AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Either we do not know or have temporarily forgotten that American Jazz was the first indigenous art form to be designated as a National Treasure by the U.S. Congress via HR57 in 1987. The only other art form to receive such an esteemed validation is American Tap Dance which received the recognition of May 25 as National Tap Dance Day in the U.S in 1989. This does not hold true for symphonic music, rock & roll, Elvis, Prince, Shirley Temple, C & W nor, as so frivolously pointed out by Mr. Humphreys' recent article, the hula hoop, Pee Wee Herman or the legendary Porculator. American symphonies continue to receive inarguable support and funding by patrons and it is well deserved, however, symphonic music is European in origin and cannot claim to be an indigenous art form for America.
To suggest that the need for jazz programming, education and celebration is based on the individual tastes of a population segment is, at best, not the strongest argument that can be made in support of its promulgation, extension and transmission. Jazz was the flagship of American international diplomacy following WW II and has served America in a positive way far beyond anything that the war machine or economic largesse has accomplished, i.e., even our enemies love it despite the fact that they may not be too fond of us.
Jazz may not even be the most profitable element in our national tool box at present but I dare say it has been the most influential internationally in representing the spirit of the American people and softening the hearts of people in every civilized nation.
One might wonder why it receives so little support from the domestic powers that be when it may perhaps be our most successful export.
It might be argued that those who produce National Treasure from their own thoughts and efforts are also valuabe assets to our society. Maybe we should think of jazz as a sport (which it actually is).
Your opinions are always welcome here.
That's wonderful news Imelda. There was a bit of tongue in cheek in my analogy but it does go much beyond improvisation. Jazz is a way of life or worldview if you will, the performance of which requires as much self-development, self-discipline and awareness as any Olympic sport or martial art. Jazz is also a universal language that can be spoken directly among those who understand it and that includes that fans and listeners. It has the intrinsic power to move tha human spirit and spontaneously create new forms while also transcending time and space. If you want to pursue this line of reference further, may I suggest you view my 6-part video on the "Metaphysics of Music" posted on my page and also on YouTube? I appreciate your response and look forward to feedback from you.