Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jazz or BAM?

Jazz might have a new name:

Black American Music (BAM).

According to the Black American Music Movement, their aim is to change the name of jazz to BAM, as a throwback to the originators of the music.

The whole movement started when musician Nicholas Payton wrote an open letter when he said "jazz" was not called that before it became popular. In his words:

I am not a Nigger and I am not a Jazz musician (...) ”Jazz” is an oppressive colonialist slave term and I want no parts of it. 
If Jazz wasn’t a slave, why did Ornette (Coleman - Ali) try to free it? 
Jazz is not music, it is an idea that hasn’t served any of us well. 
It saddens me most that some of my friends can’t see that. 
Some of y’all who know me and I’ve even employed, stood on the bandstand with, know how important tradition is to me.
 My work speaks to that.

I understand the main concept that jazz, blues, and soul were originally conceived by African Americans, as do millions (if not all) of music listeners, and I do not think anyone out there actually believes otherwise. But music is ever evolving and we while can chase down the roots, we cannot keep it exclusive.

There are just as many non-Black musicians who play jazz and blues as there are Black musicians, some of whom are and were important to the music.

Would Miles Davis' best selling album "Kind of Blue" be the same without Bill Evans?

How about Stevie Ray Vaughan? He revived blues in the '80's almost single-handedly.

The list can go on forever. The music has inspired everyone worldwide, and some musicians from the UK (Rolling Stones,etc) were who actually introduced jazz and blues musicians to Americans (who never heard or paid attention to them)!

If you would like to take the music back to it's roots, fine... but to change the name of the music is and will be a very controversial decision.

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