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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Book Reviews

Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King

By Published: October 16, 2003

Regardless of the powerful social statements made in the 60s by the likes of Archie Shepp and John Coltrane, jazz never became a force in the civil rights movement like soul and the funk of James Brown. Conversely, reggae has become the soundtrack for revolution everywhere, extending its influence even beyond black nationalism to the cause of many oppressed peoples, while Bob Marley’s face has become a universal symbol of resistance. Musically, jazz has branched out harmonically and rhythmically in far more directions than reggae, but the question must be asked: has jazz gained artistic progress while losing its voice for social change?

But these are not Bradley’s concerns. He simply wanted reggae-and Jamaican culture-to speak with its own eloquent voice. By doing so, he raises to its rightful, vibrant place in the world of music.



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