Joe and Ethan of “Jazz We Got” on how jazz isn’t all they’ve got…
as told to RFB’s Michele Carlo
RFB: Tell us a little bit about where you’re both from and the path that led you to RFB?
JOE: We are both Brooklynites that have lived here our entire lives, and have both been raised around music: my father being a huge music nerd who also plays guitar, and Ethan’s father who’s the same sort of situation. Because of our early paternal influences, we have both developed both diverse and eccentric music tastes. We also both play in our school jazz band and had always wanted to explore music in a more unique way—and, less importantly, our school requires us to complete community service. [So] things sort of just fell into place in the best possible way.
RFB: What made you choose RFB for your platform?
ETHAN: I was featured two years ago on “Teens Take the Mic,” a great show [on RFB] featuring local teen bands hosted by Sam Rapkiewicz. I was really intrigued by Radio Free Brooklyn and the platform it provided for creative voices in the city. When I decided to create “Jazz We Got,” I knew that Radio Free Brooklyn would be a perfect fit — not only did it have a deep connection to the community as a nonprofit, but also played a great range of eclectic music as a radio station.
RFB: How will the exploration of jazz and hip-top tie in with your coverage of local nonprofits and community events.
ETHAN: This radio show actually serves as a community service project for our high school, The Packer Collegiate Institute, since we are working with a non-profit [RFB] and engaging with the local community through interviews. This year we wanted to make this link to community service much
clearer and decided to shout out local nonprofits and community events every week. We wanted to not only use our platform to present local NYC music, but to also present local NYC community events and allow listeners to get involved with their city.
RFB: What is the takeaway you hope people get from listening to “Jazz We Got?”
JOE: Although hip-hop is one of the most popular genres of music, like many other types of popular music, popular rap is usually uninspired and bland. Ethan and I wanted to focus on hip-hop that is inspired, that either shows great talent or is unique in some way. We also use our platform to analyze our favorite hip-hop tracks and what makes them so good. We also focus on hip-hop’s relationship with jazz and how the two genres interact. Ultimately, we want people to be entertained by our show, and maybe see hip-hop and jazz in a more nuanced light. This year we plan on featuring more jazz content, such as interviews with Brooklyn jazz artists.
ETHAN: First, we hope listeners will learn about the inherent connections and influences between jazz and hip-hop, as well as each genre’s historical origins. Second — and more important, we hope listeners will be inspired to support local musicians — whether that means seeking out a local jazz concert or streaming an up-and-coming Brooklyn rapper. This city is full of groundbreaking creative expression and relevant voices and [we] aim to give them a platform.
Listen to “Jazz We Got” Wednesdays at 5pm.