© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source. Celebrating 75 Years!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Joan A Police Woman

Joan As Police Woman

In 2016 Joan had the pleasure of subbing for Guy Garvey, of the band Elbow, on his BBC 6Music show, Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour. In 2017, she and pianist, Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), co-wrote the film score for Permission, directed by Brian Crano.

Born in Maine, and raised with her brother in Connecticut by adoptive parents, Joan Wasser began studying violin in elementary school. She went on to study classical violin at Boston University, and was drawn to new compositions written for smaller ensembles. She started pushing the boundaries on her violin, and with a head full of wild dark hair with a white streak up the middle, she performed regularly with local punk bands.

Joan moved to New York in 1994 and began working as a session musician, playing her violin across every genre from pop, Haitian, new classical and R&B. She became a member of Anohni’s ensemble (formerly Antony and the Johnsons) and recorded I Am A Bird Now.

In 2002, Joan As Police Woman was born, an homage to Angie Dickinson’s 1970s cop show. Joan As Police Woman began touring with Rufus Wainwright for his Want One and Want Two albums, playing in his band and as his opening act.

Joan's first record, Real Life, earned the band “Best Rock and Pop Album,” at the Independent Music Awards. Her second album, To Survive, was chosen in 2008, as one of Q Magazine’s, “Albums of the Year.”

Similar praise was heaped on subsequent albums, 2011’s The Deep Field, 2014’s The Classic and perhaps her most rapturously received album to date, 2018’s Damned Devotion.

On being a musician, Joan said, “Music has saved my life. It’s not something I can even choose or not choose, it’s just what it is.”

Alongside consistent touring and album making, she says ‘yes' to almost every project or collaboration she is offered, noting, “I just want to be making music all the time.” This has led to a large and diverse list of co-collaborators: Tony Allen, Damon Albarn, Lou Reed, Beck, Afel Bocoum, Meshell Ndegeocello, Toshi Reagon, David Sylvian, Benjamin Lazar Davis, Sparklehorse, Laurie Anderson, Sufjan Stevens, John Cale, Aldous Harding, Woodkid, Justin Vivian Bond, RZA, Norah Jones, Lau, Doveman, Rufus Wainwright and Daniel Johnston.

  • When the African-American improviser Luther Thomas arrived in Copenhagen, nobody knew who he was or cared. Thomas became a fixture of the alternative jazz scene and changed the music in Denmark. In an old slaughterhouse, Danish drummer Kresten Osgood opened "The Monday Club", which presented 6 concerts each Monday all year round for 7 years.
  • In this episode, we present a view of some of the main voices on the contemporary jazz scene. Among the artists covered are pianist Jeppe Zeeberg who tries to break the structure, and composer Jacob Anderskov who dreams of new structures. Whereas neo-traditionalists Nana Pi, Oilly Wallace and Johannes Wamberg work inside the structure.
  • Many of the young musicians in the early 90’s go to Boston to study. George Garzone is a teacher, Kurt Rosenwinkel a fellow student. They return to Denmark with new energy and fresh sounds. We hear about the two groundbreaking bands "When Granny Sleeps" and "Once Around the Park". We also tell the story of the OAP bassist Anders "AC" Christensen.
  • We dig deeper into the life of John Tchicai and tell the story about his time in New York (the first phone call being from John Coltrane). This episode also tells the story of the collaboration between Palle Mikkelborg and Miles Davis in 1985 (the second phone call being Miles calling Mikkelborg to tell him about the plans to make an album).
  • The world explodes in freedom, love and understanding. The jazz scene is forever changed as a band of hippies by the name of Blue Sun, toured Denmark opening for Jimi Hendrix. This episode also tells the story of saxophonist Lotte Anker, one of Denmark’s most internationally respected and visionary artists.
  • Portrait of the greatest drummer in Danish music: Jørn Elniff. He made history with Bud Powell, Oscar Pettiford, Eric Dolphy and Brew Moore. We tell the story of some of the legendary appearances by such artists as Earl Hines, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry and many more. This episode contains explicit language.
  • This episode profiles three of the biggest personalities in the golden age of Danish jazz. Pianist, composer and vocalist Karen Jønsson struggles to be accepted, Leo Matthisen battles the Nazis during World War II, while Sven Asmussen is taken away by Gestapo to the central prison in Berlin for the crime of playing the violin.
  • The first saxophone in Danish music history arrives on a boat from America. The young Valdemar Eiberg tries with enthusiasm to play music he has hardly heard. Early visits from Sam Wooding and later Josephine Baker and Louis Armstrong divide the public but inspire the first generation of Danish jazz musicians to break new ground.