Opening speech at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival
"Humanity and the Importance of Jazz"
"God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create - and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.
Modern Jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of "racial identity" as a problem for a multi-racial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these."
Remembering Dr. Billy Taylor:
"Dr. Billy Taylor is a truly legendary compassionate giant Jazz Warrior. He wore many "hats"as a virtuoso stylistic pianist, composer, arranger, jazz educator, band leader, radio/television producer/personality, political strategist, activist and community organizer.
His stature and accomplishments are monumental in the history of Jazz.
He was one of my big brothers, my mentor, my guru, my fellow artist, teacher and friend. Dr. Billy Taylor is the number one multifaceted historical giant leader at the top of the Jazz Mountain." --- Dr. Larry Ridley
For Immediate Release --
The African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. (AAJC) in partnership with the National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP) will present the Second Annual Indiana AAJC/Juneteenth Jazz Masters Legacy Award to Indiana jazz musicians at a concert hosted by the Indiana Landmarks Center.
New York, NY, September 20, 2011: The African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters will honor living jazz legends, alto saxophonist, jazz educator, and publisher, Jamey Abersold; trombonist, cellist, and educator, Dr. David Baker; pianist, Rev. Marvin Chandler; drummer, Albert Coleman; trombonist, Locksley (Slide) Hampton; bassist Mingo Jones; trumpeter, Virgil Jones; drummer, Dr. Willis Kirk and a special award to historian/photographer Duncan Schiedt at its Second Annual Indiana AAJC/Juneteenth Jazz Masters Legacy Award concert on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Hall at the Indiana Landmarks Center, located at 1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. This annual event recognizes Indiana musicians for their musical accomplishments and contributions to the legacy and preservation of Jazz, America’s National Treasure.
Awards will also be presented posthumously to pianist, Erroll Grandy; pianist, Aletra Hampton; bassist, Virtue Hampton; saxophonist and guitarist, Ben Holliman; trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard; trombonist, J. J. Johnson; pianist and vibraphonist, Charles (Buddy) Montgomery; guitarist, John Leslie (Wes) Montgomery and bassist, William (Monk) Montgomery.
Musical performances will include the “Old School Jazz Ensemble” under the direction of Larry Clark; vocalist Everett Greene; pianist/trumpeter Reverend Ronald Myers Sr., and the Light of the World Christian Church Choir under the direction of Jason Powell, Choir Director.
The AAJC and the NAJJP are 501c3 not for profit organizations. Their mission is to preserve the legacy of the African American roots of Jazz that have served as the genesis for a musical art form that has been exported, recognized and adopted globally.
Admission to this event is free, but donations will be accepted and are tax deductible. For additional information please call 212-979-0304.
The four day power-packed conference/festival offers:
* The 18th Annual NCCU Jazz Festival/NAJRI 2nd Annual HBCU Jazz Conference Opening Reception will be Wednesday, April 16,2008 in the NCCU Art Museum which will also feature, throughout the conference, select pieces of the noted photographer, Jim Alexander Jazz Photo Collection. Welcome Statements will be given by Dr. Charlie Nelms, Chancellor, NCCU; Dr. Beverly Jones, Provost, NCCU; Dr. Paula Harrell, Music Department Chair, NCCU; The Honorable Bill Bell, Mayor, Durham, NC.
* NAJRI will launch its Jazz Hall of Fame at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2008 in the BN Duke Auditorium with the initial induction of jazz giants who are natives of North Carolina: Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Percy Heath, Dr. Billy Taylor, Lou Donaldson, Nina Simone and Tal Farlow. In addition, Jimmy Heath, Albert (Tootie) Heath and the Honorable Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), will also be inducted in recognition of their contributions to jazz. The legendary pianist Cedar Walton and his Trio will perform following the induction ceremony. This will be the first annual NAJRI fund raising event. Tickets are $20.00.
* The Eighteenth Annual NCCU Jazz Festival lineup:
The featured artist appearing in performance with the NCCU Faculty Jazz Group and the NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble on Friday, April 18, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. will be Wes "Warm Daddy" Anderson, noted alto saxophonist from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
The performance on Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 8:00 p.m., will feature David "Fathead" Newman, legendary "Texas" tenor saxophonist known for his twelve year association with Ray Charles. He will be performing with the NCCU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Ira Wiggins, NCCU Director of Jazz Studies and Co-Director of NAJRI.
* Symposia on issues uniquely affecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), elementary and secondary jazz education programs and the African American community
* "Developing Interdisciplinary K through Higher Education Jazz Curricula"
* Historical Presentation "The Carolina Jazz Connection", Mr. Larry Reni Thomas, Producer.
* "Developing Solutions To Strengthen Jazz Programs at HBCUs"
* "20th Anniversary of US House Concurrent Resolution, HR 57", Open audience discussion to determine progress
* "Jazz, the Church and Community - Sacred versus Secular",
* Interactive Workshop- "Jazz and Hip Hop as an Education Performance/Ritual". Dr. Will Smith, American University, Washington, DC.
* Vocal and instrumental clinics
* "The Role of Jazz Radio, TV, Print Media & the Internet"
* Master classes, e.g. Brass Clinic/Workshop - Professor Bill Fielder, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
* Continuing Education Credit workshops
* Nightly jazz concerts
* Photo exhibit of jazz greats
* Nightly jam sessions
* Noted speakers and panelists: Rev/Dr. Ron Myers, Chairman, National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council; Mr. Dan Morgenstern, Director of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies; Dr. Karen Chandler, College of Charleston; Dr. Floyd Hayes, Programs Coordinator, Center for Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University (and an alumnus of NCCU);
This conference will be a memorable and exciting event that will enrich the lives of the general public, students of all ages, jazz fans, everyone involved in jazz education, presenters, performers, the media and business.
For periodic updates which are under construction go to http://web.nccu.edu/jazzsummit/
Disseminate this information to your friends, staff, colleagues, et al!
Your participation is critical towards preserving jazz as an “American Treasure” to be properly recognized and accorded the institutional status commensurate with its value and importance.
