Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology
Sometimes a jam session includes
trading fours, where each member of the band takes four measures to solo. If someone forgets to play his four, there is a flagrant void of sound. If you play one measure extra, you’re not respecting the form. In the jam session of a Jazzocracy, Americans trade fours with each other. Talk and listen. In the 1950s, jazz musicians became the literal embodiment of American democracy. Through one of the largest ever funded cultural projects, premier jazz musicians traveled to places beyond the Iron Curtain, and throughout the Third World in an effort to promulgate ideals of democracy. Now, from a new generation, we have a new challenge. It s the challenge to see the evolution of jazz and democracy as forming our next set of mythologies, ones that cast beyond the tired legacy of Billy the Kid, or the degraded trends of popular music. This young author asks the big question are we forgetting the very spirit that inspired jazz in the first place? Kabir Sehgal shows us how jazz can help us recapture America s rightful soul.
It's often said that art is prescient. Jazzocracy is a clarion work about the future of American culture. As a jazz enthusiast, I am excited to see a fresh, cogent, and stirring paradigm for the music. Maestro Sehgal picks you up on the first page and propels you through the rest with dazzling intellect and wit. Bravo.
This is a wonderful exploration of the jazz-as-democracy metaphor, and Kabir Sehgal uses it to explain how jazz can yield lessons to help us shape American society.
Riffing on two of America's most known icons - jazz and democracy - Kabir creates a new audience for jazz and an updated lexicon for democracy. A jazz musician, Kabir's prose is colorful, harmonic, and uplifting. The result is an epic collage of ideas that will inspire us to resurrect our fractured mythology in the twenty-first century. We need more inspiring visionaries like Kabir in New Orleans.