Within the world standing, jazz's greatest gift is also its greatest curse; it is ubiquitous, transparent in plain sight. We need to widen our lens to provide full vision for the entire world to see. Yes, jazz sits comfortably as a cultural staple but comfort dulls our strife. We need to crank up jazz's operating temperature from a cool pulse to a fiery white heat. Whether working with small local art organizers or national groups such as those mentioned here, or charging forward as a one-person army, everyone's effort is equally important and equally needed. Our goal needs to actively transform jazz from a cultural staple to a cultural imperative. A goal only achieved with everyone mobilized and heading in the same direction.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.