All About Jazz

Home » Articles | Reviews Only

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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.

UNDER THE RADAR

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II

Read "Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II" reviewed by

Part 1 | Part 2 Part 1 of Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands looked at the roots, drivers and challenges of the travelling groups who brought jazz music to the non-urban areas of the Southern Plains, through one-night-stands, in often impromptu venues. A black phenomenon, often misappropriated by white musicians, promoters, record labels and venues, the most active period of territory bands coincided with the rise of post-slavery American racism. In the 1920s, the Ku ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part I

Read "Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part I" reviewed by

Part 1 | Part 2 OriginsBy the second half of the 1920s, New York had supplanted jny: Chicago as the center of jazz. The “Jazz Age"--a label incorrectly ascribed to F. Scott Fitzgerald--could rationally have been framed as the “Dance Age." Prohibition, and the speakeasies that it spawned, were packed with wildly enthusiastic patrons of the jny: Charleston, Black Bottom, Shimmy, Collegiate Shag, the jny: Baltimore and the Lindy Hop. It was often a simple step or two ...

UNDER THE RADAR

State and Mainstream: The Jazz Ambassadors and the U.S. State Department

Read "State and Mainstream: The Jazz Ambassadors and the U.S. State Department" reviewed by

The Cold War that began in 1947 and ran for forty-four years, had jazz music as its primary deterrent to global tensions, and it did more to foster good will between the U.S. and global citizens than any previous program launched by the U.S. Department of State. Jazz music, even in its Golden Age, was seldom a front page story in the national press so it was a rare publishing event when the Sunday New York Times placed such a ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Culture Clubs: Part IV: When Jazz Met Europe

Read "Culture Clubs: Part IV: When Jazz Met Europe" reviewed by

The Geography of Jazz--When Jazz Met Europe In 2004 Maureen Anderson, a researcher at Illinois State University contributed a dissertation to the journal, African American Review, titled The White Reception of Jazz in America. Ostensibly, her article deals with stories published in high profile periodicals and journals from 1917 and into the 1930s, written by white arts critics and academics, describing jazz in the most hysterical, racist, demeaning and inflammatory terms. A well-known newspaper columnist in the early 1900s, George ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part III: Kansas City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles & Beyond

Read "Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part III: Kansas City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles & Beyond" reviewed by

Beyond the Hubs While jny: New Orleans, jny: Chicago, jny: Kansas City and jny: New York City were the incubators of modern jazz, they were by no means the only locations with an appetite for live music. Jazz artists whose point of origin could not sustain multiple venues ventured to locations near and far to practice their trade. In some cases a jazz scene grew up around the migration of musicians, though not always for the long term. ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part II: New York

Read "Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part II: New York" reviewed by

Jazz didn't abandon jny: Chicago but its further development only began to take on a distinct personality in the 1960s. By the late 1920s, the next phase of the jazz scene had shifted from Chicago to New York though, initially, there was no red carpet rolled out. As jazz bands made their way to New York they tended to be lobbed into a mix of vaudeville acts, comedians and other nomadic entertainers passing through with hopes of striking gold. The ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I: New Orleans and Chicago

Read "Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I: New Orleans and Chicago" reviewed by

Marching bands, ragtime music, and the blues, were all well-entrenched and spreading up the Mississippi River Valley from New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century. Dixieland was the popular music staple and with the all-white Original Dixieland Jass Band recording the first jazz side, “Livery Stable Blues," in 1917, an original musical language was validated. By the early 1920s, that group was moving away from the early form of jazz, settling into contented and bland dance music. But ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Preserving the Cradle of Jazz: The New Orleans Jazz Museum

Read "Preserving the Cradle of Jazz: The New Orleans Jazz Museum" reviewed by

The New Orleans Jazz Club's beginnings, according to a 1950s edition of their bi-monthly newsletter, sprang from a sidewalk meeting of four jazz fans on Mardi Gras in 1948. The impromptu gathering intended to listen to the marching band called King Zulu's. One member of that group inspired the others to begin a club for jazz fans and in February, 1948, twenty-five people gathered in a record store on Baronne St. for the first of more than a half-century of ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Flame Keepers: National Jazz Museum in Harlem

Read "Flame Keepers: National Jazz Museum in Harlem" reviewed by

On 129th Street, in the heart of Harlem, Loren Schoenberg emerges from a crowded back room with an unusual looking recording. Aluminum discs like the one he holds, were the first instant, electrical means of recording. Invented in 1929 they were a means of allowing radio stations to record and archive live programs that could be played on a delayed basis or used for promotional purposes. The discs made for more convenient recording, compared to the standard wax discs of ...

UNDER THE RADAR

The Politics of Dancing: Jazz and Protest, Part 2

Read "The Politics of Dancing: Jazz and Protest, Part 2" reviewed by

Part 1 of Jazz and Protest took an in-depth look at two landmark artists and the songs that laid the groundwork for protest within the jazz community. Billie Holiday's “Strange Fruit" took a circuitous route from its origins as a poem to its successful recording on a small label that was not afraid to lend a voice to a progressive movement. Nina Simone's “Mississippi Goddam" followed a similarly indirect course, taking the singer/composer's career off the tracks. Though they were ...