The 35th Annual International Association for Jazz Education Conference
Toronto, Ontario Canada, January 9 - 12, 2008
the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The AAJC Hospitality/Information Suite at the IAJE Conference will be located in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Confederation 3 Room".
The AAJC Hospitality Suite hours are:
Friday, January 11, 2008, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 1, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. (Additional hours, TBA)
There will be an exhibition and availability of classic jazz photographs to benefit the AAJC in the AAJC Hospitality Suite, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Confederation 3 Room" and the AAJC Exhibit Booth #933 which is located in the Exhibit Hall of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The photos are the artistic creations by renowned Jazz photographer, Jim Alexander, a resident of Atlanta, GA. Mr. Alexander is also the official AAJC Photographer and Documentarian.
The AAJC Exhibit Booth #933 is located in the Exhibit Hall of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre..
The following will be available at the AAJC Booth - Classic photos of renowned jazz artists by Jim Alexander; AAJC Tee Shirts and Tote Bags - imprinted with "The Blue Note Years Musicians and Others"; AAJC Newsletter; CDs; AAJC Membership Applications; and, a raffle of a Limited Edition Photograph of Miles Davis.
The AAJC Exhibit Booth #933 hours are:
*Thursday, January 10, 2008, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.;
*Friday, January 11, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.;
*Saturday, January 12, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
**AAJC Business Meeting - 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Quebec Room".
This meeting is open to ethnically diverse individuals individuals who are and will become proactive members of the AAJC. We welcome their expertise to aid in formulating, networking to advance the ongoing mission, needs and concerns of the AAJC.
** AAJC Pro Jam, "Dedicated as a transitional tribute to Jazz Masters": Jazz Legend and Innovator, Max Roach; Alvin Batiste; Dakota Staton; Bobby Tucker; Andrew Hill; Joe Zawinul; Art Davis; Evelyn Blakey; Herbie Lewis; Leroy Jenkins; Azzedin Weston; Sal Mosca; Ron Jefferson; Kahlil Madi; Morris Edwards; Sonny Brown; Russell Webster; and others who passed on in 2007.
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - InterContinental Hotel, Lobby Stage, "Azure Restaurant".
AAJC Pro Jam Coordinator - Dr. John Lamkin, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Friday, January 11, 2008
**AAJC Board of Directors Meeting:
12:00 Noon, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Quebec Room".
Open to AAJC Board Members Only.
**AAJC Annual IAJE Conference Dance
11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Ballroom".
The Annual AAJC Dance Band is conducted and organized by David Hardiman, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco City College. The deadline for individuals interested in performing with the band at the IAJE Conference is in early November annually. Contact Professor Hardiman by phone (415)647-9287; fax: (415) 239-3992; Email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
This annual presentation is designed and promoted to help preserve the legacy and ongoing connection between jazz music, the community and dance. The band will perform repertoire guaranteed to engage and elicit your active participation.
Special 2008 IAJE Conference guest artists with the AAJC Dance Band will be- Dr. Willis Kirk performing his composition dedicated to the legendary Max Roach; and, Dr. Jamey Aebersold performing a tribute in memory of Dick Washburn, trumpeter, friend and long time supporter of the AAJC.
Come with your dancing shoes, imbibe responsibly and enjoy yourself!!!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
**The AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee is hosting an important one hour meeting of fellow HBCU Jazz Ensemble Directors.
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - InterContinental Hotel, "Humber Room".
The agenda is to discuss the status of jazz education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™.
This meeting will last exactly one hour to enable everyone to attend and participate in the following 3:00 p.m. AAJC panel, "Jazz Education at HBCUs" at the InterContinental Hotel, "Niagra Ontario Room". We also want to encourage the HBCU Jazz Directors to participate in the panel discussion and visit the rehearsals of the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band. The rehearsal schedule is listed below.
**AAJC Panel Discussion - "Jazz at Historically Black Colleges & Universities" -
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - InterContinental Hotel, "Niagra Ontario Room".
Introduction by Dr. Jesse C. McCarroll, AAJC Treasurer and Membership Coordinator. Panel Convener - Dr. Larry Ridley, Co-Director of the North Carolina Central University/AAJC Jazz Research Institute (NAJRI), Durham, NC; Participating in the discussion - Dr. Ira Wiggins, North Carolina Central University, Co-Director; Dr. Russell Thomas, Jackson State University; Dr. Howard Harris, Texas Southern University; Professor James Patterson, Clark/Atlanta University; Dr. John Lamkin, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and other HBCU directors in attendance at the conference.
**Annual AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ Conference performance:
7:00 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. - Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Ballroom".
This ensemble is composed of outstanding student jazz musicians from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Students are selected annually through a competitive blind audition process administered by the AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee: Chairman, Dr. Russell Thomas (Jackson State University); Vice-Chairman, Dr. Ira Wiggins (North Carolina Central University); Dr. Howard Harris (Texas Southern University); Professor James Patterson (Clark Atlanta University); and, Dr. John Lamkin (University of Maryland Eastern Shore).
Selection of the students chosen for the band is conducted annually by an independent panel of professional musicians and educators to avoid any semblance of conflict of interest by the Committee.
Students who were chosen in prior years are not automatically guaranteed to be members of the band in succeeding years. They must reaudition as if they are a new applicant seeking selection. This keeps the process open and fair to suceeding years applicants. It also motivates the students to continue improving their skills to understand and realize the competitiveness of life. This is AAJC policy that has existed and stated from the beginning and will continue to be adhered to.
The application, with general and deadline information is available annually late August/early September at the beginning of the academic school year at the AAJC web site, www.aajc.us.
