(photo above via L. Kasimu Harris)
New Orleans Saints defensive back Jabari Greer will give New Orleanians another look at his creative side Monday as he co-hosts "Jazz from the French Market," a show on WWOZ-90.7 from 4 p.m. to 7pm.
"For me, this is all about expressing myself in a creative fashion," Greer said. "I've done things such as writing and shooting movies and I've done things to push myself creatively. I think this is an avenue in which it's a great outlet for musical expression and to really put yourself out there and explain who you are and explain your love for life. I believe this is the best form to express myself creatively at this point in my life."
Greer has a special place in his heart for jazz music.
"My love of all music came from my father," Greer said. "I remember vividly growing up, Saturday morning with breakfast cooking and you could hear Miles Davis or Donald Byrd playing over the sizzling of bacon and whenever we drew back the curtains to let to light in, it was something magical in those moments. He would have the music blasting loud in between him making eggs and bacon and he and my mom would be dancing in the living room. It was just a symbol of life. Jazz and music in particular was just a symbol of life for me."
One of the show's segments will include "From Texas to Tennessee, the Soundtrack of My Life," where Greer will talk about songs that are connected to his personal and professional milestones. Outside of football, he's a husband, a father, plus a writer, who earlier this month wrote an online column for Sports Illustrated, filling in for Peter King.
Entering his fifth year with the Saints, Greer has been exposed to more jazz music than he ever would have imagined.
"I remember the day that I signed (with New Orleans), it was a Wednesday. That night a good friend of mine took me to Frenchmen Street and I remember the life of the music on Frenchmen Street, it was incredible. I looked to him and said, 'is this a Wednesday? This is a Wednesday night in which this is happening?'" Greer said. "I remember when I was in Buffalo, I would search weeks ahead of time for any live music events that were happening, and now living in New Orleans, all you have to do is go down the street. There is always something, there is always someone playing and something happening. I honestly felt like I couldn't be in a better place.
"It's not going to be a lot of songs; I'm just going to look in my library. I'm going to look in my library and WWOZ's database; they have given me an opportunity to look into that. I'm going to be doing extensive research to make sure I am providing the right emotional response to the music. With the music that I'm picking, I don't want to pick only ballads and put the listeners to sleep so I have to stop myself by picking different musical styles."
For this upcoming endeavor, Greer will write two blogs, before and after co-hosting, for the station's website, wwoz.org.
"The only way I can write is to music," Greer said, while adding that he seeks a verbal expression heard in rhythms and melodies.
He plans to play "just good music" and wants to introduce new sounds to the listener that is still in line with WWOZ and its jazz show.
WWOZ 90.7 FM program director Dwayne Breashears said he hopes Greer hosting will attract younger listeners to jazz.
"I just want to educate them, have Jabari educate them about jazz itself because it may be something that they never explored," Breashers said. "Jazz is cool music, it's timeless music. This is the music that people will be listening to for the next 300 years, easily, hundreds of years."
Breashears added that this is a rare occasion for the radio station.
"We have guests come on the show but never that basically come on and co-host the show," he said. "We have had it happen in the past, but it's not something we do very often. In my 15 years at the station, we have never had a football player come on and do something like this."