What Happened to the Black People in Jazz?

Last evening, my husband and I went to a concert given by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and as usual we were treated to a wonderful evening of exciting jazz big-band music.  The group has been around for 20 years, playing the music of all the great names in jazz.  Here is a picture of the band:


This is the third year that we have been subscribers to their five-concert season, and they just keep getting better and better.  But I have noticed something that puzzles me.  Why are the band, and most of their audience white?  Jazz’s beginnings were in the black communities of the US South.  Greats of early jazz are Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Art Tatum, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, and Thelonious Monk.  They were all black.  But today’s players and listeners are mostly white.  Where have all the black people gone?  Why are the award-winning high school jazz bands in Seattle mostly white?  Have black people abandoned the music tradition that they themselves started?  What happened in their community that caused this abandonment?

I have a thought, and it’s not a pleasant one.  I wonder if the breakdown of the black family that started in the 1960s contributed to the abandonment of jazz.  I wonder if the rise of gang culture in inner cities, and the rise of hip-hop music has led blacks away from their jazz tradition, toward a new tradition that is often ugly and misogynistic (calling women ho’s and calling for the murder of policemen).  Black people today have black role models in jazz, like Wynton and Branford Marsalis.  I am sad to see the black people of America being led away from a wonderful tradition that they should be unreservedly proud of, and that they should be supporting.  Might a trumpet or trombone, and a place in the school jazz band, help keep black kids off the mean streets?  I wonder.

What the Op-ed Writers Don’t Get about Obama’s Economy

Last week, Michael Solon wrote an op-ed essay in the Wall Street Journal entitled “What Democrats and the CBO Don’t Get”.  He was talking about how the administration’s actions relating to the economy are not leading to economic growth, which is the best way to increase federal revenues and improve conditions for Americans.  However, none of them get the real problem here.  Ayn Rand said, when you are looking at any situation, if results don’t appear to follow actions, you should “check your premises”, and I have found this to be very helpful.  Unfortunately, too many op-ed writers commenting on the Obama economy completely miss the real issue.  Their assumption is that Democrats and the administration value economic growth, and want to improve the lives of all Americans.  That is an incorrect assumption, especially if you really pay attention to what those people and groups have said, in the media and in their writings.

Just look at what is actually happening, and you will see that Obama and his minions in Washington don’t care about economic growth, or the standard of living of the “American people”, who they like to invoke when demanding higher taxes and more regulation.  What they REALLY care about is POWER, and moving more political power from the People to the State.  Just read all the stories about huge monetary settlements extracted from big banks, insurance companies, and industries.  The Great Recession and financial crises were pretty much over by 2010, but the Obama minions are still suing banks for billions more dollars, and enforcing onerous regulations, in order to bring them under the jack boot of the government.  A bank now can’t breathe without getting permission from Uncle Sam.  The Feds have completely taken over the student loan industry, which gives them control of the lives of colleges and their students.  They have also begun to put most for-profit educational institutions out of business, reducing choices of adult learners.  Through Obamacare, the Feds have taken over the best medical care system in the world, reducing insurance choices for millions of citizens, increasing costs, and making doctors employees of the State.

The Democrats in power don’t really care about increasing government tax revenue (their “economists” are not stupid-they know that economic growth is higher when more people get to keep their hard-earned money).  All they want is to be able to reward their friends (environmentalists, labor unions, academics, illegal immigrants, homosexuals) and punish their enemies.  They have done just that, making the IRS into a political cudgel against conservatives, and attempting to confiscate more and more of the hard-earned wealth of successful business leaders.  Their  ultimate aim is to create a dependent class whose sole source of sustenance is the Government, and they are making fairly good headway.  They figure that, the more welfare they can hand out to more people, the more likely those beneficiaries all are to vote Democrat, and keep THEM in power.  The population of America should wake up, and resist the efforts of Government to reduce them to wards of the State.