Tag Archive for Vietnam War

NEA/Jazz Masters: Intro

JazzMastersPosterRevThe NEA—that’s the National Endowment for the Arts, not the National Education Association, which precedes it in a Google search—was created in 1965, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). As with various policy plans, they were originated—along with, for example, the Great Society and the Vietnam Conflict, as the war was known at that time—during the Kennedy Administration, but they saw their full flower under the Johnson Administration. The Jazz Masters Fellowship program was a latecomer to this federal arts party, debuting in 1981, though the first individual grant to a jazz musician was awarded in 1969 to George Russell.

Rather than recount the jazz history of the NEA, which includes the long-lost years of grants to individual artists, as well as Jazz Masters, or compare jazz support to classical support, all of which is covered at some length in Ka-ching, this section will examine other jazz-related awards, both public and private, and offer additional considerations of Jazz Masters honorees, particularly the handful of avant-gardists among them. I’ll also take a supplemental look at related Congressional jazz policy issues (can you say “national treasure”?), which, again, are examined in the book.


The Futureless Future: Intro

the_cry_of_jazzIn the interests of maximum latitude, inspired by the late Ed Bland’s The Cry of Jazz, the futureless future, in all its contradictions, herein represents: the ongoing struggle for racial and economic equality; the avant-garde future (and past) of Black music, a creative continuum; and the pastless past, where history goes down the Orwellian memory hole, which is often where jazzocracy dwells along with protracted atrocities like the Vietnam War, which time, corporate media, and the Beltway have reduced to a simple, fundamentally patriotic, “Thank you for your service!” So I’m having it both ways: the futureless future is both the void of a nonviable future and the galactic expanse of limitless eternal vistas. I’m not going to clarify my use of “jazzocracy” here beyond its contextual allusions. The problem of jazzocracy is the basis of much of Ka-ching, and this site is intended only to supplement the book. If you Google “jazzocracy,” however, your first return is—well, it’s not for me to go there in this space, though Ka-ching goes there and beyond. And we should all go to the invaluable beyond of UbuWeb where The Cry of Jazz can be seen in one 34-minute wail.