Bigotry and the Afrocentric "Jazz" Evolution
A reminder that much of the music that drives contemporary music and world culture has Afrocentric origins.
The controversy surrounding the ownership of "jazz" involves an intersection of residual "slave mentality" (that insists African Americans contribute little to world society) combined with a perpetual mode of exploitation of artistic innovations that result from African American creativity. Examining the evolution of African American music within the context of its sociocultural history makes the most salient aspects of the roots of innovative "Black" music increasingly clear. The success of "jazz" and other African American music gradually attracted the attention of people around the world. As a consequence, many Eurocentric capitalists and institutions insist upon claiming ownership and control. Racism and sexism provoke illogical responses and behavior throughout society. As a result, many people love "jazz" while refusing to acknowledge the progenitors of the music. Nonetheless, after all is said and done, the innovators of all "jazz" styles remain Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Mary Lou Williams, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and other African American masters.
Karlton E. Hester, composer, flutist, and saxophonist, is Professor of Music and Director of "Jazz" Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
"Bigotry and the Afrocentric 'Jazz' Evolution will become required reading in all substantial music and departments of the arts. I immediately recognized the value of Hester's contribution to contemporary musicology. His book is an example of five stars authorship. Read it and enjoy. " — Donald Byrd