The HBCUs that participated in the 2008 AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band audition, Fall 2007 are:
*Hampton University (VA) - 1 student - Jerry Bracey, Director;
*Elizabeth City State University (NC) - 1 student - Douglas A. Jackson, Director;
*Lincoln University (PA) - 1 student - H. Wade Johnson, Director;
*Morehouse College (GA) - 1 student - Melvin Jones, Director;
*Fayetteville State University (NC) - 1 student - Neal Finn, Director;
*Jackson State University (MS) - 4 students, Russell Thomas, Jr., Director;
*Texas Southern University (TX) - 10 students - Howard Harris, Director;
*North Carolina Central University (NC) - 16 students - Ira Wiggins, Director;
*University of Maryland Eastern Shore (MD) - 6 students - John Lamkin, II, Director;
*Clark Atlanta University (GA) - 4 students - James Patterson, Director;
*South Carolina State University (SC) - 3 students - Jonovan T. Cooper, Director;
*North Carolina A&T State University (NC) - 4 students - Mondre Moffett, Director;
*The number of HBCU Colleges and Universities participating in the selection process: 12 colleges and universities
*The total number of HBCU students participating in the selection process: 52 students
The following students were chosen by the Independent Professional Judges Panel in a blind audition process:
2008 African American Jazz Caucus / Historically Black Colleges and Universities Student All-star Big Band
Christopher Andrews,lead alto saxophone,South Carolina State University.
Frank H. Hayes, 2nd alto saxophone, Clark Atlanta University.
Benjamin Courtland Saxon,lead tenor saxophone, Jackson State University.
Allan S. Knighton, 2nd tenor saxophone, Clark Atlanta University.
Shaena Ryan, baritone saxophone, North Carolina Central University.
Ricardo Powell, split lead trumpet, North Carolina Central University.
Steven Moore, split lead trumpet, North Carolina Central University.
Dustin Jennings, 2nd trumpet, North Carolina A & T University.
Quinton Parker, 3rd trumpet, North Carolina Central University.
Jonah Vincent, 4th trumpet, North Carolina Central University.
Kenneth Beam, 5th trumpet, Jackson State University.
Joshua Vincent, lead trombone, North Carolina Central University.
Steven Chalmers, 2nd trombone, Jackson State University.
Reginald Greenlee, 3rd trombone, North Carolina Central University.
Jose Loredo, 4th trombone, Texas Southern University.
Michael Peterson, bass trombone, North Carolina Central University.
Terrence Vaughn, piano, Texas Southern University.
Justin Martin, guitar, North Carolina Central University.
Anthony Brown, string bass, North Carolina Central University.
Larry Q. Draughn, Jr., drums, North Carolina A & T University.
Brevan Hamden, Percussion, North Carolina Central University.
Dr. John Lamkin - University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
James Holden - Virginia State University.
James Patterson - Clark Atlanta University.
Robert Trowers - North Carolina Central University.
Dr. Russell Thomas Jr. - Jackson State University, Chairman, AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee.
**AAJC Annual Religious Presentation: "Free as a Bird: A Sacred Cantata" composed by Dr. Howard Harris, Texas Southern University, performed by TSU students.
11:00 p.m.-12 midnight - Metro Toronto Convention Centre, "Room 201".
A program reflecting man's spiritual communion with God, as expressed in music over the ages- sacred songs, Negro spirituals and contemporary gospel compositions- woven into a poetic and jazz musical whole.
AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ Rehearsal Schedule:
Rehearsal Location: Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Algonquin Room, 2nd Floor".
* Wednesday, January 9, 2008 - 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
* Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
* Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
* Friday, January 11, 2008 - 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
* Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
SOUND CHECK and CONCERT:
Saturday, January 12, 2008,
Fairmont Royal York Hotel, "Fairmont Ballroom":
Sound Check is 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Concert is 7:00 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.
The following article was obtained from the NY Times Online.
"Note To NY Times Online Readers: We have ended TimesSelect. All of our Op-Ed and news columns are now available free of charge. Additionally, The New York Times Archive is available free back to 1987."
By David Margolick
NY Times Op-Ed Contributor
Published NY Times: September 23, 2007
FIFTY years ago this week, all eyes were on Little Rock, Ark., where nine black students were trying, for the first time, to desegregate a major Southern high school. With fewer than 150 blacks, the town of Grand Forks, N.D., hardly figured to be a key front in that battle — until, that is, Larry Lubenow talked to Louis Armstrong.
On the night of Sept. 17, 1957, two weeks after the Little Rock Nine were first barred from Central High School, the jazz trumpeter happened to be on tour with his All Stars band in Grand Forks. Larry Lubenow, meanwhile, was a 21-year-old journalism student and jazz fan at the University of North Dakota, moonlighting for $1.75 an hour at The Grand Forks Herald.
Shortly before Mr. Armstrong’s concert, Mr. Lubenow’s editor sent him to the Dakota Hotel, where Mr. Armstrong was staying, to see if he could land an interview. Perhaps sensing trouble — Mr. Lubenow was, he now says, a “rabble-rouser and liberal” — his boss laid out the ground rules: “No politics,” he ordered. That hardly seemed necessary, for Mr. Armstrong rarely ventured into such things anyway. “I don’t get involved in politics,” he once said. “I just blow my horn.”
But Mr. Lubenow was thinking about other things, race relations among them. The bell captain, with whom he was friendly, had told him that Mr. Armstrong was quietly making history in Grand Forks, as he had done innumerable times and ways before, by becoming the first black man ever to stay at what was then the best hotel in town. Mr. Lubenow knew, too, that Grand Forks had its own link to Little Rock: it was the hometown of Judge Ronald Davies, who’d just ordered that the desegregation plan in Little Rock proceed after Gov. Orval Faubus of Arkansas and a band of local segregationists tried to block it.
As Mr. Armstrong prepared to play that night — oddly enough, at Grand Forks’s own Central High School — members of the Arkansas National Guard ringed the school in Little Rock, ordered to keep the black students out. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s meeting with Governor Faubus three days earlier in Newport, R.I., had ended inconclusively. Central High School was open, but the black children stayed home.
