New Year’s Eve from Frederick P. Rose Hall, the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center; a juke joint party from actor Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.; the Latin Giants of Jazz live from Denver; and, finally, the Joshua Redman Trio and friends live from Yoshi’s in Oakland.