Music Live from Soundscape is back on air at WKCR!

A 2-week radio event will unveil the Soundscape archive of WKCR on air and on our website. Dozens of rare and unheard Latin, jazz, avant garde, and world music performances restored from original tapes were made at this venue from 1978 through 1983.

The New York performance space Soundscape was a vital part of the city’s live music spectrum thirty years ago, and Soundscape sounds will come alive again starting this summer on WKCR's air waves and cyber-waves. From July 12 through July 26th, the station’s programming of jazz, new music, Latin, and world music will focus heavily on reintroducing the personalities and sets of music that enlivened West 52d Street from 1978 through 1983.

The brainchild of music scholar/producer/documentarian Verna Gillis and her late husband, the sculptor Bradford Graves, Soundscape opened in New York as the local hub for several spheres of music and musicians not yet otherwise presented in New York: free improvisers from Europe, the first wave of Mariel refugees to resettle in New York from Cuba in 1980, and a host of players from New York's modern jazz spectrum, whose music was only haphazardly covered by the establishment. Steered by Gillis and Graves, the presentations at Soundscape consistently offered new and important sounds to the thirsty ears of New York, supporting the loft jazz culture after most of the lofts had folded, showcasing in midtown artists of what would become known as the “Downtown” school: David Moss, John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne.

Soundscape hosted many nights of music every week on a near-constant schedule of activities—some on a weekly schedule, like the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz jam sessions, and others capitalizing on first or only appearances in the area by rare visitors from overseas: Derek Bailey, Hans Reichel, Alex von Schlippenbach, Andrea Centazzo, etc.

Many of these nights were recorded; some were broadcast at the time on WKCR’s Live from Soundscape radio series. You may also know some from records released in the Eighties and a few more from CDs released in the Nineties. Verna Gillis’s recent donation brings into the WKCR archives hundreds of hours of Soundscape live music that’s hasn’t been heard since the moment of performance. Dozens of these sets will be featured in the two-week radio event and be permanently available in streaming audio thereafter on the WKCR website.

Please check the website soon for a detailed schedule of Soundscape broadcasts.