Growing Up Jazz: An Inside Look at Family & Music

It’s Black History Month!

Photo by Angelika Beener

Though television programming which celebrates Blacks throughout the month of February has gotten leaner and leaner each year, and an increased amount of savvy and investigative skills are required to find ways to observe the 29 day spotlight, I hope to be doing my due diligence here at Alternate Takes via a couple of very special series.  I’m really excited to share this one with all of you.

Black history is both perpetual and personal, and we can look at the history of Blacks in America from the broadest or most intimate of lenses.  In this next series, we are going deep into the heart of the music, with Growing Up Jazz, a unique look at the family dynamic of a jazz musician, through the eyes of his children.

We learn the most about jazz musicians through their art, as it should be.  The music, after all, says it best.  However, the music industry, critical analysis and brand marketing tend to dehumanize and disconnect him or her from the element that likely inspired the very art we hold so sacred — the family.  The edification of family is not often the first thing to come to mind when most think about a jazz musician; drug abuse and other ramifications of societal dysfunction are more accessible concepts, founded or not.  Yet, the family is and always has been a great source of inspiration and strength to jazz artists.  We’ll explore just how.

It’s coming soon!  In the meantime, Part 2 of A Message In Our Music continues this week, with the unparalleled Christian McBride!

3 responses to “Growing Up Jazz: An Inside Look at Family & Music

  1. I very much agree that we need to hear, not only, the back stories of this music we so enjoy, but the opportunities to play it forward with the immediate families, and the lives this music touches.

  2. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    There aren’t any professional musicians in my immediate family, but my appreciation for all kinds of music started at home. One of my favorite memories of my dad was sitting with him in the dark listening to jazz on WBGO.

    Honestly, the music often sounded like a jangled mess and seemed like a confusing maze of notes to my little girl ears. I didn’t care for some of it. It wasn’t to my taste, but it was wonderful to have my dad as a guide. He was sharing what he loved. Providing me and my brothers with the music he thought had value and was nourishing. In the same way a parent encourages the child to taste different foods; my dad helped us sample jazz. He knew we would spit some of it out, but he also knew other “earfuls” would be savored. I’m happy to say, today, I’m an adventurous eater and listener.

    • Yeah…I think that’s what the series is really all about. Bringing it home, through experiences that are real and personal. I absolutely love this story you tell about you and your Dad, and the analogy about food and music!

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