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Race Relations and Their Expression in Jazz

By Published: June 14, 2006
Throughout the years, black music in America answered the immediate needs of blacks. This has gone contrary to the "Market tendency to create needs from above in order to enlarge profit, as was recognized in 1967 by Theodor Adorno in his book about the significance of jazz. Today it is obvious that a lot of black music has fallen prey to the market economy, and no longer answers the needs of the community. On the other hand, there are many more blacks who own record companies and clubs, and a lot of the financial benefits of the music go to blacks. Socially, blacks are still vulnerable to political changes, regressing under Reagan and the Bushes, gaining some ground under Clinton. Their status as citizens is ever changing, and their need of music has not diminished. In retrospect it would be easier to recognize which music rose from their own needs, and which was merely forced down by the industry. Black-white relations, unlikely to be resolved in the near future, will continue to provide different musical needs answered by different styles of music, but these may become known to outsiders only in retrospect, as were most of the previous styles.

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