Courtesy of Michael Pollack

On Sept. 30, the Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective published their first issue of “The Turnaround”— a new electronic magazine — on their website.

“The Turnaround” is a magazine that transfers the spirit of jazz into a written medium, creating a space dedicated to jazz during the pandemic. The YUJC launched the publication to reinforce a sense of community in New Haven and Yale during a time when members are spread across the globe.

“With music especially, it’s pretty difficult given social distancing to share that aspect of community playing jazz with each other,” Jarron Long ’23, editor of “The Turnaround,” said. “I was thinking about how you can share creative energies with others — a magazine or something that’s solid or tangible that you can share came to mind.”

“The Turnaround” publishes articles about the New Haven jazz scene, including reviews and reflections on the genre. Long told the News that the title of the magazine was chosen because it represents change. He noted that “turnaround” is also a jazz term for the end of a section of music, which often signals a shift to a new starting point. 

The YUJC hopes to highlight their collaboration with the New Haven community on the front of its magazine. The cover displays a mural of jazz musician Sun Ra painted on the wall of Cafe Nine, a music venue and bar at the corner of State St. and Crown St. The mural was painted by Artist Mike Deangelo, who goes by M. Deangelo, and photographed by Michael Pollack.

Zachary Gilstrap ’22, who was in charge of design for the magazine, said he was inspired by the orange highlights in the Sun Ra mural. He incorporated this element throughout the Turnaround’s design.

“Jazz is the core of the magazine,” Gilstrap said. “Even the graphics are jazz-related.”

The magazine is an opportunity for students to explore jazz through means other than music. For example, Ellie Norman ’23, a YUJC board member and trumpet player, designed the logo and some graphics for “The Turnaround.”

As a first-year student introduced to the YUJC in its virtual iteration, Akeel Vitarana ’24 found “The Turnaround” fresh and professional. “I like that there’s a magazine about this kind of niche that’s not really talked about,” Vitarana said.

YUJC’s president Jason Altshuler ’23 said that jazz lends itself to fostering collaborations during a pandemic.

“Jazz just generally is an art form that is really good at facilitating community,” Altshuler said. “That’s the culture of jam sessions, the culture of communal creation, where everyone is sort of improvising as they’re playing.”

As a result of the pandemic, the YUJC cancelled their usual performances and events. This includes the annual YUJC Jazz Festival, which ran every spring for seven consecutive years. 

Dani Zanuttini-Frank ’22, publicity director for the YUJC, emphasised the difficulties of engaging the music community virtually. Concerts bring people together to watch music, he said, and not having that was “really tough.”

Despite these challenges, the YUJC has attempted to connect jazz lovers across the world through innovative methods. In May, the group held an Artist Relief Concert where jazz students filmed their performances to raise funds for New Haven artists. To celebrate Charlie Parker’s 100th birthday last Friday, the YUJC hosted a virtual concert featuring student performances.

Long compared the YUJC’s process of creating the magazine and transitioning to an online platform with the musical idea of improvisation, which he said is a defining feature of jazz.

“[Improvisation is about] taking ideas or structures that already exist and trying to reimagine and reinvent them,” Long said. “I feel like that’s what we do. Strive to be innovative.”

“The Turnaround” is open to writing and art contributions from the Yale community and beyond. 

Margot Lee | margot.lee@yale.edu