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Actress Jorja Fox is perhaps best known for her work in the hit CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as well as roles on ER and The West Wing, but her love of music is clearly a major part of her life. She chooses a wide range of tracks for her Guest DJ set – from big band and samba to folk and post-punk. Jorja, who returns to CSI for a story arc this month, is the co-founder of LA-based avant-garde theatre company Honeypot Productions.
For More: Jorja Fox
Michael Barnes: Hi, I'm Michael Barnes and I'm here with actress, Jorja Fox. Jorja has become a familiar face by playing major roles in three of the most successful television dramas in history: ER, The West Wing and, most recently, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Today we'll be playing excerpts of songs she selected that have inspired her over the years, as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project.
Jorja Fox: Hi Michael. First of all, thank you so much for having me. I'm a big fan, I'm a little nervous. So what I finally did [for my song selections] is stick a little bit to a piano/keyboard theme. I kind of had to try and find something to sort of narrow it down. The first song I picked is "Jet", which was written by Paul McCartney and done by Paul McCartney and Wings. I was at the Coachella Music Festival -- Coachella '09 -- Paul McCartney headlined on Friday night, and I knew by the second verse of this first song that it was going to be one of the best concerts I had ever been to in my entire life. And he opened with "Jet", so I figured I would open with "Jet".
JF: You know, obviously, I could talk about The Beatles probably for about two weeks straight and not even come up for air. It was very hard to pick one song. I grew up with The Beatles. My brother was 12 years older than me, and when he went to college my mom got him an eight track, so he left me all of his albums and his 45’s, and I scored this giant Beatles collection.
MB: You just heard a sample from Paul McCartney and Wings. The song is "Jet", picked by Jorja Fox, who is our guest here for KCRW's Guest DJ Project. What do you have next for us?
JF: This is a song called "The Story", by the Matthew Herbert Big Band. Matthew Herbert has done a whole bunch of different genres of albums. I think this is his second compilation of big band music. I'm a subscriber to KCRW, a proud subscriber, and I got the winter CD you guys give out to all of us that give to the station, and on it was this song. The first time I heard it, I was in rapture, like from the first couple of notes of this song.
JF: My father -- I'm gonna take you through a tour of my family I think at this point -- my father is 85 years old, he lives in sunny Florida, he served in World War II, he's a huge, huge, huge music lover. My mother never cared for music at all, as a matter of fact, she would often argue with him to turn it off. So my love of music comes from my dad and my brother. My dad grew up with big bands and jazz, so from a very, very early age, I was exposed to that [genre] -- it's kind of the only records he had. He still puts Brylcreem in his hair. And I feel really honored cuz growing up sort of in the seventies in a beach town in Florida, I would have never been exposed to big band and jazz if it hadn't been for my dad.
MB: You just heard an excerpt from Matthew Herbert Big Band. The name of the song is "The Story" from the most recent record, There's Me and There's You. And that was something that was picked by actress, Jorja Fox, who you may know from ER and The West Wing and, most recently, from CSI as Dr. Sara Sidle.
JF: Oh, Doctor, I love that -- scientist, technically.
MB: Scientist, okay.
JF: But yeah, kind of doctor, and a lot of people think cop. But I guess technically we were always scientists. We worked for the cops, but we weren't technically cops.
MB: There you go.
JF: Obscure fact, yeah.
MB: So what do you have next for us, Jorja?
JF: Well, this is where I start to get a little crafty. Again, because it was so hard to pick five songs, I started to find songs that I loved that were covered by artists that I love, in an effort to talk about more songs and more artists. My favorite band right now is a band called Hot Chip. I love them -- they're so danceable, they're listenable, they're fun. I love their lyrics. [This is] one of the newer songs they have out that I'm familiar with, I think was released in February of '09. [It] is a cover of Joy Division's "Transmission", which is on a great compilation album called War Child: Heroes, Volume 1. And what I had heard about it, which I think is so interesting, is the bands that were covered, actually picked the artist to cover their songs. So it's my understanding that the New Order guys picked Hot Chip to do a Joy Division cover. I love Joy Division, I love New Order, I love Hot Chip -- here's "Transmission".
JF: I was lucky enough to grow up with this college radio station in Florida called WFIT. It's a small, small, small, small town where I came from -- like one street with an ice cream parlor and that's about it. And we had this radio station -- we sort of had a window to the entire world.
MB: Music from Hot Chip. "Transmission" is the name of the song, originally done by Joy Division and featured on War Child: Heroes, Volume 1 collection, picked by our guest here at KCRW, actress Jorja Fox. What do you have next for us?
JF: Ugh, next. Again growing up in Florida it was really sort of heavy rock alternative music time. And when I finally got to New York, I finally made some friends who were kind of my own age and they were listening to Joni Mitchell who, I think, is one of the better song writers that ever was and guitarist and pianist. This particular track is "Black Crow", and it's preformed and arranged by Diana Krall, who's one of my favorite contemporary jazz pianist artists right now. It's a song about traveling. It's a song about being on the road. But when I listen to it, I really feel like I'm flying.
MB: "Black Crow", by Joni Mitchell covered by Diana Krall.
JF: I love music. I actually took up the drums about a year and a half ago. I'm a very late beginner. In CSI, as a mater of fact, we had a lunch time band for the longest time. There are so many people that play music on CSI. And lunch is only a half hour and people would run to the food truck, like just run, and get the food and throw it in the trailers and then go into the stage and we'd just leave our instruments there and we'd have jams for as long, you know, until they'd call us back to work and then you just eat your lunch cold throughout the day when you had time, you know?
MB: You just heard a sample of Diana Krall doing Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow", you can find that on her album The Girl in the Other Room and that was selected by our guest here in the studios, actress Jorja Fox. So what do you have next for us?
JF: "So Danco Samba", written of course by Getz and Gilberto. This particular version of it is my favorite. It's performed by Ella Fitzgerald and I was in Costa Rica last spring, I surf and I'd been surfing all day in Costa Rica, and I get out of the water with my surfboard and I go down this tiny little hotel that had 20 tables set up in the sand on the beach, huge palm trees hanging over head, like 40-foot palm trees. And there is this gentleman, who is from Brazil. He's a one man band: he's got his drums, his percussion, his keyboard, his guitars. And what he does is he lays down a riff and it records itself so he can lay down the drums of what he wants to do, and then his keyboard sound. Then, he'll put in a little guitar -- it's recorded as he's doing it right there. And I got to just sit there and watch the sun go down listening to this amazing musician. And he did a lot of Bossa Nova that night and my favorite moment was "So Danco Samba."
MB: "So Danco Samba" by Ella Fitzgerald.
MB: You just heard a selection of some master works from Ella Fitzgerald doing a song by Joao Gilberto. "So Danco Samba" is the name of the song. And that was something that was picked by our guest here in our studio, actress Jorja Fox. Thank you so much for joining us here at KCRW.com for the Guest DJ Project.
JF: It was great, good luck with this project, it was so fun!
MB: For complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/GuestDJProject.