By Ken Foote

(CBS11) – Now you may be wondering to yourself: What is radio bumper music?

Well, it is music that serves as an intro or close to a radio show and before and after segments during the show, and as one suitable to talk over. Typically, it is one that upbeat and memorable to the listener.

If you ever listen to Sirius XM’s Channels 11 and 12 (KIIS-FM/Los Angeles and WHTZ-FM/New York), you can tell when Sirius has to break away from local advertising commercials to air their own.

The one show that effectively used music for this purpose was the Imus In The Morning Show when it started simulcasting with MSNBC, especially when it came to the commercials, at which point MSNBC would break away and run their spots while WFAN/New York (the Imus flagship station) would air the local spots in New York. Because TV simulcasts of radio shows do not always match formats exactly, the bumper music that aired immediately after and before aired to make up the time difference before radio and TV would “sync” up. At the same time, the music was quite good. One artist who music that was used for this purpose was King Curtis.

Born Curtis Ousley on February 7, 1934 in Fort Worth, he was a fabulous R&B session saxophonist. Of the three songs of his that charted on Billboard, he is best known for “Soul Twist,” written by Curtis and released in 1962. It was a #1 hot on the Billboard R&B charts. MSNBC used that song as music along with a shot from the WFAN studios while waiting to sync up with Imus and his crew coming out of a radio commercial pod. Once Imus was ready to resume the show, the music faded down and then stopped.

Recently I heard a “lost” song by Curtis over the week on Sirius XM 21 “Underground Garage” called “Beach Party.” Similar in style to “Soul Twist,” one can hear the power of Curtis’ saxophone and consistent beat underneath. He was a talented musician but the music world lost him when he was stabbed to death on August 13, 1971 at age 37.

Running 2:32 and also released in 1962, take a listen to this lost instrumental, performed as “King Curtis And The Noble Knights” written by Curtis and produced by Manny Kellum.