Al Jazeera News
Song - Artist -
Fado Portugues - Amalia Rodrigues -
There has been a big controversy brewing regarding the term Jazz. Many jazz artists want to shed the term as they feel it has many negative connotations. The arguments started with the outspoken jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton who has advocated using the the term BAM (Black American Music) to replace Jazz. For background on the issue, see the link below.
I guess it is time for me to weigh in on the debate since I can't get it out of my mind. Call this art form whatever you like. I don't really care. BAM or Jazz… the music will speak for itself. Personally, I don't like the racial moniker. First of all, it doesn't even distinguish the music from other African-American influenced genres. Jazz, blues, hip-hop, R&B; isn't it all Black American Music? Injecting race into the name of the genre only creates divisiveness in an already vulnerable art form. One of the aspects of this music that gives me the most pleasure is the inclusiveness and diversity of the jazz community. Sure, its not perfect, but the jazz world seems to work through race relations better than many other groups in my opinion.
Anyone that takes the time and effort to know jazz and its history understands that it has its genesis and development deeply rooted in African-American music (as did the blues and R&B). Personally I see no reason to disassociate myself from the nomenclature of Jazz. To me it represents a rich heritage of a creative art form from Armstrong to Parker to Miles to Trane to even Nicholas Payton. You can call this music whatever you wish. If you feel the need to call this great musical art form BAM, I respect that and understand your desire to do so. I choose to continue to refer to this music as Jazz. That is the label that I most associate with the music that I love and has become a central part of my life.