Reimagining Africa In America: From Mainstream Jazz to the Avant Garde

Feb 2, 2012

Thu. 2/03 at 10p: Everyone knows jazz: blues, improvisation, syncopated rhythm, all firmly rooted in Africa via Congo Square in New Orleans.  But how have American jazz masters addressed the African ancestry of their music?

 On this Hip Deep edition, jazz historian Lewis Porter tells the early story of finding the African spirit in Duke Ellington's “Black and Tan Fantasy” and exotic Africana in the era of Jim Crow.  

Author Ingrid Monson sheds light on how innovators like Max Roach, John Coltrane, and Art Blakey channeled Africa during the civil rights era.

Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams gives us the radicalized sound of the AACM that, through its transcendental "Great Black Music," shattered prevailing ideas of jazz and improvisation.  

Finally, pianist Jason Moran re-imagines Africa in jazz’s present and future with his composition “RAIN.”