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Root Strata

This episode focuses on American jazz in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time when established musicians expanded the jazz spectrum to include all kinds of new influences. Some turned towards history and politics, looking for the definition of Jazz in African and African-American roots music, while others embarked on a cosmic exploration of the outer limits of free improvisation. Though impossible to boil down into an hour, this episode is an attempt to represent both approaches to jazz in America in this vibrant art form's history.

Featured contributors include Don Cherry, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, Susumu Yokota, Larry Young, Pharoah Sanders, John Cale & Terry Riley, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, and Grachan Moncur III.




A show dedicated to the ephemeral: improvised music throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly the outer edges of the spectrum. Visions--spectral, cosmic, worldly and solitary--provide the musical inspiration for so many musicians, and improvisation has proved an excellent means of communication. This show will draw on several musical traditions, including Jazz, Western composition, and others from around the world to explore how improvisation functions, communicates, and generally kicks ass.