Black and White Picture of Equipto and Art Sato in KPFA studio

The Art Sato: In Your Ear collection represents nearly 40 years of in-depth exclusive interviews by Art Sato with innovative practitioners of jazz and Latin music. Art is a leading authority on jazz history and culture. He has hosted “In Your Ear,” a unique weekly radio series on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California from 1981 to the present. His activism for the preservation of oral musical histories stands in the highest rank of living jazz historians. His extended interviews of great artists demonstrate a profound and rare trust these masters have bestowed upon him.

Spearheaded by Art and his son Equipto, we undertook the preservation of the over 90 in-depth interviews done between 1981 and 2013, including recordings with more than 20 musicians who have transitioned. In addition to preserving this valuable cultural legacy for musicians; music-lovers; students; teachers; historians; cultural commentators; and the public at large to engage; Equipto interviewed Art about his life’s work to lift up the perspectives and stories allowing us to better understand the complex and central role jazz has played in our national conscious.

“Dewey’s (Dewey Redman) death impressed on me more than ever the importance of restoring and preserving the interviews I’ve done for the past 30 years.” – Art Sato

This collection reflects a deep inquiry into both the music and the people who pour their souls into creating it. The interviews in this collection, with many of the leading innovators and creative artists who have shaped the direction of jazz in the last half of the 20th century, are one-of-a-kind primary sources documenting this cultural development. The interviews contain insights and analyses of jazz music and culture not found in other references on the subject. They trace the development of each of the artists, probing deeply into influences, inspirations, challenges, the development of groups with whom they’ve worked, and the historical, social, and political climate that shaped many of them as conscious agents of cultural and social change. You can find a list of the preserved interviews here and find the full collection here.

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Pictured Left to Right: Claude Marks, Art Sato, Equipto Sato. (2021)

The following interview was conducted in April 2021 at Art Sato’s home by his son, Equipto. Tech assistance by Claude Marks.

Early Beginnings:
The Power of Oral Tradition:
Military Service / Thailand:
Discovering KPFA:
Working in the Shipyards:
The Freedom to Play What I Want to:
Koncepts Cultural Gallery:
Prisoner Support Work:
Stories from In Your Ear:
A Culture of Resistance:

This project was made possible in part by funding from the Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot.

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