On February 26, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band made the first jazz recording. Over the next 100 years, the music of jazz has brought forth transcendent leaps of creativity and staggering virtuosity. To celebrate this anniversary, WTJU is telling that story in its radio series – Jazz at 100.
Jazz at 100 is the story of one hundred years of jazz recordings in 100 one-hour programs that will represent music from the century of recorded jazz history.
“Listeners have experienced the music of crushing pain, breathless romance, anger, exhilaration and humor,” said Rus Perry, host and producer of WTJU’s Jazz at 100. “The series will explore the broad sweep of that narrative, its players, its durable movements and dead ends, and its popular recordings and rarities.”
Jazz at 100 will kick off with a special two-hour broadcast on this year’s anniversary of the first jazz recording — Sunday, February 26, 2017 — 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on WTJU. Then each week, Jazz at 100 will air on Fridays from 9:00-10:00 AM.
More information is online at wtju.net/jazz100. Each week’s episode will be posted there as the series progresses.
WTJU will also be syndicating Jazz at 100 through the Public Radio Exchange, PRX.org.
Drawing on the perspective of current Virginia musicians and scholars and funded, in part, by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Jazz at 100 takes advantage of the extensive music collection accumulated over sixty years of broadcasting at WTJU. The work of University of Virginia professor Scott DeVeaux, especially his history, Jazz, written in 2009 with critic Gary Giddens, has been a singular inspiration for this effort.
The programs will follow a thematic path structured chronologically to present listeners with context to follow the evolution of the music. Social challenges, technological advances, and international affairs all impact this truly American story.
The host, Russell Perry, a retired architect and contributor to WTJU over the past 45 years, brings a fan’s appreciation to the music, seeking to create a soundtrack to illustrate the many available jazz histories and musical biographies. He will pair pieces of this scholarship with the music that inspired them to enrich the understanding of this fascinating narrative.
Programs will present themes like the antecedents of jazz and the first recordings in 1917, the diaspora of New Orleans jazz musicians in the 1920s, the birth and proliferation of big bands in the 1930s, war scarcities and strikes that created the context for the rise of Bebop in the 1940s, the divergence of Hard Bop, Cool and Mainstream in the 1950s, the politics of Free Jazz in the 1960s, the popularization of Fusion in the 1970s and Mainstream Revival in the 1980s.
WTJU-FM is the University of Virginia’s non-commercial community radio station. For sixty years, WTJU has presented original, rich, and diverse programming of music and other forms of expression free from the direct constraints of commercial interests, reflecting the broadest educational goals of the University. WTJU airs 36 hours per week of jazz & blues programming on 91.1 FM in the Charlottesville area, 102.9 FM in the Richmond area, and worldwide at WTJU.net.