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Under the Radar

Under the Radar is about jazz and creative music legends who have taken less-travelled paths. It's about relative unknowns and journeymen doing extraordinary, and sometimes under-recognized work; it's also about pioneers--the ones out front and those behind the scenes, experimenting with new ideas.

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A Different Drummer, Part 5: Terri Lyne Carrington

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 5: Terri Lyne Carrington" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


In her 2003 Carnegie Mellon University paper Experience West African Drumming: A Study of West African Dance-Drumming and Women Drummers, Leslie Marie Mullins explains that drumming was explicitly the territory of male musicians in West Africa. Mullins reveals that several myths were employed to keep women and drums far apart. Among them, Ghanaian women were thought (by males) to lack the physical strength for the strenuous activity of drumming, and they were taught that drumming would lead to infertility. But ...

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A Different Drummer, Part 4: The Zildjian Legacy

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 4: The Zildjian Legacy" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


They are the oldest family-owned business in the world, recognized globally by musicians from every genre. The Avedis Zildjian Company--known simply as Zildjian --traces its history to the ancient cymbals of the Middle East and Asia. Almost four hundred years ago, Avedis, an Armenian metalsmith and alchemist in seventeenth-century Istanbul, discovered an alloy of tin, copper, and silver with unique sound qualities. In 1618 he was using his secret amalgam to create cymbals of remarkable precision and resonance. Working in ...

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A Different Drummer, Part 3: Pino Basile & Mizuki Wildenhahn

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 3: Pino Basile & Mizuki Wildenhahn" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The Swish Knocker, And More Early on in his career, the late Milford Graves abandoned the snare drum, substituting the resonance of the toms for the snare parts. He believed music of the drum reverberated from within the drummer and the listener without the need for extraneous instrumentation. Tyshawn Sorey's approach to music speaks to contempt for classification. His kit is often a vast collection of tuned and untuned percussion; cymbals, gongs, bells, shakers, and paraphernalia that almost obscure the ...

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A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Drums of Life--Drums of DeathThe ruins of the Anasazi people stand undisturbed in the cliffs between the high mesas and the canyon floors of the southwest. Dating to 2500 B.C., the multi-story adobe pueblos and stone cities were the sites of the ancient indigenous peoples of North America. Archeologists have uncovered an assortment of percussion instruments in the ruins: suspended stones that resonated when struck, gourd rattles with seeds inside. Rasps were pieces of wood or bone with serrated edges ...

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A Different Drummer, Part 1: Mark Lomax II and Mauricio Takara

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 1: Mark Lomax II and Mauricio Takara" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The drum is an instrument of power and presence. It is the heartbeat of music but with uncertain origins. In Africa, China, and Turkey, archeologists have found evidence to suggest that any of those regions may have been the forebearers of the beat, of the definitive expression of freedom. Data concludes that instrumental music is at least 40 thousand years old, and drumming is possibly much older. Scientists have determined that pre-human descendants have been beating a drum at repeated ...

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The Word from Johannesburg, Part II: Brenda Sisane and The Art of Sunday

Read "The Word from Johannesburg, Part II: Brenda Sisane and The Art of Sunday" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Brenda Sisane has been in broadcasting in Johannesburg, South Africa for over twenty-five years while simultaneously heading up her International Relations and Creative Arts public relations firm. Ms. Sisane is also CEO of SPIN Productions and its Non-Profit sister organization, The SPIN Foundation NPC, which both serve the international and domestic arts and music and culture space and she serves as a Board Trustee on several NGOs. The host of the Johannesburg KAYA-FM radio program The Art of Sunday she ...

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The Word from Johannesburg, Part I: Nduduzo Makhathini

Read "The Word from Johannesburg, Part I: Nduduzo Makhathini" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


In 1919, the Pasadena Evening Post said: “the friends of Mr. Whiteman have with much enthusiasm bestowed the title of “King of Jazz" upon him." While Paul Whiteman was heavily criticized for wearing the crown, it was not one that was self-attributed or with which he felt completely comfortable. But Whiteman was a brilliant marketer and used his notoriety to become the most financially successful bandleader of the 1920s. He had taken territory bands to franchise-like status with dozens of ...


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