Central Brooklyn Jazz Fest reiterates jazz/race divide

The Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival, during what the Smithsonian Institution promotes as Jazz Appreciation Month, is a powerful statement of hard core, grass-roots support for the music Congress has ratified as “a rare and valuable American national treasure.” My City Arts column reports on how the fest and other Brooklyn jazz activities, despite best intentions, reprise the distances and suspicions people of diverse backgrounds hold about each other.

There’s probably no way out of the ethnic/racial conflicts that so hamper the United States, except for us to suffer through them. But maybe Jazz Appreciation Month should have a component of celebration of how citizens and residents of all backgrounds contribute to our culture, rich yet complicated and conflicted as it certainly is.

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  1. says

    In the “Jazz Profiles” series at NPR/music, many musicians speak about touring around the country, Blacks being prohibited from restaurants, hotels, etc., and their White peers refusing to use those establishments.
    Too bad our citizenry is not up to the standards of the Jazz Community, e.g. MDD and Jerry Mulligan.

  2. Paul Lindemeyer says

    It’s damned difficult to sort out discrimination from privilege (I say as I reach into the Obvious Bag for a pertinent point).
    When you admit discrimination can go against the privileged…iyiyi, my head hurts.
    Too bad we can’t keep jazz alive in quieter, get-alongier places. It seems to coexist better with negative energy than positive.
    Great to get caught up on what Rob Garcia is doing, BTW. Fine drummer and a nice guy.
    HM: Paul, your pertinent point is not obvious — thanks for making it. I find the dimensions of all these interactions inherently contradictory, paradoxical and ironic, full of potential to cut through the Gordian knot with more consciously collaborative overall behavior by everyone. Like that will happen.

  3. Known as 332 says

    You know, sometimes jazz is just great music to create and appreciably listen to. What if the split is the political baggage that many insist on bringing to the party, that gives too many people pause before deciding not to hear something that might be a stretch, but interesting musically?
    HM: Hear the music, ignore the politics.