Each week’s Jazz Straightahead is different in the mix of the diverse kinds of jazz it highlights, usually with straight ahead jazz as a take-off point for exploration of the diversity beyond straight ahead. On a regular basis, the program can include anything from solos to bands and orchestras, vocalists, bop, hard bop, soul jazz, third stream, cool, avant-garde, free, fusion, post-bop, and jazz influenced by musical traditions from Latin America (broadly interpreted, including Afro-Cuban, other Caribbean, Central American, Brazilian, and other South American), African, South Asian, East Asian, EMC-style European jazz, and European folk and classical traditions, to name a few, and not to exclude others. Trad jazz and swing also pop up. If you’re not familiar with all these terms and styles, no worries! Just listening to enjoy the music is all that’s needed, and if you’re interested in learning more, the program will painlessly help you increase your knowledge of jazz.
Another feature of Jazz Straightahead is the development of topics that drive a whole program or parts of a program. Jazz Straightahead may highlight the seasons of the year and their holidays. Or during the program, a mini-theme may develop focusing on a topic expressed in the song titles (for example, food, or a place), or on a particular musical instrument or related instruments, or because of ties between the musicians on different albums. Occasionally, Jazz Straightahead will digress into jazz-related and other improvisatory musics like the blues and sometimes classical or pop pieces air in order to set the context for a jazz treatment of a classical piece or pop tune. Every week of Jazz Straightahead is different in what it highlights. If you want to explore from the center to the boundaries of what jazz is, it’s the place to be.
Check out recent episodes on PRX: https://beta.prx.org/series/39467