Jazz Diversity in NYC


By Tanya Silverman

Photo courtesy of Sunny Kam Photography.

Whether it’s curating an eclectic selection of local jazz bands for his podcast or playing saxophone or clarinet to spicy Brazilian beats at venues across the tri-state area, Linus Wyrsch stays active in the NYC jazz scene.

A native of Switzerland, Wyrsch is a devout world music aficionado who is enticed by many distinct species of folkloric tunes–not to mention the unique hybrids that their cross-cultural breeding renders. After studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Wyrsch graduated in 2008, and decided to relocate to NYC.

It was a pivotal move he certainly still supports.

“There are a lot of international jazz artists in NYC and I think that definitely has led me to discover some really exciting mixtures,” he assesses.

Wyrsch hosts The Jazz Hole at BreakThru Radio, a program which broadcasts every other week. He’s been DJing it for nearly six years.

In The Jazz Hole’s early days, Wyrsch often cast songs based on his own personal taste, but he eventually expanded the playlists by researching new acts and networking with other NYC jazz musicians. Wyrsch’s internationally-tuned ear is evident in his episodes.

For instance, on the Dec 14 edition, listeners can groove to Tavche Gravche’s style of “haunting Macedonian and Mediterranean melodies with improvisation” before tuning into spoken clips of Wyrsch’s interview with Violette, a French-native singer-songwriter.

“Jazz is like a language that is spoken all over the globe,” Wyrsch professes.

And he speaks it himself. Wyrsch keeps busy practicing with fellow musicians and playing lots of live gigs all throughout the area. One of his current projects, Linus NYC Quartet featuring Gizem Gokoglu, is gearing up to play at Manhattan’s Something Jazz Club on Jan 13, then heading across the Hudson for a Jan 15 show at Lizzie Rose Music Room in Tuckerton, NJ.

As for breaking into the NYC jazz scene, Wyrsch admits that it definitely took a few years to establish himself. For newcomers, he advises that becoming somewhat of a versatile “chameleon” in approach can help them find their niche. Every week is different for Wyrsch, who travels with his clarinet and saxophone throughout a vast array of stages and events.

From the hyper-local discoveries of the most curiously diffused jazz treasures to lively performances, Linus Wyrsch continues to lead an exploratory journey through jazz.

Make sure to tune into The Jazz Hole at BTR every other Sunday.