The Jazzcat

Sam Fields, one of the last great Jazz Disc Jockeys of our time has passed

by on Sep.24, 2005, under News

This is a complete shock to me. I had not

listened to the jazz station very much in these latter years but,

whenever I did, it was always a treat to hear Sam Fields. I went on the

air after Sam Fields every night for four years at 88.1 FM KKJZ. Sam

was a gentle and quiet soul. Not because he was shy, quite the

contrary. Sam spent his time thinking and listening to what people were

saying above, below and between the lines. I got to know Sam quite well

and you have to get to know him well to truly enjoy and appreciate the

humor and knowledge that he possessed.

Sam pretty much kept to

himself and played some of the most classic jazz music on the air. He

had a great laugh and every night he had a story to tell me about some

musician or some incident that happened back in the day, followed by a

chuckle that was unforgettable.

Sam always knew what he wanted

to play. I used to know which artist I wanted to play but, Sam knew the

artist, the song and which album it was on. I would be talking with him

in the studio while a tune was playing. There might be 20 seconds left

before the song was over and Sam would comfortably get up, go into the

other room where the library was located, grab the disc that he wanted,

walk back in the studio, take the disc out and look at it for a second,

pop it in the player, hit the tune that he wanted and it would be as

smooth and seamless as ever. No sweat for a man that was in the

business way before I could even utter the word jazz.


jazz in the late hours and in the wee early morning is a special time.

Most of the world is asleep and it is so cerebral to spend the time

with just you and the music. It is a time to reflect on life and

express that reflection through jazz music. Sam had many years and an

arsenal of jazz knowledge. His absence and even-toned sound and style

of selecting the music will be missed and will once again historically

alter the sweet sound of jazz music on the radio.

We all owe

Sam Fields a great debt of gratitude for a lifetime service of

providing us with the sounds of music that we all know and love today.

I have been asked to be a Pall Bearer at Sam's

transition into the after lifeand I can't think of a more special honor

than that.  I was in New York City when the great Little Niles

took the A train to the Jazz Central Station. I know when Sam arrives,

Chuck and all of our wonderful beautiful musicians and lovers of this

music will be there at the station waiting with a warm welcome.

LeRoy Downs

Services for




Fields are open to the public


and will be held this Friday


September 30th at 1pm :

Spalding Mortuary


3045 S La Brea Ave (at Jefferson Blvd)


Los Angeles, CA 90016


(323) 934-1181


Sam Fields, 55; Noted DJ

By Valerie Nelson, Times Staff Writer  9/25/05

Sam Fields, a disc jockey at KKJZ-FM (88.1) who had been bringing his blues-influenced taste in jazz to the Los Angeles airwaves since 1972, has died. He was 55.


who did not show up for his Thursday afternoon shift at the radio

station, was found dead by police Friday at his North Hollywood home.

No other details were immediately available.

“It's a terrible shock and loss,”

said Saul Levine, the president and general manager of KMZT-FM (105.1)

who gave Fields his first break in jazz radio at the pioneering KBCA-FM

in 1972. “He contributed so much to the field of jazz.”


taste in music was “never wavering and instantly recognizable,” said

Payal Kumar, broadcast director at KKJZ-FM, which is based at Cal State

Long Beach. “There was nobody better.”

“People always commented on Sam's choice in music, and how it elevated the station as a whole,” she said.


Levine finally had an opening for a disc jockey, he couldn't locate

Fields' contact information. Instead, he found Fields working behind

the counter at a deli on West 3rd Street and said, “I have a job for you.”


was also heard on other local radio stations, including KROQ, KLAC and

KMET. His personal jazz favorites included Wes Montgomery, Bud Powell,

Dexter Gordon, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver.

Fields, who was a private man, never showed anger or dissatisfaction, Levine said.

“He was one of the nicest persons we ever had working with us,” he said.

When KKJZ-AM switched to classical music in 1990, the Long Beach station, which was then KLON-FM, hired Fields and another of its jazz institutions, Chuck Niles, who died last year.


during his first shift in 1990, Fields told The Times, “It's a little

bit different, but I'm enjoying it.” A Jimmy Smith number was playing

in the background.

Fields' survivors include two sisters, a brother, a niece and a nephew.


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