Welcome back to The Ear, Spectator’s podcast dedicated to documenting, excavating, and investigating Columbia’s past and present.

In this week’s episode, reporters Noah Sheidlower and Sam Hyman capture the voices and issues surrounding jazz at Columbia. How has the community’s perception and involvement in jazz progressed over the years? What are the concerns about the lack of racial and gender diversity in our jazz program? Considering how Harlem is rife with musical history and significance, how has Columbia threatened or connected with the neighborhood’s iconic jazz scene? Listen to find out!


[Steven Fowler:] “I think the term jazz is steeped in a lot of controversy, but it’s also steeped in a lot of history as well.”

[Ugonna Okegwo:] “It gives you a lot of freedom, it gives you a lot of responsibility. It gives you a lot of room to explore yourself, explore your talents, and explore your creativity.”

[Dylan Delgiudice:] “So for me, it’s another way of communicating with people, sometimes a way I prefer to communicate rather than just talking.”

[Stephanie Chow:] “But I think there’s also just like, a strange sort of, like, othering of jazz in some way that like, it’s kind of a, it’s intimidating, it feels kind of exclusive in some ways.”

[Chris Washburne:] “Harlem touches all of our lives, and the whole history of Harlem completely shapes the music that we listen to, our fashions, the way that we think about our politics, our race relations, everything that goes on.”