WTJU combining education with all that jazz | Local News

WTJU personalities Dave Rogers, left, and Rus Perry discuss programming for the University of Virginia-owned radio station. Perry’s two-year, 100-hour Jazz at 100 series is the basis for a new online jazz course developed at the station.


Some questions in jazz music, such as why Charles Mingus named a song “All the Things You Could Be Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Were Your Mother,” may never be answered.

Officials at the eclectic local radio station WTJU hope that a mod-based jazz program they develop will respond to many more.

The University of Virginia-owned station has been tucked into the jazzy 91.1 niche of local FM airwaves for decades. From 2017 to 2019, Rus Perry, a jazz expert at the station, developed, produced and broadcast 100 one-hour episodes on jazz history, called Jazz at 100, to celebrate the century of the sound of this form of ‘art.

Thanks to a $ 20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the education factor behind the Jazz at 100 series will soon be available in high school and college programs.

“I have often thought that Rus’ show was very educational to a very large extent, and we do more educational programming in general at the station, so that would fit in perfectly,” said Nathan Moore, managing director of WTJU.

From the beginning of Dixieland jazz to the diaspora of black southern jazz musicians facing the laws of Jim Crow, the Jazz at 100 series has grown from Kid Ory and Jelly Roll Morton to Thelonious Monk and Max Roach, with stops in Mingus, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins along the way.

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