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From Secretary to Editor, She Gets the Word to Fans

From secretary at Nordstrom to publisher/editor of her own jazz newspaper called The Jazz Link. Jude Hibler, a jazz fanatic, has made the transition in a matter of months.

Four years ago, Hibler, who says she visits jazz clubs three or four nights a week, moved to San Diego from Colorado. A friend told her to look up local jazz pianist Mike Wofford. The two became friends, and Hibler began doing a mailer for Wofford announcing upcoming shows. Response was immediate. Attendance at his shows increased. Jazz fans seemed starved for information.

“Tony D., the disc jockey at KSDS, suggested I do a newspaper. I said I didn’t know anything about newspapers, and he said, ‘You don’t know anything about other publications, either.’ I said, ‘OK.’ ”

The first issue of the monthly black-and-white, 16-page paper came out last May. The 10,000 copies are distributed at 45 locations--clubs, hotels, downtown restaurants--where jazz buffs might be expected to find it.

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Hibler’s paper is pretty much a one-woman show. She writes and edits many of the articles, sells the advertising and does the typesetting and layout using a desk-top publishing computer system.

“I think I’m most proud of our August issue,” Hibler said. “We wanted to change our cover logo, and a group of artists and writers came together. We created a new look.”

The October issue will feature an article by nationally known jazz writer Helen Dance, who lives in Vista.

Despite the closing of the Bella Via jazz club in Cardiff, which will give its last show Oct. 1, Hibler remains optimistic about the jazz scene’s strength in San Diego.

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“Looking at the list of big-time jazz artists here in September, I counted 28,” she said. “That’s a lot of people. How do we best support them? That’s the No. 1 question. Clubs need to make money, artists need to make money, the community has to show its support by going out, having dinner in clubs, hearing the music, supporting the artists.”

FOND FAREWELL: Almost three years after it began offering jazz in Encinitas, the Bella Via will close its doors Oct. 1. John Rubino, who owned and operated the club with his wife, Valerie, says he wouldn’t have done anything differently. “We’re proud of what we accomplished. Win, lose or draw, we know we did the right thing.” Jazz patron Bob Geib and pianist Mike Wofford are organizing a tribute to the club for Sunday, Oct. 2. Already scheduled to appear are Wofford, Holly Hoffman, Lori Bell, Gary Pack, Steve Feirereend, Peter and Tripp Sprague, and Kevyn Lettau. Watch for big names to be announced soon. A new restaurant will replace the Bella Via’s Italian restaurant and jazz club--no, they won’t offer jazz.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE: A weekly jazz concert series called “Jazz Nite Out” will begin Oct. 2 and 3 at the Girls Nite Out club, 4805 Convoy St. Jazz musician Jimmy Corsaro, organizer of the series, has booked vocalist Mark Murphy for the first shows. Murphy has done 35 albums, received three Grammy nominations and was once voted “Best Male Jazz Singer” by Downbeat. Tickets are $11.50 in advance, $15 at the door. Information: 279-2444 or 235-4649.

SECOND ADOLESCENCE: San Diego’s rock ‘n’ roll radio stations have always seen the value of tying in with concerts to put their call letters and on-air personalities in front of the public. KIFM has done jazz tie-ins, most notably the “Lites Out” jazz concert series at Humphrey’s each summer. But now KJOY, which for years has been a staunch proponent of the soporific music known as “easy listening,” is trying to become a presence on the jazz scene.

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“Since last January, we’ve been updating our music,” said Carol Stanford, promotions director. “We’re working toward giving the station a more contemporary feel so we can attract a larger 35-to-54 audience.”

In the past, the station has relied entirely on program tapes supplied by a company called Bonneville, based in Chicago. But now, programming director Rich Barnes is slipping fresh tunes, including some jazz, into the mix.

Concurrent with the new sound, the station is trying for a new image. It has hooked up with Sea World to present the jazz series in the 7,800-seat Nautilus Pavilion. It has been slow getting off the ground but seems to be building momentum for the last show of the season, the Oct. 16 appearance by Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Band and Joe Williams.

MAC ATTACK ON A JAZZ GIANT: Peter Sprague, perhaps San Diego’s finest jazz guitarist, has long had a musical relationship with internationally known jazz keyboardist Chick Corea. Sprague’s latest gig with “the Chick man” is to be in charge of putting out the sheet-music books for each new Corea album. Sprague, a natural for the job because he is so familiar with Corea’s music, transcribes the songs using a special music program written for the Apple Macintosh computer. He just finished the book for Corea’s “Light Years” album. The next one, for the new “Eye of the Beholder” disk, should be out in about two months. Look for Sprague at the Solana Grill, formerly Diego’s in Solana Beach, during October.

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