Under the Radar

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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

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 ...

UNDER THE RADAR

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 ...

UNDER THE RADAR

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 ...

UNDER THE RADAR

The Rebel Festival

Read "The Rebel Festival" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On the morning of July 4, 1960, there were more than a few signs of the mayhem that had taken place the night before in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport's Millionaires Row woke up to broken store windows, overturned vehicles, and storm drains clogged with garbage and beer bottles. One-hundred-eighty-two people, mostly young, New England college students had been arrested by combined forces of the Newport Police Department, Rhode Island State Police, and troops from the state's National Guard. The incoming ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Women in Jazz, Pt. 3: The International Women in Jazz Organization

Read "Women in Jazz, Pt. 3: The International Women in Jazz Organization" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In part 1 and part 2 of the Women in Jazz series, we looked at the historical marginalization of women in jazz from Lil Hardin Armstrong and Blanch Calloway in the 1920s to Tia Fuller in 2019. Part 2 focused on several prominent pioneering artists including the all-female International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Marian McPartland, and Melba Liston. We also looked at the struggle for gender equality that inspired groups like We Have Voice, aimed at the prevention of harassment, self-preservation ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Jazz in the Time of Pandemic

Read "Jazz in the Time of Pandemic" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The first week of April 2020: images crystalized the daily news reports; a dystopian Times Square; Piazza Navona in Rome, emptied of tourists, Barcelona's Basílica de la Sagrada Família standing like an abstract ruin, makeshift morgues in hospital parking lots. The jazz world is small but still a microcosm of society with interdependencies that run deep. For every shuttered performance venue there are promoters, agents, ticket sellers, bookkeepers, print shops, servers, bartenders, cleaners, outside suppliers, and so on. At the ...

UNDER THE RADAR

The Archive of Contemporary Music

Read "The Archive of Contemporary Music" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In Lower Manhattan, sits a musical gold mine. It's the motherlode of recorded music though the small, brightly colored sign above a grey steel door provides only a cryptic clue. The dusty window display of rare 78 RPM records, broken into erratic pie charts serves as a vestige of the past and a cautionary tale about the packing of fragile items. Behind the façade of this former Tribeca warehouse is The Archive of Contemporary Music (ARC), a nonprofit founded in ...


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