Jazz — a people’s music?

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Charlie Hore, History, Jazz & Blues

Author: Charlie Hore

Source: Issue 61 of INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM JOURNAL Published Winter 1993


“Jazz music has become one of the 20th century’s most important and enduring art forms. Yet it survives today in a paradoxical state. On the one hand, the audience for jazz is now larger and more diverse, both socially and geographically, than ever before. Millions of people who don’t see themselves as jazz fans regularly listen to live jazz, and most people who regularly buy records or CDs own some jazz. Pubs and bars which feature live music will often have jazz one night, rock the next, and folk the night after; and much the same audience will turn up to hear all three. On the other hand, jazz as a constantly innovative and evolving artform is in decline, and has been for the last 20 years. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, there were no fundamental developments in the music on the scale of bebop or 1960s ‘new jazz’. During that period not one new musician emerged who even remotely approached the stature of figures like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis or John Coltrane. This is in no way  intended to denigrate the many fine artists playing today; it is rather to state the simple fact that jazz has lost its position at the leading edge of musical development to other musical

The point of this article is to attempt an explanation of this decline by looking at the ways in which jazz and other forms of black music grew out of the black American experience, and how these musical forms have changed as a result of changes in black lives and experiences.”





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