Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Post-Bop and Avant-Garde Jazz Saxophonist Keith Gamble: Voices From The Past: When I was a music student at Oakland University during my early undergrad years, I took an American History course. If I am not mistak...
When I was a music student at Oakland University during my early undergrad years, I took an American History course. If I am not mistaken, this was a required course. At that time I was not very interested in the class, and I was not doing well, but I had a great professor. One day Professor Dykes pulled me to the side after class and spoke with me regarding my lack of attentiveness. That talk got me to see how important history is in our daily lives. I was able to rebound and salvage my history grade for that semester. That discussion with Professor DeWitt Dykes also encouraged me to change and declare my minor to history.
We are faced with history everyday. As a Black American I voted for President Obama, mostly because I agree with his domestic and foreign policies, and President Obama being African-American is a plus for me. So yes, I am angry when I see opposition against the President which appears to be on racial lines, but I understand our history as a nation. I also come to face with history on a daily basis as a jazz musician.
Every musician has a connection to the past. Just this morning I was reading a JazzTimes article from March 2013, titled "In Memory Of". Reading the words of present day artist honoring those musical artist who left us in 2012, I could not help but to appreciate how as musicians we are connected to our art, and the importance of those who come and go before us, and the print they leave on our lives. As musicians we are effected both directly and indirectly by those who have gone before us. Indirectly, I have never met Charlie Parker or John Coltrane, but their music lives with me daily. Hell, Charlie Parker died before I was born! Just as Coltrane permeates my soul daily, the same is true of Joe Henderson and Dewey Redman. Even when nothing is playing in the background, my soul gives me a concert of their music; just as though I were listening to them in concert again. I also miss my teacher Sam Sanders, but God, thank you for putting him in my life, because the sound of his saxophone resonates clearly in my being.
For you jazz history buffs, I recommend you check-out the 1959 movie "The Cry Of Jazz", directed by the late Edward Bland. This is a 35 minute black and white low budget film that is worth seeing. In this film you will hear the music from late Sun Ra, and this music does not disappoint. Some of the content may be offensive to some viewers, but this film gives a good historical account of jazz, and deals with the social issues and thoughts of that time, and may touch on relevant issues today. You will have to be the judge of that.The Cry Of Jazz