The View from the Sacbut Section

Musings of C. Clark Gayton, Jr.

Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

American Jazz History – Is the music racist?

Posted by C. Clark Gayton, Jr. on September 9, 2011

The word “jazz” has always been associated with exploitation. Just read the other day that they are taking the word “n#^*$%” out of Mark Twain novels now. What does that say? That there was no racism in the 19th century? The word “jazz” is drenched in racism, more than freedom to play what you “feel”. Early jazz had working hours, popular tunes that HAD to be played, and there were no “progressive” musicians with the attitude of not needing a gig, and insisting on playing their original music.The music happened despite restrictions imposed on it. Should we believe that Charlie Parker played standards because he loved the songs? He played them because the record companies wanted to generate publishing for their publishing companies, and made him play those songs. Bebop was a protest to this system. A code. Of course, the standards we all play are beautiful, but there are so many contradictions when it comes to music, so many foul characters of all races blurring the truth for personal gain. We can’t bury our heads in the sand when talking about the history of American music. The history is the reason it sounds as it does, not because we live in a vacuum, never letting social conditions or surroundings effect your expression, even if oppressed. The “can’t we all get along” view point is lazy and irresponsible, and can’t be trusted. IMHO, of course.

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Interview by Danielle Bias for Earshot Jazz

Posted by C. Clark Gayton, Jr. on July 20, 2009

Click to access 09july.pdf

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