|In tribute to one of our nation's leaders, Martin Luther King, and a look back at the MLK Holiday, I give a focus on Jazz from his perspective! Dr. King, reflects on the legacy of Jazz!!!|
An opening speech at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, Martin Luther King read a brief historic paper titled "Humanity and the Importance of Jazz."
Here in full are his comments:
On the Importance of Jazz
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, WPFW News (Washington)
God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
Jazz is triumphant music!!!
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.
In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival
" King wrote; "Jazz speaks for life"
Well, life is a highly differentiated thing. Perhaps Dr. King means it speaks for all of these things that life embraces. In any case, jazz speaks "for," not against life, whatever life is.
"The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music," King wrote.
He then jumps from jazz to blues, which jazz presupposes. Perhaps what, King means here is, that through the blues we face or fail to face life's difficulties and, if we're lucky, emerged with moral courage, the essence of triumph. His point seems to be...........the truthfulness and the unconquerable character of jazz.!!!
.....And out of adversity came our own "Texas Tenors"
in the film clips below, the footage was filmed in Berlin, where Dr. King gave this speech!!!
Click on the photos or blue links under the photos below for some rare film footage
Turn your speakers up and remember to go full screen viewing (see instructions below)
Start the movie by clicking on the photos or links below and on the bar just below the video screen, next to the time counter & volume controls, is a box with (4) near the end of bar, click that box for a full screen view of the film footage and hit (ESC) to return to normal screen)
IIinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb, Buddy Tate, Lockjaw Davis "Jazz Battle"
The clips above are from a concert in Berlin featuring the original "Texas Tenor" saxophonists. Arnett Cobb’s solo piece is accompanied by pianist Wild Bill Davis, bassist Bernard Upsom and drummer Frankie Dunlop. During some of the background riffs he is joined by Illinois Jacquet and Buddy Tate on tenor saxes.
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