Jazz and US Diplomacy

The Economist has an interesting article about the Americans using jazz for more than half a century as a “secret sonic weapon, “ and more recently the Rhythm Road project.
The following paragraph from the article seemed to make a lot of sense:

“Jazz […] is well-suited to diplomacy. It is collaborative, allowing individuals both to harmonise and play solo—much like a democracy[…]. Jazz is also a reminder of music’s power. It helped break down racial barriers, as enthusiasts of all colours gathered to listen to jazz when segregation was still the law of the land.”

Any thoughts? Lessons for the UK??

(Photo credit: Bill Johnson, Greenville, MS)

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

  1. With an apology that time prevents him from writing more Charles Alexander of Jazzwise adds an interesting historical perspective:

    <>“The Voice of America short-wave broadcasts of American jazz in the 1950s, presented by the late Willis Conover, also had a strong impact upon musicians in Eastern Europe even before the State Department began to send jazz artists there. Willis Conover became a hero in Poland.

    Jazz was banned then, but the Polish musicians would listen illegally, transcribing the heads of tunes like “Ko Ko”.

    Three or four musicians sitting side-by-side each writing down two bars each. To them jazz
    was the music of freedom and the musicians of that generation were held in great respect by younger musicians. After the death of Stalin, it was no longer illegal to play jazz. Of course, they couldn’t tape it and had only one opportunity to get the music down.”<>

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