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

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, ...

UNDER THE RADAR

The New Golden Age of Jazz Radio

Read "The New Golden Age of Jazz Radio" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

There was the Jazz Age, and later, the Golden Age of Radio. There was no golden age of jazz radio unless one considers the brief, ten-year reign of devolution when swing music dominated the airwaves. Think about this: New York City has not had a twenty-four-hour commercial jazz radio station in over ten years; decades longer depending on a listener's position on genre. CD 101.9 (WQCD FM), a long-running smooth jazz station, did not nourish serious jazz aficionados. Their lineup ...

UNDER THE RADAR

The Black Swan: A History of Race Records

Read "The Black Swan: A History of Race Records" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Montgomery, Alabama native Perry Bradford was an African-American composer and vaudeville musician when he approached General Phonograph Company, Director of Artists, Fred Hagar in 1920. Bradford was pitching Mamie Smith, a relatively unfamiliar pianist and singer from Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hagar agreed to a two-side recording deal. Widely regarded as a blues singer, Smith more frequently performed popular music and vaudeville tunes but her blues recordings earned her the title “Queen of the Blues." It is widely reported that the ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Experimentalists: Talking with Adam Berenson, Dana Jessen, and Abdul Moimême

Read "Experimentalists: Talking with Adam Berenson, Dana Jessen, and Abdul Moimême" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The newly opened Théatre des Champs-Elysées was sold out on the night of May 29, 1913. The well-heeled Parisian audience had come to enjoy the much-anticipated premiere of Igor Stravinsky's “Rite of Spring" which featured the choreography of the acclaimed Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Some accounts of what transpired that night appear to be exaggerated. There were no riots in the street outside the theater, as had been reported, but there was considerable violence in the theater as fans ...


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