Jazz offers us plenty to read, as well as to listen to.
Ahmed Abdullah, “Jazz: A Music of the Spirit”
Our music director at Sistas’ Place, Ahmed Abdullah, has a must-read essay on Jazz: A Music of the Spirit (Monique Ngozi Nri and Louis Reyes Rivera contributed also). Mr. Abdullah defines the type of jazz that is played at Sistas’ Place as “Jazz: A Music of the Spirit,” just like Randy Weston determined that his music should be called “African Rhythms.” Mr. Abdullah further illustrates “A Music of the Spirit” by showing how it was exemplified by Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Mary Lou Williams, Betty Carter and Nina Simone. Bless yourself and read Jazz: A Music of the Spirit.
Randy Weston, interview
[The word] Jazz doesn’t really give the full story. What have African people contributed to the U.S.? America is so young, compared to most countries on the planet. So what we call jazz in African-Americans’ contribution to the United States. So if you look at it that way, it gives you the understanding, also the genius and the spirituality of all these people. How do they do what they do? How do they make music out of a broom, out of a bottle? In Africa, people make music out of anything. For them, music is the voice of the creator… I want everybody to understand more about what African people have contributed to America. I think if they understand that, we’d have a different approach of who we are, what we did, despite all the slavery and the racism. But all the beauty that we gave, it’s amazing. Read entire Extended Interview.