Mr. Lubenow was first told he couldn’t talk to Mr. Armstrong until after the concert. That wouldn’t do. With the connivance of the bell captain, he snuck into Mr. Armstrong’s suite with a room service lobster dinner. And Mr. Armstrong, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, agreed to talk. Mr. Lubenow stuck initially to his editor’s script, asking Mr. Armstrong to name his favorite musician. (Bing Crosby, it turned out.) But soon he brought up Little Rock, and he could not believe what he heard. “It’s getting almost so bad a colored man hasn’t got any country,” a furious Mr. Armstrong told him. President Eisenhower, he charged, was “two faced,” and had “no guts.” For Governor Faubus, he used a double-barreled hyphenated expletive, utterly unfit for print. The two settled on something safer: “uneducated plow boy.” The euphemism, Mr. Lubenow says, was far more his than Mr. Armstrong’s.
Mr. Armstrong bitterly recounted some of his experiences touring in the Jim Crow South. He then sang the opening bar of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” inserting obscenities into the lyrics and prompting Velma Middleton, the vocalist who toured with Mr. Armstrong and who had joined them in the room, to hush him up.
Mr. Armstrong had been contemplating a good-will tour to the Soviet Union for the State Department. “They ain’t so cold but what we couldn’t bruise them with happy music,” he had said. Now, though, he confessed to having second thoughts. “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell,” he said, offering further choice words about the secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. “The people over there ask me what’s wrong with my country. What am I supposed to say?”
Mr. Lubenow, who came from a small North Dakota farming community, was shocked by what he heard, but he also knew he had a story; he skipped the concert and went back to the paper to write it up. It was too late to get it in his own paper; nor would the Associated Press editor in Minneapolis, dubious that Mr. Armstrong could have said such things, put it on the national wire, at least until Mr. Lubenow could prove he hadn’t made it all up. So the next morning Mr. Lubenow returned to the Dakota Hotel and, as Mr. Armstrong shaved, had the Herald photographer take their picture together. Then Mr. Lubenow showed Mr. Armstrong what he’d written. “Don’t take nothing out of that story,” Mr. Armstrong declared. “That’s just what I said, and still say.” He then wrote “solid” on the bottom of the yellow copy paper, and signed his name.
The article ran all over the country. Douglas Edwards and John Cameron Swayze broadcast it on the evening news. The Russians, an anonymous government spokesman warned, would relish everything Mr. Armstrong had said. A radio station in Hattiesburg, Miss., threw out all of Mr. Armstrong’s records. Sammy Davis Jr. criticized Mr. Armstrong for not speaking out earlier. But Jackie Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and Marian Anderson quickly backed him up.
Mostly, there was surprise, especially among blacks. Secretary Dulles might just as well have stood up at the United Nations and led a chorus of the Russian national anthem, declared Jet magazine, which once called Mr. Armstrong an “Uncle Tom.” Mr. Armstrong had long tried to convince people throughout the world that “the Negro’s lot in America is a happy one,” it observed, but in one bold stroke he’d pulled nearly 15 million American blacks to his bosom. Any white confused by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s polite talk need only listen to Mr. Armstrong, The Amsterdam News declared. Mr. Armstrong’s words had the “explosive effect of an H-bomb,” said The Chicago Defender. “He may not have been grammatical, but he was eloquent.”
His road manager quickly put out that Mr. Armstrong had been tricked, and regretted his statements, but Mr. Armstrong would have none of that. “I said what somebody should have said a long time ago,” he said the following day in Montevideo, Minn., where he gave his next concert. He closed that show with “The Star-Spangled Banner” — this time, minus the obscenities.
Mr. Armstrong was to pay a price for his outspokenness. There were calls for boycotts of his concerts. The Ford Motor Company threatened to pull out of a Bing Crosby special on which Mr. Armstrong was to appear. Van Cliburn’s manager refused to let him perform a duet with Mr. Armstrong on Steve Allen’s talk show.
But it didn’t really matter. On Sept. 24, President Eisenhower sent 1,200 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne into Little Rock, and the next day soldiers escorted the nine students into Central High School. Mr. Armstrong exulted. “If you decide to walk into the schools with the little colored kids, take me along, Daddy,” he wired the president. “God bless you.” As for Mr. Lubenow, who now works in public relations in Cedar Park, Tex., he got $3.50 for writing the story and, perhaps, for changing history. But his editor was miffed — he’d gotten into politics, after all. Within a week, he left the paper.
David Margolick, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, is the author of “Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and a World on the Brink.’’
"Throughout my career, I have been blessed by the Creator with a wonderfully loving bloodline and extended family, numerous talents, abilities, achievements and opportunities to be a hard working, tenacious, responsible, respectful and giving Human Being. Being a board member of the National Jazz Service Organization in addition to being a personal friend of the Honorable Congressman, John Conyers, Jr. of Detroit, Michigan, gave me the opportunity to work with Ms. Eunice Lockhart-Moss, NJSO Executive Director, in the drafting of the following historic United States Congressional document of the Twentieth Century.
All Praises to God!"
-- Dr. Larry Ridley, AAJC Executive Director.
Introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan
March 3, 1987
Expressing the sense of Congress respecting the designation of jazz as a rare and valuable national American treasure.
Whereas, jazz has achieved preeminence throughout the world as an indigenous American music and art form, bringing to this country and the world a uniquely American musical synthesis and culture through the African American experience and�
(1) makes evident to the world an outstanding artistic model of individual expression and democratic cooperation within the creative process, thus fulfilling the highest ideals and aspirations of our republic,
(2) is a unifying force, bridging cultural, religious ethnic and age differences in our diverse society,
(3) is a true music of the people, finding its inspiration in the cultures and most personal experiences of the diverse peoples that constitute our Nation,
(4) has evolved into a multifaceted art form which continues to birth and nurture new stylistic idioms and cultural fusions,
(5) has had a historic, pervasive, and continuing influence on other genres of music both here and abroad, and
(6) has become a true international language adopted by musicians around the world as a music best able to express contemporary realities from a personal perspective;
Whereas, this great American musical art form has not yet been properly recognized nor accorded the institutional status commensurate with its value and importance;
Whereas, it is important for the youth of America to recognize and understand jazz as a significant part of their cultural and intellectual heritage;
Whereas, in as much as there exists no effective national infrastructure to support and preserve jazz;
Whereas, documentation and archival support required by such a great art form has yet to be systematically applied to the jazz field; and
Whereas, it is in the best interest of the national welfare and all of our citizens to preserve and celebrate this unique art form: Now, therefore be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that Jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated.
