The newest host of WUOT’s Improvisations jazz program is Taber Gable, a Knoxville native known internationally for his cross-genre musical ability and captivating live performance style.
Gable’s talent has put him on stage with some of his heroes, including Jimmy Greene, Peter Bernstein, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Tardy, and Kendrick Scott. Gable enjoys playing these favorites and many others when he hosts Improvisations each Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Eastern on WUOT, the Knoxville NPR station licensed to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to play these musicians on WUOT,” said Gable. “I enjoy sharing my personal experiences with them as well as my musical tastes with WUOT listeners. I like to say that I’m blessed to have my musical ability, and I want to reach as many people as possible with it.”
At just nine years old, Gable started playing piano in church. He had developed an interest in the piano because his mother plays it. When he was 11, after his mother found a listing in the Yellow Pages, he began taking lessons at the Joy of Music School, a nonprofit school supported by volunteer instructors that include such community greats as Donald Brown and Jerry Coker. Gable learned to apply styles from different musical genres including jazz, gospel, classical, pop, R&B, soul, neo-soul, and others.
He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Hartford, where he studied with Andy LaVerne, Steve Davis, René McLean, Javon Jackson, and Nat Reeves. Gable recently graduated from the Juilliard School with a master’s degree in jazz performance and studied under Kenny Barron, Wynton Marsalis, and other notable teachers.
Earlier this year when Improvisations producer and host Todd Steed interviewed Gable on WUOT, he heard the makings of a radio announcer. Steed asked Gable to consider committing to his first stint as a radio host.
“I knew I wanted to do it right away,” Gable said. “I absolutely want to influence young musicians, and I hope to offer a positive influence through my musical background. I want to play music that inspires, enlightens, and makes people feel good.”
Like many other musicians, Gable had been on tour when performances ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After conditions worsened in his home base of New York, Gable rented a van and moved his things back to Knoxville for what turned into an extended stay and an opportunity to give back to his hometown. “It’s interesting to see where life can take you, even amidst disaster,” Gable said. “I appreciate being able to spread awareness of great music and musicians during the pandemic.”
Gable has recorded an album called Hidden Driveways that was released in October. For more information about Improvisations and WUOT, visit wuot.org.