Pete Amahl

What’s your name and your DJ name?

Pete Amaral, shortened to Pete Amahl, my stage name

What’s the name of your show, and when is it on?

The Night Visitor, Monday evenings, 4:00 to 6:00.

Please describe your show. What’s its format?

Mainly it’s jazz and rhythm & blues, from the community, both local musicians and national. I like to intercede and tell stories about my experiences being around some of the artists I was lucky enough to play with, and that is what I call it: luck. It’s ongoing because I still get a chance to be playing with people. Most of what I play on my show is the music that influenced my early life both as a person and a musician, so at my age we’re looking at the late ‘50s through the ‘80s. I play records from the extensive West Coast jazz collection that was passed on to me, and records of that era from the East Coast as well because that’s where I grew up, Fall River, Massachusetts. The West Coast is mostly big band, also a lot of combos. And spoken word from that era—I love it!

What drew you to participate in KMRD?

It’s community oriented and I’ve always had an interest in bringing music out here, starting in the ‘70’s when we began bringing jazz to the Madrid ballpark. I was one of the founders of the NM Jazz Workshop and am still on the board of directors for that and for the Taos Bebop Society. I just love this music and I want it to get out there, by playing live with other musicians and through KMRD—I feel it’s our country’s big contribution to the world, this particular art form—and now that we’re streaming, I have the opportunity to get it out to the rest of the world.

What’s the appeal of doing a radio show? How does it fit into the rest of your life?

It grows out of my work, my creative life, wanting to share and support what I love. I would look for backers to bring out jazz artists to New Mexico. At times, over the years I had financed Mose Allison and others out of my pocket. Mose was a friend of mine as was Eddie Harris. I was living in Massachussetts in ’72 and, when I left it to come out here, I brought the music with me.  

What difference has KMRD made in your life?

It’s an outlet for my heart. It takes me the same place, the zone I’m in when I’m playing live—there’s no ego. It touches those things that are beyond me—like when I’m playing live, one performance could be magical one moment, gone the next.

What are your hopes for your show? For the station?

I hope that my show has some kind of impact amongst people. I’m trying to expose people to this beauty in jazz and r&b, and I’m hoping that it touches them. We have no idea; somebody hears something and they get it, they just get it, and it opens up that whole world to them. It’s beauty. What do you do with a beautiful ballad? It’s all encompassing, really, like the beauty of New Mexico, it astounds me. I see it, I hear it; if it talks to me, it comes.

And I hope that KMRD grows and shows the diversity and character of the people of this area. I used to call this “the last of America.” It’s a diversity of people who can live together—we don’t chase people away. You can be who you are as long as it’s not hurting anyone and you’re being civil. Over the years, we’ve lost ourselves in this country, lost our humanity. Here it’s very human. I love the DJs on this station—they’re intelligent, they get us to look at subjects in depth that are important to all of us. I’d like the world to listen, because it’s real. I’m so proud that the young people put this together, Stella and Will and all the rest, that they got this station together for the community.