Passed unanimously by the House of Representatives, September 23, 1987.
The Senate version introduced by Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA), Passed unanimously December 4, 1987.
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in partnership with the African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), an affiliate of the International Association for Jazz Education, is proud to announce the inaugural NCCU/AAJC Summer HBCU Jazz Conference/Festival. The events will take place June 20 - 23, 2007 on the NCCU campus, Durham, North Carolina.
The annual conference has been established to provide a forum where HBCU Jazz educators can meet and collectively discuss the unique issues and challenges they face at their respective institutions and the African American community. Prior to this, the only opportunity available for them to share their experiences has been at the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), held each January. Because of the extensive activities and distractions at this massive event, the amount of time that is focused upon the unique situations inherent to the HBCU’s is extremely limited.
The NCCU/AAJC Summer HBCU Jazz Conference/Festival is a four day event consisting of concerts, workshops, panels and seminars designed to address the needs of HBCU Jazz educators who are dedicated to passing on and preserving our “rare and valuable national American treasure”*. Each session will provide tools that will assist in establishing new horizons for interdisciplinary Jazz Studies programs throughout the entire circuit of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
This HBCU Jazz Conference/Festival is occurring mid-year between the annual IAJE Conferences. Educators will have the opportunity to focus on their specific concerns, mutual concepts, strategies and solutions. Two particularly important panel topics will address, “The Media and Jazz” and “The Church/Community and their relationship to Jazz”.
To complement the HBCU Jazz Conference/Festival, some of the events are as follows:
* Showcase the exceptional talents of students and educators who are involved in HBCU Jazz Studies programs.
* Elizabeth City, North Carolina native and renowned jazz writer, A.B. Spellman will be one of the featured speakers. He recently retired from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) after thirty years of service. At the time of his retirement, Spellman was the NEA Deputy Director for Programs. He has had a varied and influential career as a writer, cultural critic, educator, arts visionary and administrator.
* Another major speaker will be Cedric Hendricks, Esq. Mr. Hendricks has served for several years as an assistant to the Honorable Congressman, John Conyers, (D-MI). Congressman Conyers put forth in the 100th Congress, House Concurrent Resolution 57 declaring Jazz as America’s national treasure. This resolution and the Senate version introduced by Senator Alan Cranston (D- CA) passed unanimously in 1987. Mr. Hendricks, as Mr. Conyers chief staff person, was the convener of the consultants who aided in crafting the resolution.
* Feature internationally renowned guest artists: solo pianist Kenny Barron; trumpeter Jimmy Owens performing with the NCCU Big Band; bassist Larry Ridley and the Jazz Legacy Ensemble featuring pianist Richard Wyands, saxophonist Doug Harris, violinist Krystle Ford, drummer Greg Buford, congero Jaime Benitez, vocalist Jackie Jones, with special guests - the American Dance Festival Dancers, Dr. Ira Wiggins, tenor sax. NCCU professor, vocalist Lenora Helm’s ensemble will feature saxophonist Antonio Hart.
* There will also be performances by the NCCU Faculty Ensemble, NCCU Vocal Group and the Shepard Jazz Camp Youth Ensemble.
* Nightly jam sessions
* Photo exhibit of Jazz greats by renowned photographer Jim Alexander.
North Carolina Central University and the African American Jazz Caucus are very excited to be hosting this historic event. We encourage everyone to attend, support, get involved, and help others to “recognize and understand jazz as a significant part of their cultural and intellectual heritage” *.
Kindly disseminate this information throughout your campus and community. It is extremely important that those interested in attending have advanced notice so they can save the dates, June 20 – 23, 2007.
For further information contact the AAJC by Email at AfAmJzCaucus@aol.com or by telephone at (212) 979-0304.
Dr. Larry Ridley
Executive Director, African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. (AAJC);
Co-Director NCCU/AAJC Jazz Research Institute (NAJRI);
Dr. Ira Wiggins, NCCU Director of Jazz Studies;
Co-Director NCCU/AAJC Jazz Research Institute (NAJRI).
The 34th Annual International Association for Jazz Education Conference
New York, NY, January 10 - 13, 2007
the New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas and New York Sheraton, 811 Seventh Avenue at 52nd Street
Sunday, 3:00 p.m., January 14, 2007
The AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ Performance at the
New York Public Library/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard
The AAJC Hospitality/Information Suite at the IAJE Conference will be located on the 4th floor, Hilton Hotel - "Harlem Suite".
The hours are: Friday, January 12, 2007, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 13, 2007, 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon. (Additional hours, TBA)
There will be an exhibition and sale of classic jazz photographs to benefit the AAJC in the AAJC Hospitality Suite and the AAJC Booth #225 located on the Hilton Hotel Second floor, Rhinelander Gallery. The photos are the artistic creations by renowned Jazz photographer, Jim Alexander, a resident of Atlanta, GA. He is also the official AAJC Photographer/Documentarian.
The AAJC will also have a Booth in the Exhibition Area of the Hilton Hotel. Location: Second floor, Rhinelander Gallery, Booth #225.
The hours are Thursday, January 11, 2007, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 12, 2007, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and, Saturday, January 13, 2007 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
**AAJC Business Meeting - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Hilton Hotel, Concourse G.
Open to members and those interested in becoming members of the AAJC.
** AAJC Pro Jam, "Dedicated to the memory of Ahmet Ertegun" - 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Hilton Hotel, Lobby Level, "Bridges Lounge".
AAJC Coordinator, Dr. John Lamkin, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Group #1 - 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Jazz Legacy Ensemble - Dr. Larry Ridley, Bass & Leader; Richard Wyands, Piano; Doug Harris, Tenor/Soprano saxophones/Flute; Krystle Ford, Violin; Jackie Jones, Vocalist; Greg Buford, Drums; Jaime Benitez, Conga Drums.
