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Presenting Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology

SOURCE: Published:
How Will Two of American's Quintessential Icons Foretell the Future?

Presenting Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology by Kabir Sehgal (Better World Books)

If one wonders how two of the most quintessential American icons relate to each another, consider this thought by one of New Orleans' favorite sons: “Jazz is democracy in action," said Wynton Marsalis.

Ever more so in New Orleans, where the birth of jazz reflected the ease of a mix of many cultures: Caribbean, European, African, among many others. The intent of these cultures to express their ideas to one another via music, civic discourse, festivals, and of course, books, is one of America's most vivid successes.

With its commitment to the promoting literacy worldwide, Better World Books is pleased to return to the New Orleans Public Library for the premiere of the very first book of its new publishing imprint.

On April 17, Better World Books will bring Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology to New Orleans. Written by Kabir Sehgal, an exciting new author who began the book under study with Douglas Brinkley at Tulane University, Jazzocracy argues the evolution of jazz and democracy is forming our next set of mythologies to govern culture, politics and economics.

For any other writer under the age of 30, these might be dusty topics. But new author Kabir Sehgal magnetizes the two using his personal experience as a jazz musician, political campaign consultant, economist and writer. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Dartmouth College, Sehgal is also a professional jazz bassist, and has played with the Wynton Marsalis Orchestra. He has also worked with the presidential campaign of Sen John Kerry, as well as in the offices of Senators Max Cleland and John Rockefeller, IV. He is an economist with JPMorgan in San Francisco. Jazzocracy is his first book.

Jazzocracy is the first book under a new imprint from Better World Books. A winner of the 2008 Fast Company Social Capitalist Award, Better World Books has raised more than $3 million for libraries and literacy programs nationwide by selling used and new books online. Started by three young entrepreneurs and a single book drive at the University of Notre Dame in 2002, Better World Books now partners with over 750 libraries and 1,200 college campuses, collecting millions of used books to raise funds in support of non- profit literacy programs. It also led a nationwide book drive following Hurricane Katrina to benefit the New Orleans Public Library.

Building on these successes, Better World Books is now making a commitment to publishing new ideas. The premiere of Jazzocracy includes the announcement of a new publishing venture with the New Orleans Public Library.

“Better World Books was founded on a simple belief that we can change the world one book at a time," said David Murphy, CEO of Better World Books. “Jazzocracy is an ideal title to launch Better World Book's new publishing imprint because it captures the values that the business stands for - innovation, freedom and social responsibility.

Sehgal will take Jazzocracy on a six city tour to greet friends in politics literature, and music. That tour includes New Orleans; Washington, DC; New York City; San Francisco; Atlanta (his hometown); and Chicago. For each visit, Sehgal will present an innovative book reading, blending debate, musical performance and reading. Library presentations are being given top priority.
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