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Great, insightful stuff. I've often thought that one of the reasons jazz has been marginalized in our society is that acknowledging it as an art form would force us to recognize how many black geniuses there actually were and are among us.As a culture, we diminish the value of jazz at our own peril--at a time when racism still divides us--and our own moral decay threatens our economic and physical security, we need to be able to understand the importance of all the milestones of artistic achievement.Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, George Lewis, Anthony Davis and many, many more are people whose genius and contribution to the elevation of American culture are not given the respect that is overdue them.Anyway, great article!
Thought-provoking and beautifully written, thank you so much for this article.
It's also a reminder that art has the capacity to transform minds and hearts even when its content is not overtly political. Armstrong (who is still criticized for his popular artistry and supposed detachment from social issues) impacted a young boy who would alter how we view race and justice; that's an act (literally and musically!) right up there with what the greatest jurists and philosophers have done.
I 2nd, "Thought-provoking and beautifully written, thank you so much for this article. "
Inside the article is a road map for a nation, like a hidden treasure or clue waiting to be found. The irony is that not only does modern America need the clue but it has never been more ready for it than right now.
Another gem, Mr. Thomas.
Handling race and playing Jazz are closely connected. There is almost a kinship here. Jazz is based on feeling, technical mastery, improvisation and a right and wrongness. For a human being to confront the ugly institution of race and prejudice she or he has to be Jazz-like in her or his approach: the individual must pause, confront, change, improvise, analyze, avoid, adapt, love and overcome. And in the end, this meeting between the individual and the psychosis of racism will result in the transformative quality of love, respect and humanity.
killer post Mr. Ringwood! My favorite part of the article was this snippet:
" So, one way to use culture, in this heroic model, this hero metaphor, this variation on Heru (Horus) of ancient Kamit (Egypt), is to combine your personal energy, integrity, talent, intellect, and power with others who share the same vision, mission, and willingness to act courageously in the world. "
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