The New Jazz Archive

Friday, 1pm and Saturday, 7pm on IPR News; and Thursday 10pm on Classical IPR

Complete radio schedule

The New Jazz Archive is a weekly series exploring jazz's place in the story of America. Each hour-long episode is a collection of stories, interviews, and music that relates the past, present and future of jazz to the things that shape our daily lives—from movies, television and pop culture, to important social issues, to the economy, technology, and even other forms of music. The New Jazz Archive is produced here at Interlochen Public Radio and broadcast on a growing number of stations across the Midwest and beyond. For complete archives and podcasts, visit the show's full website.

Not sure about jazz?

Most of today's jazz programming assumes its audience already loves jazz. This has been the Achilles’ heel of the music and the reason why jazz audiences are now smaller and older than ever. The New Jazz Archive starts with an almost opposite premise: that when many (if not most) people hear the word "jazz," they tend to either, one, say they don't know much about it or understand it, or two, actually say they don't like it (e.g. "Those crazy saxophone solos make my head want to explode!"). This show is designed with these challenges in mind and seeks to open people's ears to jazz not just by exposing people to the music, but by contextualizing it through in-depth stories and interviews about how jazz relates to things that already matter to us. In other words, we don't just assume jazz is important—we show you why. And because we use storytelling as our approach to the music, if you're a person who likes a good story, you'll probably like this show. 

What does the show sound like? 

 Hosted by longtime jazz musician and composer Jeff Haas (son of legendary classical music radio host Karl Haas, Adventures in Good Music), each hour-long episode is a fast-paced combination of interviews, storytelling, and music that relates to a particular topic for that hour. Each episode is themed: past shows include “The Science of Jazz,” “Jazz on TV and in the Movies,” and “The Jazz Roots of R&B.” For example, "The Science of Jazz" episode featured conversations with Dr. Charles Limb, a neurologist who is studying the brain science behind improvisation with both jazz and freestyle hip hop artists; Gil Weinberg, a scientist at Georgia Tech who has developed an improvising robotic musician; and Kathy Goonan, an award-winning fiction writer who blends the mediums of jazz and science fiction. Because we use storytelling as the basis for our approach to jazz, the show's tone runs the gamut from informative, to humorous, to contemplative. Music is coordinated with the content of the interviews, creating a seamless hour where listeners can experience musical examples of the topics they're learning about.

Live from Studio A: Jazz Pianist Bob James

Jun 17, 2015
A CD release event is scheduled for June 27 at the Milliken Auditorium featuring jazz pianist Bob James.
Tim Burke

Jazz pianist Bob James stopped by Studio A to play a little music and talk about his upcoming CD Release and Interview event at the Milliken Auditorium on June 27, at 7:30pm. 

Bob James Live at the Milliken Auditorium was recorded in concert with the Bob James Quartet on May 3, 2014. Interestingly, James himself didn't know the performance was going to be recorded. 

This week on The New Jazz Archive, it’s the real-life legend of Duke Ellington’s heroic comeback at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, and some of jazz’s best comeback stories. We’ll talk with jazz historian Phil Schaap about the epic saxophone solo that single handedly propelled Duke Ellington back into jazz relevance, and chat with a Chicago cabaret artist who’s committed to giving long-forgotten tunes from the Golden Age of American Song a new lease on life.

The Art of Jazz Drumming

Aug 14, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, we update our show on some of the music's most unheralded heroes: the jazz drummers. Veteran drummer Danny Gottlieb will join us to dissect the art and craft of jazz drumming, and we’ll explore how one simple invention targeting the drummer’s feet set the stage for a hundred years of jazz drumming evolution. And we’ll dig deep into what makes a drum solo more than just a bunch of noise, and explore the life and legend of one of jazz drumming’s most colorful heroes: the great Buddy Rich.

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Blue Note Records

Aug 7, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, it’s the real-life legend of the label synonymous with the best in jazz since 1939: Blue Note Records. We’ll spend the hour talking with veteran Blue Note man Michael Cuscuna about the label’s humble beginnings in a New York apartment, the rise of the so-called Blue Note sound in the 1950s, and how commercial success ironically led to Blue Note’s undoing in the 1960s. And we’ll hear how Blue Note has now found its way back into the hearts and playlists of contemporary jazz fans, and explore how the photography of Blue Note co-founder Francis Wolff shaped—and continues to shape—the Blue Note mystique.

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The Art of the Solo

Jul 31, 2014

Jazz isn't the only form of music that has great solos, but it wouldn't be what it is without 'em. This week on The New Jazz Archive, we go inside the art and craft of one of jazz's most quintessential elements: the solo. We’ll talk with veteran jazz instructor Bill Sears about the challenge of teaching students the art of jazz improvisation, and trace the evolution of the jazz solo from its roots in New Orleans to some of its present day incarnations. And we’ll countdown the all-time most influential solos in jazz history with our favorite jazz historian Lewis Porter, and take a look at jazz’s age-old showcase for show-offs: the jazz cutting contest. That plus some great music from Mel Torme, Oscar Peterson and Christian McBride, this week on The New Jazz Archive.

