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

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 ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II

Read "Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz Societies, Part 1 briefly traced the preservation and interpretation of jazz from the oral history of its West African roots through academic and cultural institutions. The article included an overview of jazz societies and foundations that further the fostering of jazz education. The organizations vary in scope, size and objectives with some dedicated to particular artists—such as the John Coltrane Foundation—and others devoted to the broader genre. We singled-out Shirley Martin, the ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Jazz Societies, Part I: The Skipp Pearson Jazz Legacy Foundation

Read "Jazz Societies, Part I: The Skipp Pearson Jazz Legacy Foundation" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2 The oral history traditions of West African griots led the preservation and interpretation of music that would become the fundamentals of jazz. In previous Under the Radar columns we looked at institutions that further the cause of safeguarding the genre; university-level academic programs and jazz museums whose hands-on experiences, community outreach, teaching and sharing of history, are helping to keep jazz relevant. In the decentralized, smaller, and culturally diverse world of jazz societies, ...


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