A newsmaker you should know: Radio host's liner notes on jazz CDs may be historic

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David Fabilli is doing more than making money by being an annotator -- that is, writing liner notes for CDs. He believes that he's also making a permanent legacy.

The Friendship resident's most recent work can be found on tenor saxophonist Houston Person's most recent album, "Naturally," released in October on HighNote Records and currently near the top of the jazz charts.

"These records are going to be around a hundred years from now," Mr. Fabilli says. "My imprint and my contribution will have a very, very long shelf life."

Mr. Fabilli has had a connection to music since childhood -- he played woodwind instruments from first grade to his early college days but eventually shifted to reviewing music. He now teaches radio broadcasting at Point Park University.

One of the most seasoned on-air personalities on local jazz radio and known professionally as David Jaye, he began writing liner notes, the information on booklets inside CD cases, originally as a favor.

"I actually got into it because of [saxophonist] Eric Kloss -- he and I were very good friends," Mr. Fabilli says. "He was doing an album for Muse Records" and asked Mr. Fabilli to write notes for that. "The record label president didn't mind."

Eventually Muse fell under the ownership of HighNote Records.

While he had done only a few more records, in 1991, local saxophonist Kenny Blake invited him to do liner notes for his national breakout CD "Interior Design," which eventually became top 15.

"The last 20 years I've done 20 records, [either] liner notes or compilation production," Mr. Fabilli says. "I just turned in liner notes for Kenny Blake's latest record," to be released later this year. However, "Working on these records is frustrating because I'm working on much tighter deadlines."

For his work, Mr. Fabilli now belongs to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences -- the folks who sponsor the Grammy Awards. That is, he gets to vote on nominations.

"You need to do six to join," he says. "There's [even] a [Grammy] category" for that, he says.

His experience in broadcasting lends him the expertise to critique jazz records.

"I've been doing jazz radio for 30 years, did WDUQ for 20 years," Mr. Fabilli says. He also served as program director at WYJZ, now WAMO-AM and which also played jazz, and also did weekends at the late, lamented WJJJ, which switched its smooth-jazz format in 1999.

There, "I was kind of the utility guy," he says. "If someone couldn't make it, I'd fill in. They did a lot of live shows -- we got a chance to do personal appearances. I really enjoyed working with them," he says.

And as far as radio, "Tony [Mowod] is probably the only guy who's done more than I have," he says.

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Rick Nowlin: rnowlin@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3871.


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