Group #2 - 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Dr. John Lamkin, Trumpet/Leader, Organizer; Onaje Allan Gumbs, Piano; Tommy Short, Bass; John Lamkin III, Drums; Toney Williams, Tenor Saxophone; Brian Perez, Alto Saxophone; Martin Lamkin, Trombone.
**AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ - 8:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. - Hilton Hotel, Grand Ballroom. Opening act for a performance by an established professional group.
Friday, January 12, 2007
**AAJC Board Meeting: 1:00 p.m., Hilton Hotel, East Suite(Board Members Only)
**AAJC Annual Conference Dance - 11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. in the Sheraton Hotel, Empire Ballroom. The Annual AAJC Dance Band is conducted and organized by David Hardiman,Professor Emeritus, San Francisco City College.
Featured Guest Artist: Dr. David N. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University School; NEA Jazz Master/ Cellist/Composer/Arranger/Educator/Author; Conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra; Past member- the National Council of the Arts, an appointment by the President of the United States; Past President of IAJE.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
**The AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee is hosting an important one hour meeting of fellow HBCU Jazz Ensemble Directors. 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Sheraton Hotel, "Carnegie East Room", Third Floor. The agenda is to discuss the status of jazz education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™. This meeting will last exactly one hour to enable everyone to attend the following 3:00 p.m. AAJC panel at the Hilton Hotel across the street. We also want to encourage the HBCU Jazz Ensemble Directors to visit the rehearsals of the Band. The rehearsal schedule is listed below.
**AAJC Panel - Jazz at Historically Black Colleges & Universities" - 3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. - Hilton Hotel, Nassau Suite.
Convener - Dr. Karen Chandler, College of Charleston. Lead participant - Dr. James Ammons, Chancellor - North Carolina Central University, Panelists - Dr. Ira Wiggins, North Carolina Central University, Dr. Russell Thomas, Jackson State University.
**Annual AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ Conference performance: 7:00 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. - Sheraton Hotel, Empire Ballroom. Guest artist: Trombonist, Robert Trowers and the AAJC Conductor Emeritus - NEA Jazz Master, Gerald Wilson.
**AAJC Annual Religious Presentation: "Free as a Bird: A Sacred Cantata" by Dr. Howard Harris, Texas Southern University - 11:30 p.m. - 12 midnight - Sheraton Hotel, Empire Ballroom.
Rehearsal Location: Sheraton Hotel, "Liberty Three Room", Third Floor:
* Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
* Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
* Friday, January 12, 2007 - 12:00 Noon - 2:00 p.m.
* Friday, January 12, 2007 - 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
* Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
"Schomburg Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King" featuring the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™
(under construction)Chronical of the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band™ invitational experience at the University of Notre Dame in March of 2006.
the New York Hilton and New York Sheraton Hotels.
2006 AAJC Conference Schedule of Activities
The AAJC Hospitality/Information Suite at the IAJE Conference will be located on the 4th floor, Hilton Hotel- "Harlem Suite".
The hours are: Friday, January 13, 2006, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and, Saturday, January 14, 2006, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: 4th Floor, Hilton Hotel- "Harlem Suite".
The AAJC will also have a Booth in the Exhibition Area of the Hilton Hotel.
The hours are Thursday, January 12, 2006, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 13, 2006, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and, Saturday, January 14, 2006, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Americas Hall II, Booth # 422, which is accessible only through Americas Hall I.
Thursday- Jan. 12, 2006
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., "AAJC Open Business Meeting",
This meeting is open to ethnically diverse individuals who will be proactive in lending their expertise to formulate, network and advance the ongoing mission, needs and concerns of the AAJC. There will be a codified meeting agenda along with a professional facilitator.
Location: Hilton Hotel- "Concourse G".
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., "AAJC ProJam Jazz Masters Memorial Tribute",
This AAJC coordinated ProJam session presentation will serve as a transitional tribute to Jazz Masters: Percy Heath, Al McKibbon, Keter Betts, Jimmy Woode, Niels Pederson, Pierre Michelot, Jimmy Smith, Al Casey, Mrs. Joyce Wein, Benny Bailey, Lucky Thompson, Shirley Horn.
Coordinator: Dr. John Lamkin, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Location: Hilton Hotel 1st floor Lobby Bar- "Hilton Bridges".
Friday- Jan. 13, 2006
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., "AAJC Board Meeting", (Open to Board Members Only) Location: TBA to Board Members.
11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m., "AAJC Annual Conference Dance"- AAJC Dance Band, David Hardiman, Director.
This annual presentation by the AAJC is to historically reflect and encourage the legacy and ongoing interfacing of Jazz music and dance. The AAJC Dance Band will perform repertoire guaranteed to engage and elicit your active participation. Individuals interested in performing with the band should contact Professor David Hardiman, (415) 647-9287; Fax- (415) 239-3992; Email- email@example.com
Location: Sheraton Hotel, 2nd floor, "Empire Ballroom".
Saturday- Jan. 14, 2006
1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m., AAJC Workshop: "Charleston, South Carolina: A Cradle of Jazz".
Presenters: Dr. Karen Chandler- College of Charleston, Mr. Jack McCray- Charleston Post and Courier.
This session will feature a multimedia research presentation by the Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI), www.charlestonjazz.net. Charleston, SC and the South Carolina Low Country are major jazz components of the African Diaspora beginning in the late 1800's to the present. The presentation will also include a live performance by the Charleston Jazz All-Stars, a septet of professional and high school jazz musicians and educators.
Location: Hilton 2nd floor, "Murray Hill Suite".
7:00 p.m.- 7:50 p.m., AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band Performance,
Guest soloist, the legendary NEA Jazz Master, Jimmy Heath.
This ensemble is composed of outstanding student musicians from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Students are selected annually through a competitive audition process administered by the AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee- Chairman, Dr. Russell Thomas, Jackson State University, Vice Chairman, Dr. Ira Wiggins, North Carolina Central University, Dr. Howard Harris, Texas Southern, Professor James Patterson, Clark Atlanta University.
