If anyone needs a primer on how jazz leads directly to the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th president of the U.S., see Nat Hentoff’s Wall Street Journal article on the history of musicians, audiences, presenters and producers of all “colors” in the struggle for Civil Rights.
The march from Buddy Bolden playing in New Orleans’ “back ‘o’ town” to a man of diverse ancestry leading the free world from the White House has been direct (if not necessarily “straight”) and determined.
This is why the jazz community (with very few dissenters), with the rest of the majority of voting Americans, chose a man who may be listening to Coltrane on his iPod
while he tries to cope with the multiple crises facing our nation and the rest of the globe.
In addition, Hentoff’s article carries weight because the author has been involved himself with jazz and Civil Rights — testimony to the thesis of “jazz beyond jazz” — from his own awakening, and alerted people including yours truly to the linkage in liner notes and other forms usually dismissed as music ephemera.