Music News

New Jazz Radio Show The Morning Set Launches This Week

Carlos Lando launches The Morning Set.
Carlos Lando launches The Morning Set. Mike Johns
Carlos Lando, general manager of 89.3 KUVO Jazz, is a professed huge fan of Jimi Hendix and once read this quotation on air from the guitar master: “Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” It's stuck with him, especially as he prepares to return to the airwaves for the first time in about five years with the Morning Set, a weekday, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. show that launches Monday, March 28.

“If [musicians] are honest about what they are doing, then you are experiencing what is in their soul,” Lando says.

He explains that the same principle applies to radio, a medium he has worked with for fifty years. He’s loved it since he bought his first Silvertone radio as a teenager in Puerto Rico, where he grew up.

“I’m really serious about how I reconnect with our community," he says. "Not just musically, but the things that are going on in the community."

Lando wants to bring that community spirit to The Morning Set. As a starting point, the show will focus on the people who come together under the jazz flag, and have them tell their stories.

“Where’s the legacy of jazz in Denver?” he asks. “Where does it come from? Why do we have this vibrant scene today? Well, give credit where credit is due: Five Points. Five Points is the essence of everything that we do around this thing we call jazz.”

Denver’s jazz scene originated in Five Points, Lando says, the historically Black neighborhood on the north end of Denver. He also wants to celebrate the origins of the city’s Latin music, which comes from a slightly different area. While Lando sees The Morning Set as music-oriented rather than a talk show, it will also be a forum for various underrepresented Denver communities, covering both light topics, such as the Mexican rodeo coming to town, and serious ones, including gentrification in Curtis Park or violence in the city.

“What’s going on in Curtis Park?” he says. “What’s going on in Five Points? What’s going on in Aurora? Those things are important. These are short kinds of informational dialogues that I would have or a guest would have that we need to make sure people in our community are aware of. … We just want to be there as a resource.”

Lando adds that although jazz will form the backbone of the show, he wants to keep the music diverse. He sees other folks from the station — which boasts more than three dozen hosts — coming on the show and bringing everything from Brazilian music to Mexican music from the Southwest. The station also plays tons of local artists and strives to be open to different sounds.

“If you’ve got something that deserves to be heard and, from a technical standpoint, the recording sounds good, and everything is there performance-wise, we try not to be subjective,” he says. “Music is subjective, but we just try to say 'This sounds good.' Let’s see what people think about it if we put it out there.”

Lando was first exposed to radio as a child. His father, who was a career military man, introduced him to music at a young age. The military radio service also had to cater to a wide variety of tastes, so Lando took in a rich helping. “I would hear country and I would hear soul,” he remembers. “My father would hear some of that stuff early on, some of it just from where he was stationed, but mostly from the radio.”

His father, also a big music fan, played records on his day off to unwind, showing his son the music he loved in his youth.

"You work hard for you family, and you come home and go to bed," Lando says. "However, on Saturday mornings, when it was your time, you put on the record player. And you play that music you grew up with listening to on the radio. It was important. Records were a big deal."

The radio drew Lando to jazz, and he enjoys all the varieties of the expansive genre. But it was more than just music he was hearing.

“I appreciated the music,” he recalls. “But then I started appreciating the hosts, the people on the radio who made me appreciate the music. I said ‘Wow, I can do that. I want to do that.’”

He first went on air in Puerto Rico in 1968 and worked on the island and New York state for several years before relocating to Colorado in the early 1980s. He has been with KUVO since 1987, and has been the nonprofit radio station’s general manager for the past decade.

Lando says he has been fortunate to have worked at radio stations that put community first. Having a dialogue with the community one serves is important, he says, so the station and the community will be in sync with one another. That working principle means he’s always been drawn to public radio. KUVO, which started in 1985, was the first Latino-controlled radio station in Denver, and produced material relevant to that community, which had often been ignored.

“That’s how KUVO started,” Lando says. “It evolved into other things, but musically speaking, we are probably the most diverse musical station under the jazz tag that you are going to find on the planet.”

The Morning Set premieres Monday, March 28, and plays weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on KUVO Jazz 89.3.
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