Location: Sheraton Hotel, 2nd floor, "Empire Ballroom".
11:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m., "A Jazz Mass":
Dr. Will Smith- Composer, Saxophonist, Director- the WES Group.
Jazz blends the sacred and secular in ways that speak to the hearts of all people. It comes from the soul and is rooted in everyday life. The WES Group embodies this notion of jazz as a spiritual expression. They will perform original pieces from their two recordings along with excerpts from "A Jazz Mass", an original composition based on the liturgy of the Episcopal and Catholic worship services.
Location: Sheraton Hotel, 2nd floor, "Empire Ballroom".
The African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), an affiliate of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), is pleased to announce the members of the 2006 Edition of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Student All-star Big Band. This ensemble will be featured in concert at the 33rd Annual International Association for Jazz Education Conference in New York, New York, January 11 - 14, 2006 and the University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, March 1 - 4, 2006. More information will follow in January concerning the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.
Each student participating in the HBCU All Star Jazz Ensemble will receive a congratulatory letter from the office of the African American Jazz Caucus / International Association of Jazz Education. This letter will be mailed to each student's jazz ensemble director.
The selection committee had a monumental task of selecting the best jazz performers from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in a blind audition process. If your student(s) name does not appear on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Student All-star Big Band Roster please inform them to keep practicing and start getting their chops ready to audition for the 2007 Edition of the International Association for Jazz Education AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band.
The IAJE and the AAJC would like to thank all of your students who worked hard and diligently with their preparation to audition for this prestigious representation of talent in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Your continued support to this jazz education experience will prove to be a boost in developing outstanding jazz education programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
To the respective HBCU Jazz Directors -- Please confirm your student(s) participation in the 2006 HBCU All-star Big Band by email to Dr. Russell Thomas, Jr., by Thursday, November 17, 2005. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2006 AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Jazz Ensemble will be featured in concert at the:
1. 33rd Annual International Association for Jazz Education Conference, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, Empire Ballroom, 811 Seventh Ave at 52nd Street, New York, New York, January 14, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
2. University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, March 1 - 4, 2006. More information will follow in January concerning the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.
Please make your travel plans so that your student(s) will arrive in New York, NY, on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 before 3:00 p.m. and depart on Sunday, January 14, 2006. More information will follow on travel and hotel accommodations.
Guest Soloist: the legendary Jimmy Heath - tenor saxophone
Brent Nabors, lead alto saxophone, Texas Southern University
Serena Wiley, 2nd alto saxophone, North Carolina Central University
Benjamin Courtland Saxon, lead tenor saxophone, Jackson State University
Marcus Anderson, 2nd tenor saxophone,North Carolina Central University
Harvey Cummings II,baritone saxophone,North Carolina Central University
Leonard L. Maxey, split lead trumpet, Jackson State University
Ricardo Powell, split lead trumpet, North Carolina Central University
Tamahl Gorham, 2nd trumpet, North Carolina Central University
James King, 3rd trumpet, Morehouse College
Marion O. Ross, 4th trumpet, Texas Southern University
Steven Moore, 5th trumpet, North Carolina Central University
Terry Jones, Jr., lead trombone, North Carolina Central University
Herman Louis Spearman, Jr., 2nd trombone, Clark Atlanta University
Richard Milburn, 3rd trombone, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Byron Nalls, 4th trombone, Tennessee State University
Michael Peterson, bass trombone, North Carolina Central University
Christopher Moten, piano, Clark Atlanta University
Marc Davis, guitar, North Carolina Central University
Anthony Brown, acoustic bass, North Carolina Central University
Adrian Kennedy, drums, Texas Southern University
NEW $1 MILLION SINGLETON GIFT TO VCU
HONORS JAZZ MUSICIAN JAMES W. BLACK
Richmond philanthropist now a $3 million contributor to VCU Jazz
RICHMOND, Va. (March 8, 2005) -- Virginia Commonwealth University today announced a new $1 million commitment to the VCU School of the Arts Jazz Studies program from W. E. Singleton, a Richmond, Va. philanthropist and jazz enthusiast, and his wife, Dale Harman Singleton. The gift was made in memory of their long-time friend, jazz pianist James W. Black, for whom the VCU Music Center building on Grove Avenue will be renamed.
W. E. Singleton is now a $3 million investor in VCU Jazz. His earlier 2002 gift of $2 million was the largest gift ever made in the United States to support university-level jazz education. The school�s performing arts center now bears the W. E. Singleton name.
"This is a very meaningful gift that at once honors a fine jazz musician and benefits our VCU students,� said Dr. Richard Toscan, Dean of the VCU School of the Arts. �The Singletons have struck a wonderful match between their devotion to jazz and our mission. We are deeply grateful to be the recipient of their philanthropy."
The new Singleton gift will name the existing VCU Music Center, located at the corner of Harrison and Grove. The teaching and rehearsal facility is scheduled for a renovation beginning in April 2005, with projected completion in the fall of 2007. The facility will be known as the James W. Black Music Center, honoring the memory of the jazz musician whose death in October 2004 stunned a host of devoted friends and jazz fans.
Known to his audiences as Jimmy Black, the Richmond-born jazz pianist engaged and enthralled generations of Virginia audiences. Black initially entered the music spotlight as a University of Virginia student in the 1950s. When a snow storm prevented their back-up band from joining trumpet great Louis Prima and vocalist Keely Smith for a UVA spring formal, Jimmy Black's student jazz trio joined Prima and Smith on stage that evening and were an instant hit.
"I've heard a lot of jazz piano players over the last 55 years," said Singleton. "Most of them play well, but not all of them make music. In the good ones that do, I hear style, creativity, subtle tempos and key changes and the general feeling of the fun of jazz. I heard it in Erroll Garner and I heard it in Fats Waller. And I heard it in Jimmy."
