“Jazz is a marketing ploy that serves an elite few. The elite make all the money while they tell the true artists it’s cool to be broke.”
— Nicholas Payton (from On Why Jazz Isn’t Cool Anymore)
Charlie Parker died to play this music. Bud Powell died to play this music. After suffering through the worst holocaust in human history, these brilliant Black artists gave the world a gift. This gift was so potent that not only did it help them leverage some modicum of autonomy, but helped other oppressed peoples of the world find themselves. It even freed the souls of those who uprooted them from their homeland of Africa and enslaved them for centuries in a land not theirs. It is through Black music that White America began the process of healing itself.
I didn’t think back in May of 2005 when I was generously quoted in Stanley Crouch’s piece entitled, “The Colossus,” which extolled the virtues of Master Rollins, that I would have to sit up here today and call out the same publication for attempting to besmirch his character. I hesitate to write…
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