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Joseph Crachiola

Jazz was born in New Orleans, right? Well, it depends on who you ask. This week on The New Jazz Archive, we get to the bottom of that question with an updated tour of the sites and sounds of New Orleans jazz as we continue our series on America's great jazz cities. We’ll talk with jazz historian Bruce Raeburn about the birth of jazz in New Orleans in the early twentieth century, and get to know the raucous New Orleans parade tradition that is Second Line. And we’ll welcome back our favorite Louis Armstrong historian Ricky Riccardi to the show to talk about Satchmo’s wild and woolly years growing up on the streets of the Crescent City, and explore how Hurricane Katrina has reshaped the New Orleans jazz scene.    

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John Coltrane

Jul 17, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, it's an update on the life and music of John Coltrane. We’ll talk with our jazz historian and renowned Coltrane scholar Lewis Porter about Trane’s early roots growing up in rural North Carolina, and get to know the softer side of John Coltrane the balladeer. And we’ll explore John Coltrane’s redemption story and his transformation from heroin addict to spiritual icon, and sit down for a conversation with Ravi Coltrane about how his father’s music unexpectedly inspired him to carry on the family legacy.

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Les Paul

Jul 10, 2014

Here's a little fact about Les Paul that you might not know: rock icon Steve Miller is Les Paul's godson. The week on The New Jazz archive, it's the life and legend of the great Les Paul. We’ll talk with Steve Miller about his memories of his legendary godfather, and find out how Les Paul shaped Millers’ own life as a man and musician. And we’ll talk with Sue Baker of the Les Paul Foundation about Les’s life and legacy, and how the many famous inventions of the Wizard of Waukesha transformed 20th-century music.

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Jazz and the Visual Arts

Jul 3, 2014

You can't listen to a painting or see a song. But that doesn't mean there aren't really interesting places where the worlds of jazz and art overlap. This week on The New Jazz Archive, we'll explore the criss-crossing worlds of jazz and the visual arts from the jazz photography of William Gottlieb, to the life and work of jazz painter Romare Bearden, to the "Great Day in Harlem" that gave us one of the most storied photographs in jazz history. That plus music from Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk and Mary Lou Williams, this week on The New Jazz Archive.

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Thelonious Monk

Jun 26, 2014

Thelonious Monk was one of the most original voices to emerge from the world of mid-century jazz. But it took decades for the world to realize it. This week on The New Jazz Archive, it’s a look at the life and legend of jazz great Thelonious Monk. We’ll talk with biographer Robin Kelley about Monk’s life and music, and chat with Thelonious Monk’s son TS about Monk the family man. And we’ll explore how Monk’s battle with mental illness shaped his life and career, and take a look at how Monk’s masterpiece "'Round Midnight" became the most recorded jazz standard of all time.

One Hit Wonders

Jun 19, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, we go in search of jazz's flash-in-the-pan and pop crossover phenoms whose light burned bright and then burned out altogether as we take a tour of some of the memorable musical moments from the world of jazz’s one hit wonders. We'll talk with our go-to research guy Lou Blouin about the times when jazz and jazz musicians defied the odds and broke through onto the pop charts, and chat with jazz historian Tom Cunniffe about the one-hit songwriters who contributed some of the most memorable standards in the jazz canon.

Cool Jazz

Jun 12, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, it’s an updated laid back tour of stories and sounds from the world of cool jazz. We’ll talk with our jazz historian Lewis Porter about the birth of the "cool" aesthetic in jazz, and get his picks for some of the champions of the cool sound. And we’ll hear the story of how the cool revolution helped spark a mid-century East coast/West Coast rivalry in jazz, and get to know the cool, quirky and often unsung saxophonist who shaped the sound of the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Jazz and Film

Jun 6, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, we explore the shared history of jazz and film—from the role race played in shaping jazz's place at the movies to the music's influence on the genre of film noir. We’ll talk with historian Krin Gabbard about how the movies have shaped our understanding of jazz, and how jazz's association with the seedier side of life helped define the genre of film noir. And we'll take a look at how jazz helped inspire the birth of the music video way back in the 1940s, and chat with best-selling author Michael Connelly about why he's now making a movie about jazz saxophonist and comeback kid Frank Morgan.

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Kansas City Jazz

May 29, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, we'll take an updated tour of one of America's great jazz cities: Kansas City. We’ll talk with local boy and jazz historian Chuck Haddix about the storied and sordid roots of the famed Kansas City sound, and get to know the corrupt Kansas City political boss who defied Prohibition and helped spark the city’s early jazz scene. And we’ll take a look at adopted hometown hero (Count) Bill Basie’s long and winding road from Kansas City to the pinnacle of swing, and explore the life and music of one of jazz’s most underappreciated legends: the great Mary Lou Williams.

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Jazz and Country Music

May 22, 2014

This week on The New Jazz Archive, we’ll take an updated tour of those rare moments when the two usually separate paths of jazz and country crossed for some of the most fascinating fusions in American music. We’ll talk with music historian Cary Ginell about forgotten Nashville session man Hank Garland's role in jazzing up the early Nashville country scene, and get to know the good-natured lovechild of jazz and country that was Western Swing. And we'll take a look at the thriving Nashville jazz scene, and listen in on composer Andrew Bishop's contemporary jazz take on the music of country legend Hank Williams.

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