Jeffrey W. Black, the pianist's son, expressed gratitude on behalf of the Black family. "It is very nice to know that, given all the joy Dad�s music brought to people throughout his lifetime, his legacy continues with the generous gift by Mr. Singleton. What a truly wonderful friendship they shared along with a mutual love of jazz. Dad�s appreciation of great music may now be fostered for generations to come."
Augmenting the Singleton gift, the Black family intends to donate to the VCU Jazz Studies Program their father's music library, containing hundreds of albums, CDs, cassettes and private videos.
Subject: Jazz: A Music of the Spirit
Date: 8/19/2005 1:01:22 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
I called you earlier today because I wanted to talk to you about this latest development. I believe at some point in the past I shared with you some ideas I had about how to move this music ahead. The ideas have now evolved to become a thesis which I don't know whether you've read about or heard about but I wanted to bring it to your attention as we are engaging in a campaign to take this music from the plantation and it would be great if you could give it a reading. I'll get back to you. Thanks.
Jazz: A Music of the Spirit
By Ahmed Abdullah and Louis Reyes Rivera
The music commonly known as Jazz has been around for more than a century. While many of the practitioners have expressed discomfort with the term, Jazz, the attempts to name and explain this properly have been rare. Two of the now living artists who most prominently come to mind as critics of the name, and who have renamed their particular music, are Randy Weston and Max Roach. Mr. Weston determined that his music should be called African Rhythms, and Mr. Roach determined that the music he created was called the Music of Max Roach. Their response was an appropriate one for the 20th Century. However, in the 21st Century, it is imperative that the musicians who are progenitors of the art form, along with organizations that support its propagation, come together to determine and define this music, given the 100 plus years of experiences we have to draw from.
During the last nine years, an historic renaissance of community activism in Brooklyn has once again begun to be associated with this music for the first time since the 70s. This activism has been driven by an organized effort on the part of many collaborating community-based institutions, including the December 12th Movement, Melchizedek Music Productions, Shamal Books, the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, Jazz 966, Black Telephone Workers For Justice, Up Over Jazz Productions, United Music Makers, Janes United Methodist Church, Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church, The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, St Philip's Episcopal Church (to name a few), and has prompted the need for clarity as to the naming of the music.
We propose that the term Jazz be expanded to include the phrase Music of the Spirit in order to best identify, own and differentiate the phenomenon that has occurred in our community over the past nine years.
We define Music of the Spirit as an art form that defies time, genre and culture, even while it is, in fact, identifiably of a specific time frame (20th-21st Century), genre (Jazz) and culture (African American). It comes from within, this Music of the Spirit, and it likewise enters into the listener; it is complex in its simplicity and simple in its complexity, a music that can be described as an enigma wrapped up in a paradox.
Its composers, at work in the creation of art, more often than not, do give cognizance to its source, a higher power that many humans refer to as God. Many of us who help to create this music have at some point in our lives moved away from being limitedly defined by ego to being more broadly defined by spirit, thus moving from me to we, from the individual to the collective, from a group to a movement. Thus the music influences its composers to evolve both spiritually and artistically in order to best express the vocation they�ve embraced.
Among the musicians who best epitomize this Music of the Spirit are Duke Ellington, Sun Ra and John Coltrane. Not only did they complete their work in the 20th Century, but, as well, taken as a whole, their contributions represent every style and genre of Jazz: Ragtime, Swing, BeBop, Modal and Avant Garde. Both their music and their lives are instructional for the task before us in the 21st Century.
Music of the Spirit is demonstrated best when several factors come together in the lives of the musician cited: (1) some form of transformative event takes place; (2) an advanced improvisational ability is present; (3) leadership and originality; (4) dedication and devotion of the music to the Creator; and, (5) the given composer understands music as a vocation, whereby he/she is further cognizant of the need to teach it with passion and intensity.
While not all of these factors need be present, we find that in the lives of the musicians mentioned most of these factors exist and often overlap. We will look at how two of these criteria lead to the presence of the others.
1. Transformative Event
Judith Viorst, in her book Necessary Losses, says the following: "How we mourn and how or if our mourning is going to end will depend on what we perceive our losses to be, will depend on our age and their age, will depend on how ready all of us were, will depend on the way they succumbed to mortality, will depend on our inner strengths and our outer supports, and will surely depend on our prior history--on our history with the people who died and on our separate history of love and loss. Nevertheless there does seem to be a typical pattern to normal adult mourning despite individual idiosyncrasies. And it seems generally agreed that we can pass through changing, though overlapping, phases of mourning and that after about a year, sometimes less but often far longer indeed, we 'complete' a major part of the mourning process."
One of the elements one finds in all the lives of the 20th century composers we�ve cited is a profound transformational occurrence that seemingly deepened their respective resolve to move them to greater depths of understanding. This sense of resolve resulted in a more intense directive as far as the Music of the Spirit is concerned. With both Sun Ra and Duke Ellington, it happened after the death of someone close to them. With John Coltrane, it happened through the loss of someone close as well as a profound inner transformation.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., in 1899, at the end of the 19th Century, 36 years after Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed Africans living in America to be free. The Emancipation Proclamation, of course, freed few and changed little. After centuries of forced dehumanization, no legal edict was going to make any real changes in the conditions of Africans in America. Culture, however, could make a difference because culture could restore a dignity to a people bereft of an understanding of themselves and their place in the Cosmos. Jazz is/was one of the transformative cultural realities for African Americans.
Culture, as we know it, is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and artifacts that the members of any given social group use to cope with their world and with one another, and that is transmitted from one generation to the next through learning. There are many theories about the creation of Jazz that places New Orleans as its center. While we will concede that New Orleans is one of many places where this valuable cultural reality blossomed, we also hold that there were many other centers where Africans gravitated to and which also supported the creation of Jazz (Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Memphis, etc). In short, wherever there was a need, there was an art form created to satisfy that need, and that is why 105 years later we are still expanding and expounding upon this music, as the need for it still exists.
While we might not want to readily suggest that the ravages of enslavement and the loss of parents or lov