32 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 19-25, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com FACE TO FACE That Michael Jacobi is retired hardly matters. While he did indeed step down from his post organizing the annual Jazz on the Plazz festival in Los Gatos that he co-founded and produced for two decades, and while he is known for a number of other past events, such as a charity golf tournament, he still gets around. He plays host, with Rachael Shelton, on “Raising the Standards,” a weekly spin and discussion of jazz on 1080 KSCO and streaming on Santa Cruz Voice. This year, the longtime festival organizer, radio host and owner of Jacobi Creative used his “retirement” to serve as executive producer and artist director for Jazz at the Ranch, a series of six well-received Friday jazz performances at Rancho Cielo, an educational campus and social services center for underserved youth in Salinas, that just happens to have a suitable amphitheater. The series opened on Aug. 25 with talent that only someone of Jacobi’s stature could bring in: Tony Lindsay & the Soul Soldiers. When he is not working, Jacobi prefers to stay at his home in Chualar with his wife and four dogs. He enjoys watching the sky. “The thing I love most about where I live is the night sky—there’s no artificial light,” he observes. “It is so different to look up and see the stars when you don’t have lights around you.” Weekly: Why get back into producing festivals? Why Rancho Cielo? Jacobi: Because of what they do, who they do it for and how dedicated the staff is. Everyone from Chris Devers, the CEO, and Judge John Phillips, the founder, on down—they’re just so wonderfully hands-on and involved with young people who have challenges. You’ve done a lot over the years. Which project do you feel most proud of? I’m particularly proud of this Rancho Cielo thing. I’m so proud of it, because it’s such a hip place and it’s such a great cause. To work with a group of people who all have their eyes on the prize, and all are selfless. The students are a joy. And I’ve worked with young musicians for years, through Monterey Jazz, and Jazz in the Plazz at Los Gatos. But working with these young people who have challenges…and they’re there because they want to make the best of it and I admire that. Are you a musician? I tried to sing. I’m a big Sinatra fan, which is sad because [my singing] is so bad. When people assume ‘What do you play?’ The microphone [for interviews], and that’s it. I don’t play anything else. Being around music, I’m sure you’ve interviewed some interesting people. Is there one who stands out? I met Sinatra, but I didn’t interview him. I met Sammy Davis and interviewed him once, which was a fascinating interview. Maybe Dave Brubeck. Brubeck was an innovator in jazz. He helped break the color barrier. [During World War II while in the U.S. Army, Brubeck organized a racially diverse jazz band.] What do you think about contemporary radio? I come from a school of personality radio. Now radio is just a beige wasteland. Nobody has any personality. I come from a time when you had to be quick on your feet and interesting and, God forbid, entertaining. To me, [you’re good] if you can mix your own music and you’re bringing some of yourself to what you’re doing. But you just don’t see that anymore. Is that why you share backstories about songs and performers? It’s a bit self-serving, because it kind of reminds me of the things that I haven’t heard in a long time. In the old days, if I wanted to find something I’d take months going through record stores to find these obscure things. Now you’ve got the Library of Congress in your hand. I found a Patsy Cline a capella album, which I didn’t even know existed. What do you listen to in the car? I’ve listened to an extraordinary amount of books on tape, when I should’ve learned 12 languages. The amount of time…I’ve listened to these dumb detective stories. Why books instead of music? I find it takes me away from trying to think of new stuff constantly, because I am a terrible insomniac. It’s why I play golf. Because golf is such a difficult game, you can’t think of anything else; you’ve got to be able to concentrate on what you’re doing. It’s one of the few times I don’t bring my problems business-wise or emotionally with me is to the golf course, because I haven’t got time for that. Words and Music Michael Jacobi is known for jazz festivals and as a radio host, even though he is a non-musician. By Celia Jiménez Michael Jacobi at his home in Chualar. The radio host is a deeply knowledgable jazz fan drawn to stories and personalities behind the music. DANIEL DREIFUSS 831.200.9700 • www.gocatrescue.org TUXEDO CAT SEEKS LOVE! Hi, Gizmo here. I’m almost 8-years-old and I just lost my best human friend who moved into a care facility. If you’ve got love in your heart, a pinch of patience and a laser toy, I’m your guy! I want to be honest and tell you it will take me some time to adjust to a new home. But if I set the pace, and you are gentle and calm, I will soon be out and about and seeking pets and chasing that elusive little red dot! If you are interested in Gizmo, please fill out an adoption application at www.gocatrescue.org. If you would like to sponsor our next ad, give us a call at (831) 200-9700. We Are Looking for Loving Fosters Lend a helping paw and become a foster volunteer. We are always looking for new fosters and have an urgent need right now! We cover all medical expenses — you provide a loving, safe and comfortable home. Fill out an online volunteer application today, or give us a call to take the first step towards comforting a dog that was left behind. Ad Sponsored by Judy LeRoy With Lasso If you’d like sponsor our next ad, please give us a call. 831-718-9122 | www.PeaceOfMindDogRescue.org P.O. Box 51554, Pacific Grove, CA 93950