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Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement (#2)

As I was spinning my favourite Jazz record, "Blues & Roots" by Charles Mingus on my record player, I noticed how raw the emotion while playing the various instruments to reach a musical conclusion were, and it was totally mind blowing. How the Kendrick Lamars of this generation battle racial violence, was how the Miles Davis', the Charles Mingus' and the John Coltranes of the past did the same. Many artists tried in vain and some succeeded in bringing to light the horrible effects of the revolution, Nina Simone's very popular "Strange Fruit" consisted of horribly graphic lyrics describing everything that the oppressed had to go through. Charles Mingus however, failed to achieve freedom of speech where, in his post bop classic "Mingus Ah Um"'s "Fables of Faubus" composition had to have been censored due to the lyrics : "Oh lord don't let them shoot us, oh lord don't let them stab us, oh lord no more swastikas, oh lord don't let them tar and feather us, oh lord no more Ku Klux Klan" This was eventually re-recorded with the full lyrics and released. John Coltrane known through the jazz world as one of the most skilled jazz artists of all time, had a popular performace "Alabama" which addressed the 1963 church bombings. Many Jazz artists like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, in interest of their public perception and justified scare for safety, however, didn't speak out against the horrific things happening to their race. Undettered however, Jazz a genre that started out to be revolutionary continued and many jazz clubs were big helps to organizing meetings. I'd like to end by saying that Jazz influenced a generation and many more generations to come, to take part in revolution, to make it worthwhile, and to go after what you believe, jazz is background music as seen right now, but it's value exceedingly helped African Americans to gain equality(at least, on paper)


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