Africa in jazz/Jazz in Africa
In the jazz narrative, Africa always occupies only the place of the original source, of a mythical, historical and ideological reference. But in the evolution of black musics, Africa is much more: a galaxy of cultures on the move, a rich mosaic of genres and styles of different historical depths, a continent at the center of exchanges, hybridizations, transatlantic and Mediterranean movements in diverse and multiple cultural directions. In this tenth edition of Jazz Lessons we bring Africa back to the center of the picture and return it to the dynamic role it has earned in History, including in jazz, out of clichés and falsifications.
12/2: Africa and the blues: discovering a transatlantic entanglement
Books, musicians, documentaries: we often hear that the blues come from Africa, particularly Mali. And that blue notes are adaptations of the African ear to Western tonality. To dispel these myths, we enter the variety of African musics, particularly from the Sahel, and discover the richness and complexity of centuries-old historical, geopolitical, and musical processes.
26/2: Jazz and imaginary Africa.
Jazz musicians have celebrated Africa as the origin and inspirational source of their music. But what exactly did they know about the vast musical tradition of that continent? And how did they translate it into modern U.S. urban music? Brief journey into imaginary and real Africa as seen by descendants of slaves.
5/3: From Saturn to the pharaohs and back: Sun Ra and Afrofuturism
The most bizarre, eccentric, enigmatic and spectacular of jazz musicians claimed to be from Saturn, to want to redeem mankind through interstellar travel while drawing on African symbolism. The truth is that the myth of flight and the inconceivable story of slavery are connected to the themes of science fiction and music. And Sun Ra’s visionary and overwhelming art is more inspiring than ever for today’s music.
2/4: Randy Weston and jazz musicians in Africa.
Beginning in the 1950s, jazz musicians began to learn about Africa through direct experience. inspired by new political and cultural realities. Decolonization brought blacks on both sides of the Atlantic closer together, and some, like Randy Weston, left the United States to encounter African arts and create new forms of musical fusion.
16/4 From Cape Town to London: the South African diaspora.
Of all the countries on the African continent, South Africa is the one that has developed a rich jazz history, spanning the entire 20th century, with musicians and groups of extraordinary originality. But since the second half of the century, the anti-apartheid diaspora has brought this wave of innovation to Europe, where some of the most creative and innovative musicians have changed the course of music.
7/5: From Cairo to Lagos: jazz in Africa
Beginning in the 1950s, jazz developed in various areas of Africa, giving rise to fascinating new musical styles that arose from the return of African American musics to the continent of origin. From Guy Warren’s Ghana to Fela Kuti’s Nigeria, from Franco’s Congo to Manu Dibango’s Cameroon, from Egyptian free jazz to Mulatu Astatke’s ethio-jazz, extraordinary musicians and histories paint a hybrid, moving, innovative mosiac of musics in dialogue with the rest of the world, of which U.S. jazz is only one component.
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