Is Jazz free to reach out, speak out and represent its black roots?

6pm-8pm, Tuesday 17th July 2012
at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, 64 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LN

A musically illustrated discussion about the relationships between Jazz, Black History and current racial dynamics, with a particularly strong panel representing both musicians and researchers.  Possibly the most important event about Jazz in the UK this year.

With Dr Alan Rice (historian of radical slavery narratives and cultural work), Juliet Kelly (singer-songwriter who has worked with Courtney Pine), Jason Toynbee (Black British Jazz Research Project), Myke Wilson (leading black British drummer from Manchester), Jaheda Choudhury (Bangladeshi vocalist from Beating Wing Orchestra) and Serge Tebu (from Musicians Without Borders).

More about this event? Read this post:


Once upon a time jazz articulated cultural and racial tension from the heart of black communities and their white allies.  It was this that fuelled the power of jazz as a cultural phenomenon rather than simply a form of music.  This critical, bold and informed debate at Manchester Jazz Festival 2012 takes a step towards re-invigorating this expression and also examines the racial dynamics within UK jazz itself.  During the debate panel members will also play selected music recordings to illustrate something of what they are trying to get across and to bring the context right in with the music.

On the panel for the event is Jason Toynbee from Birmingham, director of the in-depth 3-year Black British Jazz Research Project which clearly exposes a range of tensions and contexts for UK black jazz musicians.  This is a major and rare project of relevance to anyone interested in music cultures, race issues or UK history.

Also on the panel is leading black jazz drummer Myke Wilson from Manchester who will check the research findings against his own personal experience and understanding of the scene.  The historian Professor Alan Rice, who is a leading writer and consultant for the current “We Face Forward” African Arts Exhibitions in Manchester, will be able to infuse the debate with challenging historical contexts.

Black singer Juliet Kelly from London, who has worked with the likes of Courtney Pine, will add perspectives from gender and education as well as her own experience.  Finally Jaheda Choudhury – a hip-hop vocalist with the Beating Wing Orchestra, and Serge Tebu – jazz pianist from Musicians Without Borders, will both contribute as musicians involved in activities which are embedded and articulate contemporary tensions in Manchester.

Many people feel that jazz has lost a certain edge, cultural relevance, and sold out its originating context.  This debate not only explores this theme as played out in the UK but also looks at ways in which the scene here, including the Manchester Jazz Festival, can bring some of the edge back and support a more egalitarian ethos.

The debate is chaired by Kooj Chuhan from Lifting The Lid.

Organised by Kooj Chuhan and Frankie Mullen from Lifting The Lid, which aims to embed discussions linking social histories and issues today within cultural life.

Presented as part of the Manchester Jazz Festival 2012  www.manchesterjazz.com


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