Exploring Black History In Jazz

In recognition of Black History Month, our team has put together a collection of resources that showcase and celebrate jazz within the history of Black Culture. Black culture has influenced many facets of the world we live in, including the music we all love and enjoy. We hope you take some time to explore some of this content and pass it on to other music lovers who you feel will be interested.

We have also included two local organizations working tirelessly year round to support and showcase black artists and individuals in our community. Join us in supporting their efforts and projects they will be creating and sharing in 2021.


BLACK HISTORY INFLUENCES ON JAZZ

Following the Civil War (1865), musicians from African-American communities of New Orleans, originated a new style of music. An interpretation of American and European classical music entwined with African and slave folk songs and the influences of West African culture developed a new style of music called ragtime which gradually evolved into jazz.

From it’s humble and controversial beginnings, jazz became the first original, sophisticated, instrumental music in American history. At it’s height, jazz was said to have been one of the most innovative and original forms of African American cultural expression.

THE BIRTH OF JAZZ
SHORT ON TIME | Run Time: 2:36
HISTORY OF JAZZ
HAVE SOME TIME | Run Time: 23:00
A HISTORY OF JAZZ
Run Time: 12:49

JAZZ ARTISTS SHARING THE BLACK EXPERIENCE THROUGH MUSIC

Song: GO DOWN MOSES
Performed by Fats Waller

The first published version of the spiritual Go Down, Moses (1862), attributed its authorship to “The Contrabands”- escaped slaves who joined the Union Army who most likely sang the song as a rallying cry, rather than as a hymn. Harriet Tubman (nicknamed “Moses” for having led hundreds of slaves to freedom) is supposed to have used “Go Down, Moses” as coded instructions for planned plantation breakouts.

Song: West Indian Dance
Composed and Performed by Duke Ellington

“West Indian Dance,” “Emancipation Celebration,” and “Sugar Hill Penthouse” were three short pieces that Ellington recorded in 1944 as part of the first studio recording of the suite. “West Indian Dance” represented the influence of black slaves and laborers from the Caribbean region; “Emancipation Celebration” reflected the feelings of slaves upon gaining their freedom after the Civil War; and “Sugar Hill Penthouse” depicted the relatively affluent life of some African-Americans in a part of 20th-century Harlem

MORE JAZZ HISTORY RESOURCES

Jazz in America Timeline
A comparative chart with listings of developments in jazz and historical world events from 1619-2020

The Convergence Of Jazz And Hip-Hop, From Louis Armstrong To Kendrick Lamar
A CBC article include narrative and video timeline from the birth of jazz to modern day jazz

Archie Alleyne worked to lift up black Canadian jazz musicians
An interview with Archie Alleyne – a story of how this hard-bop drummer in Toronto was determined to speak to his country and tell the story of black Canadian jazz musicians by leading a black band.

MORE BLACK HISTORY MONTH RESOURCES

Black History / In Two Minutes
A collection of short videos sharing information on a wide variety of topics surrounding black history and black culture.

A Timeline Of History-Making Black Music
A spotlight of black musical artists whose voices and songs changed the world, throughout the decades and across genres.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
Edmonton organizations and businesses working to celebrate and empower black culture and talent in Edmonton.


THE COME UP

As the youth collective of the Africa Centre, we have been working towards building and supporting a hub of African and Caribbean communities in Edmonton since 2013. Our collective comes together to create and strategize community-based solutions to issues and challenges relevant to our experiences.

The TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival is a proud to support The Come Up. Here is an incredible and informative project that they presented in 2017, Melanin Narratives. The content holds true today and it comes from voices of Edmontonian.

5 ARTISTS 1 LOVE

promotes a celebration of the vibrancy and range of Edmonton’s African Canadian Communities through artistic community engagement.

The TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival is pleased to support 5 Artist 1 Love in 2021 and looks forward to partnership moving forward.

#JAZZISwithEDMJAZZ: CELEBRATING BLACK EXECELLENCE AND HISTORY IN JAZZ