Musical Retirement into Radio Presentation – UK Division

After following a decade-long curvilinear Jazz career, a combination of poor working conditions and what he calls “barely perceptible, surgical and very well-mannered” British racism caused UK vibraphone player Cory Mwamba to retire from full-time music a couple of years ago. But as Point of Departure’s Bill Shoemaker notes, Mwamba’s decision soon tuned into a full-time job, as host of his own BBC Radio Jazz show. Although the story is disjointed, as the writer injects record reviews into the narrative, it tells how the child of educated Zambian immigrants, who had never heard those sounds before, decided to play Jazz after hearing “Mood Indigo” on the radio and later seeing British vibist Opry Robinson in person. Despite organ lessons and some drumming experience Mwamba felt he could best express himself as a vibist. With a chemistry as well as a music degree, Mwamba was also employed elsewhere, but managed to work and record with the likes of saxophonists Martin Archer, Tom Ward and Jason Yarde among others. He does say that his decision to live and play in Derby instead of London affected his decision to quit as much as “working in places that were, disrespectful and hateful, where you’d get called out by someone in the audience.”